Etihad Airways Award Seats Abu Dhabi To San Francisco

In July Etihad Airways announced a new route from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco, which will be launching on November 18, 2014. The flight will be operated by a Jet Airways 777-300ER. Etihad is presently leasing several 777s from Jet Airways, which I’m guessing are intended to facilitate short term growth until Etihad takes delivery of their new longhaul fleet, in particular the 787. After all, being the fastest growing airline in the world takes planes. 😉

The odd thing — as I noted earlier in my post about some airlines not releasing award space on new routes — is that Etihad doesn’t seem to be making any award space available on this flight. No matter which date I search, the Etihad Guest website shows the flight as “sold out,” even at the highest award level (which usually has near guaranteed availability).


However, shortly after my post, @FlyingDrJJ Tweeted me to say that apparently there is award availability on this new Etihad Airways flight:

@OneMileataTimeThere is EY availability on SFO-AUH, but it’s not showing online. If you call AA, a lot of space is bookable.

I called American AAdvantage to confirm, and that is in fact the case. I inquired about award availability on Abu Dhabi to San Francisco and vice versa for several dates, and there were at least two first and business class award seats per flight on most dates.

If you’ve been waiting for award space to open up on this route, you’ll want to call American to book. This is very odd, as it’s the first time I’ve seen American have access to Etihad award space that the Etihad Guest website doesn’t even show as available. That of course raises the question of whether there’s other Etihad award space out there that just isn’t showing online.

This new route is obviously very exciting for those in the Bay Area, given that it opens up one stop service to many destinations. That being said, all else being equal I’d certainly recommend doing what you can to get on an Etihad plane as opposed to a Jet Airways plane, since the former are a bit “fresher.”

Etihad Airways first class

Jet Airways first class

Regardless, if you can redeem American miles for a premium cabin on a partner airline longhaul flight, you’re winning, in my opinion…


  1. @ Gary Leff — Odd. I’ve been checking every couple of days since the route was announced and haven’t seen anything.

  2. I noticed that Etihad doesn’t really release LAX-AUH flights either (or it’s always “Sold Out” on their site). Do you think that space is only available by calling AA as well?

  3. Something is up with Etihad’s availability. If you search for awards using KVS it will show every flight twice….not sure why but it starting to behave like that a few days ago..,

  4. I changed my SFO-LAX-AUH flight to SFO-AUH nonstop with change of dates. Anyone who wants a first class seat for LAX-AUH on Dec 10 returning on Dec 26 can call AA now.

    I don’t like the 2:15 am AUH-SFO flight but will not get precheck in AbuDhabi and can use my Global Entry in SFO(don’t think there will be much traffic at 6:30 am in the morning).

    Thanks Lucky for the article as I would not have called AA.

  5. Called in today, but agent wasn’t able to find any F availability from SFO-AUH during Christmas time 🙁 . Is there any special method they need to search for the awards since it doesn’t show up on

  6. Etihad doesn’t offer Chauffeur service for SFO flights, its BART for me then.

    Also, reading Ben’s issues with Etihad Food, I will order a special meal 🙂

  7. Just booked 2 tickets for next year in first from SFO-AUH and 2 in business from JFK-AUH onward to KTM. The first class seats do not open up 331 days out as do the business class seats. I found that the first class seats open up two or three weeks after the economy and business class awards are published.

  8. I have read Etihad is retrofitting their 777s with the new business studio. Any idea on how to locate which routes they are doing this on?

  9. Traveling SFO-AUH-KTM and then return, all on Jet Airways metal, it was a delight. Coming and going, there were 4 and 2 PAX respectively, so the crew made up a second cabin for sleeping.

    To my great surprise, the food was simply over the top, perhaps relating to the light load, but it was almost Michelin 1 star in my opinion. My personal preference is Indian food, which of course they had in abundance.

    There are often F award seats on this flight, and if you’re heading on to DAC from AUH, there are almost always F7 in the awards category.

    The amenities kit was minimal and forgettable; pajamas were offered; and the staff was exceptionally attentive, perhaps more personal than LAX-AUH. It was a delight. Going over by a slightly altered flight path ran up a total of 9,000 miles on the IFE display. That’s long haul…

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