Etihad- It’s not worth the hype
I flew back home to Sydney from Manchester last November and thought I’d try Etihad the self-professed airline of the United Arab Emirates. Before flying I had high expectations that this flight was going to be memorable. They advertise everywhere with a persona of a luxury brand, I mean they’re financially backed by some wealthy sheikhs who have bought Manchester City… how wrong was I! OK I flew economy granted but I’ve been on a few long haul airlines before and most have met their advertising expectations. Here are some points I’ve noticed when flying Etihad:
On board Entertainment system is average
One requirement which I think is mandatory for all long haul flights that provide them is to have their on board entertainment system work. The 2nd leg Abu Dhabi to Sydney the volume failed to work and on the other legs if I wanted to watch a film or movie I was bombarded with several ads, granted we all should be used to that if we use YouTube but they tend to be relatively targeted to my demographics which is slightly less irritating. Having the same ads on repeat for about 5 minutes before I watch a 20 minute show is a bit excessive especially if it’s a product us in cattle class are hardly going to take up anytime soon (office buildings in Abu Dhabi really??).
Restrictions on consumption of alcohol
I’m no David Boon, I don’t intend to have 50 cans on a 24 hour flight anytime soon but I do like a few drinks or 5 on board to help me sleep whenever I do I get to sleep fairly soon after. Only been allowed a couple is a bit cheap given the airlines perceived “luxury” reputation.
Limitations on food
Another liberty I like on long haul flights is food. Emirates do it really well, plenty of meal times and the food fills you up. Unfortunately on Etihad meal times are far and few between as for refreshments during the flight they’re fairly slow on that as well. Even approaching the cabin crew they’ll only provide you with dry biscuits. When I flew Economy with Cathay Pacific they provided cup noodles on request. Little things like that are helpful to hungry customers.
Abu Dhabi airport sucks
Abu Dhabi is a tale of 2 airports, when you arrive you’ll enter something that looks like a desert shelter from the outside from the inside you’re presented with a 70’s Arab retro ceiling and a very confusing circle format to find the departures terminal.
The other terminal is modern but just another generic airport format with over inflated prices on food and drink. The duty free isn’t anything to write home about either. But don’t despair, there is free wifi in the terminal which helps pass the time. My advice to those running Abu Dhabi airport, visit Singapore that’s how to do an airport!!
All in all Etihad did their job by getting me from one port to another, however if I was given an option of Etihad or Emirates I would choose the latter any day of the week!
About the author:
Shane Todd is a seasoned traveller who loves pictures and is the current owner of Travelinfographics.com. He currently lives in Manchester but is originally from Sydney but still calls Australia home