Etihad

Etihad Is Introducing Double Daily A380 Flights To Sydney

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A couple of days ago Etihad announced some A380 service changes, as they’ll be discontinuing A380 flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne as of October 29, 2017. The plane didn’t fly the route for very long, as Etihad only inaugurated A380 service in the market as of June 2016.

Etihad has a fleet of under a dozen A380s, so they’re quite selective with where they fly the planes (unlike their rival Emirates, which has about 10x as many A380s).

At the time, Etihad hadn’t yet announced which route would be getting the A380 in place of Melbourne, though we now know. Etihad will be introducing a second daily A380 flight between Abu Dhabi and Sydney as of October 29, 2017. I think that’s pretty telling as to whether Etihad has better yields on their Melbourne or Sydney flights.

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Conclusion To My Etihad Stopover Drama: I Got A $1,500 Per Night Suite After All!

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Boy, my upcoming trip in Etihad’s Residence is proving to be quite interesting, and I haven’t even left for Abu Dhabi yet!

Over the past couple of days I’ve shared the issues I was having with confirming a complimentary hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is a standard feature for first and business class passengers on revenue tickets. Etihad even advertises how they offer two complimentary nights in a Khaleej Suite at the Emirates Palace for passengers in the Residence. I was looking forward to taking advantage of that for my stopover in Abu Dhabi.

Unfortunately that proved tougher than I was expecting. After six days Etihad still hadn’t confirmed my reservation, and that’s despite a promise that hotels would be confirmed within 24-48 hours of the request being made. I had sent a follow-up email to both the department that handles this, and also Etihad’s concierge for Residence passengers.

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Etihad Is Discontinuing A380 Service To Melbourne

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Etihad has a total of 10 A380s on order, with nine already in their fleet, and one to be delivered soon. Up until now the A380 has flown from Abu Dhabi to London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New York, and Sydney.

Last month I wrote about how Etihad announced some upcoming A380 service changes — Etihad is taking the A380 off their Mumbai route as of July 1, 2017, and will instead fly it to Paris as of that date. That seems logical enough, given that Abu Dhabi to Mumbai is a pretty short route.

Etihad has just announced even further A380 service changes. Etihad will discontinue flying the A380 between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne as of October 29, 2017. Etihad offers twice daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, and we’ll see the following changes:

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Etihad Finally Confirmed My Abu Dhabi Stopover Hotel… With A Catch

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Yesterday I wrote about the issues I was having with confirming a complimentary hotel for my upcoming trip in the Etihad Residence. Etihad offers first and business class passengers a complimentary hotel room if they have a 1-2 day stopover in Abu Dhabi.

Etihad even advertises how they offer two complimentary nights in a Khaleej Suite at the Emirates Palace for passengers in The Residence. I was looking forward to taking advantage of that for my stopover in Abu Dhabi.

However, unfortunately I couldn’t get a response from Etihad. They said that the reservation would be confirmed within 24-48 hours of when the request was made. I didn’t hear back from them within that timeframe, so sent a follow-up email, and also called the number they have listed, which just kept ringing.

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6 Reasons Etihad’s A380 First Class Isn’t The World’s Best

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I consider Gary Leff to be a good friend, and a vast majority of the time agree with what he has to say. However, when it comes to onboard product offerings, there’s one claim he frequently makes that I have to disagree with, and I figured that would be a fun topic to address in a post. View from the Wing constantly makes the claim that the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment is the world’s best first class product.

Last April he wrote a post sharing what he considers to be the top three first class products in the world. When talking about Etihad he notes the following, which seems to be the basis of him ranking them above Emirates and Singapore:

“The scarcest resource on a plane is square footage. Every inch counts. The greatest luxury, therefore, is space and privacy. And Etihad offers that in a way that no other carrier can come close”

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Arranging An Etihad Stopover Hotel Is Like Pulling Teeth (Even If Flying In The Residence)

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One of the cool features that Etihad offers first and business class passengers is a stopover that includes up to two free nights of hotels in Abu Dhabi. The intent is that it gives you an opportunity to explore Abu Dhabi — after all, Etihad’s primary purpose is to promote the infrastructure of the UAE.

The complimentary hotel option isn’t available on award tickets or one-way tickets (I’ve confirmed that my ticket qualifies, even though it’s an open jaw), though otherwise you have quite some nice hotel options. As you can see below, you can stay at hotels like the Shangri-La, St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton, etc. Business class guests get one free night, while first class guests get two free nights.

Etihad even has a special offer for those in The Residence — those passengers receive two free nights in a Khaleej Suite at the Emirates Palace. The room retails for over $1,000 per night, so it’s a very nice add-on.

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15 Perfectly Reasonable Requests I Plan To Make For My Etihad Residence Flight

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A couple of days ago I booked a ticket in the Etihad Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, which I’m really excited about. Yesterday I wrote a post sharing the initial communication Etihad had with me after the booking was confirmed. I’ve heard of people making special requests when flying in The Residence, so I asked you guys for ideas about what to request.

A vast majority of readers don’t read the comments section, though the comments on the post are gold — I laughed out loud at many of them. So in this post I wanted to share a selection 15 requests I plan on making for my flight in The Residence, based on the comments from you guys. In no particular order, it seem perfectly reasonable to request:

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Can You Make Special Requests If Flying In The Etihad Residence?

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As I wrote about yesterday, I’ll soon be flying in the Etihad Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, which is supposedly the pinnacle of commercial aviation. The Residence is a three room private suite with butler service, located at the front left of the A380 upper deck. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about the experience.

As I explained yesterday, I’d like to think I scored a “deal” on the ticket, at least compared to the retail cost. It was still a lot of money, but only a fraction of the original retail cost. Even though I didn’t pay $25,000+ for the ticket, I’m still coming in with high expectations, given how Etihad markets the product.

You can bet I’ll be documenting every aspect of the experience here, starting with the pre-trip service.

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BOOKED: I’m Flying The Etihad Residence To Sydney!

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Arguably the pinnacle of commercial aviation is The Residence, which debuted in December 2014, and is exclusively available on Etihad’s A380s. This is a three room suite at the very front of the upper deck, which has a living room, bedroom, and private bathroom with shower. On top of that, the suite comes with a private butler. On the surface it seems like something that’s unrivaled in commercial aviation.

The catch, of course, is that it’s expensive. Really, really expensive. While you can score a great deal by redeeming miles for the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment (which is located right behind The Residence), there’s no efficient way to redeem miles for The Residence.

When The Residence was first introduced, the pricing was obscene. A one-way ticket between Abu Dhabi and London cost ~$21,000, a one-way ticket between Abu Dhabi and Sydney cost ~$25,000, and a one-way ticket from London to Sydney via Abu Dhabi cost ~$40,000.

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Etihad Guest Hugely Devalues Award Redemptions On Brussels Airlines

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Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, and I tend to think it’s the all around most valuable loyalty program offered by a Gulf carrier, thanks to their mostly reasonable redemption rates.

Beyond that, they had some great partner redemption opportunities. No doubt the single best partner redemption value they had, and arguably the best award prices offered by any loyalty program, were for travel on Brussels Airlines.

To quote what I said last May:

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Rumor: Christoph Mueller To Be Appointed As Etihad’s New CEO

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Earlier this year we learned that James Hogan would be stepping down as Etihad’s CEO in the second half of the year. Hogan’s strategy has largely been based around Etihad’s “equity alliance,” where they’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in airlines like airberlin, Alitalia, etc.

Those investments haven’t paid off (and worse than that, they’ve failed, especially with airberlin and Alitalia), and with oil revenue down, the government doesn’t want to continue to fund these projects.

A lot of us have been wondering who would replace James Hogan as Etihad’s CEO, as it would say a lot about the direction the airline will take. Handelsblatt Global is reporting that Christoph Mueller will shortly be announced as Etihad’s new CEO.

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Convert Hotel Points Into Etihad Miles With A 20% Bonus

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Etihad is offering a 20% bonus when you convert hotel points into Etihad Guest miles between April 1 and April 30, 2017. There’s no limit to how many bonus miles you can earn, and the bonus miles should post within 15 days of the end of the promotion. There’s no registration required for this promotion, so as long as you have a qualifying transaction you should earn the bonus points.

Eligible hotel programs for this promotion include Club Carlson, Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards Club, Le Club Accor, Marriott Rewards, Shangri-La Golden Circle, Starwood Preferred Guest, and World of Hyatt. Points transferred from the Amex Membership Rewards program or US Citi ThankYou program aren’t eligible for this promotion.

Etihad Guest is a reasonably good program, though still not one of the most valuable programs out there. However, there are two circumstances where converting hotel points into airline miles is an especially good value, and where it could make sense to take advantage of this bonus:

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IATA Calls Out The Electronics Ban, Demands It Be Reconsidered

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For just under a week now, an electronics ban has been in place for select flights to the US and the UK. The ban seems a bit ridiculous to me, not because I want safety to be compromised, but rather because of how inconsistent and poorly thought out the policy seems to be.

A lot of people have called into question the logic of the ban (especially as it pertains to the US restricting flights from the UAE and Qatar, while the UK doesn’t, even though they’re presumably going off the same intelligence).

Well, now the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling out the electronics ban and demanding a change. For those of you not familiar with IATA, it’s an airline trade organization representing 265 airlines and roughly 83% of total air traffic. In other words, they’re the voice of airlines. Here’s what they’re saying about the electronics ban:

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Etihad Adds Free Wifi & Loaner iPads For Premium Passengers On US-Bound Flights

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The US electronics ban has been in place for several days now, and we’ve started to see how airlines are dealing with the ban. Emirates, Etihad, and Turkish have all shared what they’re doing to try and minimize the impact this ban has on passengers.

After all, I don’t think anyone is a fan of this (well, perhaps other than the manufacturers of the boxes that airlines are using to gate check electronics).

While I’m avoiding Gulf carriers at the moment because of the inconvenience of being separated from my electronics, I actually feel pretty comfortable with the approach they’re taking, at least in terms of the risk of my electronics being lost, stolen, or damaged.

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