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I’m onboard EY12 en route to Abu Dhabi and then onwards, my final business trip of a long year. EY, of course, stands for Etihad, one of the new-generation Middle East carriers that have so disrupted (and improved) the traditional airline industry.
My flight today explains some of the reasons why Eithad (and its peers Qatar Airways and Emirates) have been so successful. Budgetary needs and a late booking dictated that I should fly economy today. Well it doesn’t feel like an economy experience to me. The leg room is plentiful, the meal (Lamb biryani) was excellent, the service attentive and, as indicated, there’s (paid-for) wi-fi onboard. The latter is a real clincher for me and will certainly influence my choice of airline in future when I travel to the Middle East and/or on to Asia.
The seatback duty free offer is good too. A simple, nicely designed touch screen and plenty of product, across various categories, including New Onboard, Ladies, Gents, Accessories, Kids, Etihad and Liquor & Tobacco.
One glitch, however. And it’s a big one. Every single item I have clicked on to ‘Add to Cart’ brings up a ‘Your selection is currently unavailable’ message. That’s every item. As I write, a member of the cabin crew has come by with the inflight trolley offering duty free. I’ve let him know what’s happening. As, I say, a glitch. I am sure the items actually are in stock.
Technology eh? You’re damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. Meantime, 39,000 feet above the south coast of Greece, it’s back to enjoying a first-class economy flight onboard Etihad.