I normally do not like to advise people on which options they should choose. I like to provide people with my reviews and facts and let individuals make their own opinions. However, Etihad is running a promotion with Marriott so that is why I wanted to write this post. I recently (within the past 3 months) have take 6 flights on Etihad and not one flight was decent. I also spoke to many of my fellow passengers to see if my experience was unique or if others were experiencing the same thing -- turns out others were experiencing the same thing. I have also been following blogs and travel reviews on other people flying with Etihad and they seem to be having the same bad experience I have.
The experience is a lack of customer service or attention to customer service detail. I have flown with all 3 Middle Eastern carriers and the other 2 seem to be paying attention to these details. Even if they falter on a flight here or there, they always try to improve and make their product better. I flew Etihad long-haul as well as short-haul and each sector had late take-off and late arrival - with no explication at all - each sector had food that was not good and sometimes smelled (the food that I received on the long-haul outbound was the same food I received on the inbound service -- 2 months later!) but was worse was the lack of customer service the in-flight personnel had toward their passengers. On each sector, the IFA seemed annoyed at the passengers.
One example was on a short-haul sector where there were multiple passengers who were speaking multiple different languages. Some of these passengers did not know where their seat was so they were trying to ask various flight attendants. Instead of taking some time to help the passengers, each flight attendant seemed to want to pass off the passengers to someone else. I spoke one of the languages that the passengers were speaking so I decided to assist one of the fligth attendants who just kept talking in a loud voice and raising her hands. The FA attendant had the passengers boarding pass and was trying to put him in the seat, but when I looked at the boarding pass it was for an earlier flight and not for the flight we were on (which is odd that this passenger had managed to go through all the Etihad security checks and board the plane without having the correct boarding pass with him). I eventually found the correct boarding pass and got him settled, and the FA came to me and said 'today is the day you don't want to do my job!' and walked away in a huff. I understand FA jobs are tough, especially with passengers from all around the world who speak many different languages -- but isn't that part of the charm or adventure? Even if you do not like it and it is getting on your last nerve, isn't this your job so shouldn't you pretend to smile and help out the passengers?
In another instance, an FA was serving drinks and gave a passenger a cup with a leak in it so the drink kept leaking on the passenger. It took the passenger multiple calls and only after the aid of other passengers to get the FA's attention and when the FA's attention was received and the problem pointed out -- the FA's solution was to put the faulty cup in a new cup and give the passenger 2 napkins and walk away. That is it!
It's not only in-flight crew as I have had similar bad experiences with the crew on the ground and in their customer service centers in Abu Dhabi (none of whom know what the airline has on their website - and I actually showed many of them items on their own website).
If you have a choice and an option - my advice is to skip this option and choose to fly another. You will be happier
Happy and safe flying
No, it doesn't sound good at all (reminds me of my least favorite U.S. carrier actually... ) Nor does a recent blog report that I read regarding Royal Jordanian. Etihad, Emirates, Singapore, etc all have great reputations for their in flight luxury products, however I have not flown any of them (nor am I privileged to fly first class, generally). Just from what I've read regarding their pilot training culture, I would endeavor to avoid them anyway. I'll stick with the U.S., major European (AF, BA, LH primarily) and Qantas airlines whenever possible.
Very sad news to read. It would appear this airline will be out of or should be out of business soon when you compare them to travel reviews on Emirates, Royal Jordanian and Qatar as Pluto mentions. Makes ya wonder how and why some of these travel partners actually end up happening, someone did not do their homework is my guess.
Hey Pluto, who by the way is your least favorite U.S. airline or should I ask?
Thank you to everyone for your comments, really appreciate them. As I said, I try to be fair and honest in my reviews.
Having said that I do have to say that when I initially wrote to Etihad about the lack of customer service on my first flight, they did write back and say that 'while we do not acknowledge any wrongdoing or admit any culpability, please accept these miles as a token' since I was a member of their frequent flyer program. That was a nice thing they did.
When I wrote to them about the following problems and about their UAE service centers not knowing their own information, they replied by saying 'we already responded to you earlier so please look at that response'. My goal was never to get more miles in the first place but was to provide feedback to the airline to help improve the customer service experience....which is apparently something that they need to do.
As I also said earlier, I am not the only one who has not been please with Etihad (or their partners as I have flown both Etihad and 'Etihad operated by' service) --- here is one example of somebody else's experience
Happy and safe travels...
Thanks for the articles. Last year (I believe it was?), Etihad advertised their new non-stop service to the east coast, a huge advantage I thought, not having to fly (through Europe) up and over and then down, but rather straight across. I'm not sure if other carriers have since followed suit, but the non-stops to/from the US seem like the obvious way to go... I think however that I would prefer to just go through customs here (with global entry) rather than suffer Etihad's pre-clearance facility at AUH as described. And if avoiding the pre-clearance facility isn't an option, then use another airline even if it means "taking the long road home." Nothing worse than climbing aboard an aircraft for a long haul flight when you're already herded and harried to begin with. Okay, there are worse things, but still, who wants it?
Normally customs and immigration can be a very lengthy process. When I have gone through and exiting IAD there is always a long line (although transit was pretty quick).
I have never exited in JFK, only transited and normally its not bad as long as you give yourself enough time -- 2 hours is what airlines normally give and that always seems too short for me (and I have always missed connections when I have had only 2 hours). I now ask for at least 4 hours.
All that to say is that when I went through JFK during this process (it was in early May), there were no lines at immigration nor customs and we got through very quickly and without any hassle (total time may have take 15 minutes -- it was actually very efficient).