Etihad continues to make cut after cut after cut after cut to their passenger experience. Individually all of these changes are minor, but when you put them all together, they add up. What’s especially concerning is that we seem to see a new cut every week, so it’s clear that the airline is still actively focused on devaluing the passenger experience rather than trying to differentiate the experience they offer their passengers.
Etihad has just announced their latest devaluation to their complimentary chauffeur service for first & business class passengers, but before we look at that, let’s recap the changes they’ve made to this service already:
- As of August 2016, Etihad cut chauffeur service for first & business class passengers booked on partner airline award tickets
- Much more significantly, as of July 2017, Etihad eliminated chauffeur service everywhere except in the UAE; previously first & business class passengers received door-to-door transport, while now you only receive the service when flying into and out of Abu Dhabi
Now it’s time for the next cut to Etihad’s chauffeur service. As of April 1, 2018, Etihad will no longer offer any award passengers a complimentary chauffeur service. Per the Etihad chauffeur booking page:
All First and Business Class tickets (with the exception of Business Saver and from 1 April 2018 guest redemption tickets in First and Business Class) are eligible for the Etihad Chauffeur service.
Up until now one advantage of booking an award ticket through Etihad Guest rather than a partner program (like American AAdvantage) has been that you get chauffeur service in the UAE, but even that isn’t the case anymore.
Etihad & Mercedez-Benz recently announced a partnership for their chauffeur service in the UAE, with a fleet of E-Class cars providing the service for Etihad. Too bad an ever-decreasing number of people have access to this service.
It genuinely makes me sad to see what Etihad is turning into. I used to have such a strong emotional connection to the brand, and while I can appreciate their desire to reduce losses after their horrible, failed investment strategy, there has to be a better way to go about this…