Etihad made an announcement on Sunday at the Arabian Travel Market about their “enhanced” economy product that will be first rolled-out on the single aisle aircraft.
The airline is introducing streaming entertainment content via WiFi to passengers’ devices, refreshed cabin (less space?) and “enhanced” dining concept.
Here’s the announcement from Etihad:
Abu Dhabi, United ArabEmirates – Etihad Airways has unveiled a major Economy transformation programme starting with the cabin upgrade and refurbishment of 23 narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The retrofit programme, which includes new personalised wireless streaming entertainment to smartphone and tablet devices, is scheduled for completion in August this year. The airline is also introducing a new and improved Economy dining concept on all its flights as part of a wider programme of enhancements to its inflight catering.
- Refreshed modern cabins across regional Airbus A320/A321 aircraft featuring new industry-leading Extra-spatial Design seats
- Smart-device powered high-speed wireless streaming ‘home entertainment’ experience on narrow-body fleet via new E-BOX STREAM app or browser
- Enhanced and improved complimentary dining concept and new ‘Sweet or Salty’ food and beverage retail menu on all flights
Etihad introduced the new developments at Arabian Travel Market, together with a new advertising campaign, ‘Go Your Own Way’, using Fleetwood Mac’s anthemic classic as its soundtrack. As part of the airline’s overall ‘Choose Well’ brand platform, the campaign will drive greater awareness of Etihad’s commitment to providing its guests with greater control, choice and value by personalising their travel experiences.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad has always been a challenger brand, shaping the future of travel as the market constantly changes. We are bringing the leadership and innovation to Economy travel which we have long established in our award-winning Business, First and The Residence cabins.
“As part of our ‘Choose Well’ promise, we are empowering our guests with more control of their travel experiences, through onboard digital transformation, improved choice and redesigned cabins and products.
“As a leading full-service airline, Etihad is adapting to meet the specific needs and requirements of all travellers, providing more of what they really want to enjoy inflight. This not only delivers greater choice and personalisation, it also ensures we continue to provide a superior, commercially wise and sustainable service offering.”
Relax Your Own Way – Complete Narrow-body Cabin Upgrade
Etihad is progressively upgrading the Economy cabins of its narrow-body fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. These are used mainly on short-haul regional services, and further afield to 38 Etihad gateways within five hours of flight from Abu Dhabi. The airline is installing modern and refreshed cabins featuring ergonomic Extra-spatial Design seats by UK based Acro, a world-leading innovator in aircraft seat manufacturing. The next-generation seats, which will maintain comfortable ‘living space’ in the seat area, and provide increased knee room, are cleverly designed around the guest’s digital devices with fast-charging USB points and an adjustable phone and tablet holder.
The first stage of enhancements to the Economy experience began in 2017 with new seating options such as Neighbour-Free Seats, Economy Space, and Preferred Seats introduced on the wide-body fleet.
Watch Your Own Way – Wireless Inflight Entertainment (Airbus A320 / A321)
Guests on narrow-body aircraft will be able to simply log on and connect via browser to wirelessly stream more than 300 hours of free inflight entertainment through Etihad’s onboard Panasonic eXW system directly to their own devices. To view a wider range of exciting entertainment programming, including more Hollywood blockbusters, international movies, and premium TV programming such as HBO and Universal shows, guests can simply download the new E-BOX STREAM app prior to travel.
Inflight entertainment via personal seat back screens will remain standard in the Economy cabins on the airline’s fleet of wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
Dine Your Own Way – All new Economy Dining Experience
Etihad has launched a redesigned and enhanced complimentary dining concept on all its flights. On journeys of over three hours, the main course of the core complimentary dining service is now a larger, contemporary bistro-style meal which is higher in quality, with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and more destination focused choices. A new curved triangular base plate design reflects the heritage of Abu Dhabi and is made using recycled materials. New cutlery is 85 per cent lighter, reducing aircraft weight and fuel burn. Each year, the airline will also remove 27 million plastic lids, and other containers, supporting its drive towards greater sustainability and to reduce the use of single-use plastics by 80 per cent by 2022.
As part of the new dining sequence, delicious dessert items will be served separately with the after-meal coffee and tea service, reducing clutter on the tray during the main meal. On shorter flights, dessert will be served with the main meal.
In addition, the significantly expanded ‘Sweet or Salty’ retail menu complements the core dining service with offerings including a Tapas box, hot dishes, and premium sweet and savoury snacks, all available for purchase. The selection also includes exciting options for children. The new retail service will be enhanced by partnerships with leading brands such as Bateel, Starbucks, Thorntons, Cawston Press, Heavenly, Perrier and Barebells.
Etihad is also refreshing soft products including new blankets, pillows and headrest covers to further enhance inflight comfort and ambience.
Qatar Airways introduced their enhanced economy product recently (read more here) and Emirates has absolutely fantastic in-flight entertainment system.
The best solution would be to have complimentary WiFi and passengers could then access streaming content available on the internet whether free or paid.
Whenever an airline uses a word “enhancement”, it usually means at 99% certainty that there is a service downgrade in the making.