(EXPIRED) Plentiful Etihad Apartments First Class space for up to 9 passengers

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A reader tipped us off last night to the fact that Air Canada is showing access to a bunch of Etihad A380 first class award space — they sent us a single example date showing 7 seats and joked that we could take the entire party of 5 and a couple of lucky readers along with us on that flight. Upon further inspection, there is a lot of availability to be found right now. If you’ve always wanted to fly in the Etihad Apartments, their A380 first class product, now is your moment: there is excellent availability from London to Abu Dhabi in scattered months this year (albeit with less availability in the opposite direction). Many dates have space for at least two passengers — and in some cases Air Canada is showing access to all nine first class seats. If you’re looking to book your family in first class, this is your chance (assuming that this isn’t some sort of phantom availability, which is somewhat of a concern).

a seat in a plane

The Deal

  • Air Canada Aeroplan is showing access to a ton of Etihad A380 first class award availability between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH). On many dates, there is availability for multiple passengers, making it possible to fly an entire family in first class. As seen below, Air Canada charges 65K miles each way on this route.
  • Search at AirCanada.com

Quick Thoughts

This is a pretty amazing deal if you can snag it given the availability for multiple passengers. Greg flew Etihad apartments after our 40K to Far Away challenge and it looked amazing.

Etihad Guest Sweet Spots
Etihad Apartment

The easiest way to find dates with availability is via award search tool SeatSpy, which just recently added Beta functionality to search Etihad space.

The thing of it is that since Etihad has dynamically-priced awards, you can almost always book a first class award with Etihad miles. The SeatSpy tool therefore makes it look like there is a ton of first class award availability all the time — which is only true if you’re booking through Etihad Guest.

a screenshot of a graph

However, at the top there is a slider that allows you to choose the maximum number of points you want to use. If you set the slider to only show awards priced up to around 150K miles one-way, you’ll find space that can largely be booked via Air Canada Aeroplan.

a screenshot of a graph While the search above is for 2 passengers, you’ll notice that the picture doesn’t change significantly when we search for six passengersIn first class!

a screenshot of a graph

The good news is that searches at AirCanada.com confirm that they do indeed see tons of space.

a screenshot of a computer

In the picture above, you’ll see that the second flight absolutely does show six first class seats available on Etihad. The bad news is that the 20:55 departure showing six seats is actually operated by a 787, so it would not feature first class apartments. Before you reach for your crying towel, the good news is that the 14:50 departure is operated with an A380 that would have first class apartments. And I searched for nine passengers and still saw it available.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

Now I should mention that I’m not fully confident that this is accurate and not some sort of phantom space. In fact, I am at least partially convinced that something wacky is going on because Etihad only has nine seats in first class on the A380. The above screen shot means that they were giving Air Canada access to book the entire first class cabin as awards on that flight. To some extent, that seems hard to believe. On the other hand, I haven’t heard of widespread Air Canada phantom space issues before. The problem of course is that transferring points from a currency like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Rewards, or Bilt Rewards to Air Canada Aeroplan is a one-way street. If you transfer and are unable to book, you’ll be stuck with Aeroplan points.

Personally, that’s not a fate I’d be unable to accept, so I’d probably risk it for two or three or four passengers here. If I were really going to try to book all nine, maybe I’d hold off until I saw a success report or two booking this.

Still, given the amazing-looking experience of Etihad Apartments First Class, I’d be very tempted if any of the available dates fit with my travel plans. Unfortunately, it just isn’t going to work out for me this time, but I hope some readers are able to grab a seat.

If you do try to book this, please let us know how it works out in the comments so we can gather data points that this is working (or that it isn’t if not).

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I booked two roundtrip tickets first class on etihad for January 2023 and received an email stating cancellation of the awards. Not sure if anyone else has had this bad luck…


Same here, got an email couple of hours ago sayingt here is a change to my flight, and they removed my first class leg from LHR to AUH (booked via AC). flight still operating. Not cool,we have hotels and flights booked around this booking.


Sorry to hear as well, i called AC earlier this morning and the rep was perplexed as well. Got my points refunded but still not cool etihad. Hopefully it works out for you!


Happened to me as well and also had other flights booked. Not sure what to do. Should I try calling Etihad or AC to see if there is anything they will do or just have to live with it and incur the cost to rebook a new flight or cancel my other bookings?


Can everyone who’s had their first class AUH-LHR or LHR-AUH bookings cancelled please provide the flight numbers? There are multiple flights per day so it would be good to see if there is a pattern here.


Can everyone who’s had their first class AUH-LHR or LHR-AUH bookings cancelled please provide the flight numbers? There are multiple flights per day so it would be good to see if there is a pattern here.


Hi, I was wondering if you have any further information on this. I saw the updated post about the itinerary being fixed automatically, but that hasn’t happened yet and from the looks of comments on that post, others haven’t had it fixed either. I’ve tried calling but haven’t had luck with agents being able to fix things and so trying to decide on what to do next. Thanks.


I think they removed availability from all dates as F awards don’t seem to be showing up anymore on both directions?


I was able to book 2 seats MLE to LHR next Feburary for 90K. I got seats to MLE on Qatar a few weeks ago and was watching for something great for the return, this was it. Now just need a deal from LHR home! Thanks for the tip.


I am trying to book the Apartments in March 2024. just looked on the AC website and only see business class seats (2 levels of miles needed based on amenities you want, like a fully refundable ticket). I spoke with a AC agent, and she said that they don’t have award seats in F. How do you find seats in First on the AC website? Etihad codes First as O inventory, biz is I inventory.

Also does AC charge a cancellation and redeposit fee to return the miles to one’s account if we have to cancel the flight? And what are the fees?

I am able to book seats on AA but they only go out 321 days so my tickets are on February 9th. I paid for them since they are easily cancellable at no cost.

Thanks for your help. I will add that my husband and I flew on this route AUH-LHR three years ago, & it was extraordinary. The only aircraft better was Concorde!!!


PS. 1 1/2 hour wait to talk to AA.


Are these cancellable?

Sarah Cash

Yaaaaaay! I got one seat for August 19 on the A380, which is still showing 8 seats available in F for LHR-AUH, meaning all 9 were available via AC. Thank you!!


HI Sarah, I just looked on AC and only see business class seats (2 levels of miles needed based on amenities you want, like a fully refundable ticket). I spoke with a AC agent, and she said that they don’t have award seats in F. How did you find seats in First on the AC website? Are you sure that your seats are in F and not business. Etihad codes F as O inventory, biz is I inventory.

Sarah Cash

O weird! It’s definitely first class- O inventory. I just did a regular one-way search for LHR-AUH using miles & saw the availability in first, since AC lists all cabins. I’m still seeing 8 in F for this specific route on Aug 19 when I just performed the same search now.

YY Fung

Thanks, Nick! I finally booked theses by end of Dec:
I can’t get the 1A to enjoy the personal shower room.
Now look for reasonable redemption from EU to West coast


I had no problems booking with AA and they could see availability regardless of how many aeroplan is showing. Good luck with the AA hold times. I purchased immediately and did not put on hold.


I called AA and booked Abu Dhabi to London by searching on Air Canada. The date that shows 6 seats available on Air Canada, AA agent said the no award seat available. But when I pick the date that show only 2 award seats AA agent can see those seats.

I cancel the London-Abu Dhabi award seats I booked last time because I want to experience the First class lounge in Abu Dhabi. The tax also cheaper $36 vs $296.60


Can you confirm if the flights you booked were A380 aircraft? All the flights showing on Air Canada now only have Boeing 787 available for first class. No A380 planes.


Yes, the flight I booked was on A380. If you look at flights leaving at 2.15 pm it is A380.


My flight is in February next year from Abu Dhabi to London. I saw several dates with 2-6 seats on first class.


Thanks everyone, I did a quick google search, and then searched AC award engine, and noticed all First Class from AUH-LHR started operating A380 from Nov 2023 onwards. I snagged myself 2 seats for Nov. Thanks for sharing this!



Last edited 1 year ago by Jack

What number did you call?


I’m flying to Bali in late August and was trying to see if I could find a way to incorporate this. The problem is, Etihad isn’t releasing any business class award space to SE Asia, only economy. That pretty much takes the fun out of this for me.


You can fly other fun Aeroplan partners from AUH to Indonesia such as Oman Air (via Muscat) or Gulf Air/SingaporeAir/Thai (via SIN or BKK).


Good thinking! If I book something now through Aeroplan, can I add on segments later on the same itinerary without rebooking the whole thing when Lufthansa opens up award space in first class?


Thanks. I don’t mind the change fee but the rest of the space won’t be around in August. I really appreciate the response.


How do they deal with kids on these seats. We have a seven yr old and how separate are kids when they need to be in seat?


I flew the apartments with kids age 3 and 5 some years ago and it was no problem.


Nick, turning the tables . . . booking partners with Etihad points. While Etihad updated its partner award chart, it appears that booking a partner award still requires a call to Etihad . . . booking on Etihad’s website (as reported) doesn’t seem to be available yet. Any thoughts? Thanks.


Booked my family of 5 on Christmas Day! Thank you for such a great surprise to wake up to! Now can you guide me how I select the seats? Thank you again!!


The booking reference for Air Canada can be used on Etihad website to select seats.


Noticed same thing for a recent booking through Aeroplan for Turkish Airlines (same PNR # for both).
Unrelated but noteworthy, there was Business availability for TLV-IST and IST-BJV (several flights). However, I could not book a 5k stopover via website or on the phone with Air Canada CS. Just at TK Bodrum flight thing? Bodrum to IST flight is on A350.
Speaking of Turkish Airlines, I’m seeing some great RocketMiles redemptions (prices for stays same as booking.com, more TK miles than AA miles for same stays).


Do you think you could call AA to see same avaliability