Airline rankings suggest Etihad is unbeatable in first class category

The Residence Suite on Etihad’s A380 fleet. Pic: Etihad Airways

INDEPENDENT safety and product rating site has released its top picks for the year ahead after having judged dozens of major airlines in various categories.

Unsurprisingly, Etihad Airways bagged the title of best first class category. Deemed “penthouses in the sky”, their first class cabins are often praised as unmatched compared to those of rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways.

“The Etihad A380 first class cabins accommodate passengers in ‘apartments’ or ‘suites’,” The Telegraph Travel’s luxury editor said.

In a review of the first class service on The Telegraph, the experience was said to have “brought the best of the jet-set era back to aviation”.

Passengers can choose between the First Apartment and First Suite, with the latter providing guests their personal minibars, wardrobe, and private seating area.

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Food is prepared by an on-board chef, and are served on bone china. Meanwhile, a list of cocktails can be prepared, and wines can be brought out from the in-flight “wine cellar”.

The bathroom in Etihad's Residence Suite is stocked with a full-height shower, a hair dryer, luxury amenities, and bathrobes. Pic: Etihad Airways

On top of that, Etihad also debuted The Residence Suite on its A380 fleet, the most expensive flight seat in the world at up to US$38,000 per person for a single-trip journey.

Much like a luxury hotel, the three-room suite offers a double-seat sofa, two dining tables, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, a full shower complete with hair dryer, a double bed, and personalized Savoy-trained butler service.

Guests can request for their favorite dishes to be whipped up by the in-flight chef, while wine and champagne are regularly topped up in Vera Wang glassware. Personalized cognac service is an option.

Travelers will also enjoy VIP concierge service where hotel, restaurant and other travel arrangements will be made for them. On top of that, chauffeur service is provided, as is a separate entrance into the private check-in area.

In the same list by AirlineRatings, Singapore Airlines and Emirates came in second and third respectively in the first class category.

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