Etihad Launches New San Francisco To Abu Dhabi Flight

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, announced today that they’ll be launching nonstop daily service to San Francisco as of November 18, 2014.

The new route will be operated by a three cabin 777-300ER, featuring eight first class seats, 30 business class seats, and 308 economy class seats.

Etihad 777-300ER

With the rate at which they’re expanding, you’re probably wondering where the aircraft for this route is coming from. Well, this route will be operated by one of the Jet Airways aircraft which Etihad Airways is leasing. Etihad crews will still be working the flights, with the same food/drink as you’d get on an Etihad aircraft.

Etihad first class meal service

For more information about Etihad’s first class services, check out my review of the Etihad first class lounge Abu Dhabi, and my recent Etihad first class flight from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles.

This will be Etihad’s fifth US destination, after Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington. Etihad will also be launching service to Dallas as of December 3, 2014.

Etihad’s USA destinations

The schedule for the new San Francisco flight will be as follows:

EY183 Abu Dhabi to San Francisco departing 2:15AM arriving 6:30AM
EY182 San Francisco to Abu Dhabi departing 8:30AM arriving 12:40PM (+1 day)

It’s worth noting that this schedule is different than most of Etihad’s other US-bound flights. Most of them depart the UAE in the morning, arriving in the US in the afternoon, and then turn around in the evening, arriving back in the UAE in the evening.

For example, here’s the schedule for Etihad’s Los Angeles flight:

EY171 Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles departing 8:45AM arriving 1:20PM
EY170 Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi departing 3:55PM arriving 8:20PM (+1 day)

In the case of Etihad’s San Francisco flight, you have a westbound redeye and then morning departure out of the US. I definitely prefer the westbound redeye, though am not a fan of the eastbound morning departure. On the plus side, this means you’ll get to skip the US pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi, as it’s only open for the morning departures out of Abu Dhabi.

Once launched, this will be the longest nonstop flight into San Francisco, beating Emirates’ flight to Dubai by ~50 miles. The flight is blocked for 16hr15min westbound and 16hr10min eastbound, so it’s definitely an ultra-longhaul.

Bottom line

This is a very nice addition for those in the Bay Area, especially since Etihad is historically fairly generous with releasing first and business class award space. Unfortunately it looks like Etihad hasn’t loaded any award space yet. Once they do, here’s a tutorial on searching Etihad Airways award space.

No award space yet!

I do wish the flight were operated by an Etihad aircraft rather than a Jet Airways aircraft, and I do wish it didn’t leave from San Francisco so early in the morning, but for such a longhaul flight those are ultimately minor quibbles.

I’m sure eventually the flight will be operated by one of Etihad’s own planes, as they have a lot on order.

Do you plan on taking Etihad’s new San Francisco flight?

  1. @ Tony — For one-way travel, American charges 67,500 miles in business class or 90,000 miles in first class.

  2. Flying JFK to AUH on Etihad in December. Flight says operated by Jet Airways.

    What exactly should I expect? Etihad crew/food on a Jet Airways plane? Jet Airways crew/food on an Etihad plane?

    How does the hard product compare – Jet vs. Etihad? Flying in J.

    My flight AUH to JFK on the return doesn’t have the Jet Airways language.

  3. @ Ben — It’ll be a Jet Airways 777-300ER with herringbone seats. The crew, service, and food will all be the standard Etihad offerings. In terms of hard product I do prefer the Etihad product to the Jet Airways product.

  4. I love the second photo. I can just about hear Marlene Dietrich saying “Dahling, I vant to be alone.”

  5. Hey luck when you say you prefer the Etihad hard product over the Jet Airways hard product, can you comment on the hard product difference in the F cabin?

    Thx, as usual you da best!


  6. Lucky, I’m in the same situation as @Ben. What’s inferior about Jet vs EY hard product? Is it a drastic difference? Is it worth it to upgrade into F? (traveling on AA award )

  7. @ Jono — They both offer fully enclosed suites. Here’s Etihad’s hard product:

    Here’s the Jet Airways 777-300ER hard product:

    Ultimately Etihad’s is just a bit “fresher.” It’s not a massive difference. For me the biggest difference is that Etihad has wifi while Jet doesn’t.

  8. @ Alex — Well here’s Etihad’s hard product, which is my preferred kind of staggered business class hard product:

    It’s my second favorite type of overall business class hard product:

    Meanwhile Jet Airways has herringbone seats, sort of similar to what Virgin Atlantic has:

    Also a good product, but not as good.

    Whether or not it’s worth redeeming an extra 22,500 miles probably depends on your mileage balance. Personally I’d say it’s worth it for a 16 hour flight.

  9. @lucky Thanks for the great info, as always! As for worth it, thanks to the 4th AA Citi exec card and the mrs-to-be’s first, the trip to Maldives should prob get bumped up to 1st. Is this as simple as calling AA and asking the to rebook into F based on availability?

  10. Definitely, 100% not the same menu as the flights operated by EY planes, assuming they follow the same protocol as they do for their second JFK-AUH flight. For example, they will have no beef. They also don’t carry any of the delicious arabic sweets that they normally have. Just a couple of examples but the menu is quite different and in fact heavily favors Indian cuisine.

  11. Lucky: would it be worth changing to Qatar for the inbound flight to AUH (and onto Cairo)? Or, if you were in my shoes, would you stay with Jet Airways J? (Still have Etihad on the way home)

    TO be honest, the pictures I’ve seen of Qatar’s J (JFK – AUH) don’t exactly look…nice?

  12. @ Ben — If traveling alone I wouldn’t do Qatar, as you’ll have a seatmate. I’d still choose Jet Airways’ business class over Qatar’s.

  13. This is an interesting one for me. Based in Bay Area, with UAE as a project destination. Would offer an alternative to transiting through FRA (good and bad). Currently weighing up value of UA 1K. I am qualified for the next year, but perhaps this is a time to shift more focus to AA and other airlines.

  14. Have the schedules been loaded? If so, one would expect to see at least 0 availability on KVS BOM-SFO beyond Nov-18, but KVS currently returns the “No Matching Flights” message

    Thanks Ben.

  15. Lucky as far as the crew is concerned do you prefer the Etihad hard product or the Jet hard product?

  16. Lucky, are next year’s DFW-AUH flights on Jet equipment or Etihad’s own equipment? Thanks.

  17. Naturally, stoked as hell. Seems a bit much to deploy a 77W this early on, but I guess they’ve not much choice. Def a candidate for 789, as was mentioned. Checked prices for late this year and EK ex-DOH is still cheaper to SFO. Plus, rather fly A380 with the bar on that long a flight. Very happy the flight falls outside pre-clearance times.

  18. @onemileatatime
    im gonna guess the answer is no, but.. can AA miles be used to book EY for usa-euro via DOH as 1 award, not 2?

  19. Lucky, any idea whether the second AUH-JFK flights (which leave at almost the same time that the AUH-SFO flights do – 2:10AM vs 2:15AM) will get an equipment change to regular EY metal? With only two 9W planes and two ULH routes, they cannot obviously maintain a daily schedule and would need to add more planes.

  20. @ Diondi — I believe they’re getting an extra Jet Airways 777-300ER, so I believe they’ll both stay Jet Airways aircraft for now.

  21. Can anyone confirm which lounges Etihad has contracted with for access before the SFO-AUH flights? Are they using the BA lounges?

  22. Lucky, have you ever flown on the A330-200 Etihad on JetAirways configured aircraft in business class? If so how is the hard product? I will be flying on this flight in coach right now from AUH-JNB and back and they do have upgrade space on the AUH-JNB space for 37,778 miles. However, I am unsure of the configuration of the business class cabin as well as the quality of the hard and soft product. Do you think it is worth it to upgrade this flight with miles?



  23. Food and service on these flights are definitely below part for Etihad. Really disappointing. Big effort needed by Etihad to improve this to their usual quality product. Not the most pleasant long haul experience. Jet Airways dominated – not Etihad

  24. sfo-AUh EY 182
    Boarded 1 hr behind schedule and it looks like it’s been like this every day for the last 10. Why not move the schedule back to 945 if they can never get the plane ready?

  25. Hi lucky,
    I’ve been trying to look for Etihad award availability for the BOM-AUH-SFO route for the month of July, and I see no Guest seats open… Do you know if Etihad releases award space only closer to the travel date?
    Do you recommend any other options I can use for a BOM-SFO trip on one world partners (other than BA). šŸ™‚


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