Is Etihad Delaying Their A380 Flights?

This morning I wrote about how Etihad has apparently already sold The Residence cabin on their first 10 A380 flights. That doesn’t really surprise me, since presumably people are booking tickets for the novelty of it, if nothing else. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s successful long term as well, though I do think it’s too early to say for sure.

Etihad-A380-First-Class
Etihad A380 First Apartments

When I heard about them having sold The Residence on so many flights I got a bit curious and started looking at inventory for The Residence on individual flights… and I noticed something strange.

Etihad has been pretty clear about their A380 plans — A380 flights will begin to London as of December 27, 2014, and then they’ll progressively operate all three daily flights to London with the A380. Here’s the timeframe they stated:

Etihad will be inaugurating A380 service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of December 27, 2014. The A380 will operate the EY11/12 flights, with the following schedule:

EY11 Abu Dhabi to London departing 2:35AM arriving 6:35AM
EY12 London to Abu Dhabi departing 9:15AM arriving 8:05PM

Then Etihad announced that they’ll operate a second daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of March 1, 2015. The second A380 will operate the EY17/18 flights, with the following schedule:

EY17 Abu Dhabi to London departing 1:25PM arriving 5:30PM
EY18 London to Abu Dhabi departing 8:20PM arriving 7:20AM (+1 day)

Just today Etihad announced even further A380 service.

Then Etihad will be launching a third daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of May 1, 2015. The third A380 will operate the EY19/20 flights, with the following schedule:

EY19 Abu Dhabi to London departing 8:35AM arriving 1:05PM
EY20 London to Abu Dhabi departing 2:50PM arriving 12:45AM (+1 day)

After that they’ll launch A380 flights to Sydney:

Furthermore, Etihad has announced their second A380 destination, which will by Sydney. Etihad will launch daily A380 flights to Sydney as of June 1, 2015, with the following schedule:

EY454 Abu Dhabi to Sydney departing 9:50PM arriving 5:40PM (+1 day)
EY455 Sydney to Abu Dhabi departing 9:50PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)

So I was trying to look up availability on the EY11/12 Abu Dhabi to London flight, and noticed that the A380 oddly disappeared from the schedule.

Etihad shows EY11/EY12 between Abu Dhabi and London as being operated by the A380 between December 27, 2014, and January 6, 2015.

Etihad-A380-800

But after that the flight again shows as being operated by a 777-300ER:

Etihad-A380-801

The one exception is Fridays, where the flight shows as being operated by an A380:

Etihad-A380-802

The other two frequencies to London and frequency to Sydney remains unchanged. I find this a bit odd:

  • Is the delivery of Etihad’s first A380 actually delayed? If so, why didn’t they take it out of the schedule for the first 10 days and for Fridays? Is it because they don’t want to break the “bad news” to people flying in the first 10 days, since they know many people booked tickets specifically to be on the A380?
  • If the delivery isn’t delayed, why the heck did Etihad mysteriously take the A380 out of the schedule?

I might be booked on the inaugural flight and be super excited, but bring on the drama as far as I’m concerned! With the latest season of Real Housewives of Atlanta just having started up again, I’m ready to see some shade-throwing. Though I doubt Mr. Hogan is quite as feisty as His Excellency

Comments

  1. That is interesting! Perhaps it’s to further train the crew? Virgin Atlantic had the 787-9 on LHR-BOS for the first week and then took it off schedule for 2 weeks for further training before finally putting back to schedule.

  2. I got a message this morning saying my EY11 flight on april did change. As it’s still far ahead, I didn’t bothered to check what was it. But after your post, I checked and now it’s listed as a 77W.
    I’ll wait a bit, but no way I’ll acept a change from the A380 apartments. It seems like a new drama is just going to start.

  3. Mine booking on the apartment on A380 is changed to 77W as well… I am on the phone with them now… still put on hold

  4. OK basically they can change my flight to Friday by paying the fare difference (almost double the price that I bought) or cancel the ticket (pay cancellation fee). I will keep it as it is for now and wait for the announcement. Maybe it can change back or, I would just cancel the trip.

    Sad thing is I book other award on OZ, NH, JL, QF, CX, BA all in First class to make around the world to fill the trip and I might just cancel the whole thing!… sad!

  5. The 787 has been delayed from Dec 01 to Dec 27, but a contact at EY insists the A380 isn’t delayed… yet. No idea why they’d remove it from the schedule though… First 100,000 mile service? 😀

  6. There is a similar issue with the 787 flights. I was pretty excited to have the 787 from AUH to DUS in December in First. Didn’t even plan it. Now the 787 doesn’t show up at all.

  7. I just thought they delayed the 787 from Dec 1st to Dec 27th so both the A380 and 787 can be unveiled the same time on their inaugural commercial flights.

  8. I agree with Joey. They might be wanting to do the inaugurals then further train the crew. What I don’t understand, though, is why operate AUH-SYD with an A380, while you can deploy it on the AUH-LAX, for instance and have much higher demand for premium cabins. I can see QF just dominating the Australia-UAE market together with EK because of convenient onward connections and lots of other stuff.

  9. @Joey I’ve been told by Etihad employees that the 787 delay is with Boeing. It will be flown to AUH for a single press day and photographs, then flown back to Boeing (I assume for more testing) in December.

  10. Just got another email saying there is a change in my itinerary, but it seems to be back to the original, including the A380 flight.

  11. @ Carlos — Hmmm, interesting. Seems Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays still show as a 777-300ER, while the other days show as an A380…

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