Etihad Adds Second Daily New York Flight As Of March 1, 2014

Etihad Airways announced today that they’ll be launching a second daily flight between Abu Dhabi and New York as of March 1, 2014. This seems like fairly short notice on which to launch a new longhaul frequency, but that could very well work in our favor (as I’ll explain below).

The new frequencies very nicely complement the existing ones. Etihad’s current schedule on their New York route is as follows:

EY101 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 10:30AM arriving 5:30PM
EY100 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 10:40PM arriving 7:25PM (+1 day)

The new frequencies are more or less on the “opposite side” of the clock, as follows:

EY103 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 1:45AM arriving 8:45AM
EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 12:35PM arriving 9:20AM (+1 day)

From Abu Dhabi to New York I far prefer the new nighttime frequency, since it’s much better for connections and also means you don’t “waste” a whole day flying. On the return I’m kind of indifferent. With the earlier frequency you leave New York early but have the whole day in Abu Dhabi, while with the later frequency you leave New York late but also arrive in Abu Dhabi late.

I’ve flown Etihad Airways in Diamond First between New York and Abu Dhabi a few times. I flew them from New York to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to New York in 2011 using ANA miles, and again in 2012 from Abu Dhabi to New York using American AAdvantage miles.

This tidbit in the press release is interesting:

Initially, the new flights will be operated by Etihad Airways using two tri-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft leased from its strategic partner, India’s Jet Airways. From May 1, 2014, Jet Airways will operate these flights.

So if the frequencies will be operated by a Jet Airways aircraft it’ll be this Jet Airways 777-300ER configuration, and not Etihad’s 777-300ER. It’s even more interesting that the frequencies will be operated by Jet Airways as of May 1, 2014. Regardless, both products have eight fully enclosed first class suites.

Etihad-Diamond-First-Suite-100
Etihad Airways first class suite

Jet-Airways-First-Suite-100
Jet Airways first class suite

The exciting thing about them adding an extra frequency so late is that award availability is spectacular on the route. Every date I’ve looked at has at least two first and business class award seats on the new frequency.

Etihad-Award-Availability-100 Etihad-Award-Availability-101

Check out my previous post for how to search Etihad award space. They have changed the website slightly since then, though the idea is that you want to sign up for an Etihad Guest account and look for “Guest” availability. If they show “Guest” availability in any cabin it should also be bookable through American AAdvantage, for example.

Lastly, for what it’s worth, for travel between the US and the Middle East/India American charges 67,500 miles in business class and 90,000 miles in first class one-way. Since Etihad Airways isn’t a part of the OneWorld alliance you can’t book a OneWorld distance based award on them, unfortunately.

Comments

  1. @ AJ — It’s an Etihad flight number so it’ll still be eligible for mileage accrual with American, though best I can tell they haven’t put an American codeshare on it yet. That could change, though, as the flight was just loaded into the system today.

  2. man, makes you wish AA would allow transfers in middle east on award tickets to africa… hopefully this will change after the merger.

  3. So can the Jet Airways operated flights be booked with AA miles (or just the Etihad operated flights)? Also, what are other options to book Jet Airways?

  4. While this is good news for travellers, there are a couple of concerns – 1) the 9W planes now look very tired and are in need of a major refurbishment and 2) this will create a major logjam at immigration with EK 203, an A380 flight, arriving just 20 mins before the Etihad flight.

  5. Lucky,

    after the downgrade by the FAA. Is EY permitted to use 9W aircraft to fly their 2nd daily AUH-JFK or will alternate arrangements have to be made?

  6. I recently flew the second Etihad/Jet Airways flight (in late March) on the ‘Jet Airways operated by Etihad’ flight. Overall, I would not recommend it but there are some positives:

    1) the outbound timing is pretty good in that you leave at 12:30pm and arrive into Abu Dhabi at 6:30am. After a short nap, you have the rest of the day in Abu Dhabi so the timings are more convenient to combat jetlag

    now onto the negatives – on the outbound, the plane was Jet Airways but the crew and PTV’s were Etihad; neither of them were great and the plane was only 40% full (even though, service was bad and many things kept breaking — such as seats and bathroom). The good thing is that this plane leaves out of Etihad’s slot at JFK so easy to access the business class lounge.

    The return flight was early in the morning and leaves out of T1 at AUH – which is the older, more congested terminal (vs Etihad only T3 which is nice and new). When we were called for boarding, we all went through additional screening and then were corralled into a tiny space that should fit only 100 people but we were over 300 (a full flight). This plane was completely Jet Airways, from the seats to the service to the crew. The only thing Etihad were the PTV’s. And even though we took the return 2 months later, the food was the exact same food from AUH to JFK as we had 2 months earlier from JFK to AUH (and it wasnt good!)

    The fares are cheaper on the ‘jet airways operated by etihad’ but you pay a cheap price and get a cheap service!

  7. Ben–do you know what seats would be better for a couple traveling together in first on these Jet flights? Trying to figure out if the center seats have access to each other or if it would be better to get two windows on the side.

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