Etihad Opening Its Lounges to Paying Passengers

Emirates recently rolled out paid access to business and first class lounges and is testing including business class lounge access as an economy promotion. So it’s not surprising to see Gulf rival Etihad monetizing its lounge product as well.

Etihad now lets customers pay to access the following airport lounges.

  • Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Terminal 1
  • Etihad Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Terminal 3
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge London Heathrow
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge Manchester
  • Etihad Business Class Lounge Dublin
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge Paris
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge Washington Dulles
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge New York JFK
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge Melbourne
  • Etihad First & Business Class Lounge Sydney

Etihad doesn’t offer paid access for their first class lounge in Abu Dhabi or for Residence lounges (or the US Preclearance Lounge in Abu Dhabi). While the price isn’t published, apparently it’s the local currency equivalent of ~ US$50 per person. Children under 12 are charged half price. And access is subject to capacity restrictions.

Etihad First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi

$50 for the New York JFK lounge‘s sit down dining and premium bar could easily be worthwhile. The same holds for the Washington Dulles lounge and likely others. Etihad’s outstation premium lounges are a step above most other carriers’ offerings.

The worry of course for premium passengers is that already busy lounges especially in Abu Dhabi get even more crowded and dilute the experience.

Of course offering paid lounge access is more and more common. United, Delta, and American have all long offered day passes (which generally aren’t worth $50 — or $59 at United and Delta). Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club members can redeem miles for lounge access and Thai Airways offers miles for lounge access as well.

United Club Entrance

(HT: Points from the Pacific)

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Hmm, I am actually flying JFK-AUH on EY later this week. I have Priority Pass and was planning on hitting the Wingtips lounge (the only Pri Pass lounge in T4). While free is certainly better than $50pp, I’m guessing the EY lounge is far nicer with more food choices. Any feedback on whether the ROI is worthwhile assuming we plan on eating dinner before our 11PM flight?

  2. I may have not read thoroughly enough, but does the EY website make clear whether you actually have to by flying EY to take advantage?

  3. The EY business lounge is Abu Dhabi is extremly crowded at night time and it gets worse the later the hour. So if they allow additional passengers to buy their way in at e.g. 8pm what will happen if C passengers then find no space anymore at midnight?
    I am sure EY can use all the money they can get but also will loose some of their shine.

  4. @Dave Their website doesn’t say, but for locations other than AUH, the lounge only opens 3 hours before EY scheduled flight departure times, so even if they did allow non-EY pax, your flt schedule would have to coincide with an EY flight ex-AUH.

    @German Expat They do say “All access is subject to availability” but clearly that may not mean anything. It all depends on where they draw the capacity line.

  5. Hey Jonathan –
    I have been in both.

    Wingtips is good if you just want to drink beer, make yourself some drinks and have some nibbles (cheese, rice, etc.)

    Etihad is good if you want full cocktail service and made to order food (as well as a buffet). The drinks and food in the JFK Etihad lounge are excellent.

    That said – for $50 pp, I would think you could do well just hitting a vendor in the terminal for the food portion and Wingtips for the beverage portion

Comments are closed.