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Etihad launches new economy-class initiative at ATM 2019

April 30, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email


Etihad Airways, national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), used the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai yesterday to unveil a major economy-class transformation program starting with the cabin upgrade and refurbishment of 23 narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.

The retrofit program, which includes new personalised wireless streaming entertainment to smartphone and tablet devices, is scheduled for completion in August this year. The airline is also introducing a new and improved Economy dining concept on all its flights as part of a wider programme of enhancements to its inflight catering.

In an age when some airlines are reducing personal space in economy class, Etihad is displaying some welcome originality by heading in the opposite direction.

Etihad introduced the new developments at ATM 2019 yesterday, together with a new advertising campaign, ‘Go Your Own Way’, using Fleetwood Mac’s anthemic classic as its soundtrack. As part of the airline’s overall ‘Choose Well’ brand platform, the campaign will drive greater awareness of Etihad’s commitment to providing its guests with greater control, choice and value by personalising their travel experiences.

Etihad Aviation Group chief executive, Tony Douglas, said Etihad had always been a “challenger brand, shaping the future of travel as the market constantly changes.

New seats on display at Etihad stand at ATM in Dubai

“We are bringing the leadership and innovation to Economy travel which we have long established in our award-winning Business, First and The Residence cabins.

“As part of our ‘Choose Well’ promise, we are empowering our guests with more control of their travel experiences, through onboard digital transformation, improved choice and redesigned cabins and products.

“As a leading full-service airline, Etihad is adapting to meet the specific needs and requirements of all travellers, providing more of what they really want to enjoy inflight. This not only delivers greater choice and personalisation, it also ensures we continue to provide a superior, commercially wise and sustainable service offering.”

In an initiative called Relax Your Own Way, Etihad is progressively upgrading the economy cabins of its narrow-body fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. These are used mainly on short-haul regional services, and further afield to 38 Etihad gateways within five hours of flight from Abu Dhabi.

The airline is installing modern and refreshed cabins featuring ergonomic Extra-spatial Design seats by UK based Acro, a leading innovator in aircraft seat manufacturing. The next-generation seats, which the airline says will maintain comfortable ‘living space’ in the seat area, and provide increased knee room, are cleverly designed around the guest’s digital devices with fast-charging USB points and an adjustable phone and tablet holder.

The first stage of enhancements to the Economy experience began in 2017 with new seating options such as Neighbour-Free Seats, Economy Space, and Preferred Seats introduced on the wide-body fleet.

Etihad’s new economy seating as it will be on A320 and A321

Another development is called Watch Your Own Way. Travellers on Etihad narrow-body aircraft will be able to simply log on and connect via browser to wirelessly stream more than 300 hours of free inflight entertainment through Etihad’s onboard Panasonic eXW system directly to their own devices. To view a wider range of exciting entertainment programming, including more Hollywood blockbusters, international movies, and premium TV programming such as HBO and Universal shows, guests can simply download the new E-BOX STREAM app prior to travel.

Inflight entertainment via personal seat back screens will remain standard in the Economy cabins on the airline’s fleet of wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

Then there’s Etihad’s Dine Your Own Way. The airline has launched a redesigned and enhanced complimentary dining concept on all its flights. On journeys of over three hours, the main course of the core complimentary dining service is now a larger, contemporary bistro-style meal which is higher in quality, with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and more destination focused choices.

A new curved triangular base plate design reflects the heritage of Abu Dhabi and is made using recycled materials. New cutlery is 85% lighter, reducing aircraft weight and fuel burn. Each year, the airline will also remove 27 million plastic lids, and other containers, supporting its drive towards greater sustainability and to reduce the use of single-use plastics by 80% by 2022.

As part of the new dining sequence, delicious dessert items will be served separately with the after-meal coffee and tea service, reducing clutter on the tray during the main meal. On shorter flights, dessert will be served with the main meal.

In addition, the significantly expanded ‘Sweet or Salty’ retail menu complements the core dining service with offerings including a Tapas box, hot dishes, and premium sweet and savoury snacks, all available for purchase. The selection also includes exciting options for children. The new retail service will be enhanced by partnerships with leading brands such as Bateel, Starbucks, Thorntons, Cawston Press, Heavenly, Perrier and Barebells.

Etihad is also refreshing soft products including new blankets, pillows and headrest covers.

Edited by Peter Needham



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