Buckling under stiff competition, Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based airline will discontinue all flights to San Francisco beginning October 29, 2017. They are offering refunds and re-bookings to passengers who have tickets on San Francisco flights for after this date.
Claiming low fares and passenger occupation than initially forecasted, coupled with the recent electronics ban and other traveling restrictions imposed by the US government, earnings in most Gulf carriers are touching a new low. Moreover, while low price of crude is affecting travel among oil-industry executives, laptop bans on US bound flights is hurting the business-class traveler. Meanwhile, Etihad is also grappling with struggles with affiliates Alitalia SpA and Air Berlin Plc.
Etihad began the Abu Dhabi-San Francisco route in November 2014 but brought it down from daily service to three times a week. Dubai-based Emirates made a similar move in April this year by eliminating 25 weekly flights to the U.S.
While this move is currently restricted only to the San Francisco bound flights, Etihad will continue to serve five other U.S. destinations including Chicago, Dallas and New York. Passengers can opt to continue using the carrier and plan domestic connections to San Francisco from any of these other major airports. Other alternatives include –
- Emirates Airlines
- KLM Dutch
- Gulf Air and
- Delta Airlines