Excellence on Etihad but Chanel hits the wrong note

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Welcome to The Moodie Report Interim Etihad Airways Bureau.

I’m on EY17 en route to London after a successful business trip through the Middle East and beyond.

et first

As noted on my outbound journey, Etihad’s superb inflight wi-fi service could well be a clincher in terms of my choice of airline in the future [note to Etihad management: Give a young lady called Anne from Provence, France, a huge bonus for her customer service. She has no idea at all who I am and yet is arguably the most naturally – i.e. not forced – warm and hospitable crew member I have ever met. And I promise you I have met many good ones. Charming, understated, efficient. You could not ask for more.]

et 2

[Is that the coolest air traffic control tower you ever saw? At Abu Dhabi International Airport.]

On the way out I flew economy; this time I am flying Business Class. I know many colleagues in the industry who only travel in the former; many only in the latter. Both are equally important in the sense that all men (and women) are created equal. An organisation is only as good as its weakest (not its strongest) link, a point I constantly reiterate to my team.

I’m pleased to say that Eithad’s seatback onboard shopping service is functioning properly on this leg (unlike my outbound journey). It’s beautifully simple just to add an item to the cart and then check out. I will be doing exactly that on this trip, buying some presents for loved ones from what is a really eclectic selection. I love it that I can buy anything from a Hermès fragrance to an Aviator watch (Scorpio Worldwide) to a model Etihad Aircraft. It’s shopping democracy in the sky.

et av

et 3

But I will tell you what I don’t like and if I offend any sensibilities so be it. I don’t love the fact that I can’t buy a Chanel fragrance because Chanel does not consider the inflight retail channel (and therefore me) worthy of its presence. Thank you  Estée Lauder, thank you Hermès, thank you Sephora (interesting…), thank you Giorgio Armani, thank you Tom Ford and many others for considering me worthy.

et jo malone

et hermes
I look around me in this Business Class cabin and I see many likely Chanel purchasers (and probably users). All being denied the opportunity to purchase because the French fragrance house considers the inflight channel, en masse, inappropriate.

Sorry (again) but I find that position even more inappropriate. Exactly what’s not good enough or appropriate enough about this airline? What’s not good enough about me? What’s not good enough about my fellow passengers? How come you are prepared to sell your product in drab arrivals (duty paid) shops and not here in the sky, with the best passenger base you could possibly imagine via a highly sophisticated seatback system?


Give me a justifiable answer and please do not include the term ‘selective distribution’ within it. Do you really think that Etihad’s whole airline offer, including its retail proposition, is not worthy of your ‘selective’ categorisation? You have an incredible, beautiful, well-nurtured brand (a brand I see treated with such consistent loving care in this channel, perhaps more than any other). Please do not let the top notes of arrogance overwhelm the wonderful base notes of the fragrance.

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