The world’s first in-flight butler will be a woman from Merseyside who will take to the skies on board Etihad Airways’ first superjumbo A380 journey from its Abu Dhabi base to London’s Heathrow airport.
Georgina Henderson, 28, from Southport will be the first butler manning the brand new Residence by Etihad, the unique new premium product on the airline’s first Airbus A380 service into London Heathrow on 27 December.
The Residence by Etihad™ features a living room, separate ensuite shower room, and bedroom, and as another first in the airline industry, a dedicated butler. Measuring 125 square feet in total, The Residence by Etihad™ is located on the forward upper deck of the A380 and is for single or double occupancy.
Georgina, who joined the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates nearly four years ago, is the first flying butler in aviation history. She was part of a group of 13 men and women, who were handpicked for their experience in hospitality and their commitment to providing exemplary customer service on board Etihad flights.
The butlers are drawn from countries around the world, reflecting the multi-cultural make-up of Etihad’s workforce, and are from a range of Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa and Tunisia. A total of three butlers are originally from the United Kingdom.
Georgina was previously a food and beverage manager on Etihad Airways’ long-haul fleet and after her selection, attended an intensive three-week training course held in London, led by the Savoy Hotel’s Head Butler, Sean Deveron. She also learned new skills at the London School of Hospitality and Tourism.
Georgina, who has a degree in broadcast journalism, got the taste for hospitality when she worked in restaurants in Yorkshire while studying at Leeds University. She has also previously worked at BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool but decided that her passion for travel and to see the world would be best served by working for an airline.
Aubrey Tiedt, Vice President of Guest Services at Etihad Airways, said: “The butlers on board our new Airbus A380 services will play a vital role in the ongoing success of the Residence. We have introduced a product that doesn’t currently exist in the marketplace as we believe that the guests who will be attracted are looking for something special and for the level of customer service we are providing on board. Our butlers have received the best training in the world and are to be based on one of the best aircraft on the market, and from the positive sales performance we’ve seen already, we know it is a welcome addition to those guests who are looking to travel in style.”
The inaugural flight in The Residence by Etihad™ – has been booked by Miami-based businessman and aviation enthusiast, Mr. Gino Bertuccio. Mr. Bertuccio flew on his first inaugural 25 years ago and has since travelled on 22 inaugural and final flights in premium class cabins.
Etihad Airways has ten A380’s that will join the fleet and by August 2015 they will operate three A380s between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi. With the addition of an A380 on the Abu Dhabi – Sydney route, in June 2015, guests will be able to enjoy the luxury of Etihad Airways’ A380 from the UK to Australia.
For the sixth year in a row, Etihad Airways was awarded the coveted title of “World’s Leading Airline” at this year’s World Travel Awards. In addition to winning the title of ‘World’s Leading Airline’, Etihad Airways scooped up a further two awards: ‘World’s Leading First Class’ and ‘World’s Leading Cabin Crew’.