If you have enough time to enjoy it, then this is a great way to hack your way into the luxury usually reserved for passengers flying ‘The Residence’.
The Residence & lounge locations
Etihad’s three-room The Residence onboard product is exclusively featured on their A380 fleet, which currently services the following airports:
- Abu Dhabi
- London Heathrow
- New York JFK
- Paris CDG
The Residence onboard living room
As of now, the airline is selling access to the private VIP (or Residence) Room in its lounges in Melbourne, Abu Dhabi and New York JFK.
Why is Etihad doing this?
The most likely reason is that the airlines has recently had financial troubles and is looking for other avenues to make money.
It stopped A380 service to Melbourne last October, so that room has been sitting empty a lot of the time. The decision to open the room up to non-Residence passengers in Abu Dhabi and New York JFK could be because The Residence tickets are so expensive that often the room is not occupied by someone flying in that cabin.
What will you get?
Basically, you’ll get a private room where you can relax before your flight. You’ll still access the same food and drink offerings, free wifi and other amenities in the main part of the lounge.
What you won’t get in Melbourne or New York JFK is access to a butler or special dining options—that’s only in Abu Dhabi.
Who is eligible?
You’ll need to already have access to the Etihad First & Business Class lounge by:
- flying First Class
- flying Business Class (including Virgin Australia’s services to Hong Kong and Los Angeles departing from Melbourne)
- holding elite status with Etihad Guest, Velocity Frequent Flyer or another partner airline
- paying $75 AUD/$75 USD/$200 USD (Melbourne/New York JFK/Abu Dhabi) for a day pass if travelling in Economy (see current prices here; Etihad Guest Silver members get a $10 discount at Melbourne)
Access to the more private VIP Room is on a first-come, first-served basis—you cannot pre-book.
How much does it cost?
You and your travelling companions can access the Residence Room in Melbourne or New York JFK for $40 AUD or USD, respectively. In Abu Dhabi, the cost is higher, at $100 USD.
If you already have access to the main lounge and have enough time before departure or on your layover to enjoy the extra space and privacy of the VIP Room by yourself, with travelling companions or to conduct a meeting, then this could be a good option for you.
You might also be interested in our guide to purchasing Emirates lounge access.
Supplementary photos courtesy Etihad.