Etihad Airways passengers can now add a free stop in Abu Dhabi. Here’s how it works.

Etihad Airways passengers can now add a free stop in Abu Dhabi. Here’s how it works.


Travelers connecting through Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airways now have the option of extending their layover and exploring the Persian Gulf city.

Etihad is introducing a stopover program that lets passengers spend up to two free nights at a hotel in the capital of the United Arab Emirates as part of their itinerary.

“This innovative initiative provides a snapshot of the diverse experiences available here – from entertainment and culture to leisure and beyond – inspiring travelers to return and immerse themselves in the complete Abu Dhabi experience,” H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general for Tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said in a statement.

Cruising Altitude: 1 trip, 2 destinations – How flight stopovers can enhance your trips

According to Etihad, the stopover promotion is only available to passengers who book directly through the airline’s website. Passengers can choose from a range of premier hotels for their complimentary stopover nights.

Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves previously told USA TODAY in an interview on April 18 that Abu Dhabi is investing heavily in tourism.

“This place is amazing for visitors,” he said in the interview.

What is an airline stopover?

Many airlines offer stopovers – free extensions of existing layovers on multi-leg trips. Stopover programs typically let travelers leave the airport and explore the airline’s home base.

Some of the most popular stopover programs include TAP Air Portugal’s option to extend a visit in the cities of Porto or Lisbon, and Icelandair’s offer for fliers to visit the island on their way to or from Europe.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at

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