It seems that Etihad Airways is continuing to modify its Economy Class strategy, with the announcement of an “Economy Space” product.
In terms of product, this is very much an extra space economy seat, with a 36″ seat pitch being offered.
The airline will bring its 10 Airbus A380 aircraft with Economy Space seating by December 2018. In addition Etihad Airways will have plan to add additional Economy Space seats to 12 Boeing 777s and 21 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by the end of 2019,
On the change in configuration, Jamal Ahmed Al Awadhi, Etihad Airways Head of Guest Experience, states
“We recognise that no two travellers are alike, and today’s customers demand more choice and personalisation during their travels.
In response to the popularity and demand for extra legroom seats, we have reconfigured our Economy cabin to allow travellers to enhance their overall travel experience.”
“While many airlines have been squeezing more seats into economy class, we continue to focus on providing our guests with exceptional products and services that meet and exceed the demands and budgets of different types of travellers”
Of course, this space isn’t coming for free and will be an additional charge. In the first wave, Economy Space will be targeted at Families with small children, elderly travellers and those requiring wheelchair assistance according to the airline.
It also ties in with Etihad’s other programmes – such as buying the seat next to you to keep it unoccupied and buying onboard amenities to improve your personal passenger experience.
The main economy product in terms of IFE and dining services will remain the same.
It’s an interesting move – and the first out of the gate by a Middle Eastern Three Airline – some of which have insisted their economy class is the best, and passengers don’t need improvements – when it’s plain to see this move won’t just attract families – it’ll attract business travellers on the cheap who will snap up those seats
There are many questions still to answer – how many rows of space are being taken out to put in these Economy Space Rows? Are standard economy passengers going to be squeezed more?
And the big one – how much is this going to cost?
It’s certainly a change of viewpoint from the airline and might make the other airlines in the area consider what they can do – and at what cost.
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