Thirteen Etihad Airways team members have just completed their training and are now set to become the world’s first flying butlers this December. The specially designed training course took place at London’s Savoy Hotel, led by its Head Butler, Sean Davoren. The butlers were all former in-flight chefs or food and beverage managers aboard Etihad’s long-haul 777 flights. In addition to their on the job training at the Savoy, the butlers also participated in training at the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London.
Their new position will have them looking after passengers in Etihad’s new “Residence” aboard the A380s. Etihad expects to deploy its first A380 on the Abu Dhabi to London route on December 27th. Additional A380s will then be added on routes to Sydney followed by JFK. The cost is estimated to be about $21,000 from Abu Dhabi to London…one way in the Residence!
From the PR:
A series of master classes focused on etiquette and protocol, valet skills and concierge services, to boost the cabin crew’s existing high level customer service experience. The five-star hotel’s head butler Sean Davoren says: ‘They all now possess the skills required to provide the highest standard of hospitality for the airline’s premium customers, by blending the discretion of a traditional English butler with the efficiency of a 21st century personal assistant.’ Newly-trained butler Georgina Henderson, 28, said she was ‘thrilled’ to have the chance of working on the enormous Airbus A380 aircraft. ‘The thought of being the world’s first flying butler is amazing and obviously all of us who qualified would love to have that honour. ‘But if it’s not to be on the inaugural flight I won’t be disappointed as my time will come soon enough and I really believe that I’m going to be playing a part in aviation history.’ Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Guest Services said: ‘I am extremely proud of the team’s achievements and they all qualified with flying colours to become the world’s first ever butlers in the sky. ‘They are really enthusiastic and cannot wait to board the A380 aircraft and put into practice all that they have learned.
Sean Davoren, the Savoy’s Head Butler, added: ‘The Etihad Airways trainees have been an absolute joy to work with and they all now possess the skills required to provide the highest standard of hospitality for the airline’s premium customers, by blending the discretion of a traditional English butler with the efficiency of a 21st century personal assistant.’
“The Residence” will be available on new A380s in a 125-square-foot cabin on the forward upper-deck. Available for single or double occupancy, each Residence will have Ferrari-quality leather, table marquetry, custom carpets, a two-seat reclining sofa and an 82-inch-long double bed. A living room, private shower and double bedroom are all part of the exclusive residency.
You really need to take a look at the videos and pics to see just how cool these cabins are going to be…
A few pics, check out more here…
Of course, currently American Airlines AAdvantage miles can be redeemed for Etihad First and Business class awards with generally decent availability (even better in the last few weeks as Etihad now publishes fares between many more US cities…a requirement for booking an AA award). The new Residence is not restricted, though the price is outrageous! The only availability I’ve heard of anyone finding is for 2,332,728 Etihad Guest Miles from Abu Dhabi AUH to London LHR, or 2,356,343 Etihad Guest Miles from London to Abu Dhabi. Hopefully, like restrictions place on other carrier’s new ultra luxury cabins, these preventative measures are removed over the next couple of years.
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