I am in the air flying the Etihad First Class Apartment on its A380 from Abu Dhabi to New York.

This is one of the best flights of my life, but “First Class” is a misnomer, since Etihad offers a three room “Residence” on the same flight, making my accommodation technically second class.

For a day, there was a 1% chance in my mind I’d be flying the Residence.

About two days before my flights, I finally sent a direct message on Twitter to American Airlines asking for my Etihad confirmation number, so I could select seats on my Etihad flights. This is standard procedure. You need to get the confirmation number of the operating airline from the airline whose miles you used to select seats.

When I called Etihad, I selected a seat from Chennai to Abi Dhabi (3A, but all the seats were equal to me) and asked for seat 4A or 4K on the Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles flight. The reason I wanted 4A or 4K is that they are forward facing window seats.

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My back up plan was 3A or 3K, backward facing window seats.

Unfortunately the agent told me that not only were the seats I wanted taken, but all seats he could assign were taken. Unprompted, he said, “I’ll put in a request for seat 1A for you.”

“OK, thanks!” I said and hung up before he could look at the seating chart.

1A is The Residence, a three room suite.

Now, I knew my chances were very slim of being in The Residence, but I gave myself a 1% chance. Etihad had had some cancellations and delays to New York and Washington-Dulles because of Jonas, so I thought maybe people had changed their reservations and stacked up on my flight. If they all had confirmed seats in an Apartment and the Residence was open, maybe this guy requesting it for me would get it for me. 1% chance, like I said.

Any way, I showed up in Chennai and I got seat 2H printed on my boarding pass, a forward facing aisle seat. No big deal since most of the flight was in the dark, and I can sit by the window on my couch/bed if I want.

Full trip report coming soon!

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