Etihad Releasing Two A380 First Class Award Seats To New York

A couple of weeks 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-01
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.

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.

While Etihad didn’t initially make premium cabin award space available on their A380s, they eventually got around to it:

The pattern has been remarkably similar for the Abu Dhabi to New York route:

  • When the route between Abu Dhabi and New York was first announced, no First Class Apartment award space was made available
  • A few days later, Etihad began making one First Class Apartment seat available on many flights between Abu Dhabi and New York
  • It looks like Etihad is in some cases making two A380 First Class Apartment seats available between Abu Dhabi and New York, which they weren’t initially doing

EY-A380-F

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 next couple of weeks, it will become possible).

For more information on searching space, see my primer on finding Etihad award availability using AAdvantage miles.

Bottom line

While there aren’t many dates with two First Class Apartment award seats available between Abu Dhabi and New York, it’s nice to see that it’s finally starting to happen on their New York flight. After all, flying in premium cabins is even more fun when not alone!

(Tip of the hat to Josh)

Comments

  1. @Lucky
    Silly question that you have probably answered before, but does AA allow routing JFK-AUH-Europe?

    If so could you do JFK-AUH-LHR with 2 380 flights?

    And how many miles?

  2. @ No Name — No, that requires two awards — 90K from the US to Middle East, and 40K from the Middle East to Europe.

  3. Lucky,

    Do you have any idea how much pushback you’d get from them if you tried to bring a friend from Business Class into your First Apartment?

    If, for example, we booked one person in F and the other in J and then hung out together in the F Apartment for most of the flight?

    Last time I flew Cathay Pacific F with my wife we comfortably spent most of the flight hanging out together in one seat and these are far bigger so it would be fine with us. I just wonder how the flight crew would react.

    Obviously, we’d get connecting F seats if there are two available but there often aren’t.

  4. @ Matt — You can’t bring a guest from a lower cabin to first class. You’d have to visit them in the lower cabin.

  5. I wouldn’t jump the gun, they’ve only done this on Feb 2nd, released both ways with 2 seats. I booked 1 of them 3 days ago..they haven’t released any more since. I am monitoring and know the times they roll over dates but nothing new has come outside of this one date.. (except the 77W which rolls 2 open seats each day)
    I am hopeful overall though because they haven’t been adding 2-seats to LHR-AUH and vice-versa for the last few days either
    My other suggestion would be for people to start booking the 77W with hopes that it is replaced with a second A380 by then (at least while you wait for an A380 opening to readjust your booking)

  6. @ Derek — I think it’s *highly* unlikely the second daily flight will get an A380 anytime in the next year.

  7. @lucky They are trying to get them as soon as possibly. The first LHR-AUH came in December 27th 2014, the next is expected April 1st 2015. The next is expected August 1st.. These are all roughly 3 months apart so it wouldn’t be that crazy to expect the JFK route to get another one towards the end of February
    Once you book with AA miles people can move around dates without penalty anyways so if you plan to go, it wouldn’t hurt to put some initial dates in

  8. and in December, those A380 flights were ORIGINALLY listed as 77W before the announced equipment change

  9. Quick question, do you think it is possible to book JFK-AUH-SYD-AUH-JFK routing on ANA with the new award chart for 160,000 rt? That would be quite the value – ignoring that the timing is horrible on the connection. Also the fuel surcharge would come into play, although I’m not seeing any when I price that route online.

  10. Come on Etihad, fly DEN-AUH! We have a large Middle Eastern population here, plus lots of people who don’t like connecting.

  11. Lucky, would it still be 90K AA miles for MLE-AUH-JFK-LAX (with MLE-AUH in Etihad business and JFK-LAX in AA first)?

    Which itinerary would you choose if you needed to go from MLE-LAX:

    1) MLE-AUH-JFK-LAX (with A380 first class apartment)
    2) MLE-AUH-LAX (requires a 9hr overnight layover in AUH)

    Crazy thing is both routings take roughly the same amount of (total travel) time. Your input much appreciated, thanks!

  12. @ ashah — It sure would be. I’d do the First Apartment on the A380 through New York, given those options.

  13. Ben,

    Do you know when Etihad is releasing more awardspace? If you’re looking now (middle may) for middle september and there is No GuestFirst left.. Is it likely that they open up some more soon? Or is that depending on potential bidders?

    Thanks!!

  14. @ Ivo — They often release more space as the departure date approaches, so just keep an eye on availability. Chances are it will only open up within a couple of weeks of departure.

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