Etihad to introduce Economy Space on their A380, B777 and B787 fleet

Etihad Airways for the last two years has been looking at ways to milk the cow so to speak in a bid to recoup costs and get themselves back in the black. The latest announcement will add a few more dollars Etihad’s way with the airline launching ‘Economy Space’. What is ‘Economy Space’ you ask?’ Some are claiming it’s their version of premium economy but it isn’t even close. It’s more akin to United’s Economy Plus, a seat simply with extra leg room.

By December this year, ‘Economy Space’ will be implemented onto 10 of their A380s. The seats will feature an increased pitch of up to 36 inches whilst bolstering the number of extra legroom seats they currently have in Economy from 20 to 80 on the A380. In the new year the airline will focus on redesigning 12 Boeing 777 and 21 Boeing 787 jets with a completion date slated for late 2019.

The airline says it has made the move due to an increase in demand for more space but without the hefty price tag of business or first class.

All ‘Economy Space’ seats will be sold at a premium to passengers. The airline is yet to release details on how much the seats will be priced at. In addition to ‘Economy Space’, Etihad will offer a Neighbour-Free seating option in Economy as well as a range of buy-on-board products.

New Acqua Di Parma Amenity Kits for Etihad

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From August, Etihad will introduce a range of exclusive Acqua Di Parma amenity kits and toiletries for its customers travelling in The Residence on its Airbus A380 as well as on their long-haul First Class and Business Class services.

The new amenity kits feature the iconic yellow of the luxury Italian fragrance brand. First Class unisex kits will host an array of luxury items including a miniature bottle of Colonia, a 40ml body lotion and lip balm. whislt toiletries include Colonia hand wash and hand cream. Shower gel, body lotion, hair shampoo, and hair conditioner will also appear as part of the Colonia bathroom amenity kits.

It won’t be business as usual for Business Class with the premium cabin also set to get a flashy unisex wallet bag, which can be buttoned to create a stylish and useful valet tray. They will feature a Colonia sampler and hand cream, which will also be dispensed in the Business Class washrooms.

And the Acqua Di Parma doesn’t just stop on the plane, with the Italian brand also set to feature in the airline’s flagship First Class Lounge & Spa in Abu Dhabi.

The announcement comes after Etihad announced earlier this month the introduction of caviar and sleepwear to the First Class cabin. For an airline that’s been doing a lot of cut backs of late this announcement is a welcome change. I personally love the Acqua Di Parma brand. and view the new partnership between the airline and the Italian fragrance giant as a  huge step up on the current Luxe kits that are handed out in the Etihad cabin.

Like anything in life time will tell if the product matches the hype and look of the promo product that Etihad is spruiking.

Etihad and Flybuys partnership to end this month

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Etihad has been going down a very sad and slippery slope the last year or two. After so much gloss and grandeur, the shine is really taking a beating on the airline. Like I have stated in the past and continue to say, Etihad to me wowed as a new kid on the block. Their premium product I felt was one of the best out there in aviation market.  Fast forward and Etihad is cutting and slashing like crazy to get itself back in the black. The latest cut is the Flybuys and Etihad Guest partnership with the three year old relationship set to dissolve on 31 July 2018.

The news comes after cardholders who had experienced issues being unable to convert their Flybuys points into Etihad Guest miles since December 2017. At the time the two claims it was down to ‘technical issue’.

From July 31 2018 linked members will no longer be able to redeem their Flybuys points for Etihad Guest Miles, collect Flybuys points via the Flybuys-Etihad booking portal or link their Flybuys and Etihad Guest memberships.

All outstanding Tier Miles from Flybuys will be credited to a traveller’s Etihad Guest account by the end of August 2018.

I’m not sure this is one of the smartest moves by Etihad as it had the potential to reach out to new audiences but then again I am not across the logistics of the partnership and whether the cost was worth the reward for Etihad at the end of the day.

 

 

Etihad Business Class Studio A380 SYD- AUH: Review

Flight: EY455, Sydney-Abu Dhabi
Loyalty Scheme: Etihad Guest (a partner of Virgin Australia Velocity program)
Frequency: Daily
Duration:  14 hours and 45 minutes

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Etihad for some has come as a overnight success but it may surprise some travellers that Abu Dhabi’s home carrier is actually thirteen years old (still young when compared to airlines like Qantas and British Airways).

I have flown with Etihad numerous times; from First right down the back in Economy. The experiences were varied but the general feeling of quality is there. That said my preferred Etihad aircraft and best journeys have come from its A380. Having flown Business Class once in the A380 compared to its 777 (which I had flown a handful of times) I was keen to see if lightening could strike twice in terms of great service and product.

Seating

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Business Class, 10D. The Residence, First and Business Class cabins share the upper level of the aircraft. There are 70 flat business bed seats, all with a 73” pitch and 20” width, laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. I sat in 10D alongside my travel companion who was in 10G, in forward facing seats. The seats allowed privacy but were also close enough to properly converse over a meal as opposed to the rear facing seats which make flying with a companion difficult due to the space between each seat.

Entertain Me

There are two IFE touchscreens, with the secondary screen providing information about your flight or entertainment info. The primary 17” screen showcases Etihad’s E-BOX entertainment in all its colourful and audible glory, offering a decent movie and audio selection. In addition, Etihad offers inflight wi-fi but I did not trial it as the initial cost was around $25 (this is for the duration of the flight) and I had movies to catch up on.

The Bread and Butter (Food and drink)

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One of Etihad’s strengths is its food and drink menu and service. The airline offers a dine on demand service but I’m more a traditional flyer and like to enjoy the three-course meal service option.

Naturally I choose the Arabic Mezze for entrée and by far it surpasses the taste, variety and presentation of both Qatar and Emirates. For main I decide on the Beef Fillet and it is served deliciously medium rare. Dessert doesn’t disappoint with the Caramel Apple Pudding going down a treat.

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Later in the flight after getting some sleep some sleep (3 hours after watching my way through catch up cinema sessions) I ordered some breakfast. I took the warm option of poached eggs with spinach and tomatoes, coupled with warm pastries and a cappuccino. The result was delicious and a real pick me up when my body really did need someone to lift me up from my half sleepy slumber.

Drink selection throughout the flight were of a strong quality with French, German and even Australian wines popping up on the menu.

The only downside was the disparity in the service. Whilst my meals and service were prompt and attentive, my companion found that his meal service was spaced out too long, struggled to get attention of staff and even had an incorrect order come out. Again, each experience is different but it is interesting to see a different side to the experience I was enjoying.

Extras

The bar wedged between first and business class is a nice little break out spacer but underwhelming in comparison to Emirates and Qatar. I don’t know if it is the ambiance, the lack of space and lack of staff for that matter but it was not as unique and welcoming as it could have been. A missed opportunity considering how the other Middle Eastern airlines have utilised similar spaces on their aircraft. I found it often a struggle to get a drink in that bar with staff hard to get attention from.

That said the LUXE branded amenities kits are a nice touch and offer some lovely goodies to have you looking refreshed throughout the flight.

Verdict

The Etihad Business Class Studio is definitely class leading and a refined, understated product (thankfully not massive on bling). The food and drink service is a key ingredient that sells the airline well but the service at times can be patchy. I have flown with Etihad on this aircraft and seat a couple of times now and the experiences have been varied. Never poor but it does flag inconsistencies in service.

The bar/ breakout area is also a tad disappointing compared to its competitors but with the lack of space it is hard to see how they can best utilise this area.

That said the business class seat is comfortable, the inflight entertainment is strong and the general experience well worth the money. I would indeed be flying this barge again in the future.

Comments
Have you experienced the class of Etihad Business Class Studio? Did the service and product take off for you or was it grounded from the start? Love to hear your feedback on this.

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