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The Definitive Guide to Etihad’s Direct Routes From the U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

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Stephen Au

Stephen Au

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 41U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Etihad is an airline that gets a lot of attention these days. Although the airline is struggling financially, it’s known for outstanding premium cabin products.

As one of the few carriers that flies directly from the U.S. to the Middle East, Etihad Airways has plenty to offer to American travelers.

Etihad Airways is not a member of any major alliance, but rather partners with several airlines and operates its own frequent flyer program known as Etihad Guest.

Etihad’s home airport is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. As you will find out in this guide, all these routes operated are to Abu Dhabi (AUH).

The United Arab Emirates is a fantastic tourist and business destination — Dubai is known as the financial hub of the Middle East, and Abu Dhabi is known for its mosques and Emirati culture.

With so many travelers interested in visiting the Middle East and getting there in luxury travel accommodations, we want to give you all the routes and different products that Etihad Airways can offer for your trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Update: Due to COVID-19, Etihad may temporarily suspend routes, frequencies, and/or aircraft flown. Please check with the airline directly for the most current information. 

Etihad Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Etihad operates 2 aircraft on flights to/from the U.S.:

  • 787-9 (3-class)
  • A350-1000 (2-class)

As we will get into later, there are huge variations between the seats on the 2 aircraft; that’s why it’s so important to understand which plane to fly! That way, you’ll have access to the best product you can get your hands on.

Below is a summary of all the Etihad Airways routes to the U.S., along with the aircraft and cabin class.

The last column describes the frequency of each route, which is always subject to change — especially since Etihad is now cutting routes frequently to minimize costs.

Etihad RouteFlight NumberAircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Chicago (ORD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)EY 150A350-1000Business, EconomyDaily
New York (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)EY 100A350-1000Business, EconomyDaily
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)EY 130787-9First, Business, EconomyDaily

As you can see, there are only 3 flights that Etihad Airways operates from the U.S., so there’s not a ton of flexibility to be had if you want to fly on Etihad.

Still, there are tons of different seats you can fly, so let’s get into the analysis!

Best Points To Earn To Fly Etihad

Etihad is not in any airline alliances; instead, it partners with several airlines.

Using Air Canada Aeroplan points is probably going to be your best bet. That’s because you can transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio to Air Canada.

Another option is to use American AAdvantage miles at a price of 115,000 AA miles for one-way flights in first class from the U.S. to the Middle East. The same ticket in business class costs only 70,000 AA miles. The only transfer partners available are Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards. Marriott transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a bonus of 5,000 miles after transferring 60,000 points in a single transaction. Bilt transfers at a 1:1 ratio.

If you want the cheapest award, Asiana Club miles can’t be beaten in this case. The cost is only 80,000 miles one-way in first class and 60,000 miles one-way in business class. Asiana’s only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy, which comes at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus after transferring 60,000 points in a single transaction. There are a lot of other ways to use Asiana miles for maximum value if this isn’t your cup of tea. Just note that you aren’t allowed to redeem Asiana miles for the New York-Abu Dhabi route.

You may choose to book Etihad flights with its own program, Etihad Guest. It’s going to cost more miles and points, but it’s a transfer partner with Amex, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Etihad First Class Options

Etihad 787-9 First Class

Enjoy a lovely luxury experience in Etihad first class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

When booking Etihad first class, you’ll have a large seat and sliding doors that enclose your suite — but the seat will also be your bed.

These Etihad first class suites are offered only on 1 aircraft: the 787-9.

This gives you just 1 potential route to fly: Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH) [787-900].

Etihad is one of the very few airlines to offer first class on the 787 Dreamliner, so major props for making that move.

The 787 Dreamliner utilizes better composite materials in its aircraft construction, resulting in a more comfortable aircraft with a much friendlier carbon footprint than many other aircraft.

Let’s see how the seating is arranged in the 787 first class suites:

Etihad 787 first class suites seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

As you can see, the middle seats are actually facing opposite directions, which is quite interesting!

These 787 first class suites are each 26 inches wide, while the pitch and bed length measure 80 inches long.

Bottom Line: The only way to experience Etihad’s first class product on a U.S. route is on the 787-9 flown between Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Abu Dhabi (AUH). In these first class suites, you’ll enjoy a private pod with sliding doors, lie-flat beds, and plenty of space to relax.

Etihad Business Class Options

Etihad offers 2 different business class products: the Business Studio and business class. The Business Studio is actually the inferior product in our opinion, as the new business class product features greater privacy.

Etihad A350-1000 Business Class

Etihad A350-1000 business class. Image Credit: Etihad Airways

The Etihad A350-1000 business class represents Etihad’s newest business class product. It consists of Collins Aerospace Super Diamond business class seats in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration.

The key difference is that this business class product has sliding doors for extra privacy, which is huge.

The seat map is fairly simple:

Etihad A350-1000 business class seat map. Image Credit: Aerolopa

As you can see, there’s essentially 1 large business class cabin with 4 seats per row. Each of these seats is 20 inches wide and 79 inches long in bed mode and includes a 44-inch sliding door.

Because there are lavatories at the front and galley areas in the rear, we recommend seating in the middle to isolate yourself as much as possible from the cabin noise and foot traffic.

Etihad’s A350-1000 aircraft are currently flown on 2 U.S. routes:

  • Chicago (ORD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  • New York (JFK) – Abu Dhabi (AUH)

Etihad 787-9 Business Studio

Etihad’s 787-9 Business Studio. Image Credit: Etihad Airways

This Business Studio is flown on 787 Dreamliners, meaning you’ll have 1 route option: Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Abu Dhabi (AUH).

Let’s examine the seating arrangement on the 787 Dreamliner:

Etihad 787 Business Class Studio seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The Etihad Business Studio is configured in 2 separate mini-cabins, with the front cabin being the most private.

The front mini-cabin has 8 seats spread out across 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration, while the rear mini-cabin features 5 rows in the same 1-2-1 configuration — for a total Business Studio cabin size of 28 seats on the 787. 

The 787 Business Studio is 22 inches wide and 73 inches long, which is pretty sizable as a seat. Unfortunately, these seats aren’t as private as the business class product on the A350-1000, which is why we give the edge to the A350-1000 business class seat.

Hot Tip: Need help booking your Etihad business class flights? Check out our in-depth guide on the best ways to book Etihad business class.

Etihad Premium Economy Options

Etihad doesn’t offer premium economy seats on their flights to/from the U.S.

Etihad Economy Options

The last seating option to explore is economy class seats. Unfortunately, Etihad doesn’t have a particularly palatable economy configuration on these flights, thanks to a series of 3-3-3 arrangements with basically no preferential seats. That is, no seats are better than any others.

Etihad A350-1000 Economy Class

Image Credit: Etihad Airways

We give the edge to Etihad’s new A350-1000 economy class product, thanks to the thoughtfully-designed seat shell. There are headrest wings on each seat, and you’ll have a quieter overall experience due to the high-tech construction of the aircraft.

The standard seat is around 17.5 inches wide and 31 inches in pitch.

Here’s what the seat map looks like:

Etihad A350-1000 economy class seat map. Image Credit: Aerolopa

If you’re looking to get the best seats possible, seats 39B/39C, 38D/E/G, and 39H/J are the best for extra legroom. Just keep in mind that these are exit row seats.

Etihad 787-9 Economy Class

Etihad’s 787-9 economy class seats feature the same 3-3-3 layout. However, each of these seats is around 17 inches wide with 31 to 32 inches in pitch.

Here’s what the 787 economy class seat map looks like:

Etihad 787 economy class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

If you’re looking for the most legroom, seats in all of row 15 are great. Also, you can choose 24B/C, 23D/E/G, and 24H/J for additional legroom.

Final Thoughts

Etihad has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best luxury airlines for first and business class flights. However, there’s a less-than-ideal configuration in economy at 3-3-3.

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of the Etihad Airways routes to the U.S., along with the different seat options for every flight!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ways to book Etihad Airways first class?

The best deal would be to redeem Asiana Airlines miles to book Etihad first class, but Asiana Airlines only has 1 transfer partner: Marriott. It will cost 80,000 Asiana miles one-way for a first class flight between the Middle East and the U.S.

The most realistic option, though, is to use 120,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points transferred from Chase, Amex, Capital One, or Bilt at a 1:1 ratio to book Etihad first class.

Alternatively, you can use 115,000 American Airlines miles or 160,000 Etihad Guest miles to book an Etihad first class flight.

Check out our guide on the best ways to book Etihad first class!

What are the best ways to book Etihad Airways business class?

Asiana still offers the most competitive rates to book Etihad business class: 60,000 miles one-way to/from the U.S. and the Middle East.

You can also use 85,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points to book a one-way flight between the U.S. and the Middle East. Air Canada is transfer partners with Amex, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, and Chase.

American Airlines also charges 70,000 miles one-way, while Etihad Guest charges around 120,000 miles one-way.

Check out our guide on the best ways to book Etihad business class!

What are the best ways to book Etihad Airways premium economy class?

Unfortunately, Etihad Airways doesn’t offer a premium economy seat for any of these routes.

What are the best ways to book Etihad Airways economy class?

In this case, you can redeem either 40,000 Asiana Airlines miles or 40,000 American Airlines miles one-way for any of the U.S./Middle East routes.

However, the best is using 70,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles to book round-trip economy! However, you’ll notice that one-way tickets are not allowed when booking with Korean Air miles.

Another alternative is Etihad Guest, which charges 57,750 miles on all U.S. routes for a one-way ticket.

About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.


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