Etihad Airways (EY)
Founded in 2003, Etihad Airways (EY) is one of the fastest growing, most dependable airlines in the Middle East. Etihad operates flights between Kathmandu and New York (JFK), Washington (IAD), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), and San Francisco (SFO). In addition, Etihad Airways is able to reach most cities in the United States through their interline partnerships with American Airlines (AA), JetBlue Airlines (B6), and Virgin America (VA), making them one of the most convenient and well-connected airlines in the world for Nepalis. In October 2016, they received a five star rating from SkyTrax, marking them as one of the top ten airlines in the world.
One major advantage to flying Etihad Airways is the Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). Abu Dhabi International Airport is consistently ranked among the best airports in the world, and for good reason. It boasts several First and Business class lounges, walk-in lounges (which you can pay for in 1, 5, or 10 hour increments) and state of the art sleeping pods, which can be rented in hourly increments.
Because so many Nepalis live and work in the Middle East, many airport and airline staff are fluent in Nepali or Hindi. Nepalis who are not fluent in English (or who simply prefer to speak Nepali or Hindi) will be able to easily communicate with the friendly, accommodating airport staff.
Another major advantage of Etihad Airways is 2014 establishment of Abu Dhabi International Airport as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Pre-Clearance Facility. This means that all passengers flying to the United States on Etihad Airways will be screened by US Customs and Immigration during their layover in Abu Dhabi. Once passengers arrive in the US, they are treated as domestic passengers, expediting their departure from the airport and smoothing the process.
Etihad Airways allows international travelers two free checked bags (23kg each) a carry-on, and a personal item such as a purse or small laptop bag. If your layover in Abu Dhabi is more than 8 hours, the airline will provide a complementary hotel and transport on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Because of limited availability, Nepalis may not get a hotel due to UAE’s visa requirements and the time it takes to acquire a visa. Check with your Zen travel agent to see if you have a long layover before buying your ticket, as we can arrange your visa ahead of time.The good news? If no hotels are available, the Etihad Airways will provide you with an in-airport sleeping pod, and flights to or from New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), and San Francisco (SFO) have relatively short layovers, eliminating the need for a hotel entirely.