For a little over two weeks American AAdvantage has been unable to book award seats on their partner Etihad.
That’s a big deal, because Etihad has a fantastic onboard product and because their awards are generally very very easy to get.
Etihad has scheduled flights between Abu Dhabi and New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Chicago, Toronto, Dallas, and Los Angeles. All but Chicago and Toronto feature a first class cabin.
I’ve flown Etihad first class:
- Washington Dulles – Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi – Washington Dulles
- Washington Dulles – Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi – Dusseldorf
- New York JFK – Abu Dhabi
They’ve been my go-to for travel to the Maldives, the Middle East, and India.
If you’re looking to book an award using American miles, see the Ultimate Guide to Booking an Award Ticket Using American AAdvantage miles.
JonNYC at TravelingBetter has been posting updates on the continued outage of the connection between Etihad and American.
The most recent status update (presumably in Jetnet) is:
Etihad Airways Award Availability
We continue to have Direct Access availability issues with Etihad Airways (EY). For example, when displaying availability for EY flights, you may receive availability for Jet Airways (9W* operated by Etihad Airways) instead. This issue continues to be investigated. Once resolved and until further notice, please offer our apologies to customers wanting to book award flights on EY and advise to call back.
- Update 1255CT/10JUN HDQMJ0
This ongoing issue has, apparently, been the subject of speculation (such as on Flyertalk) about something larger than just a technical glitch.
When One Mile at a Time covered the ongoing glitch, a commenter on that blog summed up the concern:
Something like this is reasonably easily fixable IF there is a will to do so, and prioritise the fix. The question to be asked here is, why isn’t this a priority for the two parties involved (EY & AA), and what does that say about the nature of their relationship at the moment?
It is concerning that the issue has persisted for a couple of weeks. But:
- As far as priorities for fixing this, one imagines the technical queue at American is quite long at the moment with the integration of American and US Airways.
- While this seems like a huge deal to me, in terms of IT priorities it may not seem as high a priority up in the executive suite at American as some of the hundreds of other systems that need work as they prepare to combine two airlines.
- Etihad would seem to value the partnership. They serve three American hubs (New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, and later this year Dallas-Fort Worth). Without any US partner a single New York flight could make sense, and they’d likely serve Washington Dulles for other than economic reasons. But their US strategy seems to align well with American’s route network.
- It’s hard to imagine that dissolving a partnership would be presented as an ongoing IT glitch, as opposed to just.. dissolving a partnership.
- Other issues with partners have existed – and persisted – in the past and signified nothing.
- While some agents have speculated or ‘heard’ that the Etihad-American partnership has ended, that seems to be more of a rumor than based on any real information.
It’s conceivable that something more could be amiss. And the inability to book these seats is frustrating (I’d love to book another Maldives trip with Etihad!). But – for now – the most likely story does seem to be that the cigar is just a cigar, that there’s a technical glitch, rather than some other larger change afoot.
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