Etihad's Sydney swap: Airbus A380 replaced by Boeing 777 to mid-2019

By David Flynn, August 2 2018

Etihad Airways will downgrade one of its two daily Sydney-Abu Dhabi flights to a Boeing 777-300ER from October 2018 to late May 2019, except for an eight-week window over the peak summer season.

Flight EY451 – which departs Sydney at 3pm for a midnight arrival into Abu Dhabi – and the EY450 return leg will step back to a Boeing 777 from 20 October 2018 to 4 December 2018, and then again from 7 February 2019 to 30 May 2019.

Between the December-February dates listed above, EY451/EY450 will see a return of Etihad's Airbus A380.

However, the airline's other daily service (EY454/455) will continue to feature the superjumbo.

What's the impact on this on business travellers already booked to fly on EY450/EY451?

Etihad's Airbus A380 has the better business class seat
Etihad's Airbus A380 has the better business class seat

We'd suggest contacting Etihad Airways, your travel agent or travel manager to shift onto flights EY454/455, given that the Boeing 777 has Etihad's last-generation business class seats – while still decent, they're a step behind the A380's Business Studio design – and lacks the superjumbo's Lobby social lounge/bar area.

Take a break from your seat and socialise in the A380's Lobby area
Take a break from your seat and socialise in the A380's Lobby area

Of course, the first class experience is markedly different, with the Boeing 777 sporting rather compact suites compared to the A380's spacious Apartments (below) and inflight shower.

Etihad's Airbus A380 first class suites are among the best in the sky
Etihad's Airbus A380 first class suites are among the best in the sky

A statement issued by Etihad Airways said the swap was made necessary "due to routine maintenance" and promises the airline "will notify guests booked on these services where necessary, to advise them of this temporary adjustment."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

russell

russell

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 327

Hard to remember a time when Etihad actually had something positive to announce.

mnc

mnc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Aug 2017

Total posts 4

so true russell...

they lost a lot of money on bad investments but destroying their core product (aircraft down grade, no chauffeur drive, no pijamas...) isnt going to help their bottom line.

Tasclean

Tasclean

QF LTG

29 Feb 2016

Total posts 10

Something positive ? - great new PJ's, caviar - had both recently LHR/AUH but that was in F.. Nicest flight almost ever.

SydneyTravels

SydneyTravels

Etihad Platinum

01 May 2015

Total posts 16

One more time around the drain they circle.

MarkivJ

MarkivJ

22 Jan 2018

Total posts 64

Guess we have to wait till April'19 to hear that the aircraft change is permanent!

mickeyg

mickeyg

Virgin Australia - Platinum

26 Jun 2011

Total posts 46

Swapping the a380 with a 787 would have made more sense to me. Keeping the Business Studio for continuity across all flights and leaving First Class Suites to 1 flight per day.

cssaus

cssaus

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 156

Thankfully avoided the downgrade by 3 days!

grahama33

grahama33

16 Feb 2017

Total posts 13

Oh the joys of 10 abreast seating on a 777 !

Notso Swift

Notso Swift

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 109

I fly from Melbourne, so I have only had their 777, and the seats were good... but the plane is such a truck I only did it once. The same seat on a 380, or 350, or 787.. I can see why people wouldn't be happy

AKD

AKD

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2017

Total posts 5

The mid afternoon departure from Melbourne is a 787 these days. Well worth it if it fits with your schedule!

Madhatter49

Madhatter49

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 43

Anyone notice that the Emirates EK417 SYD - DXB flight has also been downgraded to an 777 as well?

At least for the past few weeks anyway.

CWT Traveller

CWT Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Sep 2011

Total posts 14

Hey - in Perth we are down to an A330 on the AUH route. I think Etihad's day of being real competition to EK/QR are numbered. Maybe it will be ME2 in a few years with Etihad getting absorbed into it bigger brother with a Dual Hub strategy. Great way to get past congestion at DXB

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

EY has announced big losses for two consecutive financial years.

As you imply, is this sustainable forever or do lenders one dy attempt to pull the pin?

The world of high finance is sometimes a mystery to those of us not in it. I often wonder how some corporations can go on losing money year after year yet remain in business. I couldn't do that as a household (well, not without govt support).

Tasclean

Tasclean

QF LTG

29 Feb 2016

Total posts 10

Traveller14 - think you answered yr own comment in the last sentence: not without govt support...

Nezza

Nezza

03 Aug 2018

Total posts 1

Unfortunately the final nail with me and Etihad, I’m one trip away from Gold so I’m not the most frequent of traveller on this thread, however after recent experiences in Business with a downgraded service, a poor roll out of economy “reserve the empty seat next to you” where I provided valid, honest and genuine feedback in the early stages only to be referred to their t&c’s as to why I wasn’t provided with what I had paid for, and finally the overall down grade of the service which is extremely notable on UK to SYD.

I praise their innovation, customer service (-3 years ago) but today’s Etihad is unfortunately a shadow of their capabilities and is a waste in the investment they have made over the last decade.

They’ve been hurt by the strategy of trying to reform other airlines and lost their way in the product they created and believed in.

Good luck Etihad but I won’t be booking anytime soon.

spudseamus

spudseamus

25 Feb 2012

Total posts 78

I was going to write a similar report but you have covered every point .

Gerardf

Gerardf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 May 2016

Total posts 7

Sadly, we're flying out on the 26th. I specifically booked via SYD (from MEL) so as to fly the 388. Hmmm...

PLA

PLA

20 Oct 2011

Total posts 4

I’ve flown Etihad’s A380 twice SYD-LHR return this year in F - nothing in the world matches Etihad Apartments & service (except The Residence & that ain’t gonna happen!). June 2019 next - A380 F Apartments...counting down the days. Etihad A380 First - world’s best.

Gerardf

Gerardf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 May 2016

Total posts 7

We did F to LHR last year. Superb!

Gerardf

Gerardf

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

04 May 2016

Total posts 7

Huzzah! I checked and we're on 454/455!

declanr

declanr

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Nov 2017

Total posts 14

I fly Etihad A380 F twice a year to London and have not had a bad experience. Sadly the experience, whilst still excellent, is being diluted by some of the recent cut-backs in ground services, no limo service at SYD or LHR, however I won't let anyoje fault the apartments. Just a lovely experience in the air. The 777 just does not compare. The 787 is great though if you can find one.

aparasher

aparasher

27 Jan 2016

Total posts 7

Will the seating arrangement remain 2-3-2? Or, changed to 2-2-2? Although I prefer 2-3-3 when flying with family.

RyanK

RyanK

01 May 2018

Total posts 10

I'm on EY451 for 18 Dec but I just received notification that the aircraft has been downgraded to B777. I am also positioning from MEL. So gutted.

TheB13BS

TheB13BS

05 Jan 2019

Total posts 1

I booked a reward flight on A380 on 31/12/2018 for travel Sept 2019 and have been notified now of change and now the plane is sitting as unknown. AUH to SYD.

Seriously if they are going to change it, it would be nice if they just did it so you knew what you were in for upfront. Not happy.


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