Not long ago you saw us report on the prevalence of Etihad First Class Apartment award space available between Abu Dhabi and New York City. At the time there did not appear to be any First Class space in the other direction from New York to Abu Dhabi, and that still looks to be the case–but only from the surface.
Lucky for all of us and thanks to View from the Wing, there’s a trick for finding and booking that New York to Abu Dhabi award space that would not otherwise show up on Etihad’s website when searching for one-ways.
Here’s what you have to do, assuming you’re booking with American Airlines miles…
- On etihad.com, search for roundtrips between Abu Dhabi and New York that originate in Abu Dhabi.
- You’ll see all the same award space for the Abu Dhabi segment that you would normally see when searching for a one-way, but once you choose an outbound segment and move on to the return, you’ll magically see award space from New York to Abu Dhabi that wouldn’t show up if you searched for the same flight as a one-way. Below are results from a one-way award search JFK to AUH. Sold out on both flights.
Below are the return results from a roundtrip award search AUH to JFK to AUH. Two seats are actually available on both flights.
- Note your desired travel date(s) and flight number(s).
- Call AAdvantage Customer Service in Australia at +61-2-91011948. The representatives there shouldn’t have a problem seeing all Etihad award space, including what you’ve found.
- If you’re ready to book then you can, or you can put your award on hold for free for up to five days. Once you have it on hold, you don’t have to call any specific AAdvantage center, all agents should be able to see your award.
- Make sure whenever you book that no one charges you a phone booking fee since it’s actually not possible to book your AAdvantage award flying Etihad online.
The New York to Abu Dhabi segment does not need to be booked as a part of a roundtrip that originates in Abu Dhabi. It could be booked as a one-way between New York and Abu Dhabi or as a part of a roundtrip originating in New York as well.
What if I’m Redeeming Etihad Miles?
Follow the same steps but instead of calling AAdvantage Customer Service in Australia, call Etihad Guest in the United Kingdom (+44 0345 6081225). You can probably call any Etihad Guest center, I just recommend that one as in the past the agents in that office have been more helpful/knowledgable than others.
I tried this myself and it does indeed work.
There is still tons of award space flying Abu Dhabi to New York on the A380 in a First Class Apartment. Now we also know theres tons of space flying New York to Abu Dhabi in the same incredible cabin, you just have to jump through an extra hoop to get it.
The New York (JFK) to Abu Dhabi route is the only Etihad route to the United States that flies an A380 and therefore has First Class Apartments. If you want to experience this legendary First Class, that’s your ticket. But Abu Dhabi doesn’t have to be your destination. For the same amount of American Airlines miles (115,000 each way), you can fly on to elsewhere in the Middle East or the Indian Subcontinent (like the Maldives) for the same amount of miles.