One of the USPs for Etihad is to have Abu Dhabi airport as their home airport. Actually, they go hand in hand. Back in 2013, they managed to get approval for a Customs & Border Protection outpost from the USA, commonly known as preclearance. What this means is that the immigration & passport control formalities for arriving into the USA are completed at Abu Dhabi itself, and you don’t have to wait in a queue for a few hours after you arrive in the USA. I did, and it was a total buzzkill for my Abu Dhabi – JFK First Class flight experience.
Ever since EY acquired a stake in Jet Airways, they’ve been offering a second flight to the USA using Jet’s 77W planes and crew. However, these flights were not offered the pre-clearance service due to the limited working hours of the CBP outpost initially.
Also, as per Lucky at One Mile At A Time, the CBP Pre-clearance experience was not so great initially, however they now seem to have sorted out the kinks.
However, the good news also is that all Etihad flights to the USA will now be eligible for the CBP clearance. Which means the SFO and JFK departures in the middle of the night as well.
Etihad operates the following flights to the USA from AUH:
- New York (EY101 & EY103)
- Chicago (EY151)
- Washington (EY131)
- Los Angeles (EY171)
- Dallas (EY161)
- San Francisco (EY183)
As Jet Airways’ fast friends, of course, all of the passengers who interline with EY at Abu Dhabi will also get to benefit from the pre-clearance service with effect from January 15, 2015.