Wide Open Award Space For The Etihad A380 First Apartment Starting In July

Etihad’s Airbus A380 is returning to the skies, and with it their “First Apartment” which are among the most impressive inflight suites in the world. And award space is currently wide open on the London Heathrow – Abu Dhabi route with as many as 9 award seats per flight in some cases (book the whole cabin), and up to two daily flights on the aircraft.

I’ve flown Etihad’s First Apartment almost as much as Cathay Pacific first class over the years. It’s been my go-to for trips to the Maldives (5 of my last 6 were on Etihad). I’ve visited the Mideast many times, alternating between Etihad and Emirates. And I’ve even chosen Middle East stops enroute to Australia because First Apartment redemptions for both long haul segments made the journey so easy.

Etihad introduced its ‘Apartment’ – really a room that has a separate seat and bed, and of course a shower available in the cabin for first class passengers – when they took delivery of their first Airbus A380. At the time it was arguably the best first class in the world, though now some prefer Emirates new first suite, the new Singapore Airlines A380 Suites, or ANA’s new first class.

Part of the divider between adjoining Apartments slides down, and passengers traveling together could this ‘be in bed beside each other’ which was special.

Despite advances at other airlines it remains in my view a top 5 product in the world. While they may have eliminated first class chefs their first class will be a phenomenal product.


  • Etihad Guest: 140,006 miles (Etihad Guest is an American Express, Citi and Capital One transfer partner).

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 65,000 miles (Aeroplan is an Amex, Capital One, Bilt and Chase transfer partner). These seats are bookable on the Aeroplan website.

  • American AAdvantage: 62,500 miles although note that it’s the same number of miles to connect in Abu Dhabi and continue to India or the surrounding region including the Maldives. U.S. to India including London – Abu Dhabi on Etihad would be 115,000 miles. (AAdvantage is a Bilt transfer partner.)

    Using American miles you do sometimes have to know a booking trick, and these flights don’t show up on the AA.com website. I haven’t spent time on the phone testing booking these seats via AAvantage.

The aircraft begins returning to the route in July, and will ultimately expand to other European destinations.

Be careful booking in that Etihad has four London flights per day, and only some flights will be operated by the A380. They also run 787-9s (some have first class) and 787-10s (no first class) on route. Don’t wait as I do not expect such wide open first class award space to remain available for long.

(HT: Frequent Miler)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. What cities in the US do they fly from?
    Do you have to go all the way or can you just do a RT US/London?

  2. Does anybody have any up to date information on the AA “booking trick” to book Etihad premium classes using Aadvantage Miles? The link is a bit confusing given all the changes since it was written in 2017. I’ve been trying to book JFK-AUH-LHE and have found some availability on the more expensive AC site, but AA comes up with basically nothing for the same dates.

  3. and just like that after this post Etihad has removed all Etihad Guest first availability from inventory. Ridiculous.

  4. @Talent Hacker – this was never going to last, they had entire cabins open for redemption, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. I even posted it before booking it myself, I waited a full day, and still managed to redeem it. Looking forward to returning to Etihad Apartments even without the return of first class chefs.

  5. Did anyone else have their ticket get cancelled? Any suggestions on whether there is anyway to get them to honor the tickets?

  6. @June – I think you need to tell us more. What mileage program did you use to book the awards? When and how did you discover your tickets were cancelled?

  7. I used aeroplan to book the tickets. I received an email from Etihad yesterday saying the flight changed but not showing any new flight information. When I went to the website to check the itinerary, it said cancelled. However, the flight seems to still be available for purchase (EY20 on Dec 28, 2023).

  8. I had the same experience with a reservation booked through AAdvantage. We booked the tickets on March 26, and we’re even able to choose seats online and felt good to go. Did not receive an email but got clued in when ExpertFlyer sent me a seat alert to say different seats were available. Turns out the entire cabin is available. AA confirms the ticket is ticketed and confirmed. Etihad can see the ticket also but it is no longer linked to the Etihad record locator AA has on file (although the record locator still has pax names and departure and destination, not the flight or cabin). And the Etihad rep said it looked like we were booked in J not F! Is Etihad pulling a fast one here? Very fishy, and puts me off ever booking them again.

  9. @gary. Spoke to AA this morning. According to them the flight (EY20) was cancelled on April 12. It’s clearly not cancelled. Etihad simply cancelled all award bookings, and are no longer making any awards available to partners. Additionally, I can only get a refund of my miles and taxes by going to an airport! Apparently the reservation has the code “ATO” on it, which I have never encountered in my 30 years of flying. Also spoke to Etihad and got a complete runaround on why the tickets had been “auto cancelled”. I’ve dealt with a lot of airline problems in my years, but this one takes the cake. I guess I will never get the chance to fly the Apartment. Talk about a disloyalty building program. Any other reports out there, and has anyone had success with refunds? #neveretihad.

  10. @JNY – Trying to figure out what’s going on because my own flights are still in tact, have we seen other reports of cancellations? Did AA say the flight itself is no longer operating, or that the space was cancelled? Feel free to email me.

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