Etihad Wants You To Check-In For Your Flight In the Middle Of The Night (Or Day)

We’re well over a week into Ramadan, which is a busy travel period in the Middle East, as many people are traveling to visit friends and family.

To deal with what will presumably be pretty full airports, Etihad is giving people an incentive to check-in early.

Etihad-Check-In-1

The promotion is called “Moonlight Check-In,” and through it Etihad is offering select passengers the following:

  • 5kg extra luggage allowance
  • A voucher for 2,500 Etihad Guest miles
  • 1 hour of free parking

So how do you qualify?

  • You have to check in between 1AM and 6AM, or between 1PM and 6PM (sort of funny that’s considered “Moonlight Check-In”)
  • You must be traveling between June 21 and July 31, 2015
  • You must check-in “well in advance” of your flight
  • You must be departing Abu Dhabi, and can’t be flying to the US

Here’s how the program is described:

Check in during moonlight hours and we’ll give you an additional 5kgs of checked baggage allowance, an Etihad Guest Miles voucher preloaded with 2,500 miles per travelling guest and 1 hour free parking at Skypark, allowing you to complete the check-in process.

Moonlight check-in incentives are only available if you are booked to travel on Etihad-operated flights (excluding flights to the US) where you check in well in advance of your flight.

For instance, if your flight departs at 5 PM and you check in 2 hours earlier on the same day, you are not entitled to the incentives. However, if you check in at 5 AM that morning, then you will receive the additional benefits.

Etihad-Check-In-2

Oddly they don’t seem to specify how early you have to check-in, though do give the example of checking in two hours before departure not being eligible for the promotion.

What they seem to be suggesting is that you should first go to the airport to check-in, and then separately return to catch your flight.

Etihad-Lounge-Abu-Dhabi-03

It’s an interesting promotion, though I wonder:

  • Is this enough of an incentive for people to make two trips to the airport?
  • Presumably this will increase crowding at airports, given that you’ll have people showing up at the airport twice — that’s more people parking, more people walking in/out of the terminal, etc.
  • This seems like it could delay flights. Typically when people check-in bags the airline knows they’ll make the flight (since they’re at the airport), while in this case it’s not so certain — it makes it difficult for the airline to predict whether a passenger is actually at the airport or not.

Bottom line

This is an interesting promotion on the part of Etihad. I appreciate the problem they’re trying to solve in general (being as efficient as possible during a busy travel period), though I can’t help but wonder if this is enough incentive for people to go to the airport twice. And if it is, I wonder whether it’ll actually make the airport experience any smoother.

Would you show up at the airport “well in advance” of your flight for 2,500 bonus miles and an extra baggage allowance?

Comments

  1. I wish I could do that here, check in 12 hrs orso ahead would be perfect. That way if you have a 6am flight, you could just swing by the evening before and drop off your bag and sleep in an extra 20-30 mins.

  2. I sometimes do that, if I’m traveling that day in the evening and am near the airport, I’ll go and drop my bags early in the day and then come back before my flight.

  3. Austrian and NIKI offers this service out of Vienna, too. During summer season they sometimes market it towards families, but they don’t offer any incentives as Etihad, just the “convenience” of checking in earlier.

    As per Austrian’s website: “Late night check-in gives you the opportunity to check-in your luggage on the previous day. These are the opening hours for “Baggage Drop off” at Vienna International Airport: 2.00 – 4.00 pm & 8.00 – 10.00 pm”
    As per NIKI’s website: “Late-night check-in: From 18:00-21:00 h for all flights on the following day. Terminal 1A, desk 127 (AB-Flights and NIKI-Flights)”

  4. @ Lucky — any work arounds found to assign EY seats on AA miles since the last work around is broken?

  5. @Nick even you did online checking, you still need to check in at counter for luggage and travel document check. Some countries asked airlines to record the home address and verify certain personal information at check in.
    In US, airlines do document check at gate, which is simply taking a glimpse. However, not possible for many countries because regulations required more complicated and secure document check.

  6. Hi Lucky – On a slightly separate note, you had mentioned that Etihad regularly provides last minute cash upgrades to business class on their flights. How much would approximately cost one-way from the US to Abu Dhabi. And secondly, does Etihad impose fuel surcharge on a one-way or round trip ticket if originating in the US or in Asia when using Etihad miles?
    Thanks!!

  7. It may be enough of an incentive for people who have easy access to the airport. Notice that the same benefits are available at 3 other locations in the UAE — city terminals in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain (the Dubai terminal actually offers a better benefit, 10kg of extra checked luggage rather than just 5). The city terminals also give you this benefit 24 hours a day (up to 4 hours before your flight in Dubai, 6 hours in Al Ain). So I’m guessing anyone who has easier access to a city terminal will prefer that over the airport. Heck, some people may drive to Dubai for the extra weight allowance, it may be worth it for a large party.

    Another advantage of early or city check-in is that you may be able to do it without the full party present. Especially when traveling with young children, this is a huge advantage: go to the airport early without the kids to stand in line and drop off the heavy luggage, then later bring the family directly to the flight. Next week I’m flying with my family of 5 with full luggage after a 4-month stay abroad, and I’d gladly make an early extra trip without the family to drop off the luggage if it were possible in my city.

  8. Oops, a few corrections to the previous comment. The city locations are available from 24 hours before your flight, but not 24 hours a day; it varies by location, but mostly during daytime (so no moonlight). There are actually two city locations in Abu Dhabi (in addition to Dubai and Al Ain). And the Al Ain location is actually at the Al Ain airport, not in the city.

  9. @ Tar_00 — As of now I don’t believe they impose fuel surcharges to/from the US. Not sure about exact rates, but I’d expect them to be around $500 one-way.

  10. Ramadan is actually ultra-low travel season and airports/hotels tend to be quite deserted. Most staff are encouraged to take leave during Ramadan and work hours are restricted to a max of 6 hrs/day, so this is probably being done to spread out staff efficiency rather than due to congestion.

  11. At Hamad in Doha and it’s very busy as I would guess many people are visiting during Ramadan their families.

  12. I actually took advantage of this offer because:

    – I live about 7 minutes away from AUH.
    – The timings worked perfectly with my work and flight schedules.
    – I wanted the extra 2,500 Guest Miles given the upcoming devaluation of the EY Guest programme.

    However, like most things Etihad, it was well-intentioned yet poorly-executed. While the check-in formalities and car parking reimbursement were easy, obtaining the voucher for the 2,500 Guest Miles was a total farce. The staff didn’t have a clue! What should have taken 4-5 minutes took 45 minutes.

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