How to get on Etihad’s The Residence for free thanks to Kickstarter

The past week has witnessed its fair share of oohs and aahs at the region’s largest tourism show in Dubai. One of the biggest jaw-droppers was the announcement by Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad of a new travel experience. Named the Residence and akin to a flat in the sky for those traveling on select routes on Etihad’s A380s, the 120 plus square feet of space offers travelers a dining space and living room, their own en-suite shower and bedroom. With perks that include chairs fitted out with the same leather as a Ferrari, a personal butler on call, a personal vanity unit, wardrobe and swiveling TV monitor for viewing from either the seat or the bed. All of this will cost you approximately US$20,000 one way when flying from from Abu Dhabi to London.

And just to prove the point, why don’t you let Etihad’s Guest Ambassador, Dannii Minogue take you on a tour of The Residence.

One budding travel reviewer has turned to Kickstarter to help him raise the money needed to purchase a Residence ticket (I don’t know if you’d purchase a ticket for a flat in the sky). The very young-looking Ben Schlappig is the editor of the One Mile At A Time blog on the Boarding Area website, and his pitch goes like this:

Etihad Airways new A380 features a concept that I believe will revolutionize commercial air travel. Help me review the product!

I’ve been flying frequently since a very young age, and travel and aviation are my greatest passions. Over time that passion for travel and flying grew to finding the cheapest way to travel in luxury. And over the years I’ve reviewed most of the world’s best first class products.

With only one “Residence” per flight, this may very well be the first A380 premium cabin product for which you can’t redeem miles. This may change over time, but with only one “cabin” per flight it’s highly unlikely.

As a result, it may be a long time before we get an independent review of Etihad’s A380 Residences.

What I propose is flying the Residences product within the first week it’s in service, so I can report on all aspects of the experience. Chances are it would otherwise be a long time before we get an unbiased review of Etihad’s new product.

While the thought of paying for someone else to fly in the lap of luxury to write a review may leave some in horror Ben has already raised US$11,000. With 22 days to go, can he raise the additional US$14,000 he needs for his trip? If he does, I’m going to start my own travel blog and try never to pay for a flight myself again.

If you have excess cash which you have no idea what to do with and now want to donate to this cause, go here and splash some cash for Ben.

PS On another note, while I love her to bits (I still remember her in Australian soap Neighbours) does Dannii Minogue scream luxury? She may let loose during the YouTube video to the chagrin of many of those who have left comments but I would have hoped Etihad would have splashed the cash to bring in someone who would be easier to associate with top-tier luxury. What are your thoughts?