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Etihad plans to retire Boeing 777 fleet in major wide-body shift

April 22, 2021
3 min read
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Etihad plans to retire Boeing 777 fleet in major wide-body shift
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Compared to its Dubai-based neighbor Emirates, Abu Dhabi's Etihad operates a relatively small wide-body fleet. As we learned on Thursday, it's about to get even smaller.

Following a similar decision to discontinue flights with the double-decker Airbus A380, Etihad CEO Tony Douglas shared plans to stop flying the wide-body Boeing 777 after 2021, according to a Reuters report. Etihad's move follows a similar early retirement for Delta, which discontinued Boeing 777 flights last year.

Beginning in 2022, Etihad will be moving to what the airline believes will be a more efficient long-haul fleet of wide-body jets. Flyers will likely end up on one of the dozens of Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 Dreamliners that the airline has been operating for several years.

The airline may begin flying its Airbus A350s soon, as well. Etihad previously planned to add a total of 20 of the extended-length Airbus A350-1000s to its fleet — four have already been delivered, but were immediately placed into storage. It's not yet clear when they'll begin flying passengers.

With many Etihad Dreamliners only offering a business-class cabin, first-class redemptions may be more difficult to come by. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The early retirement of Etihad's largest planes could lead to fewer first-class options, especially for travelers looking to lock in an award. There will likely be fewer seats available overall, and while some of the airline's Dreamliners do offer a first-class cabin, the product is a far cry from the version previously available on the Airbus A380.

Some flyers have expressed concerns that the shift from larger planes, like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777, could lead to a move away from flashy first-class cabins. While the 787 is not quite as wide as Boeing's current 777, airlines have gotten especially creative with their 787 premium cabins, as I experienced on Oman Air's Dreamliner in 2019.

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Boeing is still planning to introduce the larger 777X as well. While we're unlikely to see anything quite as spacious as the 1-1 cabin on Singapore's A380, and Etihad's now-discontinued Apartment and Residence, Emirates' latest suite is expected to roll out on the larger Boeing plane, and other carriers could add similar offerings down the line.

Before the pandemic, Etihad had also planned to add the upcoming Boeing 777X to its fleet, but it's unclear whether the airline still plans to take delivery of Boeing's largest passenger jet. Etihad may instead choose to convert its order to the smaller Dreamliner.

Featured image by (Photo by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023