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It wasn’t all that long ago that Etihad was truly one of the best airlines you could fly and I loved redeeming AAdvantage Miles for travel in the airlines’ A380 Business Class cabin. Sadly things are a bit different now.
The Etihad A380 Business Class cabin is still very good indeed but the airline has been cutting flights and services like there’s no tomorrow.
The airline has scrapped free chauffeur services for First & Business Class passengers (except in the UAE), devalued its loyalty program, reduced baggage allowances on premium fares, cut catering in lounges, eliminated a few onboard Business Class amenities, cut flights to Dallas and San Francisco and started selling access to some of its most premium lounges in a desperate attempt to raise cash.
In just 2 years Etihad has gone from an airline most would love to fly to an airline whose survival a lot are questioning – it’s genuinely sad.
Still, on a positive note, Etihad has managed to announce something that isn’t a cut or a money-making venture.
As of a few days ago passengers can now book and manage Etihad’s chauffeur services online.
“Effective immediately, customers will be able to book and manage Etihad’s chauffeur services directly through the airline’s upgraded mobile optimised website without having to call Etihad’s Contact Centre or a travel agent.
Customers can now book and confirm their chauffeur service up to 12 hours prior to their flight’s departure. The new system, created in partnership with Vxceed Technologies, also allows guests to amend or cancel their chauffeur booking, thereby giving them greater control of their travel requirements.”
In the days when we were used to getting complimentary chauffeur service it would have been a bit mean-spirited to complain about the clunky nature of Etihad’s chauffeur booking service….but it wasn’t exactly user friendly.
In the 21st century no one expects to have to call up to book a car – people expect everything to be online – but that’s exactly what you had to do with Etihad….so this is definitely an improvement.
Etihad says that it has added SMS alerts for pick-ups (I thought they already offered those) and has added the ability for passengers to contact their chauffeurs prior to being collected.
The airline has also said that future system enhancements will allow Etihad Guest members to use their miles to book chauffeur services in the UAE “irrespective of which cabin they’re traveling in“.
Is this a significant event in Etihad’s history? Clearly not….but I had to take the opportunity to deliver some positive news from the airline while I had the chance. Who knows if or when another such opportunity will present itself.