A few days ago Etihad Airways announced that they’d begin flying the Airbus A380 between Abu Dhabi and New York as of December 1, 2015.
Etihad A380 First Class Apartments
While Emirates has well over 100 A380s on order, Etihad has only ordered a total of 10 of them, and will be flying them exclusively between Abu Dhabi and London, Sydney, and New York. Etihad’s A380s are truly one-of-a-kind, in that they feature amazing First Class Apartments.
Etihad A380 First Class Apartment
I had the opportunity to fly the Etihad A380 inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to London late last year, and was blown away by the hard product. The First Class Apartment is unlike any first class hard product I’ve ever seen.
The best part is that Etihad partners with American AAdvantage, and Etihad has been extremely generous about making first class award space available on these flights.
Etihad First Class Apartment bed
While Etihad didn’t initially make premium cabin award space available on their A380s, they eventually got around to it:
- Etihad has been making A380 First Class Apartment award space available between Abu Dhabi and London since late December 2014
- Etihad has been making A380 First Class Apartment award space available between Abu Dhabi and Sydney since early January 2015
When Etihad loaded the A380 schedule to New York a few days ago, I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t initially make any saver level first class award space available, as they’ve done the same in the past.
However, following the precedent we’ve seen with their London and Sydney A380 flights, Etihad is now making saver level A380 First Class Apartment award space available between New York and Abu Dhabi.
As of now availability is very limited:
- I see one first class award seat available per flight on a few days, though no A380 flights with two first class seats
- As of now availability is limited, given that they only start the service on December 1, 2015, and as of now the flight schedule is only open through February 1, 2016 (so there are only two months where the A380 is even scheduled on the route as of now)
I would expect that over time more saver level First Class Apartment availability will become available, though it’s nice to see that trend is already beginning. And I expect as the schedule continues to open we’ll continue to see more seats.
Etihad First Class Apartment snack
As a reminder, American AAdvantage charges 90,000 miles for one-way first class between the US and Middle East (US Airways miles can’t be redeemed for Etihad since they’re not a partner, though once Dividend Miles merges into AAdvantage in the second quarter, it will become possible).
For more information on searching space, see my primer on finding Etihad award availability using AAdvantage miles.
Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment is possibly the most aspirational first class product out there today. In my opinion it has been worth going out of your way to fly it from London and Sydney, and it’s great to see it finally scheduled to fly to New York. For travel originating in North America, this is possibly the best use of AAdvantage miles out there (perhaps along with Cathay Pacific first class from the US to Asia).
So, who’s going to be the first to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel in the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment out of the US?
(Tip of the hat to Colin)