Etihad Makes Another Big Cut To Their First Class Lounge

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways has quickly gone from one of the world’s best airlines, to completely unexceptional. The airline had failed investments in airberlin and Alitalia which have put them in a bind, and rather than taking the opportunity to focus on their own passenger experience and get people onto their planes, they’ve been cost cutting with no end in sight.

I can appreciate the need for airlines to cost cut, and in moderation there’s nothing wrong with it. But when they introduce cut after cut after cut after cut, at some point you have to wonder just how low they want to go. Etihad has been on a cost cutting mission, while also doing what they can to generate more revenue. For example, the airline has eliminated pajamas in business class, but now sells pajamas in economy.

Etihad has introduced all kinds of cost cutting measures in their lounges, and they’ve just introduced another one. Etihad has eliminated the Style & Shave Salon in both their first & business class lounges in Abu Dhabi. Previously first class passengers received one complimentary treatment, which could be a shave, manicure, blow dry, or any of a number of other services.

View from the Wing wrote about this a couple of days ago based on some FlyerTalk reports, but I wanted to verify that this was in fact the case, and it is indeed. They’ve even eliminated mentions of it from their website.

I’m not surprised to see Etihad eliminate this in the business class lounge, since they got rid of free treatments in that lounge a couple of years back, and it never seemed very busy. However, to eliminate this in the first class lounge is pretty disappointing.

For now the Six Senses Spa remains open, and first class passengers can receive a complimentary 15 minute massage. However, who knows how much longer until Etihad eliminates that as well.

In terms of other premium cabin services that have been lost lately, Etihad has eliminated complimentary chauffeur service outside the UAE, they’ve increased the cost of onboard wifi, and they’ve hugely cut back on dining in their lounges globally, just to give a few examples.

Did you ever use the Etihad Style & Shave Salon? What treatment did you get?

  1. Ah this is unfortunate. 🙁 I got my first old-fashioned shave there (and you were there to take a photo of it!) Did they get rid of it completely or do first class pax have to pay for the service now?

  2. Another Etihad cost cutting I.e: EY now only gives Amenity kits in First/Biz for long-hauls departing after 8p. Flew EY440 last week, 7:50p depart (8+ hrs). Missed EY cutoff policy by 10 mins. NO Amenity kit. FA said sorry.

  3. Etihad is not moving in a good direction at all. Also a lot of their awards mileage costs were increased recently. Etihad will soon be the BA of the Middle East at this rate

  4. im trying to dump my Etihad miles asap before they become useless. booked Etihad first from AUH to JFK. hopefully they are still around by the end of summer…

  5. I used the arrivals lounge beard trim 6 times and had a great result with the Syrian guy there (4/6) there was a time (the year before last) I would use Etihad instead of Emirates to reach Dubai due to that perk as it was great to arrive after a long flight get a shower and have the suit pressed and then go for a beard trim. Well worth the hour commute to Dubai afterwards as I could go direct to the client. It’s a shame they stopped the service.

  6. Had a number 1 haircut in first lounge abu dhabi last month.
    The guy doing it criticised trump while talking about moving to USA when his so called wife can get him in.
    Work that out?

  7. I am at the first class lounge in abu dahbi at this precise moment and I can confirm that the shaving service it is not offered anymore.
    I just took a pic of the notice on their board saying it is not offered any longer.
    Bummer, I was really looking forward for that shaving.

  8. For RTW15 I had a wet shave, but not all that I hoped it would be.
    A couple weeks ago on RTW18 I opted for a foot massage, which was nice.

    Eithad also is not maintaining its apartments (Slumlord?) Lights in apartment next door to mine kept coming on disturbing my sleep (SYD-AUH). FA concurred, I asked for comped private room at AUD lounge, but no go.

    However I remembered I planned to pay the $100 in any event for the 8 hours layover (Midnight to 8am). I think it was worth it. Other relaxation room has video going all the time, But I was able to sleep on the couch, have coffee with Baileys delivered when I woke up, plus private no rush, plenty of room shower I still have 122,000 Etihad miles, so I’ll try it again. Actually prefer 1st in 787-9 (AUH-IAD) had best steak from cute chef on board

  9. Although this is disappointing. I find that flying into AUH on Etihad is better than Emirates coach into Dubai. Abu Dhabi is a beautiful city that’s on the rise. Etihad for me all day

  10. It’s too bad that they are cutting back on some of the perks.
    On the other hand I NEVER thought they were a big deal to begin with. Whatever perks they offer, I can buy on my own. Even in the most expensive spas, how much does it cost for a good massage? $300?
    Having flown first class on several top airlines, after a while, whatever they offer you is no big deal. Amenity kit…yawn…have too many already. Pajamas…I have much nicer ones at home. Personalized service…I get it all day long at the top hotels. Bigger seat… no big deal. Better food…lol…no big deal… I can get great food at many different restaurants at home and at my destinations. Great lounges…they are nice…but still not that big of a deal.

  11. It is a shame Etihad is moving this way with its premium cabins. The loss of chauffeur service, downgrading of on board food and beverages, loss of a la carte dining in lounges and now reduction of more lounge services make them less attractive, especially when their prices haven’t fallen to match.

    Currently looking to book flights and I’m seriously considering booking Emirates. Seamless travel matters to me and Emirates offers that over Etihad these days.

    I do like the interiors of Etihad’s cabins over Emirates though, which is a shame.

  12. Worst cut for me so far is their new baggage policy (as I travel on EY usually for holiday). All but the cheapest economy fares and the routes with piece concept are drastically reduced.
    And I found it pretty weird on my last trip in business class that even the parts of the amenity kits seem to be not available even on request.

  13. My favourite hairdresser in the salon told me that all of them were called in for a meeting and their staff passes just taken back like that. He’s now facing the prospects of having to go back to his war-torn home country. Depressing.

  14. Very mediocre actions by Etihad. I used to describe their lounges (a la carte dining especially) in glowing terms to friends. But they are fast turning into just another airline. We are flying EY business SIN-AUH-CDG in a few months. They and SQ are the only choices if we want to earn VA partner miles and status credits.

    As far as I am concerned, EY will be on probation. EY management, are you reading these posts and do you care?

  15. i’ve always thought the ME3 airlines were overrated. Over-hyped marketing. “we have showers on our planes so we must be awesome” “our planes have a bar, we must be the best!.” When even legacy US carriers offer PJs then you know you’ve failed as a “premium” airline.

  16. @Tony well…. Qatar airways still offers pajamas as does Emirates(only in first though)……. Etihad is out of the league now…..I’d take Emirates over etihad any day!

  17. @Tony well…. Qatar airways still offers pajamas as does Emirates(only in first though)……. Etihad is out of the league now…..I’d take Emirates over etihad any day!

  18. For me, What’s worst in Etihad cost cutting is the visible decline in quality of meals – both in economy and business class.

    The meals are bland and so is the airline. If there’s one thing an airline can do to keep a flyer happy, it’s to offer a good meal. Everything else – pajamas, chauffeur service, shaving service, can be had on my own dime.

    And to be honest, Emirates isn’t that much better. Having US customs pre-clearance is perhaps one thing that Etihad has, that most other airlines just don’t.

    If I want to fly a bland airline to India, I’ll rather fly Delta and split my journey into 2 nearly equal 10 hour segments, than suffer a 14-hour slog to Abu Dhabi.

  19. We flew last month First from Heathrow to Sydney, and my husband had the shave both outbound and inbound. He enjoyed it very much. I had the massage which was also good. I don’t think that I would fly with them again, due to cost cutting. They were definitely not the cheapest option when booking, but I do feel a bit short changed. The champers on board was cheap, I kept having to ask for refills of coffee, water, wine (first world problems, I know ).

  20. I want to know what is Abu Dhabi going to do with this massive newly built airport which is due to open next year.
    The way Etihad has gone & becoming, they will be lucky to have any ‘guests’ walking the airport concourses!

  21. Jesus, can we all just stop with the sexist “hariry granny” comments and the like. We should all be fortunate enough to grow old someday.

    In aggregate, I’ve gotten the same if not better service from older, more experienced, flight attendants over the years than from the young, inexperienced, no confidence inspiring little nymphs that pass as flight attendants at some airlines these days. That’s right, I’m talking about you, VietJet!

  22. @Gregg

    Perhaps if legacy US airlines were pleasant to fly on? But no…full of ascerbic, customer-hostile “I’m only here for your safety” robots devoid of human character. Even the airline is afraid of them and won’t expect them to do any more than they are required….

  23. No shave but love a shower when traveling UK to OZ.
    I have flown multiple times in Etihad Business Class.
    What concerns me more is the change in baggage policy. 2015 weight based 2016 / 17 based on number of cases 2 x32k for business class. 2018 back to weight based but reduced to 40k.
    Cut back cut back cut back.

  24. I have posted before how it took nearly a month to get points from Citi to Etihad and lost those great 36K Brussels Airline tickets. Due to a hurricane, I had to cancel another Etihad booked flight on AA and they took 5 weeks to redeposit miles and then took 10% of those miles away. At the end of the day I did get new AA flights through Etihad, but overall I had to spend 7500 AA miles to get me to the jumping off spot and then 50K on Etihad. All said, I would have been better off just booking AA for 57K and never involved Etihad.

    I suggest anyone to think long and hard about using Etihad for anything.


  25. The Gulf carriers will collapse like the cities/countries themselves… They are based upon unsustainable resources and the overblown luxury bubble will pop soon enough.

  26. Lucky… seemingly you are outraged about cutting back on a HAIRCUT or a friggin shave from an AIRLINE. A $20 haircut on a massively discounted (thru miles) first class flight? You really care that much. Pajamas too… ?

    Personally I’m starting to wonder how entitled you can go?

    Completely unexceptional airline? An airline that has a 1-1 config in F, a walk around suite, a shower, a butler and a chef with flexible menus?

    I honestly don’t get it. I’ve been lucky (no pun intended) enough to fly apartment class 4 times for absolute pennies on the dollar thru AA redemptions. Even with the deval (Aa not Ey) and minor silly cuts, I feel massively privileged to have, and hopefully be able to continue flying them in a beyond special cabin. I’ve flown almost all the other major F cabins too, and can compare.

    Oh… and isn’t this the airline that got signed photos of your boyband idol, personalized surprise gifts, and your favourite food in the Residence? Yes… I know you paid for the flight, but still. I’ve seen business jet owners who get waaaay less attention to detail and cosseting.

    They are unlikely to extend that kind of ass kissing again, with you complete trashing of their company.

    Just saying…. (take care now 😉

  27. Just flew EY160 DFW to AUH in First. The DFW Lounge food is disgusting. Mainly salads. Sandwiches were old and dried out. The onboard service was great, as was the food.

  28. @mark reasons
    I flew abu dhabi to sydney in Nov a380 first apartment and I found the food appalling.
    Everything was presented as showy but was downright awful.
    The mojito rather than champagne was the only thing I enjoyed.
    Cabin noisy as everyone on board
    Eating showering lights on lights off.
    The bed was just unbearable and the seat couldnt be put into a comfortable position.
    Won’t do that again , will stick with other products

  29. Lower oil prices means less revenues and hence less subsidies available for the ME3. Expect more cutbacks if it contninues. Dubai is technically not as dependent on oil revenues, but some of their FDI are from other GCC petrodollars.

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