Is American Airlines About to Announce New Service to Abu Dhabi?

There’s a fantastic rumor today that in addition to announcing new service to Auckland, New Zealand, American will announce service from Dallas to Abu Dhabi as well (possibly even in a joint venture with Etihad).

The biggest question mark about the route is simply limitations on the amount of passenger traffic to the Gulf (with Emirates and Qatar also serving Dallas) and beyond (much of which is low yield).

Of course, the quality of product between American’s Boeing 777-300ER and Etihad’s 777-200LR is an interesting one. Unquestionably Etihad’s first class is far superior to American’s.

However, American’s business class is actually much better (seat) than Etihad’s.

American Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

American Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Etihad Business Class

Etihad Business Class

I’d love to be able not just to redeem miles to and through Abu Dhabi, and to earn miles on the route, both of which we can do now through American’s existing relationship with Etihad. I’d love to earn elite qualifying miles on the route (on more than just an American codeshare), and even leverage the AAdvantage program for upgrades (on American’s own flight).

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. I think it is absolutely ridiculous how the carriers in the US put on a front like they hate the gulf carriers, but then look at opportunities like this to expand their network in partnership with them. Everything is just very contradictory. I also can’t imagine Qatar being too pleased if this happens.

  2. I sure hope they don’t they don’t have any aircraft they could be half as good as what the Gullf carries offer. Imagine being stuck stuck in coach out dated 777. Aa needs to learned something from Emirates as well as the other Gulf carriers. I would not fly them even to keep my status.

  3. @Gomez – well, the newer AA 777-300 in regular coach has the same narrow and tight pitch seats as Etihad’s 777-200LR (well, supposedly AA’s is 1/2 inch narrower in width but close enough). I suppose the soft product might be a tad bit better in coach on Etihad but it’s coach so it’s not likely to be a huge difference in that aspect.

  4. Unless Abu Dhabi is also planning on subsidizing the millions of dollars AA would lose on this flight, I’m pretty sure this rumor is false.

  5. Totally agree with iahphx – why would anyone fly them in J or F preferentially over EY to AUH?

  6. The rumor that AA is strongly considering service to AUH is 100% true, I have it from several beyond-reproach sources and have for many weeks. As to why they would do this, that I just plain have no idea.

  7. @Stephan having flown both, I’d absolutely prefer Etihad in F but I also strongly prefer American’s seat over Etihad’s in business. By a mile.

  8. So that is the reason that the PHL-TLV flight was discontinued and if it’s true all jewish people should boycutt American. the lies start to come out.

  9. @eli brown there’s no reason to believe the two would be linked. United had no problem flying to Tel Aviv and both Dubai (at one point) and Kuwait. Delta flies to Israel and the UAE. American already codeshares with Etihad. American partners with Qatar. Royal Jordanian flies to Tel Aviv.

  10. I think Eli’s comment is a VALID one. the PHL-TLV flight is almost ALWAYS overbooked (people are on standby by the gate) – I fly this rout A LOT – there is NO VALID BUSINESS resone to cancel that rout UNLESS there is a hidden agenda there. I would LOVE to see someone picking up the glove and actually sue American and file a complaint due to it’s submittion to boycot (It’s American Airlines job to convince us otherwise).

    I am anti boycot of all sorts so I am not calling for boycoting AA – just throwing the book at them. AA’s record alrady has stopping of flights to TLV after taking over TWA’s operations back in the days … IT’S JUST MORE OF THE SAME.

  11. I think American has two major challenges to adopting travel to India: (1) sufficient competitive carriers; (2) low fares that already exist with other carriers.

    It’s not only the Gulf carriers such as Etihad that offer some excellent fares to New Delhi, for example, but Delta does as well. There are sufficient existing options for any North American & European traveler to India.

    If a traveler is willing to work the Internet, round trip fares from Atlanta to New Delhi are available for an amazing cost of less than $800US. Can American challenge this? It costs less for someone along the east coast of the US to fly to Delhi than to fly to Europe.

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