Travel

Less than stellar experience with Etihad

  • Last Updated:
  • May 20th, 2018 1:52 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 7, 2015
528 posts
179 upvotes
Toronto, ON

Less than stellar experience with Etihad

I recently flew Etihad for the first time YYZ-AUH, previously I had heard they had a very good reputation as a five-star airline but I didn't find my experience to meet my expectations. In particular, the aisles were the narrowest I can recall seeing on a plane, which resulted in many people bumping or brushing against me (in an aisle seat) than usual, which is tough when it's such a long flight and you want to get some sleep. Just about every aspect was average: service level, on board entertainment, food quality, etc. Nothing stood out about the experience to me.

For people who have flown them frequently before, is this normal? Were my expectations too high in the first place?
15 replies
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May 10, 2005
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Etihad is only getting 2 1/2 out of 5 reviews. I am not where you have been hearing " they had a very good reputation as a five-star airline"
http://www.airlinequality.com/airline-r ... d-airways/
https://www.yelp.com/biz/etihad-airways-chicago
https://ca.trustpilot.com/review/www.etihad.com
https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/etihad ... my-review/
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[OP]
Sr. Member
May 7, 2015
528 posts
179 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Pete_Coach wrote: Etihad is only getting 2 1/2 out of 5 reviews. I am not where you have been hearing " they had a very good reputation as a five-star airline"
http://www.airlinequality.com/airline-r ... d-airways/
https://www.yelp.com/biz/etihad-airways-chicago
https://ca.trustpilot.com/review/www.etihad.com
https://thepointsguy.com/2017/04/etihad ... my-review/
Skytrax ranks them as one of only 10 5-star airlines in the world: https://skytraxratings.com/worlds-5-star-airlines

Skytrax also ranked them as the 8th best airline in 2017: http://www.worldairlineawards.com/award ... ating.html

Fobres lists it as the sixth best airline in the world: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericrosen/ ... 8bbffd5ed7


Perhaps I should have sought out more user reviews, but if you want to know where I got my impression of them, that's where.
Deal Expert
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May 10, 2005
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BaconBaron wrote: Skytrax ranks them as one of only 10 5-star airlines in the world: https://skytraxratings.com/worlds-5-star-airlines

Skytrax also ranked them as the 8th best airline in 2017: http://www.worldairlineawards.com/award ... ating.html

Fobres lists it as the sixth best airline in the world: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericrosen/ ... 8bbffd5ed7


Perhaps I should have sought out more user reviews, but if you want to know where I got my impression of them, that's where.
I was once a fan of Skytrax too but have come to believe they are more like HomeStars as opposed to real information.
Then again, every flight I have ever been on has some ups and downs in service, food or comfort. So, I guess opinions are as varied as the passengers on board, why they were flying, what they expected and/or how they felt that day.
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Penalty Box
Feb 22, 2016
3594 posts
2824 upvotes
BaconBaron wrote: the aisles were the narrowest I can recall seeing on a plane, which resulted in many people bumping or brushing against me (in an aisle seat) than usual
This is the easiest problem to avoid. Most long-haul flights are on the 777. (I know, the 787 is taking over but it is a smaller plane, so if airlines need capacity they'll stick with the 777 if they aren't one of the few that has the 380)
I'd say 60% of airlines have 10-abreast seating (in economy) on the 777. Etihad is one of these, and yes, so is Emirates*. The other 40% have 9-abreast seating. it should be clear which ones would be more comfortable to fly with.

If you need a nonstop to the UAE from Toronto you'd want Emirates since the economy seats on the 380 are wider than the economy seats on a 10-abreast 777. They're more in line with the width of seats on 9-abreast 777's.

I pointed this out on the thread about flying to Japan - the 787 is narrower than the 777 so for those planes you want to find 8-abreast planes and avoid the 9's. There aren't as many airlines with 8-abreast 787's unfortunately. So if you took Air Canada from YYZ-DXB nonstop you'd be on a 9-abreast 787 which is as tight as the 10-abreast 777 on Etihad.
My point there is, this is where the hate-on for AC on this board is unfair. Narrow seats are the rule not the exception, AC by far is not the only one. And if the AC haters think WestJet is going to fly 8-abreast 787s they must be smoking some amazing weed. Better yet, if Emirates ever got its wish and were allowed to fly to Toronto daily, you can say goodbye to that roomy 380 and hello to that cramped 777.

As for SkyTrax, they're more like the Zagat Survey or maybe even the Michelin of airlines -- only elite fliers get the vote, economy fliers don't have a say. Those that voted Etihad probably never sat in economy on their 777.

* Emirates flies the 380 from Toronto, but if you flew out of Boston, Chicago, or Seattle instead, you'd be on one of those 777s.


Etihad/edited to add (bad pun)... the airline is suffering huge losses lately, so maybe this is being reflected in service quality. They've been cutting routes and all but shutting down their cargo division to try to fix it:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdud ... 17969169cd
http://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2018/ ... m-on-hold/

and of course Emirates smells blood from about 100 km north...

http://gulfbusiness.com/dubais-emirates ... ihad-ties/
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Nov 13, 2013
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Pete_Coach wrote: I was once a fan of Skytrax too but have come to believe they are more like HomeStars as opposed to real information.
Then again, every flight I have ever been on has some ups and downs in service, food or comfort. So, I guess opinions are as varied as the passengers on board, why they were flying, what they expected and/or how they felt that day.
Their rankings are laughable. Maybe it recognizes the best airline in each region (besides North America) but the idea that Lufthansa and especially Hainan is better than Emirates in any class is ridiculous. Air Canada is vastly superior to Hainan for example and the price on same routes shows this.
Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
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Many airlines are 5-stars due to their First/Business class experiences. Not sure if there is such thing as a 5-star experience in economy, especially where the trend on newer aircraft are slimmer and an extra seat per row...
[OP]
Sr. Member
May 7, 2015
528 posts
179 upvotes
Toronto, ON
McKinsey wrote: Many airlines are 5-stars due to their First/Business class experiences. Not sure if there is such thing as a 5-star experience in economy, especially where the trend on newer aircraft are slimmer and an extra seat per row...
That makes a lot of sense and I get that First/Business travellers generate a significant chunk of the airline's revenue, but usually Economy passengers are 90% of the actual people on the plane. Any advice on a good place to see reviews/rankings of airlines Economy experience? That would be helpful.
Banned
Mar 13, 2018
1385 posts
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BaconBaron wrote: That makes a lot of sense and I get that First/Business travellers generate a significant chunk of the airline's revenue, but usually Economy passengers are 90% of the actual people on the plane. Any advice on a good place to see reviews/rankings of airlines Economy experience? That would be helpful.
Maybe flyer talk but since economy passengers buy based on price , they are basically like cargo and airlines don't really care too much about them

Airlines who do have (or had) "better" economy class product like cx and JaL we're punished for it by huge losses and are catching up to other airlines with High density seating and cuts to soft and hard product
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PunkeyDoodles Corner…
Gboard2 wrote: ....economy passengers ....are basically cattle and airlines don't really care too much about them...
LOL...fixed
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Deal Addict
Oct 18, 2014
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HK
BaconBaron wrote: That makes a lot of sense and I get that First/Business travellers generate a significant chunk of the airline's revenue, but usually Economy passengers are 90% of the actual people on the plane. Any advice on a good place to see reviews/rankings of airlines Economy experience? That would be helpful.
What are you looking for? Great food/beverages, entertainment, friendly service etc...

Honestly, when it comes to economy travel, I tell folks to prioritized based on schedule (direct and/or minimal connection time) and seat width/pitch. Bring your own tablet (or book), neck pillow/eye mask, food/snacks, and pay for the exit row/bulkhead.

When you check-in at 24 hours, if the airline offers free seat selection, pick near the last row near the lavatories and hope for an empty seat/row.
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Feb 14, 2009
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BaconBaron wrote: ...Any advice on a good place to see reviews/rankings of airlines Economy experience? That would be helpful.
A lot of information is in www.seatguru.com for specific planes and
specific seats. People report seat comfort, missing window,
reclining, entertaining boxes that reduce leg room,
availability and quality of entertainment, smell, etc.
Reports on food and general service are less frequent but
exist there.

This site is not for high level airline ranking.
But having 2-3 choices, you can read people
reports on 2-3 specific planes.
And after selecting a airline, you can read seat-by-seat reviews.

Small practical example: UA flight from Dublin...
I was searching for place to sleep and found
last row has 2 seats instead of 3 -- when body is narrowing to the tail.
Contrary to seatguru official info, people reported
these seats fully reclined and actually are a bit wider.

I reserved the place 24 hours before flight...only to be
politely asked to change the seat to reunite two pretty ladies.
After short discussion between sleeping intention
and been gentleman I agreed.
Well, nobody advised me in seatguru on this event,
but at least my Karma went up that day.

Cheers!
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Sep 2, 2010
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Etihad flight attendants are the meanest I've seen.
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Sep 6, 2002
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Flew etihad on that price mistake a few years ago including flying back on a jet airways crew on etihad metal in economy

I was excited to fly a Middle East airline. Wasn’t thrilled I’d fly AC instead personally. Seat size is cramped.

Positive things.

-flight crew spoke I think 4-5 languages and made sure to emphasize this. Not an issue for me but for many it may be

USA pre clearance in abu dhabi helps.

Good headphones provided (but taken away before landing)

Sleep mask with wake me up to eat and dnd side pretty cool and ear plugs provided

Camera on tail (fun watching landing at jfk)

Live tv cnn etc

For economy it was okay. Had a schedule change that allowed me to tighten up connections Customer service was good on the phone.

Flight attendants were just meh and I enjoy drinking on flights and felt the flight crew just tolerated that where as air Canada they know us Bozo Canadians like our drinks.

I preferred the food on the jet airways operated flight. Frankly with the crazy laws in the emirates I’d prefer to connect elsewhere
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