Has Etihad Stopped Making A380 First Class Apartment Awards Available?

Filed Under: Awards, Etihad

Almost a week ago I posted about how Etihad first class awards temporarily weren’t bookable using American AAdvantage miles. While there have been tech glitches in the past whereby AAdvantage members couldn’t book awards on Etihad, this one concerned me for a few reasons:

Fortunately it was a false alarm, and in reality Etihad first class bookings using American miles were back within hours.

However, many readers pointed out that there were absolutely no saver level Etihad A380 first class award seats available after the “glitch” was fixed. And that persisted for a few days, at which point I got some angry emails from readers asking why I wasn’t covering such a horrible development.

And the answer was simple, as I’ve explained in the past when discussing Etihad award availability trends — Etihad is terribly inconsistent when it comes to releasing first class award space. They do it in batches, with no rhyme or reason.

And we’ve especially seen that when it comes to A380 first class awards, whereby they sometimes make no space available, and sometimes make tons of space available.

As I expected, the problem has solved itself — Etihad A380 first class award availability is back again.


Take a look at tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi to Sydney flight, for example, which has five first class award seats available:


Meanwhile looking at random flights between Abu Dhabi and London in the future, I also see plenty of flights with two A380 first class award seats available.


Meanwhile at the moment I don’t see any Abu Dhabi to New York saver level first class award seats availability, though that’s nothing to be alarmed by. Etihad is inconsistent. It took them a while before they made A380 first class award space available on the route, and most of it was quickly snatched up. I suspect the space will be back again soon.


Bottom line

This is business as usual for Etihad. There’s no sense in trying to micro-analyze their award trends, for better or worse. Up until now Etihad has been very inconsistent, though big picture have been extremely generous when it comes to award space.

If you haven’t yet flown Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment, you really, truly, absolutely should. It’s a heck of an experience.

  1. Lucky, thanks for posting this.

    2015 looks ok in terms of award availability, but I’m not seeing any AUH-SYD-AUH A388 space or AUH-SIN-AUH space in 2016. There used to be daily availability before the “glitch”.

  2. I have a question though it isn’t directly related to etihad first awards. I’m booked for auh-Lhr and back, 2 weeks from now, in business class. I’m trying to upgrade to first using miles (which etihad does allow) but haven’t been successful. How are they with miles upgrades? Thanks in advance!

  3. 5??? Wow that’s a lot for First class! From what I recall, there are only 9 apts. Do you normally see this when it comes close to departure?

  4. Just returned from award F apartments IAD-AUH-SYD. A380 phenomenal hard product, service and food hit or miss, mostly miss. Food and service much better on 787-9 F IAD-AUH. IAD and AUH EY premium lounges excellent food/excellent service (IAD slight edge, plus its board-from-lounge feature way cool); AUH EY lounge free massage, manicure and haircuts for F passengers. IAD EY lounge upstairs is roped off “permanently for dignitaries”, but can ask contract lounge staffer for a tour. IAD lounge service and food rivals that of SQ Private Room. All F apartments went out full both flights, vast majority on revenue tickets (or gate-sold upgraded?) tickets.

  5. Surprised you haven’t mentioned the alleged lizard found in an Air India meal midflight. Seems like it would fit in well with the other posts on here about Air India…

  6. I am looking at return availability between Feb 20, 2016 – Mar 20, 2016, between JFK-AUH. The Guest First seats display as “sold out”. Does that mean they’re actually sold out? Or not being released by Etihad as part of the ‘glitch’ or just their random way of releasing first award space?

    Also, if one were to book the business class seats using AA miles, what cost/penalty would be incurred in changing the award ticket to GuestFirst, IF the GuestFirst seats open up in the future?


  7. It seems like EY is just being stingy with availability far out. From a revenue perspective that kind of makes sense as they don’t have enough data to know if this product will lead to increased revenue bookings yet. That would also be why you can’t make reservations for NYC flights since they haven’t started or flights too far in the future. Based on reviews, this product definitely seems superior to any other F class competition and definitely competition from the other Gulf carriers, it wouldn’t surprise me if they could peel off an extra revenue seat or two from the competition for the near future.

  8. I hate these closets in the sky.
    Previously before evolving they were like kennels. Now they are big enough to fit a dog and a hoover.

    I actively seek out airlines with big seats and none of these walls.
    Iam not claustrophobic, but Iam when confronted with this once inside a plane.

    Btw, very sorry that readers would send you nasty emails; everyone feels so entitled these days………you provide a column and a service which are greatly appreciated.

  9. Ben,

    I have a IAD – AUH(First) – MAA(Business) Confirmed in Aug. I’m trying to leave 3 days earlier. I see availability separately from IAD – AUH has 2 seats in First and AUH – MAA 2 seats in business. However when I look for availability from IAD – MAA, it says no availability. I tried calling AA award desk and they don’t see the AUH – MAA available at all for any of the days in the first week of Aug. I still see multiple business class seats on multiple flights from AUH – MAA on all days. Is there anything else that I can do or should I wait for some more time to see if it eventually becomes available(which may not happen since its summer holidays and its peak time for that route). Your thoughts on this please…

  10. @Id.. ordered the steak, 1/3 of which was inedible gristle. Ordered grouper, slightly rubbery.. Both were bland.. Wife ordered steak sandwich medium, came out rare. Tried to order cheese plate 1 hour prior to landing but “kitchen was closed”. 30 minutes later, kitchen brought out a baked cake to my revenue ticket neighbor in row 5.

  11. @Andy, there’s no change fee to upgrade an AA award from business to first. Now downgrading is a different story.

  12. @BlackHill, you have to have them check seats from IAD to AUH and then separately check from AUH to MAA. For some reason AAgents can’t see seats from origin to destination. So you have to feed them each leg.

  13. I have 2 F seats booked from JFK-AUH on their JetAirways flight next April, since I can’t find seats on the 380. Do you think their second JFK flight will be converted to a 380 by that time so I’ll be put on that plane instead? Thanks.

  14. Ben i think the problen was more that AA could not see any A380 F awards not that ey.com were not displaying any.
    Can AA definitely still see/book EY A380 F awards

  15. @ Ben — For a while Etihad didn’t have any A380 first class space either. American should be able to book most/all available space.

  16. @ BlackHill — Hmmm, as noted above, did you make sure they’re searching segment by segment? Sometimes that does the trick.

  17. @ Andy — That means there’s no saver first class award space being released at the moment. There would be no fee to upgrade from business to first class if space later opened up.

  18. @ Gene — How on earth is it click bait? I’m answering a question I’ve received dozens of times over the past week.

  19. @ Joey — If the seats are unsold, that’s not too unusual. When I saw that thought of all the fun that could be had with getting a group of five friends together on one flight, hehe.

  20. @ AS — You’re on a cash business class ticket and trying to upgrade, or a business class award? If the former, what fare class?

  21. @ lucky – tried to book F Suite on SYD – AUH for February 2016. Even though etihad.com shows available seats almost daily on 77W and A380 – AA only had some F on 77W, no F Suite availability at all. For AUH – SIN only business class available. Hope they will open up some seats :-/

  22. Thanks for the reply Lucky & Rob.

    Just so I understand clearly, I could ticket the Business class seats, and if in a month or so I see the A380 Guest First available, I call AAdavantage, and ask to change to F. They would internally pull back my miles from the current booking, redeposit and then re-book the ticket in F, right?


  23. @Andy

    yes, they know the drill, it’s super easy… they just subtract the up-charge in miles from your account. you really don’t need to do anything but call and feed them the flights you want.

  24. @Andy, I’m pretty sure you can also change the dates of travel without penalty as long as origin and destination are the same, which gives additional flexibility.

  25. @ Nobody — Sometimes there’s a discrepancy. I’d keep checking back, as hopefully they’ll soon have access to that space again.

  26. @Nobody

    Where do you see F availability on A380 for the month of Feb 2016? I see few days with 2 F OpenSeat on 777 but 0 on A380. 0, nada. I think Etihad closed out most of apartments openseat availability.
    I’ve been monitoring SYD-AUH for last few month and I know how Etihad has been dead consistent on releasing 2 openseats per flight each day and that there were plenty of availability until the glitch hit. No more. I believe they were removed by Etihad rather than all booked by AAdvantage members rushing in right after the glitch was fixed last week. I think it’s over…except the last minute release like the 5(!) open seats released yesterday for the flight today (pictured in the article). Hope I am wrong those.

  27. @Ben and Rob,

    Yes I was asking them to check segment by segment as I always do. The agents are able to see the award tickets from IAD – AUH in 1st class. However they don’t see any availability in Business class btn AUH – MAA during the entire week. I’m still able to see business class tickets almost all the days in the first week of Aug. I also followed the Hang up and call again options and have spoken to at-least 5 other agents, all seems to say the same thing. Is it possible AA agents are not really seeing the business class seats but I’m able to when I search directly from Etihad award availability? Is it possible Etihad is restricting award tickets just for their program members and not for AA members?

  28. @ lucky – thanks 🙂

    @ tjp74 – for example check the 08th February – 6 First Suite Saver on the EY455, that’s what Etihad.com shows me. But AA has no access to those seats.

  29. @ BlackHill — If you called that often, then it sounds like some sort of actual availability discrepancy. There might not be much that can be done now. Very odd.

  30. @nobody

    Yes 6 First Suite Savers on the EY455 for Feb 8th but that’s not what AA can see. Only ‘Guest First’ seats can be booked by AAdvantage miles. Sorry, you will see it’s ‘Sold out’ for that flight. There used to be max of 2 seats on most days but zero available now.

    Only F ‘guest first’ seats I see available are non apartments like 2 seats on 77W (EY451) or ones on IAD-AUH on B787.

  31. at least LHR-AUH route is still showing 2 guest seats available on some days… that’s good.

  32. @ Prince — I’ll post about it when I see it, but not really a way to set alerts otherwise.

  33. It seems like there’s no more F availability on Etihad, have they once again blocked it and will only make it available a day or two before the departure date you’re looking for?

  34. @Lucky – I am not sure where you are seeing Apartment availability .. I was looking for JFK-SYD and scrolled thru from Jan – June 2016 and all I get is the First Class Premium at 190,000 points.. any suggestions.

  35. 2 months ago I was able to book 2 apartment first tickets on etihad from abu dhabi to JFK without any hassle. So I assume this issue has been resolved. I also plan to try the Etihad residence early next year.

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