An Apartment in the Sky

Following Chelsea and travel hacking are two of my favorite hobbies, and this March the two will converge into a ridiculously luxorious weekend in London.  Though this season has been a bit difficult for a Chelsea supporter, I am ecstatic for the opportunity to make my way to Stamford Bridge to take in my first Premier League game at the bridge.

Last year I was fortunate enough to watch them in the Champions League, but the quality of opposition was not exactly the highest standard (sorry Maribor).  This March I will be in attendance when Stoke City visit Chelsea and I am looking forward to making a proper day of it.  I’m secretly hoping for a dreary cloudy London Saturday (that shows I’ve been living in deserts for the past 8+ years).

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My First Visit to Stamford Bridge October 2014

Most of you (hopefully) know that London is a quite a distance from Abu Dhabi and is not exactly within striking distance for a quick trip. For the 8 hour flight I have managed to travel hack my greatest prize to date.  Abu-Dhabi to London aboard Etihad’s flagship A380 in their first class “apartment” in the sky.  In an earlier post, I mentioned that American Airlines announced a devaluation of their award program. Consequently, i decided to book this route round trip for a mere 80k miles.

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Etihad’s First Class Apartment (image courtesy of etihad.com)
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Etihad A380 Apartment (image courtesy of onemileatatime.boardingarea.com)

Etihad flies their A380’s on three routes from Abu Dhabi; in addition to London they also fly to Sydney, and New York. Finding award space can prove to be difficult on many of these routes.  Fortunately the route to London in early March did have room each direction so I called up American Airlines Australia and booked the trip.

Being able to travel to and from Abu Dhabi in this cabin will make for an amazing journey.  We recently flew Etihad business class back from Munich to Abu Dhabi which was a real treat aboard their A340 with great service and great amenities (full review to come soon) but even that will pale in comparison to what is arguably the nicest first class cabin available in the sky.  What makes this more amazing is that my match ticket and 4 night stay in a London Airbnb will cost more than the flight.  This whole ticket round trip cost me  about $400 Australian due to taxes and award fees which are steep in London.

Another great perk of booking Etihad business and first class is the complimentary chauffeur service that come along with the ticket.  This means a private car to and from the airport in each direction which is a huge plus in London as Heathrow is so far out of city center. Finally, the lounges in both Abu Dhabi and London are supposed to be first rate and I am looking forward to spending a bit of time pre-flight and hopefully stopping in the arrivals lounge in Abu Dhabi for a complimentary shave after my flight. 

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Etihad Arrivals Lounge Barber Abu Dhabi (etihad.com)

Stay tuned for a full trip report complete with tons of pictures as I will be anxiously awaiting the trip for the next two months.  I am also looking for one good day trip from London, and a list of must-sees in London since I will be solo and able to visit a few more museums and sites than is normally possible with a 3 year old.

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