Etihad Cuts Pajamas In Business Class

While all three big Gulf carriers are cost cutting, Etihad is leading the pack, and cutting as if there’s no tomorrow. It’s my understanding that the airline recently had a certain consulting firm in for a comprehensive review of their operation now that James Hogan is out, and the conclusion was to cut, cut, cut. I’ve been hearing that we’ll see fewer planes with first class and also some major route cuts on the horizon, though there’s nothing public or official on that yet.

In the meantime Etihad is just slowly eliminating every little thing that makes them special, even in premium cabins. They believe that as long as they continue to have a good hard product, the soft product doesn’t matter as much. So from closing the Six Senses Spa at Heathrow, to eliminating chauffeur drive outside the UAE, to cutting Etihad Guest benefits, to increasing the cost of wifi, there’s no end in sight for Etihad’s cost cutting.

It looks like Etihad is now cutting the latest aspect of their business class experience. As AusBT confirmed with an Etihad spokesperson, Etihad is no longer offering pajamas in business class. Previously they offered these on longhaul flights, though the pajamas will now be limited to first class going forward.

I had a nice flight with Etihad from Washington to Abu Dhabi this May on their 787. The Business Studio is a fantastic hard product, though if they keep cutting their soft product, Etihad will quickly lose their edge.

Etihad claims they lost nearly $2 billion in 2016, though they attribute that to lower valuations of their planes, as well as over $800 million in charges on “certain assets and financial exposures to equity partners” (aka airberlin, Alitalia, etc.). So Etihad claims they didn’t lose money flying their own planes, in which case one has to wonder why they think the path to profitability is never-ending cuts.

Of course the problem with the above is that clearly Etihad doesn’t actually make money flying, and their results are due to the funky math of the Gulf carriers, where they’re receiving huge subsidies from their governments (though to be clear, I still support them in their disagreement with the US carriers, but that doesn’t prevent me from calling them out in the areas where they take some creative liberties).

I remember once having a conversation with an Etihad executive who shall remain nameless, and I said “it’s so impressive that Air Serbia is profitable just a year after you guys took them over. What’s the secret?” He laughed…

(Tip of the hat to Morgan)

Comments

  1. Well, it’s just sad how Etihad is screwing over its most loyal customers. Want cuts – make it in Y and even then don’t make it too bad like EY has done. People are getting food poisoning and terrible stories are coming out.

  2. I don’t think it is correct to lump EK in with EY & QR when you speak about the Gulf Carriers “Funky Math”.
    EK publishes it’s fully audited (PWC I think) results and is a lot more transparent in this regard than the other two.

  3. That’s consultants for you. Literally no purpose other than to hire them to make cuts and unpopular decisions. They’re the God damn vultures of the business world.

  4. @”Trevor Cullen” : if you think “fully audited” means bullet-proof and fool-proof, remember this :

    Arthur Andersen

  5. Lucky sometimes you make me laugh. And I know you admit that some of your beefs are “first world problems.” Well, I can’t think of a more first world problem that no jammies in business class! This one made my day. Cheers!

  6. @Ray – companies hire consultancies to validate their need of cutting. It gives them a stronger hand in front of customers, employees, and stakeholders if a third party validate what management already wanted to do to begin with…

  7. When I first got these PJs I would of course take them home. Later I received better quality PJs in CX (F) and QR (J) and after a while I had way too many. More recently I’ve been wearing and then abandoning the EY PJs at the end of the flight, which is terribly wasteful. So I don’t feel too bad about this, although it was a big attraction for new J flyers and for obsessive-compulsive Flyertalk posters.

    I should also note that, in my experience, most people do not wear the PJs inflight. (Indeed, many passengers don’t even go fully flat, but simply sleep partially reclined—go figure.)

  8. As I’m sitting here having my morning coffee and reading this post, I’m wearing a pair of Etihad pajamas from my business class flight from Brisbane to Rome last May. With all the recent cost cutting articles regarding Etihad, I’m going to consider other airlines like Qantas or Qatar for my next trip to Europe.

  9. I’ve flown SQ, CX, BA F and gotten their pajamas. With the exception of the CX pajamas, the ones from SQ and BA were low quality, the kind of stuff that you would find at a street stall in Asia. Which is probably where they got them to begin with.

  10. Who wants to transfer in the desert sandbox anyway. I do not care. And of course we will never forget the Airberlin/topbonus Desaster.
    Hope Ethiad will get what they deserve.

  11. @Henry Lax
    I’m not saying that its “bullet proof”. As you rightly pointed out just because it is audited doesn’t mean its always correct.
    But what EK does is in line with western carriers and unlike what happens with QR and EY.

  12. Each time when a consultant is hired, one must brace for doom! This also applies in other industries, but in aviation its extreme: what consultants advised EY to do, was the same “hunter” strategy of Swissair…..results obvious – learned NOTHING!!!
    Now those smart and overpaid consultants came up with their second magic remedy, the first being expand and invest into non profitables, the cuts…. everybody knows, as soon as EY will cut too much, people will run….QR is not cutting, or at least less, EK is still on track, and they are trying to be inventive…..so we should not be surprised if at the end, EY will be flying on a LCC level without any paying pax in premium anymore! Thank you, you overpaid consultants

  13. Glad I experienced getting a few pairs while I could. Makes the decision to take Qatar next time I fly that way much easier.

  14. PJS? How about bring your own. What’s the dealio with clothes and obscession over soap smells? C’est bizarre.

  15. EK is NO better. They are now charging Gold Members for certain Economy seats. That was it for me and I fly at least 4 times a year in Biz class to the USA from Dubai. And the business class hard product sucks compared to the other two. Time to revisit Lufthansa. At least until Qatari can fly out of Dubai again…

  16. @ JPT

    You’re CEO of an airline that turns over $1 billion a year, and makes $50 million profit. Your shareholders are demanding you double profits. You can either:
    a) *double* the amount of business you do, to $2 billion;
    b) cut costs by 5%.

    Which of those do you think is easiest to do?

    CEOs generally have a short term of office (I think the average time in post of a UK FTSE 100 CEO is 18 months – there’s a huge attrition rate in the first few months of tenure, though once you make it past a couple of years you’re likely to stay very much longer). And the pressures are almost all short-term.

    What CEO – incentivised by huge share options – is going to focus on a long-term growth strategy, rather than the short-term, slash-and-burn option?

    What we have sowed, so are we reaping.

  17. Its not just PJ’s – they also cut out amenity kits in business class a few months ago (I flew Heathrow to Manila and they had them on the outbound flight but non on the return flight, crew told me this was a result of the cuts!)

  18. Have Etihad also stopped giving amenity kits on short haul flights. My father flew from NBO to AUH to AMD and on both legs was told they aren’t available. Is this another cut by Etihad in Business Class??

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