April 29 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

Etihad launches new Economy Class experience

By Rachel Debling

Etihad's new Sweet snack box, available in Economy Class

Passengers flying in the Economy Class of Etihad Airways will soon enjoy an improved onboard experience thanks to the airline's A320 and A321 retrofit program and updates to its inflight menu. The full program is expected to launch this August.

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said in today's press release announcing the changes: “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 travelers, providing more of what they really want to enjoy in flight. This not only delivers greater choice and personalization, it also ensures we continue to provide a superior, commercially wise and sustainable service offering.”

PED holders and faster USB connections are two of the new features in Etihad's narrow-body Economy Class seats

Twenty-three of Etihad's narrow-body A320 and A321s, used mainly on short-haul regional services, will progressively be updated with a "modern and refreshed" cabin, according to the airline. Acro has designed next-generation seats for Etihad that include increased leg room, an adjustable phone and tablet holder, and USB charge points. Etihad first began to enhance its Economy Class experience in 2017 when it started offering new seating options on its wide-body fleet, such as Neighbour-Free Seats, Economy Space, and Preferred Seats.

Wireless streaming to personal electronic devices (PEDs) will also be a new feature of the refreshed Airbus cabins. Passengers will be able to access more than 300 hours of free entertainment directly to their own smartphone or tablet through the onboard Panasonic eXW system. To take advantage, guests can download the airline's new E-BOX STREAM app prior to their flight. The wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft in Etihad's fleet will continue to offer seatback screens in Economy Class.

The airline's curved triangular plate is designed to pay homage to its Abu Dhabi origins

In addition to these soon-to-be-upgraded cabins, Etihad announced that it has redesigned its complementary Economy dining options across all flights.

Flights over three hours will feature larger, higher-quality main courses made with seasonal ingredients and more "destination-focused choices," according to the press release announcing the update. Dessert items will be served separately with tea and coffee service, though guests on shorter flights will still receive dessert with their meal.

The airline has also refreshed its tableware, with a curved triangular plate made from recycled materials and lighter cutlery. Etihad is also removing 27 million plastic lids and other containers as part of its drive to reduce its use of single-use plastics by 80 percent by 2022.

The airline's 'Sweet or Salty' retail menu has also been expanded to complement the core dining concept: a tapas box, hot dishes and premium sweet and savory snacks, plus new options for children, will be available for purchase.

The blankets, pillows and headrest covers offered on these flights have also been updated to further enhance inflight comfort.

A snapshot of Etihad's Burj Khalifa display

To celebrate this phase of its 'Choose Well' campaign, and to introduce the world to its latest Economy program, Etihad took over the Burj Khalifa in Dubai with a branded light show.

For more information on the campaign, watch Etihad's 'Go Your Own Way' commercial below.

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