Etihad Eliminates First Class To Frankfurt & Increases Capacity To Rome

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Etihad has announced that it will be putting through a number of aircraft changes on its Frankfurt and Rome routes this summer and, depending on the cabin you like to book, this news could be positive or negative.

Etihad’s Abu Dhabi – Frankfurt Route

Etihad operates two daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Frankfurt and, as things stand, the route is scheduled to be operated by a mix of 787-9 Dreamliners, 777-300s and Airbus A330-300s through 30 June.

From 1 July 2019 Etihad will only operate Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on this route and, while this means that passengers will be offered a more uniform service, it also means a few other changes too.

The 777-300ER which Etihad currently flys to/from Frankfurt offers a First Class cabin (but not the impressive A380 First Class cabin) and a good (but not fantastic) Business Class cabin that’s been around for some time.

Etihad Business Class 777-300
Etihad 777-300ER Business Class

The A330-300 that’s soon to be taken off this route offers a similar First Class cabin to the Boeing 777-300ER and the same, older, Business Class cabin as well.

The 787-9 Dreamliner that Etihad currently flys to/from Frankfurt on select days of the week (and which will soon take over the whole route) doesn’t offer a First Class cabin but is one of the aircraft types on which you’ll find the excellent Etihad Studio Business Class product.

Etihad Business Class A380
Etihad Studio on an Airbus A380

The net effects of these aircraft swaps will be as follows:

  • First Class will be eliminated from the Abu Dhabi – Frankfurt route
  • All Abu Dhabi – Frankfurt flights will now offer the best Business Class cabin the airline has – the Etihad Studio.
  • There will be a net reduction in premium cabin seating as, not only is First Class being eliminated on some flights, the 787-9 only offers 28 Business Class seats while the 777 offers 40 and the A330 offers.
  • Economy Class seats will all now have ~17″ of seat width as opposed to the 17.5″ of seat width offered on the 777s and A330s.

Upgrades and awards will be harder to get, Economy Class passengers will have a little less room but paying Business Class flyers (or those who snag awards/upgrades) will have an improved Business Class cabin.

Etihad’s Abu Dhabi – Rome Route

Etihad operates two daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Rome and, as things stand, the route is scheduled to be operated by a mix of 787-9 Dreamliners and 777-300s through 31 May.

From 1 June 2019 Etihad will replace the 787-9 (operating the second flight of the day) with the larger 787-10 Dreamliner.

Image courtesy of Boeing

Compared to the changes on the Frankfurt route there won’t be all that much difference for passengers here as the 787-10 essentially offers the same Business Class cabin as the outgoing 787-9, it offers the same number of Business Class seats (28) and it offers the same type of Economy Class seating too (31″ of seat pitch and ~17″ of seat width in most cases).

The one difference the 787-10 will bring is a larger Economy Class cabin.

Where Etihad’s 2-class 787-9 Dreamliner offers 271 Economy Class seats the larger 787-10 will be home to 304 (assuming ExpertFlyer is showing a correct seat map).