Compensation Clinic: Etihad Airways issues (Yet Again!)

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Reader Question about Etihad Airways issue with kid meals, seats assignments, Etihad nannies, strollers and others.

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You can access Etihad Airways here.

Here’s the email from the reader:

I am regular reader of your blog and check it daily. Recently I took a flight with my wife and 18 months old son with Etihad on business class and had terrible experience.

I sent an email to their customer relations as follows and received an apologies in response rather than real compensation. What should I do next and what to expect?

It was a redemption booking, however I had paid close to 500$ for lap infant.

Here’s the email that the reader sent Etihad:

We have taken flights from Mumbai India to Tampa USA on Etihad business class and had experienced very poor service along the way. In Mumbai we have changed the seat assignment because check in agent informed us that we can have a bassinet for our infant if we seat separately. We have made changes and in flight from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi we have been told that bassinets is only available to infant up to 1-year-old even though our son met the weight and length criteria for infant. The check in agent did not know the criteria and we had to seat separately without bassinets.

We have also been told that we will not receive our stroller back in Abu Dhabi even though it is gate checked, however we have been promised to receive strollers provided by Etihad to transfer from one terminal to other for our connecting flight to New York. There were no strollers in terminal when we landed and we had to carry our infant from one terminal to other and there were no expedited lines for business class passengers either.

Our experience in flight from Abu Dhabi to New York was not pleasure either. We did not receive any baby meal for the infant or toys to keep him entertain or Etihad Nannys as promised in Etihad advertisement.

When we asked for toys we have been told that It’s only for kids older than 3 years. The staff was rude and did not provide attention to our requests and questioned on why we are asking for desserts or ice cream for the infant.

We have also been told that we will receive our stroller back in New York at gate. There was no gate provided at airport and we had to come out of aircraft with infant when it was cold and raining outside to get on the bus to go to terminal. When we asked for our strollers, we have been told that it was transferred to our next flight and we will receive it in Tampa. We had 5 hours layover and did not receive our stroller at the gate.

Overall we have experienced very poor service and incorrect information all along the way. We have travelled in business class and I am Etihad Gold member. I have reached out via twitter and been told to send an email with feedback here to open a complaint. Our details are as follows.

Here’s the response from Etihad

Thank you for writing to us and letting us know about your recent flight. Please accept my sincere apologies for the unsatisfactory service you received from our Airport Staff and Nanny. I can certainly understand why you were not happy with your seat assignment, lack of assistance from our team on the ground and onboard and non availability of the stroller at the airport.

Please allow me to inform, all our aircrafts are fitted with baby bassinet positions; however as per the policy infants below 10 months old and weighing less than 10 Kgs are entitled for the bassinet seats on first come first served basis. 

I am sorry that Infant REMOVED did not receive the baby meal you requested on the flight for which I apologise.

I would like to assure you that safety of our guests is of paramount importance and remains our utmost priority and if crew noticed that toys are not kids friendly under the age of 03 they did not offer them to the guest to avoid any inconvenience.

We welcome feedback from our guests as it enables us to continuously improve our service. I have shared your comments with our Airport and Cabin Crew Performance Managers.

Again, I am very sorry that your experience was not as pleasant as it should have been. We look forward to welcoming you on another Etihad Airways flight again soon.

I was skeptical that the reader could get anything from Etihad because hey have age limit for the bassinet (10 months) and no toys for those less than three. The stroller and infant meal were mix ups.

But:

Thank you for reaching out me. I had sent another email expressing how disappointed I was as Gold elite member and they offered goodwill gesture as 7K miles each for me and my wife and 5K for my son.

I think it’s fair compensation compared to what I have paid for lap infant fees.

Conclusion

This is fairly typical compensation that someone gets from Etihad Airways. All Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar) try to offer additional benefits for kids over what other airlines offer because of the demographics of their clientele.

I am glad that the reader was able to get some bonus Etihad Guest miles, although he had to send an additional email to achieve this.

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