How to Make the Most of Etihad First Class
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Known for operating one of the most luxurious cabins in the sky, Etihad Airways' first class is sought after by travelers looking to splurge.
If you're planning on booking Etihad first class, knowing the ins and outs of this fare will help you get the most from your trip — such as even taking a shower on board.
What to expect flying first class with Etihad
From booking to landing, this Etihad first class overview gives you everything you need to know about getting your ticket and flying this experience.
Bag allowance. On flights to or from the Americas, Etihad passengers are allowed two bags, each weighing up to 50 pounds (23 kilograms). On flights to most other worldwide destinations, passengers are allowed up to 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of checked baggage. One carry-on bag weighing up to 26 pounds (12 kilograms) is allowed onboard.
Boarding. First class passengers are the first group allowed to board the plane, but you may want to hang back and enjoy the lounge for as long as you can.
Seats/Suites. There are three types of Etihad first class seats: Etihad Residence, Etihad First Class Apartments and Etihad First Class Suites. The Etihad Residence and Etihad First Class Apartments are exclusively on the A380. The Etihad Residence is a three room suite with a private shower; in Etihad First Class Apartments, you get both a seat and a separate bed. The Etihad First Class Suites found on Boeing 787s feature a lie-flat seat with sliding doors.
Lounges. First class passengers can access the Etihad First Class Lounge and Arrivals Lounge at the Abu Dhabi Airport, as well as any of Etihad’s partner lounges worldwide.
» Learn more: The credit cards that offer airport lounge access
How to book a first class ticket with Etihad
Whether you're paying cash or using miles, the most straightforward way to book Etihad first class is direct with the airline online. Award tickets can be booked through Etihad’s loyalty program, Etihad Guest.
Begin your flight search by going to Etihad.com and searching for your desired flights. Before hitting Search Flights, be sure to select First as your cabin of choice.
For award tickets, you’ll need to be logged in to your Etihad Guest account and select the Book with Miles toggle option before submitting a flight search.
Ways to get good value
Book with points
Using miles to book an award ticket is an excellent way to enjoy the luxury of first class on a budget. If you have accrued enough Etihad Guest miles, booking directly with Etihad provides a solid value and seamless booking process.
However, if you're looking for the most bang for your buck, consider using Asiana Airlines or American Airline miles to book a first class award on Etihad. These programs have some of the lowest priced award tickets for booking Etihad first class.
» Learn more: 5 sweet spots using Etihad Guest miles
If you want luxury, book the Airbus A380
Etihad’s First Class Apartments are exclusively on the Airbus A380. If you have flexibility with your schedule and routing, booking Etihad’s First Class Apartments will give you the most luxurious first class experience. In your private apartment, you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out on your recliner seat or separate bed. There’s also an onboard shower and bar for premium cabin passengers, which takes this first class journey to the next level.
Arrive early to enjoy the lounge in Abu Dhabi
Etihad’s stunning First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi offers a first class luxury experience like no other. If you're departing from Abu Dhabi, you’ll want plenty of time to enjoy everything the lounge has to offer, including restaurant dining, spa treatments and even a fitness center.
Take advantage of the a la carte menu
Although Etihad recently axed its in-flight chefs, Etihad’s first class food and service are not to be missed. With Etihad’s a la carte menu, you get to choose exactly what — and when — you eat during your flight. This way, you don’t have to plan your journey around meal service. Feel free to relax or get some shut-eye without missing out.
» Learn more: How to save money on international flights
If you fly Etihad first class
Etihad first class ticks all of the boxes as it offers one of the world’s most opulent cabins in the sky. The best part is that it’s completely possible to enjoy it on a budget when you use miles to book an award ticket. Depending on your destination and schedule, to get the most from your trip, our recommendation is to book Etihad’s spacious First Class Apartment on the A380.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card