Etihad & Mercedes-Benz Announce New Chauffeur Service Partnership

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad has been on a cost cutting spree, and as a result we haven’t seen many service improvements from them lately. Just last year Etihad cut chauffeur service for first & business class passengers everywhere except in the UAE. Previously they’d provide you a ride to the airport at most of their destinations, while now you’ll only get it when arriving in or departing the UAE.

That’s why it’s interesting to note that Etihad has just announced an improvement to their chauffeur service offering… sort of.

Etihad and Mercedes-Benz have announced a new partnership for premium transfers within the UAE. Specifically, Mercedes-Benz vehicles will exclusively be used for first and business class passengers in the UAE. Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles will be used to chauffeur first class passengers airside at Abu Dhabi Airport when remote stands are used. Then a fleet of Mercedes E-Class vehicles will be used for all landside transfers within the UAE.

For now this partnership is expected to last for three years, though it could certainly be extended beyond that. Two local Mercedes dealers will be facilitating this partnership.

Previously Etihad mostly used Audis for their chauffeur service. Arguably a Mercedes Benz E-Class is comparable to an Audi A6, so I’m not sure I’d call this a huge improvement in terms of the car as such. However, the reason I view this as positive news is because it’s my understanding that the Mercedes-Benz vehicles are new, while the Audis were in many cases showing their age.

It’s interesting to me that they seem to be using the same Mercedes E-Class for all transfers within the UAE, regardless of whether you’re flying The Residence or business class. When I flew The Residence from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, I was picked up in an Audi A8, for what it’s worth.

The Audi A8 I got picked up in when flying The Residence

What’s also interesting here is that Mercedes-Benz collaborated on Emirates’ new first class suite. Not that Mercedes can’t collaborate with both of the major airlines in the UAE, though there’s something funny about them both independently working with Mercedes around the same time.

  1. I have a reservation to fly Etihad apartment from SYD-AUH in May using AA miles. Am I allowed to use this service?

  2. I thought that connections from F to F in AUH would still be in a car on an AA award but the wouldn’t last year. Was that what I should expect (only talking about connections in AUH)

    The transfer was one of the worse experiences ever, a mob scene like no other, no lines, I had to push my way through just to o mak a connection.

  3. Well they save quite some money cutting the baggage allowance for everyone except for the routes with piece concept, so they can spend that on new cars

  4. @Lucky

    “Arguably a Mercedes Benz E-Class is comparable to an Audi A6,”


    Perhaps to drive, but as a passenger there’s really no comparison between the MB and Audi, no matter how old the Audi is.

  5. the new E class is much more premium in the back – the Audi A6 is showing its age, even the 2018 model is on an 8 year old design. I am happy they’re moving to MB, as when I flew the residence, I was shocked that they arrived in an A8L, I wouldnt consider it a luxury flagship by any stretch of the imagination.

  6. @K4

    But it be so much more fun if a M sedan showed up and the guy handed you the keys. Unless a Maybach or a vehicle similar to a Maybach is provided, I’d rather drive myself.

  7. Well this makes sense both airlines having Merc collaborations when you consider who owns both airlines…

  8. The collaboration Emirates had with Mercedes was done with the company/factory at a design level while the cars Etihad are using may just be with the local dealership, maybe someones “cousin” now works for the local MB dealership and not the Audi one?

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