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Etihad last minute award availability
Etihad used to be consistently generous with last minute award availability. You could track your desired cabin load and if there were several seats available then you could rely upon them releasing all but one, maybe two, seats for awards. This is no longer the case. When I started looking at ways to book my parents First Class tickets around the world I figured the Etihad Apartment space from Abu Dhabi to London would be some of the easiest to find last minute. There are 3 flights a day, 2:35, 8:10 and 13:50. Initially I booked my mom and I on the 2:35 flight and my dad on the 8:10 with the initial desire to move all of us to the 13:50. However, Etihad Last minute award availability isn’t what it used to be.
Early 2016, every flight would have 3 or 4, sometimes even 5 seats, available a couple days prior to departure.
As we progressed through 2016 I noticed the last minute award availability fluctuating quite a bit, no longer being as reliably generous as it was when the trip was first conceived. I’d seen some flights where they opened a seat or two, and then some where they flew the cabin half full. What’s even more interesting is that the avail comes and goes. If you see a few seats open at noon and check back at 6…they may still show empty on expertflyer’s seat map, but no longer available for “guest seat” redemption.
By the time 2017 came around, there wasn’t any consistency.
Using Expertflyer is the easiest way to snatch seats as they peel off and luckily about 6 weeks prior to departure I was able to move my Mom to the 8:10 flight with my dad. I was still on the 2:35 First Apartment until the day before we were scheduled to leave, and ultimately switched from the Apartment to the Business Studio on the 8:10 so we could fly all together. The last time I checked the load of the 13:35 there were 5 seats free in the Apartment cabin. None were released to Etihad Guest ( which is avail to partners) prior to departure.
As a data point, for week on ends the business studio had no seats available for the day we wished to fly, on any cabin. However, the night before travel, the 8:10 flashed 5 seats available as “Guest Seat.” Within a couple hours they were gone. No other flights opened any Business Studio. Very lucky.
If you’re thinking of flying Etihad in a premium cabin, I’d certainly set alerts on expertflyer, but if it’s important to fly together, on a specific day, or in a premium cabin…be obsessive. Be, be obsessed.
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