Etihad Introduces Hand Baggage Only Short-Haul Fares

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Etihad has announced that it has now fully launched its “Deal Fare” which was trialled late last year and this makes the airline the first of the 3 big Middle Eastern airlines to introduce a “hand baggage only” (HBO) fare.

The Deal Fare includes a hand baggage allowance of 7kg and, although Etihad doesn’t mention it in their announcement, that’s a drop from the 12kg hand baggage allowance a regular Economy Class fare gets.

Etihad standard hand baggage allowances

There are other differences between the Deal fares and regular Economy Class fares too:

Deal fares cost more to change than regular Economy Class fares, they earn fewer miles than regular Economy Class fares and they cannot be upgraded.

If you buy an Etihad Deal fare and then decide that you need a checked bag after all you can purchase an allowance (in advance) according to the following price list:

  • 5Kg – AED 120*
  • 10Kg – AED 120*
  • 15Kg – AED 180
  • 20Kg – AED 180
  • 25Kg – AED 450
  • 30Kg – AED 710
  • 35Kg – AED 970

*Can anyone tell me why Etihad is bothering with a 5Kg allowance when the 10Kg allowance costs exactly the same amount?

With 1 AED approximately equal to $0.27 it would cost an incredible $195 to buy the same checked baggage allowance as an Economy Saver fares offers (30kg)….and that’s each way!

What makes that price yet more ridiculous is that Etihad says that it represents a 20% saving on what will be charged if you try to purchase a baggage allowance at the airport on the day of departure.

There’s some good news for Etihad Guest members as they will still get a checked baggage allowance…of sorts. Here’s what Etihad’s elite flyers can expect when booking a Deal fare:

  • Silver – 10kg
  • Gold – 15kg
  • Platinum – 20Kg

Noticeably the Etihad announcement makes no reference to any other benefits Etihad Guest elites can expect when they purchase a Deal fare so it’s unclear if they will retain their boarding privileges and/or their seat selection privileges.

As things stand the Deal Fare is only available on Etihad’s short-haul routes between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Azerbaijan….but don’t be surprised to see this list expanded.

With numerous major airlines now offering hand baggage only fares on long-haul as well as short-haul flights I fully expect Etihad (an airline in dire need of funds) to eventually roll out its Deal fares across its entire network.

Now we just need to sit back and wait to see if (when) the other two major Middle Eastern airlines follow in Etihad’s path – I suspect that it won’t be too long.