On June 1, Etihad will begin service between Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi. I’m really excited about this route because my family is in Los Angeles and we visit relatives in India frequently. I booked my mom and I one-way in Etihad First Class in June from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi continuing in business class to Ahmedabad, a city in India that doesn’t get service on most European or Asian carriers like Delhi or Mumbai do. Being able to fly there to visit relatives with just one stop is a luxury in and of itself, though a 16-hour flight in First Class to start doesn’t hurt either. 😉
Because we’re booked in First Class on the LAX-AUH part, each ticket cost 90,000 miles one-way, though both my mom and I hold American Airlines Citi Platinum cards (the non Executive cards that cost $85/year, although retention bonuses are generous), so we got 9,000-mile rebates, making it a net 81,000-mile redemption. I used miles for my mom to return in business class on the way back, since that was all that was available. That cost 67,500 miles, though since I used my dad’s account for that segment, I got another 6,750-mile rebate on his account, making the net cost 60,750 miles. I had to pay a separate booking fee on that, but it was worth being able to get the mileage rebate. Etihad charges no fuel surcharges, so taxes were very reasonable, under $100 for my mom’s roundtrip and only $4 for my one-way! As for my return … well, I have something special planned. 😉
One of the great things about this flight is that I get to use the Etihad Chauffeur service, which is available for passengers in First and Business Class (and includes passengers on award tickets). This is fantastic in Los Angeles, since a car to the airport can cost more than the taxes on the award ticket! I usually take public transportation (Metro Rail + FlyAway) to LAX for my domestic trips, but that’s no way to start an international First Class journey, especially when you’re bringing along your mother who is bound to test the limits of Etihad’s checked baggage allowance…..
Up until now, chauffeur bookings for Etihad in Los Angeles have been unavailable. In fact, the website still doesn’t show Los Angeles as a chauffeur city, but I was able to book a driver to the airport using the online engine. Keep in mind that you have to book at least 24 hours in advance of your flight, so if you’re one of the lucky ones flying in First or Business Class at the beginning of June, book your car ASAP!
You can book the chauffeur online at Etihad’s homepage. If you booked with American Airlines miles, you’ll have to call AA to ask for the Etihad 6-character booking reference, as it’s different than the American PNR.
I reached out to Etihad to ask what the allowed range for chauffeur drive is and have confirmed that it includes a 60-mile range from LAX, but the website states that “guests may travel beyond the distance restrictions outlined below upon payment of an additional charge to your driver.” Most of Orange County should be okay, with Laguna Niguel being about 56 miles away, but Dana Point/San Clemente are slightly outside that range. Heading east, Ontario is within that range, but not Riverside (sorry, Bengali Miles Guru). On the west, Camarillo is within 60 miles, but Oxnard isn’t. Lastly, all of the Valley should be well within that range, but that doesn’t mean you should go there 😛 . I mean, the flight arrives LAX at 2:20pm and departs back to Abu Dhabi at 4:50pm, which means ….