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Booking the Etihad A380 First Class Apartment with American Airlines is not that difficult but there’s definitely some things you want to know when you finally are ready to make your booking. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you out a little bit when it comes time for you to book your First Class Apartment with Etihad Airways.
Find Guest Seat availability
In order to use your AA miles to book a reward flight with Etihad you need to find “Guest Tickets” available on the Etihad website. When I booked our tickets from AUH to JFK, there were a few openings for guest seats but they seemed to have been filling up very fast.
For example, two tickets were gone in between me calling the call center and finally getting a hold of one of the representatives (which only took about 15 minutes). They probably don’t always go so fast but my advice is that when you see these seats open up to snag them as soon as you can. The screen shot below shows availability for “Guest First” the option you’ll need to book the First Class Apartment — also make sure you pay attention to the Aircraft. Remember, you want to book with the A380 if you’re trying to book a First Class Apartment.
Finally, don’t pay attention to the mile requirements for booking the guest ticket — those are how many Etihad miles are needed for booking, not AA miles.
You may have to book through the Australian Call Center
I read on The Points Guy that people were having trouble booking these tickets through the American American Airlines website and phone service. The A380 seats were not showing up as available on the website and even after calling into the call service and speaking to multiple supervisors, I was told that I must have been mistaken about the availability. I knew I wasn’t wrong but there was nothing I could do about it.
Thus, I called the Australian center vis Skype. Their number is +61-2-91011948.
I told them I wanted to book an Etihad flight with my AA miles and gave them the date and departure/arrival locations and they located the flight within seconds. Just make sure that you tell them that you want to book the A380 or make sure to get the flight number for the A380 so that you ensure that you are booking an apartment.
After verifying the flight number, the representative booked the flight for me and told me I’d be receiving confirmation via email soon. (I did have to pay the booking fee in AUD.)
The representative should give you a “Record Locator” code so that you can look up your flight while you are waiting so be sure to request that and take it down. It should be a series of six letters.
It took about five days for me to receive my confirmation so I was a little worried the entire time that there was a hiccup in the booking but they finally deducted the miles from my AA account and I was finally set to board Etihad’s first class apartment!
Choosing your seat when booking with AA Awards
One thing that was not clear to me was how to choose our seats for our first class experience. We really wanted to have suites located adjacent to each other so that we could lower the partition and really open up our suite and bed area. I called in to American Airlines but they stated that while they could see the seat map of the A380 they would not be able to select my seats and I would have to call Etihad.
So I called up Eithad’s customer service number [1(888)838-4423] and asked if they could kindly verify where we are sitting. The customer service agent was great and very helpful. I had to give them an electronic ticket number that came in an email from American Airlines and they were able to locate my flight with that information.
Note: this ticket number from AA is different from your booking number that you have with Etihad. When you call in to Etihad be sure that you request your Etihad booking number so that you can later make changes to your booking or if you desire, choose your seats on your own.
If you explain that you want to book two suites that share a dividing partition the agent should be able to choose the seats you are looking for, assuming they are open. However, it is probably a good idea to use your Eithad booking reference number to log into your Etihad Guest account and try to locate the seats you have booked to be sure that they share a partition. The seat map below shows the suites that will meet those needs.
To begin selecting your seats on Etihad, log into your Etihad Guest account and the click on the top right of the screen where it shows your miles. In the screen shot below, this is where it says “0 Miles Etihad Guest.”
That will take you the following screen.
From there you will click on “Manage your booking” on the right column. Then on the next screen you will put in your booking reference number and last name and then select “modify booking.”
Now, select “additional services” and select “Add Baggage / Seats”
Select continue for the extras screen.
And finally now you can see the seat map and change your seats as you wish. The seats facing each other are the seats that will share the partition with each other. (Don’t get thrown off if the green icon shows the seat facing the other direction once you select a certain seat — whatever direction the seat is facing before it becomes the little green “Previously selected seats” icon is the direction the seat will be facing.) If you have have any doubts then just refer to the seat map located above and make sure that the long side of the bed/seat is bordering another long side in a neighboring suite.
It all requires a little extra work, calling in to Australia, waiting for your ticket number, calling to Etihad, etc., but there’s no question in my mind if this is worth it considering the amazing redemption value I got at 90,000 miles from AUH to JFK in this beautiful airliner that is currently scheduled for early fall 2016!
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.