Awesome: Etihad A380 First Class Awards To New York Available In Advance!

Etihad arguably offers the world’s best first class hard product on their A380s, which feature the First Class Apartments. I had the good fortunate to be on the inaugural Etihad A380 flight from Abu Dhabi to London last year, and then again on the inaugural Etihad A380 flight from Abu Dhabi to New York last month.


Etihad’s A380 first class product is simply incredible, and visually the most stunning in the world.



Etihad has generally been quite generous with making first class awards available, though less so on their New York route than the other A380 routes. When the new A380 flight to New York was first announced they made a ton of first class space available, though since then they’ve (understandably) been less generous with making awards available in advance.

Obviously there’s quite a bit of demand for the product, and with just nine first class seats on the A380, availability is limited. However, they’ve been fairly good about making first class awards available shortly before departure, which is how I scored availability for my flight a few days ago.

Via View from the Wing, the good news is that Etihad is making up to three A380 first class seats available in advance on their Abu Dhabi to New York route. The availability doesn’t seem to be available in the other direction, as I don’t see much space in advance from New York to Abu Dhabi.


While there’s not availability every day, there’s a good amount of space between now and the end of the schedule, so you’ll want to use Etihad’s award search tool to find space (here’s a primer on how to use it). If there’s “Guest First” space, it should also be bookable through American AAdvantage. American doesn’t show Etihad award space online, so you’ll have to call American in order to book.

Also make sure you book the A380 frequency. Etihad flies twice a day between Abu Dhabi and New York, and the other flight is operated by a leased Jet Airways 777-300ER, which isn’t nearly as nice as the Etihad A380.


American AAdvantage charges 90,000 miles for one-way first class between the Middle East/India and the US, though the price will go up to 115,000 miles one-way for awards booked as of March 22, 2016.

Keep in mind Etihad is launching A380 flights between Mumbai and Abu Dhabi as of May 1, 2016, so for the same 90,000 miles you could get two A380 flights — from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi to New York.

Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment product is incredible, so I highly recommend snagging some space if you can, especially before American’s upcoming devaluation. Having just flown Eithad’s A380 First Class Apartment with two others, I can assure you it’ll be the flight of a lifetime…


Until about halfway through the flight, when… well, I’ll let the below picture speak for itself.


Bottom line

This space won’t last, so if you’re interested I’d recommend booking as soon as possible. This availability is especially awesome in light of American’s upcoming devaluation, making this a great option for redeeming miles at pre-devaluation levels. Being able to redeem up to three seats per flight is the icing on the cake.

Were you able to snag some Etihad A380 first class award seats from Abu Dhabi to New York?


  1. I managed to hold a seat for myself in Feb and one for my sister in April. Going to see if I can make it work…it’ll involve changing awards and some fees since i dont have status with American but possibly well worth it.

  2. @lucky booked two seats for my dad and I in August (I know not the best time to go but due to our schedule) and was able to find 2 seats from MEL>AUH 2 days prior on the a380 as well. Thanks for the heads!!

  3. Ahhhh I need the other way around since we already have award books from LAX-AUH…would like to do LAX-JFK-AUH if there are available.

    @Ben do you think it’s worth changing the ticket to have one stop over instead of direct flight? We are actually going to JNB so it’s already two days worth of travel and I guess my husband may not agree to do one more stop.

  4. Still have to call AA in Australia to book these or are they now processing them calling AA’s USA #?

    I have two business class already booked AUH-JFK next summer. Will see if first class opens prior to the devalue. Would be cool to try the apartment if its available.

  5. What’s the cheapest way to bring along an infant-in-arms? 10% of full fare is awfully steep. What about, in addition to 2 F awards, buying a Y ticket, or even a J award, for one person and then just sitting everyone in F immediately upon boarding?

    It seems criminal to waste 90k AA points on an infant F seat when there is so much space in each apartment.

  6. Now I know why I can’t get through. I noticed this myself this morning and called a few times and kept sitting on hold. Then I check the blog and see it’s the top post. All makes sense now.

  7. Wasn’t too long after 30min I got through. Already had a J award so rebooked myself one day later (which was my ideal date anyways) and into F. $150 fee was waived after the agent called her service desk (same origin, destination and airline). They have to refund miles and taxes and then recollect so technically ticket is on-request then should be ticketed within 2-3 days she said.

  8. @Bob

    Think you need to call AA Australia desk to get inventory. Someone please correct me if US agents are able to do this now.

  9. Was able to book through Australian line after sitting on hold for 35 minutes. Agent was SO friendly – proactively waived the telephone booking fee and was extremely efficient and professional. Thanks for the heads up, Lucky! Hope you are enjoying Hadahaa!

  10. I didn’t even bother with AAdvantage USA. Went straight for AA Australia. Entire call was about 20 minutes with about 15 of those minutes being put on hold

  11. I have the same question as CJ .

    But it’s moot as AA doesn’t have any awards Lax-JFK nonstop still interested in the answer in case something opens up.

  12. Called AA and they don’t see any of the availability that Ethiad’s search engine can see. AA said there isn’t even coach availability, even tho Ethiad says there are lots of First class seats open.

  13. Sean, call the Australian phone number. I cannot believe American hasn’t fixed this problem! It’s been going on for months now. And what’s really irritating is that some of the US representatives are completely unaware of it.

  14. @Sean

    You should be good. I’ve done this three times over the past two weeks. All three times they saw the same availability in J and F as the EY website.

  15. @lucky, I am looking at India-AUH-JFK route and it seems India-AUH has business class availability and AUH-JFK has first class/residence apartment availability.

    Will I be using 90K for entire India-AUH-JFK route or will I have to use 67.5K for India-AUH in business and 90K aa miles for AUH-JFK in first/residence apartment?
    How to make such booking over phone involving two separate coach class for single trip? Just simply mention travel date and coach class with flight numbers?

    What about cancellation? If for any reason I need to cancel the flights, what would I lose?


  16. I’m excited for everyone. I’ve had my seats for several months, I remember how quickly the availability was gobbled up from that original batch of award seats, I’m sure I was among the last to book then. I’m laughing recalling how my palms were sweating when I was on hold with AA. 🙂

  17. @OneMileataTime Can I book MLE -AUH in business or economy and AUH-JFK in first? Or does it all have to be same cabin level?

    Also, I’m AA Gold. Can I switch dates later or is there a fee?

  18. Definitely need to call the Australia call center. They were able to grab the space I needed (after holding for nearly an hour). Good luck everyone!!!!

  19. I think you might be able to select your seats on Etihad’s web site now. I was able to do it last week. I didn’t employ any hacks, I just went through the normal seat selection process with my Etihad record locator. I was able select seats before AA showed that I was officially ticketed. This was a date change for an existing itinerary, not sure if it works for a new itinerary. I have called Etihad before to select seats and the customer service is very pleasant, but I prefer to do it online.

  20. Hey guys was able (after 45 minute wait) to get through to the Australian call center. Snagged 3 first seats AUH-JFK in August. 🙂

    The guy on the phone (very helpful bloke) mentioned that they were having tons of calls for Etihad flights booking with miles tonight and he couldn’t explain it….. Hmmm, I worry how long this will last.

  21. Just managed to book via Australian reservations center. I put the award on hold for 5 days.
    Can I just call the US reservations department to confirm?
    I really don’t want to wait on hold for an hour with Australia again.

  22. WOW thanks Ben! Successfully booked an apartment AUH – JFK to return from a meeting in AMS. Had to call Australian AA and was on hold for about an hour. Now I just need to settle on how to get to AUH, thinking QR CDG – DOH – AUH? Or maybe EK MXP – DXB and go via ground to AUH? Decisions, decisions…

  23. Nat, if you feel like passing through Switzerland you can fly Etihad’s 787 first class ZRH to AUH. Not as fancy as the First Apartments but still looks pretty amazing. There was good award availability last time I checked.

  24. Can I book MLE-AUH in business or economy and AUH-JFK in First on the same ticket? Also, would I be able to change dates later on without fee? (AA GOLD)

  25. Yay! it worked. booked two tickets on April 25. The wait time at 5:30pm EST to the Australian number wasn’t even bad – maybe 15 minutes.

  26. Just got off the phone with AA – looked to hold Oct. 29 – 2 Guest First seats available on Etihad’s website but AA says they can only see economy space?!?

    Any idea Lucky on why this is? Any alternatives to hold those seats?


  27. I was just able to upgrade a business class award ticket (JFK-AUH) to first class via the American call call center.

    Is it worth making a similar change on their Jet Airways flights?

  28. Managed to hold AUH-JFK in First with the Australia call center, but need to add a DEL-AUH flight that is only open in Business. The agent said that would have to be two awards, and 115,000 miles instead of 90,000. Anybody know if that is true before I call again?

  29. “Etihad has generally been quite generous with making first class awards available, though less so on their New York route than the other A380 routes”

    They have absolutely no availability at all to SYD for any day next year and it has been this way for months. MEL has opened up for next year and is quite generous though.

  30. Harrison, that doesn’t make sense to me. It’s 90k for first class from US to India. Seems like you should be able to do a voluntary downgrade to business for the DEL-AUH segment.

  31. Harrison

    That’s a wierd one I thought they wouldn’t allow a double level down (first to economy) but assuming there are not any first tickets on BOM to AUH it doesn’t make sense to me either. I’d try again at a later time and see if you get a different rep on the line. Maybe ask them to check with the support desk. I found the UK number (euro call center) was also able to help with the eitihad tickets in the past, if you strike out with Australia but it took like 3 days to ticket, Australia seemed to be within 24 hours.

  32. Just checked availability after reading this thread and was able to change from J to F on AUH-JFK flight for 2. Availability certainly wasn’t there when I booked last month for any A380 AUH-JFK flights. AA EXP couldn’t see availability so had to cause AUS to have the award reissued.

  33. I was able to hold a Guest First seat BOM-AUH-JFK and was quoted 90k miles one way.I was able to do this by calling the US Platinum line with no problems, so it looks like the spaces are showing up on the US system now.

  34. Harrison, I think I accidentally stumbled across an answer to your question on flyertalk. Someone wrote “You can’t mix booking classes on AA using EY. They’re NOT AA. You will need availability in the same class through out.” It’s in the “Redeeming Etihad guest miles for AA flights” thread, the particular post is dated Dec 24.

  35. Urgh, delete delete. Wrong scenario, that was EY miles for AA flights, not AA miles for EY flights. Maybe it has to do with lack of published fare or routing issue.

  36. I saw this on View from the Wing and hesitated. Then saw the post here about originating at BOM and couldn’t resist. Exactly the reason I must thank Lucky for this blog! It’s one thing to post availability (thank you, GLeff) but Lucky goes the extra mile and posts connections, etc that I would not have considered!

    Anyway, I called AAdvantage (using the US call line, no status) and got through immediately. They had no trouble seeing the same space as etihad was showing and booked it. Oddly, when I check etihad, 3 seats are still showing as available on that same date.

  37. just called US reservations, didn’t show any award space. Called Australia, was booked in less than 5 minutes, with a much better attitude from the CSA!

    Thank You Lucky!!!! is moving to the big leagues with this one! Still can’t believe I just pulled this off. Amazing! My dad may be stuck in Business class as I think I took the last First Class award!

  38. craig, that would make me nervous if the 3 seats are still showing after you booked. When I have book Etihad flights through AA the seats have always disappear from the Etihad site while I’m still on the phone with AA. If you still see the seats you might want to check your AA reservation.

  39. Thanks for the advice on mixing cabins. Got an AA rep in the US to process it correctly as a “voluntary downgrade” after getting a manual price quote. Now have DEL-AUH (business) AUH-JFK (first) booked for 90,000 miles each. Appreciate the help!

  40. Hi Lucky,

    I saw one of your post mention the oneworld redemption award based on the actual miles flown. But is there a quick way or a chart to know how much miles between two destinations?



  41. Hi Lucky,
    Thanks a ton for the post. Just changed my BOM-AUH-DFW First class ticket on EY to BOM-AUH-JFK. Snagged the last apartment seat for travel in March for a $150 change fee. This wouldn’t have been possible without your post, so thanks again.

  42. It’s short notice, but JFK->AUH is available on Jan 04. 2 seats. If I didn’t have my trip already planned I wouldn’t mind hopping on this flight!

  43. Ooh, someone can do the NYE trip too, JFK->AUH Dec 31, 2 seats are open. Dang I wish I could go! That would make a great NYE/NYD.

  44. Hmmm…had two tickets on the 5 day hold AUH-JFK and when I called back to book they said they’re unconfirmed and unable to find space? I’ll try calling back on the UK number and see if it’s more helpful.

  45. Thank you to you and Gary for this tip! Even though I only just saw this post, I was able to get an Etihad first class flight. My itinerary is DEL-BOM-AUH-JFK. Even though I saw DEL-AUH in business on, the agent did not, so I’m now on Jet Airways to Mumbai and then on the 380 to AUH. Now I’m wondering if I should even bother to change my flight. One flight DEL-AUH, or two flights DEL-BOM-AUH? Decisions decisions… 🙂

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