With the rise of the super-super wealthy, long haul carriers are experiencing what appears to be an insatiable demand for more exclusive first-class offerings. And so, recently Etihad revealed its apartment concept including a shower and a luxury bedroom.

In the delightfully over the top video below Dannii Minogue explains the features of what Etihad calls “the Residence”. It looks very nice, but we would comment that Dannii although big in showbiz is rather petite in stature. Google gives Dannii a height of 157 cm – about five foot two. So the size and height of the offering possibly should be considered with this in mind.

Emirates is reportedly also considering developing a more exclusive first-class offering following the success of premium suites on its Airbus A380 aircraft.

Demand for the 14 suites on each of Emirates’ A380s outstripped growth in all other classes last year, encouraging it to consider further ways of further enhancing luxury, Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori said today.

“We’re working toward the bedroom concept,” Antinori said aboard a newly delivered A380 at the Berlin Air Show. “First-class is becoming increasingly about privacy, and we want to increase privacy beyond what’s available today.”

Emirates, which take delivery of its 50th A380 next month, already has massive capacity for luxury suites, but is examining its options after the revelation of the Etihad first class apartments, and an individually-styled cabin branded “The Residence” with a double bed, separate living area and shower room.

The approach taken by Etihad and Emirates contrasts with that of Qatar Airways, which A380s will feature eight first-class seats which while the widest in the industry will resemble a roomier business-class model rather than a fully enclosed cabin or lounge.

The Doha-based carrier will also remove first-class seats altogether on some existing planes to make room for more popular business berths.

No doubt British Airways will be keeping a close eye on developments.

British Airways has teamed up with high end retailer Harrods to host a series of mid flight fashion shows, the first of which took place on its route to Cape Town on February 6.

So, ahead of London Fashion Week, which runs from 14 to 18 February, 200 guests onboard an A380 aircraft enjoyed a runway-style show along the aisles of the plane. Models wore outfits from iconic British designers including Stella McCartney, Temperley London, Jenny Packham and Victoria Beckham.

The the footwear on show was by Jimmy Choo. Harrods managing director Michael Ward is quoted as stating: “Harrods is delighted to have partnered with British Airways, bringing together two iconic British brands, to create a spectacular event.” “Celebrating the exceptional design of the A380, we were able to present the talent and creativity of our most respected British fashion designers, in a unique experience at 30,000ft.”

Guests onboard the flight were served a Champagne high tea prepared by Harrods’ in-house restaurant The Saxon and South African chef David Higgs.

British Airways gained momentum last year last year and expects to build on that this year.

That is the report from the Gulf Daily News, that last year BA operated 52 weekly flights during the winter, its highest ever from the region.

Mr. De Renzis, a BA executive also said that he expects strong forward bookings in the region.

“We just closed a very successful year in the Middle East and we are very optimistic about the current year,” he said.

gulf Daily News reports that over the last five years, the airline has increased regional capacity by 40 per cent with the expansion focusing on the larger markets of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait either by adding flights and flying larger planes and would continue to do so if the market demand was there, he said.

British Airways A380 Flying Above Clouds

Middle East bound

So what is driving this expansion? Greater profit per passenger, as according to industry experts, the Middle East leads the globe in growth of business and first-class traffic. The airline executive said British Airways was earning about 50 per cent of passenger revenue in the region from the high-margin premium segment, and experts say yields per premium passenger are typically around four to five times higher than those for economy class.

But competition is likely to increase as the Middle East airlines are increasing capacity.

Emirates a380

50 more of these please

Last years Dubai Airshow saw a spending spree, reported here, with orders for A380 and 777x aircraft being placed by Emirates.

British Airways is has launched its Man vs Plane challenge No.II, which offers five people the chance to prove they have what it takes to beat its new A380 superjumbo in a race on the runway.

The Man vs Plane challenge is to celebrate the launch of BA’s direct flights to Johannesburg and the winners will be flown to South Africa in February to try to beat the A380 in a 200 metre sprint. Now I recall from athletics at school that 200 metres is a pretty long sprint. The A380 lost round one in 2013 to South African rugby player Bryan Habana.

To enter the competition, entrants must explain to British Airways in 50 words or less why they should be picked. The runner with the quickest time on the day will receive two return tickets on one of British Airways’ direct A380 flights to London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong or Johannesburg while revelling in their sprinting success. Mr. Habana explains…

Habana said in the promotional video “In 2013, I raced British Airways’ new A380 aircraft and won. Now, it’s your turn to accept the challenge and prove you have the strength, stamina and speed to race the plane.” The closing date for entries is 20 January and the winners will be flown to Johannesburg on 4 February.

To enter go to  ba.com/manvsplane. If anyone knows how long it takes an A380 to cover the first 200 metres let us know!

British Airways is extending the number of routes operated by its new aircraft and increasing frequencies on some routes for summer 2014 (from March 30).


British Airways now has three A380s and four 787s. Thanks to the arrival of the new aircraft into the fleet, the airline is able to confirm that the A380 and 787 will operate between London and the following destinations in Summer 14:


• The A380 will begin services to Washington from September 1, 2014. The aircraft is already flying to Los Angeles and Hong Kong and will start services to Johannesburg in February 2014.


• The 787s will next launch on services to:


• Hyderabad from 30 March


• Chengdu from 5 May


• Philadelphia from 5 June


• Calgary from 5 July


 The 787 is already flying between London and Toronto and New York Newark and will operate services to/from Austin when the route launches on 3 March 2014.


 Additional frequencies:


• The airline will increase the number of flights to/from Chengdu from three to five a week (also from 5 May).


• From 6 May, Tokyo Haneda will move from five-a-week to daily flights. The Haneda flights will also be re-timed to a more convenient 8.50am departure from Haneda (currently 6.35am).


• Mexico City will also benefit from an increase from five to six services a week from April 27.


• Cape Town will gain an extra three Boeing 777-200ER flights a week through South Africa’s cooler winter season (the Northern Hemisphere’s summer) taking it from a daily service to 10 flights a week and accommodating an additional 219 customers in four cabins.


 These flights are available for sale.


British Airways says it is investing more than £5bn in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.


British Airways also says it is the first airline in the UK to fly the A380 and the first in Europe to fly both the A380 and 787. Customers on these aircraft are able to enjoy the new cabins and seats that have proved so popular on the airline’s 777-300Ers.


Both aircraft types make major environmental advances and contribute toward the airline’s ambitious targets for noise and carbon reduction.