Etihad Is Changing Their Schedule For US Flights As Of March 29, 2015

Airlines publish schedule changes all the time. While it’s useful to plan as far in advance as possible, it’s always frustrating when you’ve crafted that perfect trip, only to have a major schedule change ruin it close to departure. The best we can hope for is that airlines give plenty of advance notice.

Anyway, Etihad Airways is actually substantially altering their North America schedule as of March 29, 2015. Previously a majority of their flights to North America left mid-morning, while with the new schedule more flights are leaving in the wee hours of the morning.

Etihad-777
Etihad 777-300ER Abu Dhabi Airport

Etihad’s Chicago, New York, and Toronto schedule changes

Via airlineroute.net, here are Etihad’s US schedule changes:

Chicago:

Through March 28, 2015:

EY151 Abu Dhabi to Chicago departing 9:30AM arriving 3:50PM
EY150 Chicago to Abu Dhabi departing 9:10PM arriving 7:30PM (+1 day)

As of March 29, 2015:

EY151 Abu Dhabi to Chicago departing 3:40AM arriving 9:30AM
EY150 Chicago to Abu Dhabi departing 1:30PM arriving 12:20PM (+1 day)

New York:

Through March 28, 2015:

EY103 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 2:55AM arriving 9:00AM
EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 12:40PM arriving 9:10AM (+1 day)

As of March 29, 2015:

EY103 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 2:55AM arriving 9:00AM
EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 3:30PM arriving 12:30PM (+1 day)

Toronto:

Through March 28, 2015:

EY141 Abu Dhabi to Toronto departing 10:25AM arriving 4:50PM
EY140 Toronto to Abu Dhabi departing 10:50PM arriving 7:35PM (+1 day)

As of March 29, 2015:

EY141 Abu Dhabi to Toronto departing 2:50AM arriving 8:55AM
EY140 Toronto to Abu Dhabi departing 3:00PM arriving 12:05PM (+1 day)

Is this schedule change good or bad?

The Middle East is one of the few places where 3AM is rush hour at the airport. It’s interesting that up until now a majority of Etihad’s North America-bound flights have been daytime flights, departing Abu Dhabi mid-morning. With the new schedule, they’re going to a 50/50 split for their North America service.

Etihad will have have mid-morning departures to Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, and will have redeye departures to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.

So which schedule is better, especially for travel from the Middle East to the US?

  • These are in some cases really late redeyes — it’s one thing to depart at 1AM, but 3:40AM? Ouch!
  • In theory redeyes are better for maximizing sleep and maximizing time on the ground, so for business travelers this is probably good news
  • For leisure travelers these flights are rough, since you either have to book an extra hotel night or sit at the airport for a long time
  • While I generally prefer redeyes, on Etihad I don’t mind daytime flights since they have wifi on a vast majority of their longhaul planes — so I might as well set up my office on Etihad šŸ˜‰

Etihad-office
Not a bad office, eh? šŸ˜‰

I do prefer the new flight timing between the US and Middle East, though. It’s nice to arrive in the UAE in daylight, rather than at night. It’s not necessarily a good change for business travelers in a rush, though, who could previously spend the day at the office, land in the UAE and sleep, and head to meetings the next day.

Plane change on Abu Dhabi to New York

Here’s something else interesting. Etihad leases some planes from Jet Airways, which they operate on one of their daily New York flights and on their daily San Francisco flight.

The Jet Airways 777 has a nice hard product in theory. They have fully enclosed first class suites. The only problem is that the interiors of the plane are basically falling apart.

On Etihad’s New York route, one of the daily flight is operated by an Etihad 777-300ER, while the other is operated by a Jet Airways 777-300ER.

Presently EY101/100 are operated by the Etihad plane, and EY103/102 are operated by the Jet Airways plane. However, they’re swapping that around as of August 1, 2015.

As of August 1, 2015, the following flight is operated by the Jet Airways 777-300ER:

EY101 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 10:20AM arriving 4:35AM
EY100 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 10:30PM arriving 7:30PM

Jet-Airways-First-Class
Jet Airways 777-300ER

While the following flight is operated by the Etihad 777-300ER:

EY103 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 2:55AM arriving 9:00AM
EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 3:30PM arriving 12:30PM

Etihad-First
Etihad 777-300ER

So if you’re trying to avoid the Jet Airways aircraft for travel after August 1, you may have to swap your flights around.

What about the Etihad A380?

Etihad only plans on flying the A380 from Abu Dhabi to three destinations — London, Sydney, and New York. London service has commenced, Sydney service has been announced, though we don’t have any further info on New York yet. New York A380 service is supposed to commence in 2015. Officially I haven’t heard them deviate from that goal, though unofficially I’ve been hearing the New York service might be a bit delayed, and that New York might not see the A380 in 2015.

So is Eithad maybe switching around the Jet Airways New York frequency because they plan on having the A380 replace it? That’s possible. But I’ve also stopped trying to speculate.

I always figured Etihad would put the A380 on the EY101/100 frequency. It’s their “flagship” North America flight. When they had once daily service to New York it’s the flight they operated, and the flight number alone says a lot.

That being said, now that Etihad is switching mostly to redeye departures to North America, it could also be that EY103/102 get the A380.

The good news is that you don’t have to speculatively try to book. Etihad is releasing saver level First Class Apartment award space on the A380, and I expect that will continue when they announce it on the New York route.

Etihad-First-Apartment-102
Etihad A380 First Apartment

Bottom line

This is quite a shift we’re seeing with Etihad’s North America schedule. Whether it’s good or bad news all depends on what type of traveler you are.

How do you feel about Etihad’s North America schedule adjustment?

Comments

  1. You had me scared with your typo.. “August 1, 2014″… Thanks to your wonderful advise, I am flying EY100 on 3/31/15 and EY101 on 4/13/15. I specifically chose these flights as I wanted to fly on an Etihad plane not Jet Airways. I am flying in J. What is the Jet Airways J class like (just wondering)?

    “Presently EY101/100 are operated by the Etihad plane, and EY103/102 are operated by the Jet Airways plane. However, theyā€™re swapping that around as of August 1, 2014.

    As of August 1, 2015, the following flight is operated by the Jet Airways 777-300ER:

    EY101 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 10:20AM arriving 4:35AM
    EY100 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 10:30PM arriving 7:30PM”

  2. About a week back you mentioned AAdvantgae was having trouble seeing and booking EY space. Any improvement worth noting?

  3. I’d guess those changes are to align the flights for better connections, so while it may be an inconvinience for O&D passengers, the vast majority (connecting) should be better off.

  4. @ Joe — Whoops, typo fixed, thanks. The Jet Airways 777-300ER has herringbone seats in business class. So they are still fully flat, but I prefer Etihad’s product.

  5. This is much better for people traveling from places like India where flights used to leave at 4 AM to connect with morning flights from the gulf to the US. Now with these schedule changes, we can leave on a much more reasonable 9-11 PM flight from India and get to the US in the morning. EY has started a number of flights from many cities in India leaving at this more convenient time due to their partnership with Jet so its encouraging!

  6. While these schedule changes aren’t ideal if you are actually originating in the UAE, that is certainly not what they are aiming at. These changes will work much better for connections out of India, which is where they need to compete long term. India-UK and India-US/Canada traffic is huge for Emirates, and if Etihad is going to keep up / catch up, they need to compete there as well.

  7. Lucky, have you flown one of those Jet 77W’s? I’m flying on one this summer as part of an Etihad award. I know when they first came out, people were raving about the hard product, but sorry to hear they’re not in good shape these days.

  8. @ James — I’ve flown the plane on Turkish and Thai, but not since they’ve been leased to Etihad.

    And yes, we were indeed raving about the product about a decade ago. šŸ˜€

  9. Ugh… just got swapped onto Jet Airways 77W in mid-August.

    Lucky, would you recommend trekking down to IAD to get on the new 787-9 in First class, swapping to the earlier flight and take an extra day off work, or sticking to the Jet Airways version.

  10. EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 12:40PM arriving 9:10AM (+1 day)

    i think it’s currenly:

    EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 2:30PM arriving 12:00pm (+1 day)

  11. The change I was most worried about was my ORD-AUH flight was pushed back 8 hours interfering with my positioning flight to ORD. I was quite surprised Etihad rebooked me via DUB since I was on one of their Christmas Day mistake fares.

  12. Just so folks are aware, the JFK Jet operated aircraft is also 75% Jet soft product – set your expecations VERY low and brace for 75% indian food options (even in First), Jet amenity kit, no hot towels, no wifi etc etc…..and yes, the hard product is falling apart too!

  13. @Lucky weird. I’m currently booked on that EXACT flight in December. Was booked on the night flight (Jet Airways configured aircraft), but changed because I wanted the full Etihad Business experience. Hoping the change the 777 to A380. Fingers crossed!

  14. I’m planning to book Etihad in F to India for March 2016 using AA miles. What are your thoughts on F in their 787 (from IAD) vs. 777 (from JFK), in case their A380 service is delayed?

  15. @ Mike — Well the 787 only flies for the first time in a few days, so I guess we’ll know soon. šŸ™‚

    In general I’d say the 777 is probably better. While the 787 is a new product, the plane isn’t as wide, so I don’t think the suites will be as wide as on the 777.

  16. Surprised to hear that the Jet Airways 777s are falling apart- wonder why that is.

    Etihad had a booth at the NYTimes Travel show this past weekend (where they had a mock up of the Residence, by the way, which looked nice but a trifle more claustrophobic than the pictures suggest)
    and the staff there mentioned that the A380 service to JFK will be starting December 2015.

    What I don’t know is whether it will be available on both flights or not. Will the cost, be it in dollars or miles, required for the apartments be identical to those for First?

  17. Interesting. I just checked my itinerary for the mistake fare flight I have. Going to make the flight to Abu Dhabi difficult. I can’t sleep on a plane unless the time of day allows for it. So, if I wouldn’t be sleeping at home, I won’t be sleeping on a plane no matter how comfortable my seat is. But, with the flight out of Chicago now being at 1:30 pm it would probably be 10 or 11 hours before I could fall asleep. That puts it right about the time we’ll be landing. Damn it.

    Ah well, first world problems I suppose.

  18. Lucky, I think you might’ve made a typo for the EY101 schedule: “EY101 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 10:20AM arriving 4:35AM”

    I think the arrival time should be 4:35PM

  19. This is good not just for India but for Bangladesh, Nepal and maybe Pakistan and other Asian countries too.

    QR has fast connections in DOH from many Indian subcontinent cities to the US, but the flights that have these fast connections leave India in the middle of the night. Most European airlines also leave India in the middle of the night so that they can arrive at their hubs at a reasonable time of day. Many EK flights leave India at reasonable times, but the connections to the US in Dubai are poor for these flights.

    EY gains a huge competitive advantage by providing (a) fairly quick connections, like QR, and at the same time (b) reasonable departure and arrival times in the US and Indian subcontinent, like EK. This combination has rarely been offered before (except to Delhi and Mumbai passengers, who have lots of choices), and is in principle a game-changer for passengers from all the other Indian airports that the Gulf airlines serve, and also DAC and KTM.

    EY is not after the relatively small Abu Dhabi market.

  20. Airlines can change their schedules for good or bad benefits to customers. But if they knew that they are going to change the schedule in a month why did they sell tickets for a “to be changed schedule” a month back!!! Not even a month ahead planning for such a big airline!!! I am going to sit long hours at the airports with the changed itinerary. My 3rd bad experience with Etihad.

  21. EY are planning to introduce their 2nd (or 3rd?) A380 which is due to be delivered sometime in the next few months on the JFK-AUH-JFK route in August as EY100/101. This will replace the Jet Airways 77W aircraft that EY is currently using, making this an all-EY aircraft route.

    Wonder what maybe next for JFK, 3rd AUH-JFK flight?

  22. @John D. – Are you sure that the A380 will be the evening (EY100) flight? It would make sense that they want to replace the leased Jet plane, but I haven’t been able to find any confirmation of which of their JFK flights will be the A380 one.

  23. Heard this from a check-in agent I was chatting with, she said as of August 1 EY100 will become the Jet Airways 777 which is currently the day flight, and in August as well the rumor is that the A380 will be introduced on this route ( they’re expecting 3 more deliveries this year), so my thought is they’re changing the schedule but once the A380 is confirmed they’ll replace the Jet Airways flight at night because there is more demand for that flight, making it an all EY metal route.

  24. Bumping your old thread to request an update and ask advice.

    Wife and I will fly DEL-ORD in mid-December (AA miles). Not too many options but we can get to AUH around 12:30AM. What are our best options after that?

    Ones I see open are –

    1. AUH-ORD nonstop at 3:55 AM. EY craft, but no First class. Business class only.

    2. AUH-SFO-ORD at 2:15 AM. This is “Jetihad” craft, ie leased from 9W. Can get First or Business.

    What would be your advice?

    Is some other route, say AUH-JFK-ORD worth monitoring instead?

    Thanks.

  25. @ AKTCHI — Going through San Francisco would be a LOT of backtracking. I would take the nonstop flight in business class, personally, and then monitor for an option through Washington or New York.

  26. Flying Etihad flight 103 AUH to JFK in Business first time in A388 in Etihad Aribus
    any advise for 2seats
    Thanks

  27. Do not fly EY 100. This is a JET AIRWAYS craft. I did not know this until I boarded the plane and was extremely disappointed. Like the article says, the plane is basically falling apart. Its old and looks ugly. Nothing compared to the Etihad flights. For them to say it is the same thing is a basically a lie. So please be careful when booking flights. I thought I was on an Etihad Aircraft as I didnt know they changed it after August 1st. Hopefully they will change it to an A380 soon. But until then, I wouldnt ever take EY 100.

  28. @lynn,

    Sorry you did not know about the equipment change as of August, especially if you specifically booked EY100 instead of EY102 to avoid Jetihad. The A380 equipment is scheduled to start on EY102/103 in December; as far as I know Etihad has no plans to discontinue using Jet metal on EY100/101. They definitely aren’t going to be converting it to an A380 flight as they do not have enough of them to do two flights a day to JFK on an A380.

  29. I dont understand why Etihad puts the Jet Airways plane on a different route. Now that one of the routes has A380 the evening flight should atleast be on 777 out of JFK. Lucky, you think eventually they will replace the Jetair operated flight w a 787? Curious on your thoughts

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