Good News: Etihad Cutting Flights With Jet Airways Planes

Etihad has been growing at a fast pace, even though they remain a “boutique” airline compared to their UAE rival, Emirates.

To help their growth plans, Etihad has been operating some leased Jet Airways planes for a while. Etihad has a 24% stake in Jet Airways, which is a notoriously unprofitable airline. Since Jet Airways couldn’t turn a profit on longhaul flights, it made sense for them to try to cut their losses on the 777-300ERs.

So Etihad has been flying them for the past several years, and has six of them in their fleet. The issue is that the onboard product on the Jet Airways 777 doesn’t quite match the product on the Etihad 777.

While Jet Airways also has fully enclosed suites in first class on their 777s, the product is outdated and poorly maintained. The same is true in other cabins.

Jet-Airways-First-Class
Jet Airways 777 first class

Meanwhile Etihad has a much more pleasant looking first class cabin on their 777s.

Etihad-First-Class-777-02
Etihad 777 first class

Etihad-First-Class-777-05
Etihad 777 first class

One other huge factor for me is that Etihad has wifi throughout almost their entire longhaul fleet, except the Jet Airways planes. So not only is the onboard product not as good on the Jet Airways planes, but you don’t get wifi either.

As of now Etihad operates these Jet Airways planes on two US routes:

  • EY100/101 between Abu Dhabi and New York
  • EY182/183 between Abu Dhabi and San Francisco

It’s a bit ironic that Etihad operates the Jet Airways 777 to New York, given that the other daily frequency is operated by Etihad’s A380. So the two frequencies they operate couldn’t be more opposite — one has their best hard product, while one has their worst hard product.

Well, here’s some good news. Per a post on airliners.net, it looks like Etihad will no longer be flying Jet Airways planes to the US as of winter 2016. The GDS has been updated to reflect the following aircraft changes as of October 30, 2016:

  • EY100/101 will be operated by an Etihad 777-300ER rather than a Jet Airways 777-300ER
  • EY182/183 will be operated by an Etihad 777-200LR rather than a Jet Airways 777-300ER

Do keep in mind this is ~10 months into the future, and the Gulf carriers are notorious for aircraft swaps, so I wouldn’t count on these changes with 100% certainty. But it’s a great to at least see that this is the plan as of now, as it represents a nice improvement in terms of the onboard product for these routes.

Bottom line

Hopefully this means Etihad will be returning their Jet Airways 777-300ERs, presumably so they can be sold or otherwise parked. The Jet Airways aircraft were a temporary solution for Etihad, and I suspect as they take delivery of more Boeing 787-9 aircraft, the need for the leased 777s decreases.

Etihad-777
Etihad 777

This is great news for Etihad flyers based in New York and (especially) San Francisco. Let’s just hope the timeline sticks.

Are you excited about Etihad discontinuing Jet Airways-operated flights to the US?

Comments

  1. @ Lucky: you mention “changes as of October 30, 2015” which are “10 months into the future”. Either the aircraft swap already happened back in October or it has to be “2016”.

  2. Did Etihad paint the Jet Airways metal in Etihad colors?

    Etihad flies Jet Airways A330s to Johannesburg, meaning…just no. Not an option for me.

  3. Etihad has pretty ridiculous fleet diversity:
    A319
    A320
    A321
    A330-200
    A330-300
    A340-500
    A340-600
    A380
    777-200LR
    777-300ER
    787-9

    Orders for:
    A320NEO
    A321NEO
    A350-900
    A350-1000
    777-8
    777-9
    787-10

    Nice of them to keep us plane enthusiasts happy!

  4. NOT FAIR! Jet’s first class looks identical to me! The color tone is a bit soothing to me personally! I’ve been on Jet configured 77W Business and Etihad 77W Business, I guess Etihad’s feels more private, but I found Jet’s to be more spacious in terms of seat width. Both were 180 flat!

    Jet’s business did look outdated, but the quality of the material used looks better. Etihad’s side tray looked below economy standards. The plastic looked very cheap. Overall, for a customer that mostly flies economy, all that matters is the seat pitch, which both the aircrafts suck at! Sad part is Qatar is going to follow the same routes EY/EK.

  5. This is helpful only in theory since there is basically no award space on any flight from NA through the end of schedule.

  6. Remind me again why somebody who doesn’t have to go to Abu Dhabi would go out of their way to go to Abu Dhabi?

  7. As for the availability: Don’t trust the website, call the American Airline Australia number and check, you may be surprised. I went to Etihad’s site and it said there were no business class seats from Dulles to Abu Dhabi on the date I wanted. I called American in Australia and got 2 seats booked on that date with no problem in just a few minutes. This was just today, it’s not a thing of the past.

  8. Hmm, spare 777s sitting around? Someone should tell Richard Anderson. He could probably get them for $1 each.

  9. This is great news. My home airport is SFO. I refuse to fly the Jetihad flights. I usually use the LAX flight. The LAX flights have been fairly full during my last four flights. I am hopeful to see an A380 in the future. I feel that Etihad started with flawed service in / out is SFO using the Jet aircraft. In my humble opinion, it will take the True Etihad Aircraft to correct this issue.
    Thanks Lucky for giving me hope.

  10. Nick – We are flying Etihad business class from IAD to Abu Dhabi on May 11th. It’s one-way because we’re flying Qatar back.

  11. Connecting in hkg. Flying first class on cx.

    Should I get a larger layover just to check out the lounge or get to my destination as fast as I can. Which would you choose, why?

  12. @Russell – Did you book Etihad F class with AA Australia. The latest is etihad has blocked booking some A380 First Apts with AA. They are able to book only the dates I see available on the etihad site.

    @Lucky – Any idea on the same?

  13. I think you are being a little unfair to Jet airline.. My family and I have flown their business class and first class products and they are great.. compared to some of the attitude and terrible seating arrangement on United, I would pick them anyday..

    Oh and also, are you sure the first class pic of Jet you have put is actually jet airways ? There is a thai airways amenity kit on both seats..

  14. I’ve been wanting to fly the SFO route but have not because of the Jet opperation. With UA and LH pulling back from the middle east, and TK not counting for UA PQD then the Jef issue has been an impediment to what seems the obvious routing now.

  15. Russell says “I went to Etihad’s site and it said there were no business class seats from Dulles to Abu Dhabi on the date I wanted. I called American in Australia and got 2 seats booked on that date with no problem in just a few minutes. This was just today, it’s not a thing of the past.” I say this is BS. If EY shows no GuestSeats, no AA office on earth can book GuestSeats for you.

  16. Well, Chuck, I’ll remember that when I’m flying to Abu Dhabi in May on Etihad business class on an awards ticket.

  17. Lucky, I booked 2 biz seats using AA Miles from SFO-DUBAI-DELHI in May. The first thing that stood out for me, they were not 777-300ER’s and didn’t say “OPERATED BY JET AIRWAYS”. My itinerary shows as 777-200LR’s. Googled and found one one of the web pages, somebody mentioning they are doing the plane swap on April 25th 2016. So looks like they pushed it out early..
    The one thing that was on my mind was Wi-Fi as i was alternatively looking for emirates award seats for the same itinerary, and i am glad you answered it with your post.
    I am not sure if chauffer service will be available..

  18. As of 1st November 2016 they are also scrapping the Jet Airways 777 from the Sao Paulo – Abu Dhabi – Sao Paulo route and using there A340-600 aircraft.
    Its a bit old and worn out but definately better than the Jet Airways 777

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