Update at 11:45 PM: A previous version of this post speculated the space was phantom because I couldn’t book it on my only attempt before writing the post and rushing to dinner. Many people commented they had booked the space, and I succeeded in booking myself a January 2016 flight from Abu Dhabi to New York in Etihad First Class apartments.

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Award space is wide open for two passengers on almost every flight from New York to Abu Dhabi and vice versa between December 1, 2015, when Etihad starts flying its A380 to New York, and the end of the schedule in March 2016. (Hat Tip Lucky)

I was excited to see the space because just last week I wrote that there was no space in First Class on the A380 on the route.

I want to fly the route because First Class features a shower, and each suite has a couch/bed and seat. The plane looks amazing.

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JFK to Abu Dhabi

Here is award space in January and February from JFK to Abu Dhabi. All the days that say “Miles 111000” have award space for two passengers in First Class on the A380.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 6.14.33 PM

Abu Dhabi to JFK

And here is the space on the route at the beginning of the A380’s time on the schedule from Abu Dhabi to JFK. All the days that say “Miles 111346” have award space for two passengers in First Class on the A380.

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I don’t see award space past March 18 although the award booking calendar extends a few weeks beyond that. Come to think of it, that’s a pattern for A380 First Class I’ve noticed: no availability in the last few weeks of the schedule.Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 6.18.44 PM

Excited I decided to book myself an award for 90,000 American Airlines miles + taxes. The 90,000 mile price is the same whether you start in New York or anywhere else in North America to which Etihad publishes a fare, and the same whether you end in Abu Dhabi or anywhere else in the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, Egypt, or the Maldives.

I decided to start my award in Chennai, India because I have never visited India. I decided to end my award in Los Angeles because it will allow me to tack on New York to Los Angeles in a flat bed on American Airlines’ A321 for zero extra miles.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 4.39.10 PM

I found a date in January to fly from Chennai to Abu Dhabi in Business Class, then two hours later from Abu Dhabi to New York in an Etihad A380 First Class Apartment, then two hours later from New York to Los Angeles in another flying First Class bed.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 10.58.32 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 10.59.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.00.08 PM

The award priced out at 90,000 American Airlines miles and about $35. I paid with my Citi Premier to get 3x points on the taxes.Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 11.23.51 PM

 

 

It is worth noting that on my first call, the agent did not see the award space I saw on etihad.com, and on the second, she didn’t see space on every date where I saw it. You may need to hang up and call again or be flexible.

I’m ecstatic with my award: 15 hours in one of the nicest commercial cabins in the world, six more hours testing out American Airlines’ transcontinental First Class, and my first trip to India!

Further Reading

 

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