Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.
The long-awaited day has arrived: Etihad’s Airbus A380 is back in the skies once again.
After being first announced back in 2022, the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s superjumbo landed at London Heathrow just before 7 a.m. on the morning of July 25, 2023, after a 7-hour and 6-minute flight from Abu Dhabi (AUH).
Here’s everything you need to know about the jet’s return, and why fans of the aircraft and luxury flying are particularly excited.
Etihad’s A380 Has Returned
Given that most other airlines’ A380s are already flying again, some may be left wondering why all the fanfare surrounding Etihad’s version of the behemoth aircraft.
Well, it’s for good reason: Etihad’s A380 is home to the world’s most luxurious commercial flying cabin — The Residence.
Soon after the onset of the pandemic, fans of the A380 and Etihad’s The Residence had their worlds turned upside down when Etihad announced that it would be retiring the superjumbo for good.
However, after over 3 years, the first of the fleet has been brought back into action owing to the airline seeing significant demand on some of its most important routes.
Onboard Etihad’s A380
Quite frankly, The Residence on Eithad’s A380s knocks every other airline’s first class offering out of the park.
That said, you can’t really directly compare as The Residence is in a class of its own.
Complete with a private living room, double bed, and ensuite shower room, the outrageous 3-room suite is designed for 2 passengers to enjoy together.
There should be no surprise in hearing that this kind of exclusive luxury comes at a cost: You’re looking at well over a million miles or at least $10,000 one-way between Abu Dhabi and London. Ouch.
Hot Tip: While reaching a goal of a million air miles may seem crazy, you’d be surprised at all the ways there are to earn Etihad Airways Guest miles.
It’s not just The Residence that makes this “whale of the skies” special: Instead of regular first class, Etihad’s A380 boats passengers 8 first class apartments.
Each apartment measures in at a spacious 39 square feet and is a super-bougie way to fly if your points or cash won’t stretch to get you into The Residence.
In fact, Upgraded Points’ very own Alex and Erin Miller flew in The Apartment back in 2017 and raved about the experience.
Hot Tip: Check out our full guide to learn everything you need to know about Etihad, from information about its amenities, and customer service to baggage fees and more.
How To Fly Etihad’s A380
As it stands, only Etihad passengers traveling between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and London (LHR) will get to enjoy the A380.
From August 1, 2023, another A380 will be brought back to life and will operate a second of Etihad’s 3 daily Heathrow services.
For now, the jury remains out on when we might see the jet back in the skies over America.
Historically, you could fly Etihad’s route from Abu Dhabi to New York (JFK) on the Airbus A380, so it wouldn’t be surprising if it returns to the U.S. one day soon.
The return of Etihad’s superjumbo A380s brings with it the opportunity to fly one of the most exclusive cabins in the sky.
Here’s hoping Etihad adds the A380 to its New York route again soon!
Featured Image Credit: Etihad
Was this page helpful?
INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE™
Travel is changing fast... Stay on top of all the points strategies, exclusive offers & pivotal news - and lock in huge savings along the way.
UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.