Etihad Airways is introducing a series of new travel options, including the ability for economy class passengers to pay for a seat without anyone sitting next to them.
Under the new ‘Neighbour-Free Seat’ option, passengers booked on Etihad flights can bid for up to three empty economy class seats next to their original seat, subject to availability. These bids can be made at the time of booking and the successful bidders will be confirmed 30 hours prior to departure.
This is one of a series of new paid options for passengers; in addition, economy class passengers can now pay to access Etihad’s airport lounges and for the airline’s chauffeur-driven airport transfer services.
However, these chauffeur services will also now become a paid service for first and business class passengers in “all international destinations”. This service was previously offered free-of-charge to premium passengers, but Etihad said it would keep the transfer fares “as low and as competitive as possible”.
Chauffeur services will remain free to premium passengers in Abu Dhabi, as well as to travellers booking The Residence in destinations to which the airline’s Airbus A380 aircraft operates.
“Etihad Airways is constantly looking at ways to improve its value proposition for guests, focusing on the service elements that are most important to them. This change is being put in place as the airline looks to evolve its product proposition while continuing to match individual customer requirements. Following a review, the chauffeur services we offer will be amended globally, with the exception of Abu Dhabi, where there are a high number of users of the service,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad’s executive vice president of commercial.
“Many customers prefer to make their own ground transportation arrangements. The decision by Etihad Airways to change its offering has been taken to provide increased choice and to ensure fares remain as low and as competitive as possible, while retaining best-in-class service for all guests, in all cabins,” he added.
Etihad is also now allowing business class passengers to pay to use the airline’s first class lounge and spa in Abu Dhabi.