Back in May when Etihad announced that their Airbus A380 would be serving New York JFK – Abu Dhabi, award space was wide open.
Etihad currently has the single best first class product in the sky on their A380. Emirates, for instance, features four seats across on the upper deck of their A380s. Etihad has two seats across — a single aisle — in that same space. Like Emirates, as a first class passenger on Etihad’s Airbus A380 you can have a shower in the sky as well.
For awhile Etihad stopped making award seats available on the New York JFK – Abu Dhabi route. It was still possible to secure awards London – Abu Dhabi and occasionally from Abu Dhabi to Australia. Recently they started releasing seats very close to departure (e.g. within a day of travel).
Now Etihad is releasing award space in advance again in first class on the A380 for Abu Dhabi-New York JFK. And when they do there’s as many as 3 seats available.
Interestingly the space appears to be available in advance for Abu Dhabi – New York JFK and not New York JFK – Abu Dhabi.
Here’s a search for 2 passengers Abu Dhabi – New York JFK:
Dates on the calendar showing “235,330” have 2 first class award seats available on a single flight for that route, although some dates will only have that flight available on the Jet Airways 777 and not the Airbus A380.
When the A380 is available, there may be as many as 3 First Apartment seats bookable as saver awards. And that’s out of a cabin with only 8 First Apartment seats.
It’s not available every day, sbut it exists and across the schedule.. on January 7 as of this writing, in late January, in February, in May and June, etc.
Here are searches for three first class award seats showing availability every day for a week in First Apartment in April, June and November. July through September award space for 3 exists but isn’t as good.
First Apartment award space this good isn’t likely to last, so act quickly.
Booking Etihad Awards
Etihad first class awards are bookable using their own miles (Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer to Etihad) and of course with American AAdvantage miles.
American Airlines charges:
- 90,000 miles each way between the US and “Middle East and Indian Subcontinent” which means to Abu Dhabi and also beyond to other destinations in the Middle East, in India, and surrounding region including the Maldives.
- 40,000 miles each way between Europe and “Middle East and Indian Subcontinent” so you could fly Amsterdam – London (British Airways) – Abu Dhabi (Etihad A380) – Delhi (Etihad first class) for those miles.
- 60,000 miles each way between Abu Dhabi and Sydney and between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, where they offer A380 service.
Those prices will be going up for new bookings made March 22 onward. So now is a great time to use your AAdvantage miles for the Etihad First Apartment!
Search Etihad’s website for Guest First space. That’s the ‘low level’ space, and American AAdvantage generally has access to that space.
Note that some routes feature the Airbus A380 and other aircraft, only the A380 has the First Apartment so pay attention. (Although regular first is great, too.)
Once you find the space on the Etihad website, call American Airlines to book that space (you cannot search the space at AA.com, and you cannot book it there, fortunately American will waive the telephone booking fee).
For the past several weeks American agents have had difficulty seeing available Etihad seats. The workaround is to call American’s reservations number in Australia because what they see seems to match what Etihad shows on their website.
(HT: Adam D.)