In July Etihad Airways announced a new route from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco, which will be launching on November 18, 2014. The flight will be operated by a Jet Airways 777-300ER. Etihad is presently leasing several 777s from Jet Airways, which I’m guessing are intended to facilitate short term growth until Etihad takes delivery of their new longhaul fleet, in particular the 787. After all, being the fastest growing airline in the world takes planes. 😉
The odd thing — as I noted earlier in my post about some airlines not releasing award space on new routes — is that Etihad doesn’t seem to be making any award space available on this flight. No matter which date I search, the Etihad Guest website shows the flight as “sold out,” even at the highest award level (which usually has near guaranteed availability).
However, shortly after my post, @FlyingDrJJ Tweeted me to say that apparently there is award availability on this new Etihad Airways flight:
@OneMileataTimeThere is EY availability on SFO-AUH, but it’s not showing online. If you call AA, a lot of space is bookable.
I called American AAdvantage to confirm, and that is in fact the case. I inquired about award availability on Abu Dhabi to San Francisco and vice versa for several dates, and there were at least two first and business class award seats per flight on most dates.
If you’ve been waiting for award space to open up on this route, you’ll want to call American to book. This is very odd, as it’s the first time I’ve seen American have access to Etihad award space that the Etihad Guest website doesn’t even show as available. That of course raises the question of whether there’s other Etihad award space out there that just isn’t showing online.
This new route is obviously very exciting for those in the Bay Area, given that it opens up one stop service to many destinations. That being said, all else being equal I’d certainly recommend doing what you can to get on an Etihad plane as opposed to a Jet Airways plane, since the former are a bit “fresher.”
Jet Airways first class
Regardless, if you can redeem American miles for a premium cabin on a partner airline longhaul flight, you’re winning, in my opinion…