Etihad has just turned a dud of a special offer into a proposition that would actually make me seriously consider a stopover in Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year, the Abu Dhabi-based airline launched a free stopover offer whereby the airline would give passengers two free nights of hotel accommodation in Abu Dhabi if they were flying between any Etihad destination that connected in the UAE.
There was just one catch – the offer was only available for flights between 21st April and 15th July 2019.
Considering that temperatures in Abu Dhabi can peak 50°C (122°F) at this time of year, it made the idea of stopping off in Abu Dhabi for any longer than absolutely essential a rather unpalatable one – there’s a reason why in the Summer there’s a mass exodus to Europe from expats to local Emiratis alike.
The good news, though, is that Etihad has decided to massively extend the duration of this stopover deal – it will now run through to the 31st December 2019 for all flights stopping via Abu Dhabi that have been booked (either with Etihad direct or with a travel agent) by the 1st December.
If booking online, select a multi-city flight and once that booking is complete you’ll be directed to the stopover booking page. You can book tickets here.
Suddenly, this offer has become very tempting and it would certainly make a good way to break up an ultra-long-haul flight with some much-needed R&R thrown in for good measure.
There are 15 hotels dotted across the city to choose from including:
- The five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
- Intercontinental Abu Dhabi
- Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi
- Pearl Rotana
- Courtyard by Marriott WTC
- Crowne Plaza
- Radisson Blu
The official marketing material explains…
Abu Dhabi offers visitors the chance to explore cultural highlights, impressive architecture, world-class theme parks as well as striking beaches and desert landscapes. The city appeals to solo travelers and couples in search of unique travel experiences as well as families looking to create extraordinary memories with children, making it the perfect destination for a holiday within a holiday.
“This incredible promotion allows us to showcase our extraordinary home to more visitors worldwide. Guests can explore the emirate’s many highlights as well as relax and rejuvenate as they break up their journey,” Robin Kamark, the CCO of the Etihad Airways Group further commented on the offer.
This offer can also be used in conjunction with the ‘Extraordinary Abu Dhabi Pass’ which turns your Etihad Airways boarding pass into a discount card for various sites and activities around Abu Dhabi.
The airline suggests holidaymakers use the time to visit the famed Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, or perhaps the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi. And there is, of course, also the desert safaris to enjoy, as well as Ferrari World and Yas Island Mall. Or perhaps you could just take advantage of the climate to top up your tan.
Etihad most certainly isn’t alone in offering this kind of deal for extending stopovers – Emirates also offers a discount service with a boarding pass, while Qatar Airways has tried to lure passengers through Doha with a similar stopover deal. This one from Etihad is probably one of the best though.
The airline has certainly taken a lot of flack recently for extensive cost-cutting (a necessary exercise considering the debt Etihad has accumulated over the last few years) but this is certainly a positive move.