Etihad Honoring Their First Class Mistake Fare… Grudgingly

A week and a half ago Etihad had a mistake fare, offering first class roundtrip between Colombo and Dallas for ~ $1450. One way was available for about two-thirds the cost, but you had to originate the trip in Sri Lanka either way.

Etihad is honoring the fare, as I expected. They’d have had challenges with US regulators if they didn’t.

But they’re being as restrictive as possible with it.

  • No changes, but that’s to be expected, changing a ticket prior to departure will generally cause a reprice.
  • No chauffeur service, Etihad gives business and first class passengers complimentary car service but that won’t be given to folks flying these tickets.
  • No “bonus miles” although it’s not clear what that means, whether that’s no class of service bonus when crediting to an Etihad Guest account or whether they mean to suggest they won’t credit miles at all, and it’s also not clear how this will work for those attempting to credit the flights to another program like American AAdvantage. I have some guesses on this but will wait to comment until I have confirmation.
  • No lounge access. I can’t imagine that lounge staff will actually check the fares on these tickets and deny access, they’ll look at boarding passes and invite passengers in.

Commenter robb0 shares a copy of the correspondence he received from Etihad:

12 February 2014 Dear Mr XXXX,

We are writing to address your booking for travel from Colombo to Dallas return in Diamond First Class and Pearl Business Class under booking reference XXXXX.

We note that the fare you have paid was not the applicable fare for the class of travel indicated and is even lower than the applicable economy fare for that routing; however, will honor the ticket as booked.

Please note, though, that we will not permit any changes to this booking of any kind unless the fare difference between the fare we received and the correct applicable fare is paid. These flights are not eligible for bonus miles, and are not accompanied by chauffeur service or for lounge access. You will be permitted to cancel the ticket will a full refund.

If you require any further information about the booking, your travel or cancellation of the trip, please contact our call centres on the below numbers:Colombo – 00 971 2 599 0000 USA – 1888 838 4423 or 00 971 2 599 0000 Canada – 1 866 948 1081 or 00 971 2 599 0000 Should you require any further details you can also contact us at

Still, this is a fantastic ‘get’ for a fantastic product for those who were able to buy these tickets.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Seems kind of silly not to offer the full range of benefits that should come with the ticket regardless if it was a mistake. We flew Etihad on the SEZ-DUB fare and got the full treatment and because it was so good, I would definitely consider flying them next time I go to the Middle East / India.

  2. It’s a very bad move from Etihad. Normally they can’t change the rules after the ticket is confirmed…

  3. I know I can always cancel, but I am angry that I booked a flight that will essentially be operated by JET Airways from AUH-JFK in F.

    Look at me complaining about a JET Airways 777 with closing doors! But I think that is deceptive that they advertise this wonderful first class with a very distinct look and instead give us JET.

    Perhaps India’s aviation safety issues will force Etihad to operate this flight on its own metal.

  4. @Matthew – “Perhaps India’s aviation safety issues will force Etihad to operate this flight on its own metal.” there’s nothing wrong (in a safety sense) with the Jet metal, I wouldn’t be surprised if you or your clients flew it operated by Thai or by Turkish? 😉

  5. Best part about this, I have 2 bookings, one departing next month, returning 3 weeks later and the second leaving later in the year and I intend to use them all. It will be interesting to see what tricks they try on the first trip and I’ll happily report in here with the details

  6. EY could offer to option of a Buy Out say full refund n $500-1000 Worked for some on LX RGN ( ticketed by TG) me+1

  7. @Gary – not quite correct. I believe Etihad is doing a wet-lease, NOT a dry-lease of 9W metal. Which is to say, ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance) are provided by 9W.

    So while the crew might wear EY uniforms and be trained by EY, they’re Jet employees. But, the maintenance bit, which will still be provided by Jet, for whatever that’s worth.

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