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.

RQ EY

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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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  • as

    Shame on Etihad for not raising this guy’s kid for him! Get used to it man, the kid is YOUR responsibility.

    • Oh Please

      Right, and expecting them to sort through all the cargo to find their stroller for their 5-hour layover so they don’t have to carry their child who apparently is small and light enough to fit into the basinette? Maybe this guy mistook Etihad for a private jet.

      • as

        Well, there were flying from India. I’ll go out on a limb here and assume that they are Indian……ever deal with them before? They are literally impossible to please and want everything for free. Also they REFUSE to mind their children. Hands down the worst behaving children in the world.

        • Holiday_Hero

          What I have witnessed in India can only be described as disgusting. But nothing in this article is about their child’s behaviour. If they are wealthy Indian and live in India, they have a nanny, manual labour like raising and carrying a child is not something they would be used to. Or even ever do.

  • Barbarella

    I was recently on a JFK-AUH flight also by EY and there was an old Indian couple (perhaps grandparents) demanding a bassinet for a 2.5 y.o. girl… the cabin crew was kindly and patiently explaining them for over half an hour that she was too big for having a bassinet and the old couple was insisting she was small enough to get into it anyhow…

    • Yukon

      Typically Indian ppl…without any word….🀣🀣😳😳

  • Mike

    Wow – he actually got something from Etihad?! Amazed…their customer service is horrible should anything go wrong with the flight. Been Gold since 2008 then Platinum for couple years and now back to Gold (through flights not status match). So plenty of flight and undoubtedly there have been issues. Their response has been atrocious – no empowerment and just a useless apology. They don’t know what “loyalty” is.

    Stopped flying Etihad except for redemption to burn through the miles.

  • Joe S

    They gate check all sorts of items to get at the gate upon arrival. Wheelchairs, strollers, etc. You will see the strollers stacked up outside the plane with red tags. The wheelchairs (especially the motorized ones) are loaded in cargo but are brought up to the gate on arrival. So that is normal operation, not special request.

    And the gate agents should not have moved them for the bassinet to then be told you cannot use it. They were then forced to sit separately (with a child to care for) because they did not get their seats back.

    I think it is a legit complaint. But they own some of it since the policies are clear.

  • Dave P

    Ok. I see lot of people bashing all indians assuming the passengers were Indian because the flight was from India. No wonder the whole country is being opinionated and judgmental!! Divided would definitely be an understatement at this point. Half of you seem like working for Etihad!

  • Holiday_Hero

    Had a similar experience with Etihad.

    Dealing with Etihads customer service. Will send full details on to you John, as they appear to be impressively incompetent.