Later this year, fliers with a taste for luxury can jet from London to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a three-room flying penthouse on Etihad Airways.
The compartment in the airline’s A380 planes includes a bedroom, a living room and a bathroom, with service provided by butlers trained at the Savoy Academy in London. The cost for a one-way trip: about $21,000.
The airline plans to eventually add the flying apartment, known as “the Residence,” to all 10 of its A380s, including the jet that will fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Abu Dhabi next year.
It is the latest example of airlines pushing the envelope on luxury. Emirates Airlines has added two shower spas, plus an onboard lounge, to its A380s. Korean Air reserved the second level of its A380 for “prestige class” passengers, along with a cocktail lounge and a duty-free shop.
Etihad Chief Executive James Hogan said he came up with the idea for the three-room apartment as a way to differentiate his A380 from its competitors.
“We looked at the Asian carriers and some of our neighbors and looked at what they had done with their A380s,” he said. “So I threw in the curveball, saying that I wanted a penthouse” in the plane.
Hogan said bookings are coming in fast for the launch of the Residence Dec. 27.
“It’s about innovation and how you can make money,” he said. “That is a moneymaker.”