Etihad Now Offers Free Wifi In First Class

Etihad has been on a nonstop cost cutting spree lately, and it has been years since I remember them doing anything to improve their product. Off the top of my head the last positive development from them was when they inaugurated service with their first A380 in 2014, and when they opened their First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi in 2015 (which has since been cut back significantly). For the past couple of years they’ve been cutting services and finding new ways to generate revenue.

One thing I used to love about Etihad was their onboard wifi offering. They used the same provider as Lufthansa for their wifi, and wifi was both reasonably priced and fast. You could buy wifi for an entire longhaul flight with no data caps for just $21.95.

Last July Etihad adjusted their wifi pricing in a negative way, and they started charging based on data usage rather than time. Specifically, their new wifi pricing is as follows:

  • $4.95 for 30MB
  • $11.95 for 90MB
  • $19.95 for 180MB

This isn’t necessarily terrible for everyone (especially those who are just looking to text), but for those who want to get work done on a flight, it’s a negative development for sure, since you’ll run through those data limits pretty quickly.

Etihad is making a positive improvement to their onboard experience — Etihad is now offering free wifi to first class passengers.

I’m in shock that Etihad is making a positive change, since that’s just not something they do anymore. The only time I’ve ever received free wifi on Etihad is when flying The Residence.

We’ll have to wait and see exactly how the free wifi works, though. Will first class passengers get unlimited data and free wifi for the entire flight, or will they simply get one of the data-restricted packages? Don’t get me wrong, 180MB of free wifi is generous and better than nothing, though it would be truly great if they brought back wifi usage without data limits for first class passengers.

This announcement comes shortly after Lufthansa has started offering wifi in first class on select flights. This is apparently part of a test, and we’ll see whether it becomes a permanent feature soon.

It’s great to see more and more airlines offering free wifi in first class.

Has anyone experienced the new free wifi offering on Etihad yet?

Comments

  1. FANTASTIC news. I had a long couple of flights last December in First on the A380, and had tons of work to do and it was terrible. Had to keep buying $20 passes.

  2. WiFi should be free for all (long-haul) first class passengers on all airlines including LH, EY, QR, LX, TG, CX and others.

    If TK can offer it to all J passengers then I don’t see why other airlines can’t in F!

  3. I am surprised to read that airlines dont offer free wifi to first class passengers when ticket costs thousands of dollars.

  4. It’s still not going to make me fly them again.
    They have done way too much cost cutting for my liking.
    Sadly they’ve lost me as a Platinum ‘Guest’!

  5. FWIW, you can log in to the Etihad system with Boingo credentials. Various Amex cards gives free Boingo access, so I was able to get free Wifi on my recent EY flights with this method.

    I had to re-login every couple of hours, but that’s not a big deal.

  6. I flew first to SYD this morning (last minute downgauge to 777!)

    Free wifi was for 180MB. It was painfully slow though.

  7. Wow they’re giving you less data than a normal monthly phone contract if you spend over 1000 dollars on a flight how kind.

  8. Having flown abu dhabi to sydney November last year in 4a first apartment the whole flight proved lackluster at every level.
    The bedding was unbearably uncomfortable and food ordinary.
    The free Wi-Fi on offer is no point to consider when considering this first product.
    Thank god it was a 100000 point AA redemption and not hard cash.

  9. Flew AUH – IAD in First on March 7, was given a code for 180MB free. As others have said, worked fine but was slow.

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