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Good Etihad business class sale to a Dubai bus stop (!) from €739 or £1,093

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If you are planning a holiday in Dubai this Winter or next Spring, Etihad is running an aggressive sale at the moment.

I should say up front that there are also good deals available to parts of Asia. However, with covid restrictions still in place I thought it best to focus on the bargains available to …. erm …. a bus stop in Dubai.

Etihad bus deal to Dubai

OK, let me explain how this works.

It is normal practice for airlines to sell indirect flights for less than the cost of direct flights. Every HfP reader should know that, for example, London to Bangkok on a direct British Airways flight is likely to be more expensive than London to Bangkok via Frankfurt on Lufthansa. People will pay for convenience.

What we have here is simply the same philosophy at play. It’s just that, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi under an hour apart by road, there is no point in flying you between the two airports. Etihad puts on a bus instead!

What’s the deal?

Etihad is offering good deals from Madrid, Amsterdam, Brussels and London to a bus stop in Dubai.

The Dubai bus stop used by Etihad has been given the airport code XNB.

Availability is excellent.

Note that the fare may originally look a little higher than the headline numbers shown below but will reprice on the final screen. For Madrid, for example, the outbound flights show as €501 but later falls.

Madrid to Dubai in Etihad business class for €739 return:

(EDIT: Rome and Milan also seem to price at €739)

Etihad business class deals Madrid

Amsterdam to Dubai in Etihad business class for €1,203 return:

Etihad business class Amsterdam

Brussels to Dubai in Etihad business class for €939 return:

Etihad brussels business class sale

London Heathrow to Dubai in Etihad business class for £1,093 return:

Etihad business class deal

Etihad is also flying from Dublin but I couldn’t find a fare under €1,300 return.

Do you actually need to take the bus?

Good question. Could you book these tickets to get a cheap trip to Abu Dhabi?

Let’s put it this way. Under no circumstances can you drop a leg of a flight and keep your ticket intact. If Etihad flew between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and you didn’t turn up for the last leg to Dubai, your return flight would immediately be cancelled.

Similarly, if you failed to turn up at Dubai for the first leg of the flight home, your Abu Dhabi to London flight would be cancelled.

Will bad things happen if you don’t get on the bus? I’ve honestly got no idea, but for safety I’d take the ride – even if it means turning around in Dubai and getting a taxi straight back to Abu Dhabi.

Low Etihad fare via bus to Dubai

What is Etihad like?

Here is my last published review of Etihad’s Business Class Studio

The review is six years old, but I flew the seat on holiday with my family in 2018 and 2019 and little has changed, except for the new Etihad amenity kits.

It is light years ahead of British Airways Club World, although Club Suite is a different story. You can’t guarantee getting Club Suite, of course.

What about my miles?

Etihad is not in an airline alliance. It does, however, have a lot of airline partners with whom you can redeem.

Your main options are:

  • credit to an American Airlines account (AA is an Etihad partner) which gets you access to oneworld redemptions including British Airways
  • credit to Air Europa – IAG is in the process of buying Air Europa and its frequent flyer scheme will swich to Avios when the takeover is complete. There is a risk that the deal does not happen if the airline collapses or the EU blocks it on competition grounds

Before booking, look at the details of the Dubai bus service on this page of the Etihad website.

The main Etihad booking page is here.

Thanks to Luxury Flight Club.

PS. If you are in the market for a longer-haul Etihad sale trip from London, here are the headline Etihad sale prices on offer until 10th October:

  • Bangkok £1,499
  • Phuket £1,899
  • Seoul £1,499
  • Seychelles £1,999
  • Singapore £1,599
  • Tokyo £1,999

It’s also worth checking prices from Amsterdam, Brussels and Madrid.

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Etihad Guest miles from UK credit cards (December 2022)

Etihad Guest does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Etihad Guest miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Etihad Guest miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Etihad Guest mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (106)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • MT says:

    I assume there is no way to book this via the Amex Travel website and must be booked via Etihad, to get the £400 / £100 back offer on Amex Business Platinum cards

    • Andrew says:

      Check the Amex travel site to see if it’s available at these prices, if so, you can book via the Amex travel site and get the offer too.

    • 1ATL says:

      Instead of typing in DXB as the destination, try XNB (The Etihad bus destination code)

  • DS says:

    Finnair sell ARN-BKK in Business r/t for £838 (9,983SEK)
    and ARN-HKT for £1,000

    • YFP says:

      Hmm, is it worth biting at this price? I really want to try Qsuites on Qatar, but prices are over £3000 for 2 people all over Europe on my dates. Any chance Qatar might drop?

  • mr_jetlag says:

    Quality article. “The bus stop has been given an airline code of XNB.

    Availability is excellent.” 🤣

  • Ali M says:

    Hey Rob.
    We recently took the Etihad Manc-Dubai.I did have that creeping fear of not being let on but didn’t take the bus,just took that taxi.we didn’t have any cancelled flights

    • Babyg says:

      How recently? I was looking at skiplagging the bus at both ends, chat on flyertalk seems to say you can skip lag both as no check in/bag tags happen at the bus stop, only at AUH airport… can you confirm?

      • Sandra says:

        +1 I am looking to go to AUH next month and this is a £500 saving on the direct Man – AUH fare (more from LHR) , don’t mind the taxi ride if I need to but much easier if I can be certain that if I skip the bus in both directions & say I was picked up by a UAE resident instead (which would be true but) I will still be able to check in for the flight home at AUH.

    • Ali M says:

      Hi. This was in Sept 2021.
      But I would always check – I took the plunge as didnt want to wait at 0100 clueless when the next bus would turn up.
      Didnt take the bus to Dubai or back to airport.
      was reassured as did my verification etc and verifly and checked in online 48 hrs prior

    • Ali M says:

      having said that – thats my experience. dont want anyone to get effected negatively – perhaps easier to ask a twitter question (they are super quick to respond) and have that in writing so if a problem arose – you can quote someone official…

      • Sandra says:

        @Ali – I’m a bit late coming back to check, but thanks for the reply!

  • ChrisC says:

    You wait ages for an offer then 3 turn up at once.

  • Munch says:

    With any of the current sales is there a way of booking a one way? I’m looking for a flight to Singapore next March. Don’t mind a positioning flight or should I book a one way redemption with BA or are there any other sweetspot redemptions with other airlines?

    • Voldemort says:

      QR allow a refund for partially used tickets, so you could book a roundtrip and then cancel the return portion once you arrive in SIN.

  • Voldemort says:

    “It is light years ahead of British Airways Club World, although Club Suite is a different story. You can’t guarantee getting Club Suite, of course.”

    With the roast dinner slop BA is serving in Club at the moment, I’m sure Club Suite is the least of anyone’s concerns.

    • Andrew says:

      Totally agree – BA’s Club World whichever seat you get offers premium economy catering and service (ie economy food in a china dish). And their definition of a starter is laughable – a salad in the dish they normally use for nuts is hardly a starter! Enough of the covid excuses please BA!

      • Alex Sm says:

        Their First Class cabin is also widely known as the “best business class product in the industry” 😉

        To fly, to serve…

    • Rob says:

      Looking forward to my Barbados flights now 🙂

  • Karl says:

    Does the bus stop have a lounge?

    • Andrew says:

      It is more of a bus station, than a bus stop, so possibly.

    • Dominic says:

      I was there two days ago.

      You can have a look in the very, very empty shopping mall (maybe 10 shops, none of which are likely to interest you). The good news is, you are maybe 10-15 mins from Dubai Mall (Burj Khalifa), most of which is inside (via the metro walkway). You can also turn up 20 mins before the bus departure time, so no need for a lounge.

      • Babyg says:

        did you “check in” and get boarding passes/bag tags etc on the bus, or was this all done at the AUH airport?

        • Dominic says:

          All check-in done at AUH. Doubt that they had any idea how I got to the airport (and it tracks in Etihad Guest as AUH to LHR, not XMB to LHR).

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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