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Here’s Where You Can Fly Etihad’s Exquisite Airbus A380 Superjumbo Jet

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Nick Ellis
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Nick Ellis

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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
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During the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines worldwide quickly began pulling their gigantic Airbus A380s out of service. Demand for flying was at historic lows, and there was no need for the largest commercial jet ever created to criss-cross the globe.

As the airline industry emerged from the pandemic, several airlines retired their A380s forever, though a few have reintroduced the lauded aircraft back into their fleets.

Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi has put a portion of its fleet of A380s back into service. Currently, the airline has a total of 10 of the superjumbos, with 6 remaining in storage and 4 actively flying for the airline.

Limited to just 4 Etihad A380s plying the skies, your opportunities to experience this aircraft are limited. The jet currently operates routes between the airline’s global hub in Abu Dhabi and London. Soon, the airline will return to Boston on March 31, 2024, then New York on April 22, 2024.

With only 2 available routes, flying on Etihad’s A380 in 2024 is even more of an exclusive experience than it has ever been in the past. Let’s run through everything you need to know about Etihad’s A380 and where to find it.

Why Flying on Etihad’s A380 Is Great

The Airbus A380 has a stellar reputation among flyers. It’s the world’s largest commercial aircraft, with plenty of space on board — even in the economy cabin. It’s known for providing one of the smoothest and quietest rides in the sky, even though it has 4 massive engines powering it.

Etihad Airbus A380
Image Credit: Etihad Airways

But flying on Etihad’s A380 is even more special — without a doubt one of the holy grails of flying — especially if you can swing it in a premium cabin.

These jets boast one of the most exclusive configurations in the industry, with perhaps the single most aspirational flying product in all of commercial aviation: The Residence, a 3-room suite designed for 2 people that features an ensuite shower space, a separate living room, and a true double bed.

A380 Etihad The Residence bedroom
Image Credit: Etihad Airways

Even if you’re not flying in The Residence, you won’t exactly be slumming it in first or business class. In first, you’ll luxuriate in a private suite, known as The Apartment, have access to an onboard shower, and enjoy some of the finest food and drink available at 35,000 feet.

Etihad First Class Apartment bedding
Etihad’s The Apartment. Image Credit: Juan Ruiz

In business, you’ll have a private area with a seat that turns into a lie-flat bed, the latest and greatest in inflight entertainment, an elevated food and beverage menu, and high-end amenities, all of which ensure you’ll arrive at your destination refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Etihad Airways Airbus A380 Business Class Seat 13G
Etihad Airways Airbus A380 business class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Even in economy, Etihad passengers are treated to a great experience, with the airline providing more amenities than most of its competitors and the A380 providing a more comfortable and spacious flying experience.

Where To Find Etihad’s A380s

With just 4 A380s flying for Etihad, your opportunities to fly this special aircraft are limited. Understandably, Etihad only flies these planes specifically designed to carry numerous premium passengers to destinations where it has the best opportunity to capture the largest amount of these types of flyers.

The jet has flown between its hub in Abu Dhabi (AUH) and London Heathrow (LHR) for several months, and in just a few weeks, it’ll resume flying to New York (JFK). It makes perfect sense for Etihad to place its most premium aircraft on these routes, as these 2 cities are some of the most premium-heavy markets in the world, with a healthy flow of business travelers and well-heeled leisure flyers.

Hot Tip:

Check out our full guide to learn everything you need to know about Etihad, with information about the amenities it offers, customer service, baggage fees, and more.

Abu Dhabi to London

Etihad flies 4 daily nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and London. You can find the A380 on 3 of the 4 daily frequencies. Here’s a look at the specific departures you’ll need to book to experience the A380 on the roughly 7-hour journey to London:

  • EY11 — Departs AUH at 2:40 a.m. local time (red-eye)
  • EY19 — Departs AUH at 8:05 a.m. local time
  • EY17 — Departs AUH at 2:05 p.m. local time

To get the most out of this experience, we recommend aiming for EY19 or EY17, with EY17 being the preferred option. With such an awesome flying experience — especially in a premium cabin — you’ll want to be as awake as possible to soak up every minute of luxury.

The 2:05 p.m. departure is the best option, the 8:05 a.m. departure second best, and the 2:40 a.m. departure the least favorable, as you’ll want to sleep as much as possible on a flight with that schedule.

Departing from London, here are the A380 options you’ll have:

  • EY12 — Departs at 9 a.m. local time
  • EY20 — Departs at 1:55 p.m. local time
  • EY18 — Departs at 8:55 p.m. local time (red-eye)

Using the same logic as above, your best options here are choosing either EY12 or EY20 so you can maximize the amount of time you’ll have to experience the Etihad A380 while fully awake.

Hot Tip:

Etihad also operates a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its London to Abu Dhabi service. The aircraft departs London-Heathrow at 7:20 p.m., and leaves Abu Dhabi at 10:45 a.m.

Abu Dhabi to New York

Etihad flies nonstop twice daily between Abu Dhabi and New York. Come April, the A380 will operate one of the 2 daily flights. Here’s a look at the 1 option you’ll have for experiencing the A380 on the approximately 14-hour journey from Abu Dhabi to New York:

  • EY103 — Departs at 2:55 a.m. local time (red-eye)

Etihad is operating from a brand-new terminal and boasts all-new lounge spaces at its Abu Dhabi home.

Etihad Airways A380
The Etihad A380 will return to New York (JFK) in April. Image Credit: Etihad Airways

Fortunately, from New York, the A380 flight departs at a much more hospitable time:

  • EY102 — Departs at 3:30 p.m. local time

While New Yorkers don’t have as much choice as Londoners when it comes to maximizing time experiencing all the Etihad A380 has to offer, the flight between New York and Abu Dhabi is about double the duration of flights to and from London.

There’s much more time to do it all: geek out in your seat, eat, drink, sleep, shower, enjoy the inflight entertainment, and maybe even get some work done if you can find the focus to do so.

How To Fly Etihad’s A380

If you’re hoping to fly in one of Etihad’s premium cabins, expect to pay handsomely for it. First class The Apartment tickets can easily cost over $10,000 one-way, with a journey in The Residence running well over $25,000 each way.

Etihad First Class Apartment view plus chair
A ticket in The Apartment first class will run you several thousand dollars each way. Image Credit: Juan Ruiz

However, you can pay for these flights with points and miles — and rates can be reasonable depending on how you book. Through Etihad’s Guest program, you can expect to redeem 110,000 Etihad Guest Miles for business class and 220,000 Miles for first class on the New York to Abu Dhabi service,

Fortunately, eligible American Express Card members can transfer their American Express Membership Rewards® points* to Etihad Guest at a 1:1 ratio. Here are a few of our favorite Amex consumer cards:

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip:

Final Thoughts

Etihad’s Airbus A380 is one of the most exclusive and special jets flying today. We’re thrilled to see it flying for the airline again, even if it is to just 2 cities globally.

We can only hope that the airline brings more of the superjumbos back into service, and we start to see its A380 routes proliferate around the globe once again.

For now, if you want to experience the Etihad A380 for yourself, make sure you’re flying between Abu Dhabi and either New York or London. And before you book, pay attention to the flight numbers to ensure you’ll be enjoying all the superjumbo has to offer.


*Membership Rewards® Program

Terms and Conditions for the Membership Rewards® program apply. Visit membershiprewards.com/terms for more information. Participating partners and available rewards are subject to change without notice.

The value of Membership Rewards points varies according to how you choose to use them. To learn more, go to www.membershiprewards.com/pointsinfo.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Etihad still fly the A380?

The Airbus A380 has resumed flying for Etihad since the summer of 2023. Currently, 4 of the airline’s 10 A380s are actively flying.

How many seats are on Etihad's A380s?

Etihad flies A380s with a total of 495 seats across The Residence and The Apartment first class, business class, and economy.

What routes does the Etihad A380 fly?

Currently, Etihad flies its A380 between Abu Dhabi and London-Heathrow. Come April, it will also fly the A380 to New York (JFK).

When does Etihad's A380 return to the U.S.?

Etihad will begin flying its A380 to New York (JFK) on April 22, 2024.

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About Nick Ellis

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.

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