Ever since it started flying to San Francisco from its Abu Dhabi home base more than a year ago, Etihad Airways has been using a 777 leased from India’s Jet Airways on the route instead of one of its own planes.
Instead of seeing the aircraft pictured above, Etihad customers saw this when they arrived at the airport:
The move lead to snickers that the service should be called “Jetihad” instead.
But those snickers will soon turn into smiles: Effective this week, Etihad will replace the Jet Airways plane used on SFO-AUH with the real deal: Its own 777-200LR.
It has also been using a Jet Airways 777 on one of its two daily New York JFK flights (EY 101/100), but on June 1 it will replace that aircraft with its own 777-300ER. The other JFK flight will continue to use an A380 super-jumbo.
The new San Francisco aircraft will be outfitted with eight first class seats, 40 in business class and 191 in economy for a total of 239 seats. Its larger 777-300ER on the New York run will have eight seats in first, 40 in business and 280 in economy for a total of 328 seats. Both planes have onboard wi-fi whereas the Jet Airways plane did not.
Over the last few months Etihad had been using its own planes periodically on the SFO and JFK runs, but now (or on June 1) it will run all Etihad metal, all the time.
Just last week, we received this comment from a TravelSkills reader who flew on the leased Jet Airways flight from SFO: “They ran out or snacks with another four hours to go and a bunch of us were irate and hungry and had to wait for the meal service an hour later. The toilets were super small. The attendants wouldn’t pay attention to the light and just ignore you. The seats were definitely way different from the flight I took from Europe last year. Disappointing.”
Etihad has made a big splash recently among frequent flyers by rolling out a new three-room cabin onboard its A380 last December. The Residence includes a “living room,” private bathroom with shower, a bedroom with a double bed and a suited, London-trained butler. The Residence is one of many firsts Etihad has brought to the premium flying experience in recent years.
Etihad recently cut the ribbon on a new premium lounge at New York JFK — its second in the U.S. after Washington Dulles. The 7,000 square foot facility for first class and business class passengers has showers, a bar, a sitting area, and floor-to-ceiling windows. In San Francisco, Etihad passengers have access to Oneworld partner Cathay Pacific’s stellar, and recently expanded, lounge at SFO.
Etihad also operates daily flights to Chicago, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles, and three weekly flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth.
All passengers flying to the US clear customs and immigration in Abu Dhabi, which means they arrive in the US just like domestic flights. Recently, Etihad added a special first and business class lounge for passengers waiting to board after clearing customs in Abu Dhabi.
Have you or do you plan to fly Etihad one day soon? Please leave your comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: United’s newest, longest flight + Tipping Uber drivers + Qantas 747 Trip Report + Confusion over PreCheck policies + No-fee earlier flights