Etihad to launch service between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi as of June 1, 2014

Etihad Airways announced today that they’ll be launching daily service between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi as of June 1, 2014. The flight will be operated by a 777-300ER with the following schedule:

Etihad 171 Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles departing 8:45AM arriving 2:15PM
Etihad 170 Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi departing 4:15PM arriving 7:35PM (+1 day)

This is definitely exciting news for those with American AAdvantage miles, especially those that want to travel to the Maldives. In order to redeem American miles the airline operating the overwater segment has to publish a fare between the origin and destination, and Etihad Airways doesn’t presently publish a fare between Los Angeles and the Maldives. This means if you want to fly between Los Angeles and the Maldives on Etihad using American miles you have to book two separate award tickets. It’s probably safe to assume that they’ll begin to publish a fare in the market once the service commences.

The big question right now is whether they’ll operate the route with a two cabin or three cabin 777-300ER. Some of Etihad’s 777-300ERs feature a first class cabin, while others don’t. Etihad has begun selling tickets on the new route, though only in economy as of now, so we have no way of knowing whether there will be a first class cabin or not. Once we know for sure I’ll update the post.

Etihad_Availability
Only coach inventory is loaded so far

I certainly hope it does have a first class cabin, since Etihad’s first class is quite nice with fully flat suites. You can find my trip reports of Etihad first class here, here, and here. Regardless, I wouldn’t expect award availability to be amazing in first class. The 777-300ERs only have eight first class suites, while the A340-500s have 12 first class suites.

Etihad_Airways_Diamond_First
Diamond First Class

And on another totally random note, if I’m not mistaken this will be the longest flight operated out of LAX once the service begins, at 8,390 miles (just ~50 miles longer than Los Angeles to Dubai, but still).

Comments

  1. Etihad bus. class availability using AA miles from certain U.S. cities like Chicago to Abu Dhabi has been very low. I hope that Qatar has flights from LAX and DFW soon to Doha. Qatar avail from the U.S. to the Middle East has been much better than Etihad.

  2. In order to redeem American miles the airline operating the overwater segment has to publish a fare between the origin and destination.

    How do you search for that besides calling?

  3. Are we sure this will be on a 773 not the 772LR they are getting from Air India? If it’s the 772 do we now how they plan to outfit them?

  4. @ caveman — On ExpertFlyer you can click on “fare information,” type in the city pair, and see if a routing comes up or not.

  5. @ Geoff — It’s a good question since I originally thought they might be the 777-200LRs, though the GDS shows the flight as a “77W.” Curious also how they configure the 77Ls — my guess would be they’ll be two cabin.

  6. Well, this is potentially a game (network) changing route for me. Question though relates to what AA is doing with its mileage availability. If AA award availability is being decreased then I don’t see a point in buying a revenue ticket on one of their partners, unless I start collecting points in Etihad’s program.

  7. Lucky, I heard a rumor from a very reliable AA purser that AA will announce DFW – PVR in November. Any insight? Also, you are so right on AA awards availability to Europe – even for us Key holders…. And I sit here w +3 million miles to burn!!

  8. Awesome! But wait… when is the SQ flight from LAX-SIN ending? That flight is longer than this Etihad flight right?

  9. @ Lantean — Not many readily available ones or ones we’d usually collect in the US, unfortunately.

  10. @ Levy Flight — Well ultimately American hopefully won’t limit space on their partners, and they don’t have any impact over how much space their partners give them. That being said, even for redemptions on Etihad you’re much better off collecting American miles than Etihad miles given how much less they charge for the same award.

  11. @ Joey — It is longer, but Singapore is ending it in November and this service won’t start till next June.

  12. @ Kelly — To be honest, even if the purser was “reliable,” non-corporate employees are generally the last to know about this stuff. It actually wouldn’t surprise me, though I think there are other routes out of Dallas that we’re more likely to see than Shanghai.

  13. Lucky, re @ pedro’s question above, even though it will be a polar route, AA will have to classify the route as TATL or TPAC because for AAdvantage award redemption purposes, some regions can only be reached via TATL routings and others can only be reached via TPAC routings. So it must be one or the other. (I expect they’ll deem this a TATL route.)

  14. Etihad will be flying this route with their Diamond First Class suites. Etihad.com is selling first class seats at the moment.

    Per an email today from Etihad about their new LAX service:
    With a private suite and an on-board chef in Diamond First Class and guaranteed fully-flat beds with direct aisle access in Pearl Business Class, you can enjoy the ultimate comfort and unrivalled luxury. Guests in Coral Economy Class can enjoy over 650 hours of on-demand entertainment with noise reduction headphones, more meal choices with vegetarian option as standard, and a selection of hot beverages.

  15. @ Jeff — Hmmm, how so? Ultimately American doesn’t let you route via a third region with a few exceptions, so what would be the significance of which way they categorize it beyond that? Agree it would be transatlantic if it had to be one or the other though.

  16. I have been wanting to fly Etihad for ages but connecting through Chicago gives me the creeps. Now that they will fly out of LAX, it gives me great options to South Africa and India and hopefully they will be competitive with Emirates.

  17. @ Lantean — Yep, still hoping to, my dates just don’t have availability as of now. Hoping that changes.

  18. Lucky, I suppose you are right – that the many “transatlantic only” and “transpacific only” annotations on the AA award chart are essentially simplifications of the region restrictions.

  19. I am having trouble searching etihad.com for award availability. I logged in and to my “etihad guest” account and searched for availability, and then I get errors from the website saying that they can’t display award flights. Can you do a post explaining award availability search on etihad? I am most interested in LAX to Abu Dahbi (stop)..onwards to LHE (destination) and then a normal return…I can book that with 80k aa miles, right?

  20. Lucky, any advice on the best way to take advantage of this, and the new CX route, if starting in Denver and headed to the Maldives? I was think DEN-LAX-AUH-MLE in Etihad first class, then returning MLE-HKG-ORD-DEN in CX biz (with connectors to DEN on AA, of course).

    Do you think that makes sense? Is it a legal routing? Cheapest way to use AA miles for it (i.e., distance-based or otherwise)?

    Thanks!

  21. @ C Diddy — A couple of things to keep in mind:
    1) In order for a routing to be valid, the airline operating the overwater segment must publish a fare between your origin and destination. As of now Etihad doesn’t publish a fare between Denver and the Maldives. For that matter they don’t even publish a fare between Los Angeles and the Maldives… yet. So that would require two awards until they start filing some more fares.

    As far as the return goes, American doesn’t let you route from the US to Middle East/India via Asia, so you’d need to book that as two awards. One between the Middle East/India and Asia zone 2, and one between Asia zone 2 and the US (which doesn’t actually end up being much more expensive).

  22. @ Boris — Singapore no longer operates a nonstop flight from Los Angeles (the only remaining flight connects in Tokyo).

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