On some searches I had been making for some upcoming flights, as a matter of course, I checked the cash price for Etihad’s First Apartment class from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. That ticket only costs 60,000 AA miles (one way) and, in cash, it only costs $5,500!
Yes, that is a lot of money. However, when compared to the cost of other airlines for similar flights, it is really not that bad for what it provides. The Etihad A380’s First Apartment is an incredible product that easily beats other first class cabins easily and certainly beats any business class cabin anywhere in the world. A flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney lasts 14 hours long which you can get for $5,500 in cash.
Delta’s nonstop from Los Angeles to Sydney in business class (they do not have an international first class) is about the same timed flight and costs $4,700 – $800 less than Etihad. An award from Delta on that route costs 70,000 miles. The difference is incredible with the actual product. For $800 extra, you get an actual first class cabin and the service to go with it on a 14 hour flight. Sure, it originates from a different place on the planet and the costs in various cities vary but it is still an example of what you can get for the money.
I wonder if issues like this might be one of the reasons that US airlines are fighting so hard to keep the Middle East airlines out of their markets. 🙂 Can you imagine if Etihad launched a Sydney – Los Angeles flight? If they kept these kinds of prices on that leg of the trip, it would certainly put airlines like Delta in their place. Of course, their Residence ticket is probably the most expensive ticket in the world!
The bad part about these prices? It really messes up my valuation of what my miles would be worth – a mere $.09 per AA mile. 🙂