Etihad A380 New York To Abu Dhabi Flight Starts December 1, 2015

Woohoo! By now you’ve surely all heard about Etihad Airways’ new A380, which began commercial service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow as of December 27, 2014.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment cabin

I had the chance to fly on the Etihad A380 inaugural flight in a First Class Apartment, and suffice to say the product blew me away.

While Emirates is taking delivery of well over a hundred A380s, Etihad doesn’t have nearly as many on order, which is why they’re keeping them for “special” routes. Etihad has only ordered a total of 10 of the whale jets, which will be delivered over the coming years.

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Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, seat 4K

My understanding is that the plan is to only fly the A380 to London, Sydney, and New York:

  • The London A380 flights started as of late December 2014, and soon additional frequencies will be operated by the A380 as well
  • The Sydney A380 flights start as of June 2015
  • Up until now they’ve announced that New York service should launch as of “late” 2015, though nothing beyond that

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Etihad A380 The Residence, bedroom

Etihad A380 flying to New York as of December 1, 2015

It’s now official. Etihad Airways will begin flying the A380 between Abu Dhabi and New York as of December 1, 2015.

Etihad offers twice daily service to New York. The following frequency will be operated by the A380:

EY103 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 2:55AM arriving 8:40AM
EY102 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 3:00PM arriving 12:30PM (+1 day)

Meanwhile the other frequency will continue to be operated by a Jet Airways configured 777-300ER:

EY101 Abu Dhabi to New York departing 10:20AM arriving 4:05PM
EY100 New York to Abu Dhabi departing 9:55PM arriving 7:25PM (+1 day)

Is there First Class Apartment award availability?

When Etihad first announced the A380, they didn’t make any saver level First Class Apartment award space available.

However, back in December Etihad began releasing saver A380 First Class Apartment award space between Abu Dhabi and London, and then starting in January Etihad began releasing saver A380 First Class Apartment award space between Abu Dhabi and Sydney.

Regarding the New York route, as it stands it doesn’t look like there’s any first class award space on the A380 frequency, while the Jet Airways operated frequency consistently has two first class award seats:

Etihad-Award-1 Etihad-Award-2

This doesn’t surprise me, though over time as the novelty wears off a bit I’d expect for this to change, just as we’ve seen on the London and Sydney flights.

As a reminder, here’s a primer on searching Etihad award availability, should you want to stay on top of things.

If they do start opening up First Class Apartment award space, the best way to redeem for it will be using 90,000 American AAdvantage miles one-way for first class between the US and Middle East.

Bottom line

It’s really exciting that we’ll eventually be getting what I think is the world’s best first class hard product on flights to the US.

Who’s excited at the prospect of flying the Etihad A380 between New York and Abu Dhabi?

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Etihad First Class Apartment turndown service

Comments

  1. How likely do you think award availability will come online for this for Jan / Feb flights of 2016?

  2. thank you Ben. can you please give us a shout when you see the F seats bookable?
    thank you.
    šŸ˜‰

  3. @ Rob — I’d say fairly likely, though it’ll probably be a little while before it happens.

  4. All we need now is the QR A380 to come to JFK and all 3 Gulf carrier A380s will be represented!
    Out of curiosity, how much does a Residence flight cost JFK-AUH? Is that even available on miles? šŸ˜‰

  5. Just a suggestion for posts like this one, I would argue that “Etihad Airways plans to begin flying the A380 between Abu Dhabi and New York as of December 1, 2015” is more accurate. (instead of “will begin”)

  6. Hi Ben, Can we claim AA points from Etihad flights to and from US mainland? I heard not. Thanks.

  7. @ Mike — It’s a fantastic hard product. I do wish they had an onboard bar, but in terms of the seat itself, it’s top notch.

  8. Given that ExpertFlyer can’t do EY award seat notifications, is there any service which does? Checking hourly/daily on Etihad.com and with KVS for awards in Dec 2015/Jan 2016 is exhausting.

  9. so SFO-AUH is not a code-share. A quick AA search and they route through LAX or ORD. That is a little bit of a shame as hoping to do all in one segment each way.

    NO SFO listed: Travel ticketed as an American Airlines marketed flight (booked as an AA codeshare flight number) and operated by Etihad Airways (including travel between New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington Dulles and Toronto to Abu Dhabi) will earn AAdvantage base miles and elite qualifying miles, points and segments according to the AA earning structure

  10. Lucky,

    Last week I booked an AA award in First on EY102 on December 31st 2015, I’m already confirmed and ticketed. Do you see any issue with EY not honoring these seats or trying to bump me to EY100 Jet Airways flight that still may be operating?

    I would really love to think that my seats will just be moved over to the new A380 flight, but the cynic in me tells me they’re going to try and bump me to the Jet Airways flight which will not work for me schedule wise and I’ve also flown it in the past and was very disappointed versus the full EY experience. Would I have any recourse with EY as this is an AAdvantage award and not an Etihad Guest award? Thoughts?

    Thanks Lucky!

    Rob

  11. Hi Ben, I’m already booked in business for the AUH-LAX in January 2016 aboard their 77L. What are my chances that they’ll have the A380 in service on that route for my trip? I’m guessing slim to none?

    Also, any experience on that 77L? How’s their business class?

  12. Is it possible that you cannot book the EY A380 F to SYD departing from CMB?
    I have looked through Kayak and there are only connections with a 777 but when I look at the direct AUH-SYD it shows the A380 flight for the same day???

  13. Ben,

    My 4 year old daughter and I are booked in first at the end of the year and just had the chance plane swap to the A380 (yay!!) but now I’m concerned on how this will work in terms of seating. I like how the suites connect but it appears that for takeoff and landing we won’t be able to see each other. Is this really the case?

  14. I’ve been waiting to see an article like this for weeks ever since I booked the return leg of my honeymoon from AUH to JFK on December 5th in first class. I had a little bit of a scare when they swapped the jet and Etihad planes but was able to change my flight back to the Etihad plane on the day they announced. Holy crap I couldn’t be more excited.

    Time to cross the fingers to hope there are no delays, haha.

  15. I just randomly picked 4 different dates…no chance to get a onway CMB-SYD with EY in the A380 F.
    (Also on the EY website)

  16. Thanks for the post Lucky. My wife and I are super excited. We booked tickets from JFK-MLE in first for next January when the equipment was listed as the 77W. We’re ecstatic to find out about the equipment change! Should be a memorable flight. Your review of the inaugural between AUH and LHR looks fantastic.

  17. Well, I had a reservation for AUH-JFK (EY103) for January 2015. I checked yesterday and I saw the new A380. Today I decided to call AA to make the payment, to my surprise they told me that Etihad is not confirming my First Class seat, the only option that I had for now is wait or take another route.
    I tried to check my reservation on Etihad.com , I can see two EY103, one in Business (green) and one in First (red), looks like they will not honor my reservation (no ticked yet)… when I did the reservation, I took my chances on EY103 thinking about the A380 swap, I got lucky at first, but my luck didn’t last that long ;-(

  18. Lucky – Any bright ideas on good destinations beyond AUH that can be reached on a single award? I’m dying to take this flight, but I can’t quite sell my significant other on AUH as a destination. We’ve already been to Maldives, and I’m not enthusiastic about the rest of the countries in AA’s Middle East zone. I’m at a loss.

  19. @ Evan — If you’re not enthusiastic about any of the countries in the zone, then not really. Personally I love India and Oman, which you could reach on a single award. Otherwise keep in mind it’s not that many miles to book an extra award to Europe or Asia, which might be worth it if you really want to fly the Etihad A380.

  20. Hi Ben,

    I was searching today and was able to find a flight with A380 first availability on Jan 21. Hope it’s a sign of things to come!

  21. I had booked a NYC to Abu Dhabi First Class flight on their 77W towards the end of December for New Year’s Eve with my best friends, I made the booking in the beginning of February and there was good availability. I got an email from Etihad while I was on vacation last week saying there was an itinerary change, the departure time had changed from 2:30PM to 3:00PM, I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know, when I looked into it a little more over the weekend, the aircraft had changed to an A380 as well!! So excited to be flying the First Apartment suites!!

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