Etihad A380 First Class Awards Available To New York!!!

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:

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.

Etihad-A380-JFK-1 Etihad-A380-JFK-2

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.

Bottom line

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)


  1. Ben, do you think that some day you will fly Business Class on the Etihad A380 and make a review about it? All the hype is (fairly and obviously) on the First Apartments and Residence, so it’s quite hard to find something on the web about the Business Studios!

  2. If you were a bookmaker, for when would you set the over/under on the gutting of the AA award chart? I’d book this sooner rather than later.

  3. Are you planning to fly this product again to see if the service has improved?

    We’d put money on the ground service on both ends being atrocious still. When we’ve flown out of JFK on Etihad in first, there has been no escort to the front of the security line (which was long, even for ‘premium’). Which was perhaps a blessing given the lounge they use… yikes….

  4. For flights where they have one award seat do they typically open up additional inventory close to the departure date?

  5. Can you combine Etihad with oneworld airlines in one AA award? Like going YVR-JFK-AUH?

    Can you go JFK-AUH-Europe on Etihad on one AA award? Or maybe JFK-AUH-SYD?

  6. @ echino — You can combine oneworld and AAdvantage partners, yes. You can’t route from the US to Europe or Australia via the Middle East on a single award.

  7. @ Mike — Yes, Etihad is quite good about opening more award space as the departure date approaches.

  8. @ Miles Down Under — Yep, hope to fly it again soon. Would love to experience it on a longhaul flight.

  9. @echino –

    I’ve been researching Etihad partner awards using AA miles a lot recently. No, you cannot combine OW partner and non-OW partner segments on one award; no, you cannot transit the Middle East on the way to Europe on one award; and likewise no, you cannot do JFK-AUD-SYD on one award, it requires two separate awards.

  10. @Lucky,

    I thought AA would not allow you to combine Etihad with OW partners on an award ticket.

  11. Ben,
    Would love to credit miles directly to Etihad & as I’ll be flying Alitalia Magnifica class in May, can miles be credited to Etihad program vs a SkyTeam airline? If yes, are any of those miles status earning? Thanks.

  12. @ Lucky, good to know! (I guess that’s why you have a blog and I don’t. 🙂 So could you do AUH-LHR (EY)-IAD (BA)? Would the punitive BA fees be any less?

  13. @ Maureen — For travel on Alitalia? Yep, you can credit those miles to Etihad, and they’d count towards status.

  14. Not sure if there’s any space for December left but January-February may be a safer booking in case there are any delays.

    P.S. Would be nice if Etihad put a second A380 on the route to replace Jet metal but I guess they don’t have unlimited A380s like Emirates 😉

  15. had two seats booked for december in F already and now that they swapped aircrafts, I’ve got two on the A380! 🙂

  16. I booked business class as a placeholder..hoping to move the dates out to feb and do first class if I catch it in time..I would pay for a text message alert!! ugh just missed it this time

  17. Thanks for keeping us posted on this. I snagged one of the apartments for AUH-LHR in October. Looking forward to it very much. Glad that Etihad is making this available via points. BTW – how early do you recommend arriving in order to take advantage of all the amenities at the lounge?

  18. @ Lucky & lrh,

    How many AA miles needed for Etihad Apartments JFK-AUH-HKG? Is it also 110,000 miles ?

  19. @ David — It’s 90,000 for first class from JFK-AUH, and then 30,000 for business class AUH-HKG (there’s no first class cabin).

  20. @ elteetrav — Enjoy your trip! I’d say arriving three hours before departure is plenty.

  21. Ugh super jealous. I have the AA balance for it but I will be fling to/from AUH in September as part of the mistake fare. Booked my return in biz on the 777. 🙁

  22. I’m not sure if you have covered this before, can I use my AA miles to route JFK-AUH-Anywhere in Asia on a 90K award…??? ; ) J/K, obviously…Read the comments people…!!!

  23. @ John — Right, it seems it has all been snagged for now, but I’d expect more space to progressively open up.

  24. @ Lucky

    Thank you for the clarification!

    The route the echino proposed that you said it’s valid routing:

    All of this segment will priced in single award 90k ?

  25. Really mad at myself for this. I had spotted space on AUH-JFK on 12/30 on the EY 777. Should have booked it. It would have turned into the 380 🙂

  26. The timing of this and your Maldives trip couldn’t be more perfect…I was hoping for exactly this kind of scenario to get to MLE and then taking advantage of the CMB fares coming home…I know you aren’t overly excited about the Maldives trip, but I am eager to hear your insights/thoughts/tips & tricks…!!! Keep up the great work…

  27. That’s good to hear YVR-JFK-AUH-MLE is 90k with two F segments. But no caviar on either of them. Do you know if it’s possible to request caviar in advance as a “special meal” of sorts on EY F? Long shot, I know…

  28. @ Lucky

    Thanks! and it’s interesting! I hope you will consider to write a post on how to maximize the routing of the award redemption on Etihad first/business class with some samples of best routings like what you did with Singapore Airlines posts. That would be helpful for many people as Etihad award seat is really hot right now since they launched the first class apartment and studio!

  29. Lucky, thanks for the heads up. I scrambled to book something as soon as I saw your post on sunday. It will be my first A380 flight, so I’m very excited. I think I got it booked, but on my AA acount it is still stuck at ‘On Request’ for booking status. I wouldn’t normally be concerned, but I’ve booked two other international filights since then ( on JAL ), and they went from on ‘On Request’ to ‘tickeded’ within a few hours. From your experience, is it normal for these to take days? The agent that booked this ticket didn’t seem very smart, so I’m a bit fearful she made a mistake. Is there a chance that this ticket will get refused or somehow not booked?

  30. @ berg — Congrats on booking it! You should be fine. If you just booked yesterday, I’d give it another 24 hours before calling back. It does sometimes take a while. The queue is prioritized by departure time.

  31. @ David — Ultimately there’s probably not that much to it. The best you can do is something like YVR-JFK on Cathay, then JFK-AUH-DEL/BOM, which would get you international first class for three segments.

  32. @ Lucky

    “YVR-JFK on Cathay, then JFK-AUH-DEL/BOM, which would get you international first class for three segments.” ===> This would also priced at 90k AA miles for one award pricing?
    And the segment of JFK-AUH-DEL/BOM, it will be in Etihad’s A380 First, right?

    By the way, referring to SEM’s comment to you above “I was hoping for exactly this kind of scenario to get to MLE and then taking advantage of the CMB fares coming home” =====> What does “CMB fares” mean, care to elaborate?

  33. Ben,

    I was booked on EY19 and apparently Eithad downgraded it from a A380 to a 77W. Do you know anything about it? I was actually REALLY looking forward to fly their apartment…



  34. May, 12. When it was downgraded I don’t know specifically but I just realized it today in a quick check to the reservation. Feeling really sad…

  35. Hey lucky, trying to book LAX-AUH-DEL with 1 Guest First seat availability showing on Etihad. Called AA, said it’s not available. Any ideas? EY 12 is showing only economy but EY 218 has F availability. Am I missing something?

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