I had the misfortune to travel on this - horrendous airline, while planning a short trip to visit the middle east.
The fares were attractive, and as a flyer, I am also eager to try new airlines and gain new experiences.
My route was LON - AUH - LON.
Prior to my departure to the middle east, I kept receiving numerous emails about changes to my flight timings. At one point I found this ridiculous and annoying as surely an airline schedule cannot change much right? Nevertheless, I overlooked this fact and the day for my short holiday came.
So a summary of my flight:
Airbus A340-600. Amazing aircraft but the seating was horrendous. It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "packed like sardines in a sardine can". The seats themselves were so uncomfortable.
IFE was decent, but when meal time came around I was utterly shocked to see the tiny portions. It was something of a size of a kraft philadephia cheese box! That tiny! Thankfully there were alot of drinks being offered.
Again the flight was on an A340-600. Great aircraft. However because of bad weather, we were kept waiting for 3 hours with no refreshments or notice of what was happening, until the final 30 mins when were were rushed onto the plane. Again the food service was poor and seating was so painful that I rather have sat on the floor. The biggest issue for me is when I reached and picked my luggage up, the lock had been broken into. THANKFULLY nothing was stolen.
I complained to the staff and they asked me to call a customer service number. NOW...7 MONTHS DOWN THE LINE, AFTER NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS TO GET IN TOUCH, EMAILS, PHONE CALLS AND HORRENDOUS TREATMENT FROM THEIR STAFF, etihad refuse to acknowledge that they did any damage, even tho IATA states that the airline has responsibility.
Now how can a samsonite lock be broken off? unless someone tried getting into it?
The whole flying experience itself, is the worst I have ever had.
I've flown numerous airlines such as Air India, Kuwait Airways, Emirates, US Airways, ANA, Lufthansa, TAP, Alitalia, Cathay and even airlines in developing countries and I've never recieved such bad treatment, had such a bad experience or felt hungry the entire flight!
I might be attracted to cheap fares, but I dont think it should mean you are treated like a poor third class citizen. Even Ryan air has a better overall experience.
My advice - dont fly. It's time we customers supported good customer service and good companies that dont treat their customers like third class citizens!
I am not a picky traveller. It took a lot of consideration for me before I rated this airlines so low.
I chose this airlines for our journey back home from Indonesia (International Airport Soekarno Hatta, Jakarta) to the UK (Heathrow International Airport, London). Based on our itinerary, our flight would stop for about an hour at Abu Dhabi before continuing the journey to the UK. Sounds pretty simple. It''s not.
Few weeks before the arranged date, we got an email message from Etihad website, telling us that our flight schedule from Abu Dhabi to London has been changed. This is definitely would screw the whole plan because we have already got the transport from London to Norwich arranged. So I contacted Etihad''s customer service in Indonesia to get more information about this.
Trying to contact them is a very painful experience. I went to their website to get their email address and phone number. I sent them emails (and no one replied), and called them (automated response and no one actually picked up). My last resort was to write a complaint on their facebook page''s wall... and then they replied. They said it was a glitch in their system, and there is no reschedule.
The flying experience itself, probably one of the worst I have ever had. I don''t know which one was worse: the first one from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi, or the second one from Abu Dhabi to London.
The flight from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi was a coach flight with an Indonesian''s airlines. It was a smaller aircraft, so my husband and I could sit more comfortably. However, the flight was late, and it was ended with a very hard landing. When we arrived at Abu Dhabi, we did not even get the chance to breathe, as we had to run right away to catch the next flight.
The aircraft was full and crowded, and was very uncomfortable. We could not choose our seat because apparently we need to book the seat first, and we did not know that. So initially we sat separately, until one of the passenger being very nice and gave up his seat for my husband so he could sit next to me. Flight attendants did not do anything to help.
I have to admit that I might be enticed with their low fares when I chose their service. But I disagree that low fare should equals to bad service. I have used budget airlines and they are so much better than Etihad. I never used their service again since.
I have flown with Etihad airlines 4 times now and I personally think they are up there with the best. From arriving at the airport you can tell the service is going to be good, fast check-in service and very friendly staff which gives you a good idea of how your journey is going to be. Once seated you get your complimentary headphones and pillow a smile from the air hostess and then your off. Once in the air you have access to the entertainment and the choice is brilliant. There are plenty of movies to choose from, including new releases. There is also TV series to choose from and the kids will be occupied as there is plenty to keep them occupied. I think i watched 4 movies on the way to thailand and half a series of how i met your mother! So boredom shouldnt be an issue. The service was efficient and friendly and the food is great. I had the chicken roast on the way out but didnt have anything on the way back as i was tired. I requested not to be disturbed so i could sleep and true to their word i wasnt disturbed. I enjoyed flying with Etihad Airlines and would recommend them to anybody. This is a very well deserved 5* review.
I have now flown with Etihad 4 times, from London to Dubai, Dubai to Thailand and return. It's a great airline, and because it only flies to few destinations from the UK check in is really quick!
Once aboard the flight I was surprised that even economy class, where I was sat, was very nice. Business class looked amazing and I can only imagine what first class was like (it's sectioned of from view). All my comments are based on economy class, or what Etihad calls 'Coral Class'. The cabin was outfitted in soft tones of cream, white and gold and the seats were comfy and spacious. For take off and landing, and during the night, the main cabin lights were turned off and instead there were soft glows of blues, pinks and greens along the aisles which was a nice touch. It certainly beat the usual dull glow that floods the aisles when the main lights are switched off.
Each seat is fitted with it's own television as is the norm nowadays on long haul flights. Every guest was also welcomed with a soft wool blanket and a pack which included a 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste, an eye mask, flight socks, comb and headphones. This was great since on a long haul flight it's always nice to be able to brush your teeth and be able to sleep when all you're toiletries are packed away in your suitcase.
The entertainment was very good, with a large selection of films from around the globe, as well as recent blockbusters. There were also tv episodes, podcasts, music and videos of each of Etihad's destinations telling you about the main sights and culture. This was a nice welcome and the films kept me entertained throughout each of my flights!
The food was good and there was always a choice of food, from asian style dishes to english and italian dishes. Of course it's not the best food you'll ever eat but considering the usual atrocious food airlines serve I was pleasantly surprised. The cabin crew were polite and friendly and always ready to serve. There are also water fountains scattered about the cabin with cups so you can get water even when the cabin crew are busy preparing for dinner service. This was a nice touch and something I haven't seen before on an airline, although maybe I haven't been looking properly.
I was on a connecting flight from Dubai to Thailand with a stopover of just an hour, so I was worried about how they would manage to get our bags from one flight to another in such a short time. I've had experiences before where my bag has been left behind on a stopover of 4 hours! Etihad made this switch easily though and managed to transport my bag between aircrafts in that short stopover.
In all, I was very pleased with the service Etihad provides and would love to use them again! Perhaps next time I will get a longer stay in the place they are based, Dubai. Fingers crossed!
I recently flew a return flight on Etihad to Bangkok and back to London Heathrow. After travelling on Ryanair for most of my last 3 years of flying (only to Europe) Etihad was actually amazing. The check-in was super quick and opened 3 hours before with about 6 desks open for arriving passengers. The staff were really polite and the cleanliness of the plane was even better. After settling in my seat I was given headphones and complimentary pillow and blanket for the journey which wasn't actually really needed as the plane was at a pretty good temperature anyway considering Ryanair try to freeze you to death on their flights. The food during the journey was top notch, as I had chicken with roast potatoes and veg on the way out followed by apple crumble (what more could you ask for!) and thats coming from someone who has always been a "I don't like aeroplane food" kinda guy. And finally, the best part of the whole package is the entertainment they give you whilst your flying...A choice of around 40 movies, ranging from lil kiddie flick to hardcore horror is available and on one 15 hour flight I managed to watch 6 movies- needless to say the great entertainment package given on Etihad may even be dangerous! So to finalise, Etihad is a great airline to fly with and I recommend it greatly to anyone flying long haul as the time will fly by whilst your being served Michelin rated (OK, I may be exaggerating) meals and being served by really friendly staff!
Check in was fantastic I flew from Manchester and from checking in I felt like a valued customer. The check in was smooth plenty of check in desks, red carpet. A lady dressed in the very smart Etihad uniform was there to assist if there was any problems.
On Board Experience
WOW, what can I say? I am a travel agent and have travelled with so many airlines and I can honestly say this is the best airline I have travelled with. The plane was pristine, I have never been on such a clean plane.
The toilets were also super clean, with nice products to refresh your self such as moisturiser and hand cream etc...
The cabin crew were just fantastic, they never stopped. We were asked constantly if we would like more drinks and were happy to get you blankets/cushions.
The inflight entertainment was brilliant, there was so much choice of music/movies etc... and worked perfectly
I would recommend this airline to anyone!
Etihad airways is an airline based out of Abu Dhabi and is in my opinion a 5 star airline. I have used this airline when on flights to south east Asia with a stop in Abu Dhabi. I can honestly say i don't know why there are any bad reviews about this airline.
From the offset, i was impressed with cleanliness of the plane in which i was travelling on. The comfort of the seats was perfect as well as the in flight entertainment. Having your own personal screen in the back of the seat in front is a stroke of genius although i suppose all of the top airlines do this these days.
The food was better than most airline food i have tried as well as free alcohol (always a bonus).
The one thing i was slightly disappointed with was the leg room in economy. although not as bad as some airlines i have travelled with, for long-haul flights there is not a massive amount of room.
All in all though, excellent service
Etihad Airways is an airline I became familiar with through my job. My extremely varied role includes PA work and I have been responsible for organising travel for various members of the company, mainly the partners.
One partner in particular is a very fussy flier and hates flying but always sung the praises of Etihad. So, when I was looking for flight to Bangkok and Etihad came in cheaper than anybody, I did not hesitate to book with them.
From the minute we checked in the service was incredible. Our flight was delayed by about 2 hours due to a technical fault which meant that we would miss our connecting flight in Abu Dhabi but this was unavoidable. We were looked after the whole time and constantly kept up to date with what was happening.
Once on the plane we were met with smiles and drinks. The planes are very nice and you get a 32" pitch in economy as standard (my very long legs were grateful for this.). On our seats were comfort packs which included socks, earplugs, blanket & cushion. Once in the air we were given head phones for the in flight entertainment system which has a selection of movies, games, TV shows and music to keep you occupied during you flight. We were then presented with a menu, that's right, a menu. I was impressed that we actually had a choice and the food was the best I had ever had in the air. There was a complementary bar service throughout the flight so the only thing you had to pay for was duty free (unlike the budget airlines where everything costs money!)
As we began our decent into Abu Dhabi I started to worry as I knew that the next flight to Bangkok was not until the following day. It turns out there was actually no need to worry as the flight had been held on the ground until we got there. Now very happy, we continued on to Bangkok.
Our first flight was in November 2007 when they were only about 4 years old, we flew with them again this April. Etihad is still young but I fear that cracks are starting to appear.
Having such a great experience the first time around I did not hesitate to book with them for our next trip to Thailand.
2 weeks before we were due to fly I noticed that the agent had booked us on a 08:25 flight instead of the 20:35 flight. This was impossible as we not due to land back in Bangkok until 15:30. I paid the £75 to charge to make the changes and was happy that everything had been taken care of. A week passed and they hadn't taken the money from my account. I called them to ensure they had the right card number which they confirmed and explained that sometimes the money is not taken immediately so I should wait a few more days. Still no money was taken from my account. I called again and was assured that everything was fine and our new flight time was confirmed.
Just like our first flight with them in 2007 we could not fault them, food was fantastic as was the service. Our problems began after 3 weeks of lovely vacation when we tried to check in. I was told that even though we had seats allocated we were not confirmed on that flight and that we should have flown on the 8am flight. The way this was dealt with was shocking. We were left to sit across from the check in desk on hard metal seats for 3 whole hours. Every time I went to the desk I was completely ignored like I wasn't even there and when I asked what was going on I was simply told to sit down and wait while they read my booking record was apparently very long. To this day I still cannot work out how it took 3 hours to read a few sheets of paper but we eventually paid £150 and boarded the flight.
In the grand scheme of things this was more of a huge inconvenience than a real problem but since then I have received various complaints at work about requests not being met by Etihad, things like window seats that are in our contact were not being provided. I feel that Etihad as a whole is still and excellent airline but their customer service needs to improve drastically.
One piece of advise I would give you if you fly with Etihad it is to join their guest scheme, it's free and you benefit from an additional 10kg luggage allowance bringing you up 30kg.
So, there you have it an honest review of both my good and bad experiences with Etihad.
Due to time spent visiting family in Abu Dhabi I use Etihad quite a lot, probably 3-4 return flights a year and am also a member of their frequent flyer program. Despite me flying with them frequently I do sometimes feel that they do have areas they need to improve in.
Before the flight Etihad give you the option to check in online 20 hours before your flight which is ideal because it allows you to change your seat and if you have no check in bags you don't need to be at the airport so early which is good if you find airports very stressful. A word to the wise though in my experience with the website if you do try and change your seats during check in the service often crashes meaning you have to pick up your boarding pass from the check in desk, so that isn't too helpful, but at least you have the seats you wanted I suppose. On the whole I feel that Etihad really needs to improve it's online check in as it is miles behind the likes of BA & Qantas in speed & reliability.
Etihad on the whole has very modern planes new to it being a new company which is good because they are much more comfortable than the older planes they use which can be a bit of a nightmare! The planes tend to feature an interactive entertainment system with on demand, music, films, tv and an airshow, which makes the flight much more enjoyable. Also unlike other airlines you do get plenty of goodies in your flight pack with eye masks, flight socks & tooth brushes included (many other airlines I have flown with do give this).
Unfortunately this is usually where the good service ends (on some occassions the staff are very good), in my experience the staff seem overworked and are therefore usually very stressed which doesn't bode well for good customer service unfortunately. The drinks trolley only ever tends to come around once other than during meals and when you press the service button for a drink you can easily wait 30-40 minutes unless you actually go ask someone directly.
Meals times are always interesting on Etihads flights, with Etihad being a Arab airline the food tends to be on the spicy side which isn't always ideal on a flight but most of the time the food is very good (for airplane food), the biggest problem I have faced is whenever you are start towards the back of the plane they often run out of one of the two selections which isn't always ideal because it usually happens because one of the selections is not very appealing.
In summary although Etihad is a very modern airline it has many niggling problems that make the experience less enjoyable than it really should be, which is a shame because the problems are small and wouldn't take a great deal of work to improve.
24 hour Etihad flight delay, a string of lies, flight diversion, virtually no refreshments, with only one proper meal during the delay, which was with Etihad airways from London to Kuala Lumpur via Abu Dhabi. In my experience they are the worst airline I have ever had the misfortune to fly with... search "etihad complaints" online for an idea of more airline reviews.etihad has quite modern aircraft and a good inflight entertainment system when it worked- which wasnt often, as the maintenance was so poor. Abu Dhabi airport where Etihad change planes, is also a 1 star airport in my experience.
LHR-BNE and SYD-LHR Feb 2009
Superficially Etihad is comparible with Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, etc. However the actual customer experience leaves a lot to be desired. I flew five sectors with them - stopping in Abu Dhabi and Singapore on the way out, and in Abu Dhabi on the way back. All five sectors had different crew, and there was no consistency in service offererd. Some of the crew were very attentive, but many were surly and uncaring. Some of the sectors had good food, some had undercooked poor food. On some sectors I was offered more drinks than I could sensibly consume; on others I got off the flight thirsty.
I agree with comments made by other reviewers here that the crews ignore the passenger call bells. What is more concerning is that the seatbelt lamps stayed illuminated during most of the duration of the flights for no reason, and therefore the passengers got accustomed to ignoring them. This meant that during episodes of clear air turbulence, passengers were still walking around the cabin.
The in-flight entertainment system was very good - lots of movies and programmes to watch. However a significant proprtion of this is Arabic or Asian, and the english-language content is almost exclusively US-centric.
Arabic is clearly the first language of the airline - and all the passenger announcements are made first in Arabic. I also noticed that some of the flight crew seemed more comfortable conversing in Arabic, and therefore Arabic speaking passengers got much friendlier service - and were asked to fill out the in-flight customer surverys!!
All of the above are just minor niggles however when compared to the biggest problem with the airline: Abu Dhabi airport. This is truly awful, and is a place I never want to visit ever again! Terminal 1 is still used for the majority of flights. It is a small terminal building, roughly 30 years old, with the internal acoustics of a railway station. It is about as clean as a railway station as well. There is very little seating capacity, and few shops. Terminal 3 has just opened, but is carrying little traffic at the moment. It appears to be a great improvement on Terminal 1, and both times I ended up going to sit in the corridor linking T1 and T3 as it is the only clean and quiet place easily accessible from T1.
So my recommendation would be to avoid Etihad at all costs until the new Terminal 2 at Abu Dhabi is built and opened in a few years time. Otherwise you risk spending a miserable 3 hours in the worst airport terminal I have ever experienced!
I am including this section so you can have some idea of what I have based the review on. In Dec '08, Jan '09, I flew Coral (Economy) class return between Dublin airport to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi. Both legs of the flight are 6hrs - 7hrs and in both directions I was scheduled to have about a two hour stopover in Abu Dhabi airport .
Check in at Dublin and Bangkok.
There were no queues at either check in desk when I arrived. There was absolutely no hassle with the check in. The staff were pleasant, helpful, efficient and polite.
When I checked in in Dublin I was told that the first flight, to Abu Dhabi, would be delayed by two hours. As this made my connection very tight, I asked about it and whether even if I made it, my bag would. The assistant had already marked my bag for a priority transfer and re-assured me that I would make the connection.
The cabin crew are excellent, friendly, helpful, professional and polite. When you get to your seat, a small cushion and blanket are provided. Flight socks, ear plugs and an eye mask are handed out later in the flight. The seat is wide and comfortable and the cabin does not feel cramped at all. As I sat beside the window on each flight I took, I had some additional room between my seat and the window which I found useful for putting my books etc. The leg room felt quite generous, but I'm 5' 3" so I will leave that assessment to taller customers. The only complaint I have about the seats is that they recline quite far. This is lovely when you want to recline, however when the person in front of you reclines it can feel slightly restrictive.
Each seat is provided with a screen and entertainment system. There is a wide selection of movies, tv programs, radio programmes and games. I didn't use the radio programmes at all. The games I found fiddly to play with the controller. Battleships and tetris passed a good half hour though.
The selection of TV programmes is quite good. There was an episode available from each of Malcolm in the Middle, My name is Earl, Friends, Scrubs and American Dad among others. Some of episodes were different on my outward journey and return journey which avoided too much repetition.
There is a large selection of movies, however due to the range of people being catered to, it is unlikely that you will find more than five or six of interest. I found more than enough for myself to pass the flight. Available titles included The Incredibles, Mamma Mia, Wall St, Dial M For Murder and Wild Child, so there was quite a bit of variety.
The food is excellent. Before the flight even takes off you are given water to drink. Shortly afterwards a menu card is passed out. The food served is all halal and when you book you are offered the opportunity to request a large variety of special meals. I stuck with the standard menu (beef, chicken, vegetarian options) and everything I selected was excellent. I especially liked the strawberry mousse that was given for desert. Additional drinks are offered regularly throughout the flight as well.
As I mentioned my first connection at Abu Dhabi was a fleeting visit to say the least. When we landed, transfer passengers were met by airline representatives and walked to the correct gate. This gate was right beside the gate we had just left, so there was no long walk around the airport. Security screening took place at the gate, but as everyone else had already boarded the plane this was very quick. Abu Dhabi certainly got top marks for convenience. I was sure after such a rapid transfer, that my bag would not arrive with me to Bangkok. It did, which was a fantastically pleasant surprise.
The second flight was on time and I spent two hours in the airport. I was surprised by how shoddy it was in places, particularly right beside the gate (after the security screening), where there wasn't enough seating for everyone. The shops were enough to kill an hour of browsing but there were long queues for the restaurants and the food I bought was over priced.
If you're due to spend much time there, I'd also suggest asking around friends to see if they have any local currency you can use. It's handier than paying by credit card.
Families were seated in the first row of each section of the cabin, and for very young children, small cots were hung from the bulkhead section so the children could sleep in comfort.
I would definitely recommend Etihad airways.
Etihad Airways is a Middle Eastern Airline from the United Arab Emirates operating out of its home base and hub of Abu Dhabi. It was started in 2003 adding a new route to its destinations every month for the first 30 months aiming to reach 70 worldwide destinations by 2010. It currently has 37 international destinations.
As it is a fairly new Airline it has a very modern fleet of mainly airbus planes and Boeing 777's and it has three classes of cabin. Diamond (First Class), Pearl (Business class) and Coral Class (Economy).
I recently flew Pearl class from London Heathrow airport (LHR) terminal 3 to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi. Flight time London to Abu Dhabi 7 Hours and 5 minutes. Abu Dhabi to Bangkok is 6 hours. Transit in Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) can range from an hour or anything up to 12 hours.
Abu Dhabi airport is an unusual airport the terminal is not very nice but to be fair there is a new terminal about to open shortly.
The good thing about flying business class is that they provide a limousine service from and to your home or office to the airport as long as it is within a 50 mile radius of Heathrow airport.
Check in LHR.
There are designated check in areas for Business class passengers ensuring there is no queuing. As is the norm flight check in opens 3 hours prior to departure but as a business class passenger you are able to check in up to 45 minutes before departure. The nice thing is as a business class passenger you are able to use the fast track lane which by passes the long security queues so that you can get airside as fast as possible and you are able to use the business class lounges and airport facilities should you wish to do so.
You are greeted by really friendly cabin crew and shown to your seat. You are shown how to operate all the buttons on the console which controls the television seat, in seat massage, raising the foot rest, setting the seat to change to different angles for your comfort. The seat actually folds down into a fully flat bed. The seats are set slightly apart and not side by side so that you have your own private space and you feel cocooned in your own personal space. In addition to the overhead lockers there are stowage spaces for your hand luggage. There is ample leg room in fact you have to undo your seat belt to reach the magazines as there is so much leg room.
You are offered a pre take off drink of Champagne or orange juice, given an amenity pack which includes all kinds of things in a little bag to make your flight as comfortable as possible. The contents include an eye mask, ear plugs, eau de cologne spritzer to spray on your face, lip balm tooth brush and tooth paste and a bottle of water. A menu for dinner is given and they come back to take orders for your dinner which would be served after take off. Yes you guessed it...Chicken or beef! And or fish or veg!
In the cabin there is mood lighting which changes throughout the flight which makes it very relaxing. The staff are extremely friendly and professional and really do go the extra mile to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
In flight entertainment.
There is a fifteen inch flat screen television in the back of the seat in front and you can actually watch the plane taking off and landing on the screen from cameras positioned at the front of and underneath the plane which is brilliant. This is available in all classes. They have over 350 hours of different entertainment via the television including films, documentaries, news programmes, comedy sketches in all kinds of languages and different games and activities and music channels. There are in flight magazines available and local newspapers.
The food is exceptional and is a mixture of European or Middle Eastern fare. An amuse bouche was given with your aperitif, then appetiser, Entrée, dessert, fresh fruit and cheese board. Your meal is prepared in the galley and you are served individually in an unhurried manner.. This is all served on china with cutlery and glassware with crisp white linen on your table.
There is an excellent and comprehensive selection of wines, spirits and liqueurs to accompany your meal. The meal is fantastic and of a very high standard. There are lots of permutations of special diets that can be pre ordered. The usual gluten free, fat free, low sugar, low protein, low sodium etc etc also peanut free and other special diets. Also as it is a Middle Eastern airline all food is halal prepared and is suitable for Muslims and non Muslims. No pork is available on the flights at all or caviar, oysters, and happily no snails or frog legs!
Etihad have received numerous travel awards over the past couple of years and from my experience they are all very well deserved. Some of my family members have also flown long haul with Etihad in economy and they found the level of service, comfort and entertainment of a very high standard too and they would use them again.
Tickets are an e ticket which means you have no way of losing them thankfully. All you have to do when you get to the airport is provide your passport and you are checked in without any hassle. You also get a bigger luggage allowance of 30 kgs.
Their web site is as follows where you can find special offers, book tickets, holidays and much more.
My opinion of Etihad airways is very positive and I would not hesitate using them again for above average service and comfort. However as they have become a leading name in air travel their prices have gone up too to reflect their popularity.