Etihad to fly Airbus A380 to Melbourne from June 2016

By David Flynn, October 26 2015
Etihad to fly Airbus A380 to Melbourne from June 2016

Etihad Airways' flagship Airbus A380 will begin daily flights to Melbourne from June 1st, 2016, bringing with it the world's best first class experience as well as the world's most expensive commercial jet ticket.

The former is Etihad's First Class suites, which have been christened as Apartments – and it's not hard to see why.

Each Apartment has a total area of 3.6 square metres (39 square feet) and is finished in Poltrona Frau leather.

And while other first class seats generally follow the convention of converting into a flat bed, either by laying the seat down or flipping it over, Etihad's primo cabin has a seperate seat and bed.

And the seat's not just a seat: it's more of a reclining leather-clad lounge chair.

Across from this is a full length ottoman which opens into an 80.5 inch long and 26 inch wide bed.

A handful of the nine suites have connecting doors so that passengers travelling together can share the experience.

Each suite also has a 24-inch flat screen TV, its own chilled mini-bar, a personal wardrobe and a vanity cabint with lit make-up mirrors, stocked with luxury branded amenities.

Passengers in the nine Apartments also have access to a single shower suite.

Read more: Inside Etihad's new Airbus A380 first class apartments

But if you're after the ultimate in sky-high luxe, keep walking past those one-room suites towards The Residence – a three-room VIP supersuite with its own living room...

... bathroom/shower suite...

... and bedroom.

Oh, and did we mention your personal Savoy-trained butler?

This is truly a slice of Downton Abbey at 40,000 feet.

A return trip from Melbourne to London in this 'penthouse in the sky' will set you back some $80,000.

Read: Inside The Residence, Etihad's A380 supersuite

Most Australian Business Traveller readers will of course be resting up in Etihad's business class, with 70 comfortable and well-appointed Business Studio pods stretched along the remainder of the superjumbo's top deck.

The 1-2-1 layout affords each passenger direct access to the aisle, and of course each seat converts into a long and fully-fled bed.

Read: Inside Etihad's Airbus A380 Business Studio business class

Located between the first and business cabins, and available to passengers from both those premium classes, is The Lobby.

This social area features a lounge and bar with leather sofas, marquetry table and large-screen television.

Also read: 10 things you should know about Etihad’s A380

Etihad's swish superjumbo will run on flights EY460/461, one of the airline’s two daily Melbourne-Abu Dhabi services, replacing the currently scheduled Boeing 777-300ER.

The ex-Melbourne flight EY461 is wheels up at 10.40pm to arrive into Abu Dhabi at 6.45am the following day, with a raft of onwards connections – several featuring Etihad's new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 – into the UK and Europe.

An all-new Etihad Airways lounge, similar to its Sydney sibling (shown below), is also expected to open its doors in the first quarter of 2016.

Also read: Etihad's First Class, Residences lounge at Abu Dhabi opens early 2016

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 737

I've never figured out what the supposed difference is between an inflight "butler" and a much more prosaic "flight attendant". 

undertheradar Banned
undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 654

It's called marketing.  Certain words/labels/titles are used to create an (exclusive)'experience' to make the consumer feel 'special'....and gives the business justification for selling the particular product at a 'premium' ;)  This 'phenomenon' is not unique to just airlines lol

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Dec 2014

Total posts 284

David, is the leg room ok when you were sitting in the lounge chair? 

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

QF Platinum

24 Jan 2013

Total posts 138

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 76

The A380 Apartment is a great product, the flashest 1st class in the market without doubt however, I personally think the bed is hard. If it had a softer cover on it, it would be spectacular.

Yes, I know, before you all start, this is a 1st world problem only.

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 274

Yes I've read they are looking at working on a softer matress (which shows that many people have complained about it). 

Just hope they open up their F lounge in Abu Dhabi soon (since Qatar has just opened their F lounge). Also wonder if this means they'll open their own lounge in Melbourne, rather than using the Air NZ lounge. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 360

Etihad is very serious with Aus market. Not only they partnered with Coles, now they are offering a second A380 to us, the only country in the world to have 2 A380 service in EY's network! Also BNE was one of the first to receive 787 as well!

Hopefully this will stimulate other airlines (I'm looking at you, SQ!) to bring more competitive product to us. 

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 21

Well said, Michael! The ME3 are really stepping up their game with this and also QR's entry into Sydney, Adelaide etc.

On SQ, they need to restore A380 service to MEL and offer a second frequency to ADL - either mainline or Scoot. One daily flight is not enough! 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 462

ADL should have a daylight service for people connecting from Europe as well as those coming home from a Singapore Holiday amongst other places not just this seasonal variety.There are a lot of us who would rather not have to deal with the immigration there in the mornings and instead of having to travel through the night to get back to Australia can leave around 8:30am and be back in SA around 5pm(Winter)and 6pm(Summer)plus be in our own homes and beds the same night.

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 58

Maybe there ex Australian CEO has a soft spot? 

I agree SH, it used to feel like Emirates hade almost all the flights to the ME but sometimes I am suprised they still only have one DIRECT service from Melbourne 

I personally think the first apartments are a stunning offering hard product wise. Very comfortable, and i can think of many worse ways to fly.

I could get used to that ! 

Melbourne AND Sydney? SQ will really have to step things up to compete on the Kangaroo Route.

I guess SQ could leverage the fact they (unlike Etihad) have Premium Economy, and they also have a more comfortable Economy (extra pitch and I think width). Their Business Class is also roomier than Etihad's, however Etihad have the bar/lounge.

Also to continue...

I bet they'll codeshare with VA on this flight, and thus make a play for QF's passengers as well. QF's only real advantage is Premium Economy (since Etihad don't cater to that market segment) - Etihad's Business and First are both better than the QF equivalents. That said, much of the fun from First Class comes from the departure lounge, and QF's First lounge in Melbourne is better than Etihad's equivalent.


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 141

A pretty good read David. The Residence is one of the finest traveling classes on Etihad.

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 78

Surly they will open a new lounge in MEL by then ? 

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 58

"n Etihad spokesman said it was expected to open in the first quarter of next year, ahead of the arrival of the A380, to bring additional luxury to its product on the ground."

From SMH 

03 Aug 2015

Total posts 58

Guess they must be getting prity good loading then with the double daily only a few months old. When they annonced the second daily flight i asumed it would push the A380 back a few years! 

American Airlines - AAdvantage

13 Jul 2015

Total posts 274

Wow this is amazing! I was thinking how inconvinient it would have been to fly to sydney then change a plane to fly to Melbourne as well if you really wanted to experience the Apartments to Australia.

Fantastic move by Etihad, to bring one ofthe best hard products out there to Melbourne as well :D

Side note: Hopefully this means they will release a few award seats as they generally keep very little to none on their A380's. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Jul 2012

Total posts 3

Which flight will get the A380 Abu Dhabi to Melbourne?

29 May 2016

Total posts 2

Wow that's classy

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Etihad to fly Airbus A380 to Melbourne from June 2016