Etihad Is Reducing The Baggage Allowance On Award Tickets

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has been on a cost cutting spree lately. The airline has been trying to improve their financial performance by cutting costs and also increasing revenue, probably due to the billions of dollars they wasted on their investments in airberlin, Alitalia, etc.

This cost cutting has come in many forms. We’ve seen the airline cut some unprofitable routes, like flights from Abu Dhabi to Dallas and San Francisco. We’ve also seen Etihad cut amenities, ranging from eliminating pajamas in business class, to eliminating chauffeur drive outside the UAE, to cutting free spa treatments in some of their lounges, to greatly reducing catering in their lounges.

The airline has gone from something truly special in the sky, to an airline with great marketing and great seats on some of their planes (the 787s and A380s, while the rest of their fleet is really starting to show its age).


Etihad A340 at Abu Dhabi Airport

The airline has just announced their latest cost cutting measure, if it can even be called that. As of January 31, 2018, Etihad will be reducing the baggage allowance on award tickets. They had this note in the bottom of their December e-statement:

“As of 31 January 2018, the baggage allowance you’re granted with Redemption Tickets will be reduced. Book now to take advantage of the current generous baggage allowance we offer before it changes.”

This is a surprising change for them to make, as it’s extremely rare for airlines to reduce their baggage allowance for customers on award tickets beyond what they allow on revenue tickets. Equally frustrating is that Etihad has quietly announced this change, yet hasn’t provided details of the degree to which the current policy will change. Instead they’re just encouraging people to “book now.”

This seems to be their SOP, unfortunately, as they did the same thing last September when they announced the award charge changes that kicked in last week. They said award prices would change, but didn’t say how bad the changes would be.

Typically baggage policies are based on the rules of the airline you’re flying with. This means Etihad Guest awards on other airlines shouldn’t be impacted, though it also means that partner program awards on Etihad (like booking an Etihad award through American AAdvantage) could be impacted.


Could we see Etihad reduce the baggage allowance on first & business class award tickets?

I’m curious to see just how much they cut the baggage allowance, and whether they just do so for economy, or also for premium cabin travel. You can find Etihad’s current baggage allowance on this page. This just seems so petty on Etihad’s part.

What do you make of Etihad reducing the baggage allowance on award tickets?

(Tip of the hat to FlyerTalk member xobile)

Comments

  1. EY such a favorite of mine, love their Apartments/F, but this just seems so silly. I think i’m going to start moving J travel to QR and F travel to EK (after they roll-out the new F)….

  2. When is the Emirate of Abu Dhabi admitting they made a mistake starting this basketcase of an airline in the first place? Time to save face, “merge” with Emirates and pledge to use DWC as Abu Dhabi/Dubais common airport. Put a few billion in it and finally built out that dead new airport.

  3. @CS

    I do’t think creating this airline was a mistake. The mistake was “investing” in basket-case European carriers like airberlin and Alitalia. Dreadful strategic decision.

  4. Well the mistake was creating an airline without a purpose and strategy. 100 miles away from it’s fellow emirate behemoth.
    And yes I totally agree, the lack of strategy and hence terrible execution on such (“expand! but how? hm, let’s by other basketcase airlines and try our luck!”) will lead to it’s inevitable demise.

  5. Yes, afterwards the investment in AZ and AB was a mistake.

    But the initial idea was to use those somehow weak carries, which were of several reasons never solid integrated in an efficient alliance and/or hub system, as kind of neutral and loyal feeders for their oversized EY network.

    While their neighbour EK followed up the much more aggressive strategy to be independet of any alliances and were/are flooding the market with their meanwhile more than hundred 380s and 777s, means they picking up the customers directly from their home market and damaging the business of the flag ship carriers in their home countries.

    However, every market has its limited size…

  6. Does anyone know whatever happened to Etihad updating their 77W fleet to the new business suites like on the 787’s?

  7. Very disappointing move by Etihad. They are doing their level best to move from a glamour carrier to just-another-airline. Dumb. We have flown Virgin Australia + Etihad, SYD-CDG, a few times and there is now no incentive; may as well use SQ instead which gives Star Alliance miles and status benefits.

  8. Etihad has always been petty with baggage allowances, and now more than ever with all this cost cutting, terrible Abu Dhabi airport, and expensive ticket prices, I will definitely never fly with them.

    Emirates all the way!

  9. Apparently they don’t want/need partner business, so why not cut something simple like baggage allowance? They’ve done other shady things like reissuing tickets, citing some apparent scheduling reason, days after the chauffeur was taken away for partner awards, thus negating that benefit. Not to mention reticketing awards in the less desirable 777 first class when there was no scheduling problem at all with the A380s. Passengers shouldn’t have to babysit their award tickets, wondering what’s coming next. Seriously, so many airlines to fly so why even bother.

  10. I take insult and will now never fly them as long as I live
    I had my eye set on their Apartment suites
    However as elegant as they are I’ve always heard the bed is actually uncomfortable
    For revenue or award their pricing or redemption cost is extremely high
    and now discrimination on booking tickets in premium cabins
    When is a premium cabin premium ? Only if paying cash
    I wish them well I’m off to Australia with Emirates in business and first
    Ethiad just cooked it’s own goose
    What’s next with this stupid carrier? Sandwiches instead of Main dinner courses?
    Sorry you have an award ticket
    How dare you redeem on our airline sir!Penalties will apply!

  11. Well….I will fly EY BC again after almost one year ( I have to be in Abu Dhabi) and will I will lose my Platinum status soon ….but EY has treated me as shit anyway with all their childish picy changes, so why bother ?
    I fly QR instead.

  12. Just got an email with new Etihad baggage policy… I like the concept of TOTAL weight, without being hung up on the number of peices+wieght per piece concept. Seems like most logical approach, since the aircraft is carrying weight, not pieces…

    Our new global baggage policy will be based on the total weight of your checked baggage, rather than the numbers of pieces. Our USA & Canada baggage policy will continue to be based on a number of pieces.
    Our new baggage allowances:
    Cabin & Fare Choice Allowances
    Economy Deal fare 23kg baggage
    Economy Saver fare 30kg baggage
    Economy Classic fare 30kg baggage
    Economy Flex fare 35kg baggage
    Business Class fare 40kg baggage
    First Class fares 50kg baggage
    Residence guests Four pieces at 32kg each

  13. New rules = 40KG for Business (used to be 64KG). So you pay 3 times the price and only get 5KG more than an Economy ticket? EY has really lost the plot.
    The only category to keep their allowance is the cheapest economy Deal ticket (23kg stays at 23kg).
    Everyone else looses up to 50% of their baggage allowance.
    Way to treat your full paying customers EY!
    Even Gold members get screwed – used to be extra 32kg in Business – now you only get 15KG regardless of your class! Again, way to treat your full paying and loyal customers EY.
    I’ll be taking the cheapest economy flights from now on – it the best deal for luggage and the service is about the same now regardless of class.

  14. New rules = 40KG for Business (used to be 64KG). So you pay 3 times the price and only get 5KG more than an Economy ticket? EY has really lost the plot.
    The only category to keep their allowance is the cheapest economy Deal ticket (23kg stays at 23kg).
    Everyone else looses up to 50% of their baggage allowance.
    Even Gold members get screwed – used to be extra 32kg in Business – now you only get 15KG regardless of your class! Again, way to treat your full paying and loyal customers EY.
    I’ll be taking the cheapest economy flights from now on – it the best deal for luggage and the service is about the same now regardless of class.

  15. Exactly this ^^. This nonsense has converted one regular Business class flyer to a cheapo economy ticket buyer. Lounges priority baggage & check-in covered by the Gold FF card anyhow.. This airline seems intent on some kind of downward spiral into another slEasyJet / Ryanair

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