What's it like to fly with Etihad in 2018?

17 replies


Member since 10 Jun 2015

Total posts 2

Over the past year or two, Etihad has been making cut after cut after cut. I used to fly Etihad a lot, but when they started whittling away the things that made them different (the lounge's nail salon, pyjamas, airport transfers, the Etihad Guest programme giving less miles when you fly and more needed to book a flight, and so on), I switched to Singapore Airlines and haven't flown Etihad in at least 18 months.

So, my question, for those of you who still fly Etihad, what's it like these days compared to other airlines? Obviously many of the fancy extras are gone, but how's the service, the food, the entertainment, and the lounges? Would you say it's still acceptable, or after all the cuts, is it an airline best avoided?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 02 Sep 2018

Total posts 374

I find etihad's hard product to be no worse than it was so thats a plus (its clean and still up to modern standards etc).

Soft product have some cuts but mostly in business and first. Haven't flown F but J is certainly down-graded with just average food and the flight attendants trying to sell you everything from pajamas to wine from the duty free. It just felt cheap and not premium but service otherwise is fine.

Economy was no worse than it was and still has average food, seat, entertainment etc. Service is still ok.

Overall, cuts were noticed, mostly from premium cabins. But the hard product is still there and apart from the buy-in lounge situation and sell everythin on board attitude, it is completely fine and similar to before.


Air France - Flying Blue

Member since 07 Nov 2018

Total posts 6

I only fly in Y with them and honestly it's okay. 
I fly a lot between Paris/London and Brisbane/Melbourne/Sydney depending how much it cost. 

I got EY gold just by flying in Economy and it's a good perk as I fly with Virgin here, in Australia. 
If you use an amex, you can have 10% off as well on their fare so at the end, that's pretty affordable. It's always cheaper to fly them from Melbourne. Same strategy with Virgin.

On every flights I've done, the crew always come to say hi, ask me for my meal preference and I get it before everyone else. I have never been upgraded yet... I often have one seat or 2 blocked near me so got lot of space! You still have to pay to choose your seat before online check-in and that's quite a bad move.

The food well... It's just airplane catering but it's correct. It's a pity they removed the second service on flight like AUH-CDG and replacing it by a small sandwiches. 

About the lounge, well I only went to the CDG one, the AUH one in T3 and haven't been yet to the refurbished one in Melbourne and Sydney. Food is okay, can have a shower so I am pretty happy with it.

For the inflight entertainment, it's a bit behind compared to EK, AF, KLM if you fly often with them. 

Stil got the fast track in CDG, AUH, baggages tagged first class while flying Y and being first delivered, all the advantages on Virgin... I guess it's still pretty good. 

I am a student and always found cheaper fare flying EY, if you know where to search. Very easy to get a status with them too. 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 05 May 2017

Total posts 6

i flew Etihad recently to Germany in Business and the cost cutting is noticeable. AUH airport in ordinary with crowded lounges with average food offerings. Typically flying A330's on the Germany leg that are cramped in Business. Shut their lounge in Frankfurt and did a deal with Lufthansa which is quite ordinary and reminds me of a United lounge in the U.S. Won't fly with them again.


Member since 03 May 2013

Total posts 174

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Bob Burgess

Member since 13 Sep 2016

Total posts 49

I tried EY before the big "flying reimagined" launch and it was okay but not up to par with Emirates. I tried it after, on the new A380 ex-SYD, and it was fantastic, business class was among world's best and first class suites amazing and yet prices were incredibly competitive, add the lounges at Abu Dhabi and EY was a winner. I switched a lot of my UK/EU flying to them for a while but when things started to go downhill it was very noticeable. No limo to or from the airport even if you were in first class! Little things like no business class PJs, big things like cutbacks and closures of facilities at the Abu Dhabi lounges, closed their Frankfurt lounge and I fly to FRA a lot so that was very annoying. Now it's lost that shine and I am moving my UK/EU business flying to Qatar Airways.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 Mar 2015

Total posts 20

I flew EY in first from Europe in the apartment quite a few times - it really is (was) the best product in the sky. I earned Platinum and have enjoyed many upgrades to F, and the (still) excellent First Class Lounge in AUH. Unfortunately Melbourne lost the A380, (and now the lounge as well) and F has been dropped from Melbourne altogether I think. I recently flew J from Singapore to Rome and could not really fault the service (or the price!) I do however miss the airport transfers - even when travelling in F! If the price is right, I'll continue to fly - especially ex-BKK where their fares are very good!


Member since 29 Feb 2016

Total posts 26

Did a round trip in F - out of Syd on A380 to LHR and back to Mel on 777 - mid year. Two of those legs were near-Best Flts Ever in 40 odd yrs.. better standard of crew on the 380, love the new PJ's, lunch ex LHR was outstanding, AUH Flounge an oasis of calm and good svc, AUH security much faster with premium lane well policed. Nothing kind to say about LHR lounge tho, and small-ish Syd lounge very tight near departure time. Both of them pretty anonymous places really.

Cant say much about the competition other than SQ are fractionally better food & service onboard, pretty decent lounges but generally $+ more than EY in the premium classes. QF are always $++ more with impeccable svc, alright food and wow lounges for F and plat pax. BA? - wont do them again - F is anyone else's J and I hate the reverse sardine J, their ground svc an exercise in studied indifference and lounges not special. Cant comment on Qatar and EK.


Member since 13 May 2016

Total posts 6

Personally, I loved EY! However since I've moved from Sydney to Perth, I can no longer fly EY (EY recently stopped flying to/from Perth.) I've now made the switch to Singapore Air, which have a much better J product.


United Airlines - Mileage Plus

Member since 29 Jan 2011

Total posts 81

For the past 4 years my wife & I have traveled on EY from SYD to LHR in business

In the beginning we enjoyed airport transfers, PJ's and really nice amenity kits. As a VA Platinum member, the access to the first class EY lounge in AUH was excellent.

My wife's ticket has always a FF award through VA. The changes to the taxes imposed by EY on award tickets were quite considerable.

Having completed our latest trip last month it was quite noticeable that service had been downgraded although the staff were as always very accommodating an friendly.

Our next trip to LHR is next May and we've now made the switch to Singapore Airlines which I feel has just as a good a service as EY if not better in some areas and considerable cheaper taxes. We may in the future consider looking at a VA/VS option for traveling to LHR via Hong Kong but I think our days of going to LHR with EY are over.


Member since 10 Sep 2018

Total posts 6

I have a flight booked to Sydney from AUH in December. Currently set for an a380. I asked etihad twitter to book me into row 4 but they said an equipment change may be coming aaaaargggh. Anyone heard any rumours? I’m on the 1030 pm flight which never got the downgrade treatment.

Stan Klan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 17 Mar 2013

Total posts 1

They left my clients marooned on an Air Berlin codeshare. No offer of help. Moreover, EY is owned by the government of the UAE, a govt which has institutionalised the oppression of women and gay people, and was the first govt on earth to recognise the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. To be avoided.


Member since 01 Mar 2017

Total posts 10

Took a business class trip Bne to Zurich in Emirates, followed by a Milan to Bne in Etihad, mostly on A380s earlier this year. Hard to categorically say one over the other, but the service was streaks ahead in Emirates (not to mention the Limo transfers) and the food was streaks ahead in Etihad, especially the dine on demand option. Lounges were pretty much on a par.

I'd probably take the better service and Limo (Emirates) over the better food (Etihad) if asked to choose...


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 01 Mar 2013

Total posts 32

Interesting isn't it. We all notice it. I'm currently in Abu Dhabi for ADIPEC and flew in on Sunday (SYD A380) in First and will fly home tonight again in First (lucky, generous client). Yes, I've noticed it more in Business than in First. That said the menu just wasn't as flash as it once was. I like a Champers and notice things like this. (QF, they've nailed it on the Champagne front in First, but I digress...)

I'll report on the AUH/SYD flight in the next few days. I still like the EY First product and will say it tops my experience to date (QF, EK, QR, & SQ - but not the new SQ First). All this said it's a Middle East approach that doesn't suit everyone.

Bigger picture? Dubai is running out of cash and we might see some tweaking in EK. Even with all the money here in Abu Dhabi you've got to say, 'why the second airline'? It's all about culture going back longer than any of us can recall. Qatar? I think they're on the comeback trail. Cheers!


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 May 2015

Total posts 12

Flew recently DUB-AUH-SYD in 'J' . Dublin lounge in term 1 is still good, compared to the other lounges there and the lounge in AUH was also good. On board service in for the first leg was excellent, but from AUH -SYD it was nowhere as good. Instead of a meal after take-off I opted to sleep and eat later. However when I requested my meal a few hours later, it wasn't available and they offered me snacks instead. To add insult they didn't offer me breakfast as we were approaching SYD and had to request it instead. No seat mattress, pj's have gone, limo transfer gone, ok its a first world problem but I chose to fly 'J' for the comfort. I'll explore other options next trip.

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