There’s no doubt that the “hottest” new aircraft entering the commercial aviation market this year is Etihad Airways’ A380 (sorry Your Excellency, your plane might be a distant number two, unless we count the amount of drama, in which case you win by a landslide).
I think any of us airline product “nuts” would love to try The Residence or First Apartment on the Etihad A380. Unfortunately unless you’re super wealthy (or can run a slightly more successful Kickstarter campaign than I can), The Residence is more or less off limits, at ~$40,000 one-way between London and Sydney.
That leaves the First Apartment.
Etihad Airways A380 First Apartment
Is there any way to speculatively book a flight now in hopes of it eventually being operated by an A380? Often when an airline announces an equipment change they don’t immediately update it in the GDS, so you have a short period where you can “beat” the airline before they have a chance to update inventory.
Unfortunately Etihad has been lightning fast with updating award inventory when routes are scheduled to be operated by A380s. Before even officially announcing A380 service they’ve been blocking first and business class award space on routes that are eventually operated by the whale jet.
Which brings me to the one route where I’d speculate we may be able to beat Etihad to the punch.
Etihad’s first A380 destination was London, and they announced that in 2015 they’d commence A380 service to Sydney and New York. A380 service to Sydney is commencing in June 2015, while the exact details of New York service haven’t yet been announced.
It’s now approaching late November, which means award tickets are bookable through mid-October 2015. Etihad is continuing to release a good amount of first class award availability to New York through the end of the schedule.
So will Etihad have the A380 on the New York route by mid-October of next year? It’s certainly not a guarantee. But I think there’s a chance for sure. And if not, then I’d keep looking at space, and hopefully the award availability trend continues for the next couple of months, assuming they don’t officially announce the A380 service on the route by then.
I do think it’s safe to assume that EY100/101 will be the frequency operated by the A380, since it’s their “flagship” flight to New York. I can’t wait to see how the US Pre-Clearance facility does with A380 service!
If you’re an Executive Platinum with American and have AAdvantage miles to burn, it can’t hurt to lock in an Etihad award between New York and Abu Dhabi for ~11 months from now. As a reminder, here’s a primer on how to search Etihad award space.
When do you think Etihad will commence A380 service to New York?