As Etihad bags ‘Best First Class’ award by Skytrax are premium services cut back


(Posted 22nd June 2017)

Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and based in Abu Dhabi, has during the just ended Paris Air Show bagged three awards related to the airline’s First Class services.
The awards were for ‘Best First Class Airline Seat‘ followed by ‘Best First Class Catering‘ before then getting the trophy for ‘World Best First Class‘ to make it a trio of top recognitions mainly for their award winning First Class apartment in the sky.
Meanwhile has the airline also announced a cutback in services for premium passengers who with only a few exceptions will from the 03rd of July have to start paying for the hitherto free limo services in selected destinations.
Mohammad Al Bulooki who is the Executive Vice President Commercial for Etihad Airways reportedly said that ‘Etihad Airways is constantly looking at ways to improve its value proposition for guests, focusing on the service elements that are most important to them. This change is being put in place as the airline looks to evolve its product proposition while continuing to match individual customer requirements. Following a review, the chauffeur services we offer will be amended globally, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, where there are a high number of users of the service. Many customers prefer to make their own ground transportation arrangements. The decision by Etihad Airways to change its offering has been taken to provide increased choice and to ensure fares remain as low and as competitive as possible, while retaining best-in-class service for all guests, in all cabins‘ a logic not quite understandable as most passengers actually prefer their freebies over having to pay for value added services. Said a travel agent in Kampala when asked to comment: ‘Trying to sell this as a way to improve value propositions is a complete joke. We all know the airline has taken beatings through their failed investments in Air Berlin and Alitalia and are now looking for ways and means to make more money from passengers and cut back cost. If at least they could be honest and state their motives in a straight forward way‘.
It is also understood that the airline has opened up their premium lounges for non premium passengers against payment of a fee which however was not mentioned in media releases seen.
Etihad flies several times a week to Entebbe / Uganda but also serves Nairobi on a daily basis as it does fly to Dar es Salaam. The airline is the least represented vis a vis frequencies of any of the major Gulf carriers in comparison to Qatar Airways and Emirates.