Etihad Apartments: Emirates’ Wannabe Cousin


Etihad Apartments Flight Review is part of the Quest Around the Globe Trip Report.

The months spent booking Etihad Apartments was slightly shorter than the time it took to write this report. Here’s the chronology:

With all the hype surrounding this deluxe apartment in the sky, this should have been the ideal way to complete the Quest Around the Globe. Compared to Emirates, it was not.

Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi 

Dubai, the home of Emirates Airlines, is a city of mystique. From mega-malls to man-made islands to absurd skyscrapers, its opulence is almost incomparable. I say almost because right up the road is Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE. Like Dubai, it has monster skyscrapers and outrageous attractions e.g., Ferrari World. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi does not have the fantastical feel. Instead, it’s more of a copycat, infringer, or unoriginal imitation of the City of Gold.

Burj Al Arab Dubai
Aloft Abu Dhabi: Hyperbolic comparison

Emirates vs. Etihad

I’m not going to say that Etihad is a golf cart compared to the Emirates sailboat. I am going to say that creativity isn’t there. Let’s Compare.

The A380

The soon to be extinct A380 is pretty no matter the carrier.
See you soon!
But I’ll take the Emirates livery over Etihad’s kaleidoscope.

The Shower: Emirates invented showering on an airplane (see Sheikh Dubai’s Chariot: First Class on Emirates Airlines A380). Etihad threw one in just because Emirates had one. I didn’t bother using it.

The most photographed shower of all time.
Conservative selfie
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Etihad’s toilet is an original color.

The Bar: Emirates has a bar for business class and first-class passengers. Etihad does not.

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What’s life without this photo in your memories?

The Drinks 

I know many of you think that Johnnie Blue is the tops. It isn’t. I despise Scotch. Emirates has Hennessy Paradis.

Etihad has Bacardi and decent Bollinger champagne.

The comparable Emirates photo
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Only on Emirates could I keep the bottle.

The Service: I’ve flown Etihad business and first a few times. The service on Emirates is far superior. The flight attendants are smoother and more natural. On Etihad, it feels forced. Indeed, in the photo above, the flight attendant refused to let me go back to the business class bar without my own bottle of Dom, since it is not served to business class passengers.

Clothes are required in business.

The Appetizer 

The quality of the food is comparable but I prefer the meze on Emirates.

Etihad App, don’t try to make hummus fancy.
Emirate’s authentic taste of the Middle East

Main Dish

Like Charlie would say, Wildcard!

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The best food is not on Emirates nor Etihad. It’s SQ!

Lobster on SQ.

But this post is between the Arab cousins. Here’s what I had on Etihad:

And here’s what I had on Emirates:

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Tender steak on a plane? Only Emirates.

I would have said that it was a tie until, you guessed it, another wildcard!

Sliders, on this mothaf&$kin’ plane!
2000 calorie Arabic dessert

Finish Him!

Etihad wins.


The Fun

I tried to replicate Silent Disco on Etihad but it didn’t compare to Emirates.

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Rolex + Dom = Good time on Emirates
Not hype
Until I found the Elvis of Iraq, Kazim! As legend has it, Saddam once tried to have him as a personal entertainer, then he fled Iraq.

The Amenities Kit 

I didn’t save my kit from Etihad.

I wish this fragrance was not discontinued by Bvlgari and was still offered on Emirates.

The Seat 

My favorite first-class experiences are aboard empty cabins. Often, I have one seat where I can eat and another seat where I can sleep. Etihad recognized this demand and instead of only having a seat that lied flat, there was also a separate chair.

While I appreciate the space, I prefer the cocoon of Emirates.

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Both provided the privacy one would expect from flying first.

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Despite being spacious, I found the apartment to be dull compared to Emirates.

Emirates is brighter and golder (see The Seven Cities of Gold).

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Originally, I was not seated next to Ms. TPOL, and this jerk store wouldn’t switch me seats. It took some convincing but he finally did. There still is a separator between us unlike Emirates where it’s more connected.

Not much of an experience if traveling someone and there is a stranger in the middle.

Emirates has a divider but it comes down.

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Under the stars on Emirates.


I had more space to stretch out and roll over on Etihad. But isn’t it cheating to sleep on these first-class flights when there is so much to eat, drink, and do?


The days of A380 flying may be over, but if I could go back in time I would time travel on Emirates.


  1. I prefer the look and space of the Etihad apartment. Foodwise, I am still surprised after so many years that Etihad chooses not to serve caviar.
    Any FC cabin that doesnt serve caviar or foie gras is a no for me.

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