GAH: Etihad Ruined My Flight On Air Seychelles!

Filed Under: Etihad, Other Airlines

I’m a very sad aviation geek!

Ford and I are on our trip to Paris and the Seychelles, which I wrote about a few months back. The plan was to fly Air Seychelles from Paris to the Seychelles, and then Turkish Airlines from the Seychelles back to the US.

As an aviation geek, one of the things I was most looking forward to was flying Air Seychelles from Paris to Mahe. Air Seychelles is an Etihad Airways partner, so I was able to redeem 62,836 miles per person for the one-way business class tickets. As you guys know, I love reviewing new airlines, and Air Seychelles is one of the smaller and quirkier airlines out there.

I guess I should have seen this coming (given that Etihad invested in Air Seychelles), but just weeks after I booked our trip, Air Seychelles announced a radical restructuring. As part of this, Air Seychelles would be discontinuing their flights to Paris, and announced that they’d be getting rid of their A330s, and instead focus on being a (small) regional airline.

Air Seychelles is discontinuing their flights between Mahe and Paris as of April 24, 2018, so I got in right under the wire, as I’m flying them this weekend. I was a bit annoyed, of course, since my review of the airline would be less useful if they’re not operating the plane in the future, but I also viewed it as a cool opportunity. I’d be able to experience their longhaul business class product before it’s gone forever.

Air Seychelles’ A330 business class

I’ve been keeping an eye on the reservation about once a week (as I try to do for all my award flights), and I last checked about a week ago, and everything looked normal. Yesterday I tried to check-in online, and noticed a very different seatmap. While Air Seychelles business class is in a 2-2-2 configuration, this seatmap showed a staggered 1-2-1 configuration.

I pretty quickly made sense of this in my head. Has Air Seychelles already returned their A330s, and now Etihad is just operating flights on their behalf?

I looked up the flight on Flightradar24, and sure enough it seems like for the past week or so, Etihad has been operating this flight on behalf of Air Seychelles, with a single A330-200. Specifically, they’ve been using the plane with the tail number A6-EYD.

To say I’m bummed would be an understatement. The whole reason we traveled through Paris was so I could review Air Seychelles. That became less valuable when I learned that they’d be discontinuing service in a couple of weeks, and now it’s becoming even more useless, given that I’ll be on an Etihad plane with an Etihad crew.

I wonder if they’ll at least have the Air Seychelles soft product, or if this will be a complete Etihad experience (i.e. will they run out of food?).

If I had known this all along, I would have just flown Etihad from the US in a First Class Apartment, or found another option, as I find Etihad’s old business class product to be pretty bad (the seats have virtually no padding).

Honeymoon-Seats - 2
Etihad’s A330 business class

Honeymoon-Seats - 3
Etihad’s A330 business class

Obviously I’m not objectively angry in the sense that they’re still getting us there in a flat bed, though I’m sure any aviation and airline geek can appreciate my frustration. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t bother contacting people. At a minimum, it seems like they should be advising passengers that their flight won’t actually be operated by the airline they booked.

What a sad way for Air Seychelles to disappear into the sunset. I believe Fiji Airways will be taking over Air Seychelles’ A330s, so I’m guessing the planes are already being prepared for that purpose.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on the flight…

  1. Dude, you are going to Seychelles flying business class while here in the US Midwest we are buried under 18″of fresh snow. Stop complaining and enjoy life.

  2. For most people on this particular flight and especially those in business class the switch from Air Seychelles to Etihad would probably be considered a huge upgrade haha. Maybe that’s why they figured they didn’t need to notify folks?

    I agree though that they should have given a heads up simply as a courtesy to passengers so they’re not caught off guard.

  3. Why is this Etihad’s fault? You blame them but perhaps the decision to cease flights early lies with Air Seychelles. Ethiad is an investor – correct, not outright owner. It also reads like you expected Ethiad to inform you of the change. Maybe that wasn’t your intention but it reads that way. Shouldn’t it be the airline whom was supposed to be operating the flight to inform customers of the change?

  4. Lucky, you’re flying to a tropical destination in business class. Perhaps it’s time for some perspective and enjoy the lucky position you are in rather than just complaining? Many of your readers live vicariously through your exploits as the ability to sit in the front of the plane is very much so far and in between for the vast majority of us.

  5. I believe if you have the product you purchased in advance switched on you (in any way), you have the right of advance notification (as soon as known by provider) and a right to refund along with ancillary non refundable costs.
    (Sorry, the sofa you ordered in green is discontinued, here is blue.)

  6. @Lucky I’m flying Etihad 77W in J this Sept ORD-AUH so this current review would be valuable to me is the hard part the same on this plane as it is on the 77W?

  7. ..I support the previous advice and cancel the Ar Seychelles flight and book instead a flight with Air Mauritius or Air Austral via Reunion..we have of EY’s C need to be remembered..again!

  8. Switching from anything to Etihad is certainly not an upgrade (unless they magically decide to move you to the Residence). Shame though, it would have been nice to see an Air Seychelles review. Interesting fact though, in 2015, Etihad used Air Seychelles A330s on the route from AUH-ATH for the second daily flight. Was fun to see such a foreign and tropical airline in Athens

  9. You should market yourself as a luxury air and SPG/hyatt hotel products heek, because an aviation geek would imply someone who would love to fly even in economy for many hours and would be very excited to be in a plane regardless of the seat.

  10. You’re likely to experience Air Seychelles service, but in Etihad steel. Etihad has a habit of doing stuff like this – especially a few years ago on certain flights from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco: They’d use Jet Airways equipment (an airline which they own) with Etihad crews. Now let me tell you, that experience was horrifying in Business because there you are, in these tacky ass seats, and then all the good food and accoutrement that goes with really flying Etihad comes into the picture during a flight. It’s very confusing. However, at least you’ll be in Etihad steel and not Jet Airways.

  11. Do you get paid by another airline to write such articles? The headline is pure clickbait. Seriously, Etihad “ruined” your trip? Paragraph after paragraph you just lash out at Etihad for no real reason at all.

    I have noticed similar articles on other blogs lately as well. Makes me wonder if the blogging community has lost its objectivity or if this is a new kind of guerilla marketing. It is difficult to trust the internet these days and articles like this make me question if this blog is always honest to its readers.

  12. The only kind of community where you can complain about being upgraded from 2-2-2 business config to 1-2-1 all aisle access. Gotta love it right?

  13. Cry me a river.

    What a disgrace you are. You’re going to Paris. You’re going to the Seychelles. Yet you whine and piss and moan. For gods sake, get over yourself, you spoiled, prissy idiot.

    What a waste of a life!

  14. People will kid you but certain things in life count….like when I flew aboard a Delta 737 that was registered as EI-BOM, not a US N number. Whoopee!!!!!

  15. Well I can understand that this is a bit annoying as your main purpose was to review Air Seychelles, but the airline has been losing money ever since and even EY taking over didn’t help. I don’t know which airline has turned around so far after EY involvement. And after James Hogan left it makes good sense to me that new management has to deal with some disputable decisions made in the past. So they are definitely doing some damage control and you were caught unfortunately in the middle of it. But I can neither blame Etihad or Air Seychelles for this.

  16. Cheese with that whine? “Ruined” is already decided with that headline. No need to actually review what will happen. “Ruined” is when your flight ends up at the bottom of the ocean, never to be found again. #perspective #planB

  17. I’ve always wondered why they stagger the seats the way they do in these 1-2-1 configurations

    I would make it so that the seats truly on the aisle aren’t in the same row

    For instance
    Why are 6C and 6D both on the aisle, while the true window seat 7A is far from 7E?

    Why didn’t they make it 6A and 6D… then 7C and 7E?

    I’ve always thought it was odd

    Traveling as a couple I never care cause we love the honeymoon EF seats or on overnights we take the AK seats

  18. In some not so distant future please review various ways of getting to the Seychelles, including the fastest, the easiest to redeem your miles for and the most luxurious

  19. Lots of readers are just jelly! Lol. That’s his blog and he can say whatever he wants. Some of you like to read his blog but also like so criticize him. Funny!

  20. I think some are coming wrong across the meaning of this post… he’s just dissatisfied with the lack of communication and the fact he couldn’t try out a new airline… ofc it’s a first world problem but it’s frustrating nevertheless

  21. Lucky, you could have titled this post better. I am with Santastico, VC-10 and a few others. Come one now. Put some perspective into the real world. Among all the world flyers, the population that enjoy flying on premium cabin is not that large, and not that many are willing to put the effort to collect and use miles wisely.

    Put something less bombastic in the title post – ‘Switched by Etihad, Mission Not Accomplished’ or something like that. The word ‘ruin’ just trigger much more negative connotations in most people’s mind. You’re not living a terrible life, you know, if you have not understood that already …. A lot of your readers are willing to trade places with you given the chance. I know I would.

  22. Lucky, I love this blog and your opinion on airlines, but every so often you make me scratch my head. God forbid you had to spend a couple of nights in Paris at the Park Hyatt and then go on to the Seychells in *just* Etihad’s Business class. Enjoy the destination once in a while – life’s to short to get bummed about this type of stuff.

  23. I’m sure some will say I’m a Lucky apologist, but I did not read his post at all as “whining”. He said he booked his routing to try something specific and now that’s not going to happen — and, remember, that’s his “job”. It’s somewhat akin to if you register for a meeting for education, and when you get there, you find out they are covering a different topic than initially stated. You would be chagrined — first-world problem or not. Lucky is still planning to go, but warning his readers that we won’t get the original itinerary.

    I wouldn’t blame Lucky if he tries to get Ethiad/Air Seychelles to re-route him (even a crazy routing, but he’s done those before) to get something he wants to try out.

  24. I am with Chaz.

    Some perspective not from Lucky but from the peanut gallery might be nice – Lucky does not particularly choose destinations. Rather, they are incidental to what he does choose – products upon which he reports.

    Seriously, its not like he posts photos of the sights in the cities he goes to and the complainers would REALLY complain about a bunch of photos of Buckingham Palace, the Great Wall, the Louvre, etc., etc. Its all about how he gets there and where he stays – and we all keep coming back for it.

    So when an effort to experience and be able to report on a new product gets derailed, its is frustrating.

  25. @Jeff you’re right they do this all the time my thoughts are if you don’t like Ben’s commentary don’t read blog. Period. I’m not a frequent flyer but his blog helped me several times with avoiding terrible air carriers. Real issue Air Seychelles is going away permanently. regional air carriers usually survive in high traffic areas. I wouldn’t think this is one of them.

  26. People got jokes!

    Would you consider taking Joon from Paris to Mahe? I’ll be flying that airline from Mahe to Paris, and would really appreciate a review in advance of the flight!

  27. I don’t think this was a whining/complaining post. Ben was clear that he’s still going with Ford, disappointed that he won’t be able to review Air Seychelles’ longhaul business class, and noted the deficiencies he finds with the Etihad biz hard product they’ll now be flying in while wondering which soft product they’ll be experiencing. He also expressed his disappointment that he wasn’t proactively notified of the switch.

    I do think the post title is misleading. I do not think setting up Etihad to blame for it is appropriate. Perhaps a better version might have been:
    “GAH: Our Air Seychelles flight was switched out from under us!”

  28. The ‘Stop complaining, you are traveling to Seychelles in business class’ are ridiculous. The purpose of this blog is to review airlines and other travel products, not just to share glamorous experiences. The reason for the choice of this flight was to try and review a new airline – Lucky has already flown and reported plenty with Etihad.

  29. Seychelles is one of my top dream destinations so, am looking forward to your review. it is a pity about Air Seychelles (I was looking forward to learning your thoughts on Air Seychelles) yet, I wish you a happy, safe fight nonetheless.
    Thank You for yor recent reviews on TAAG – while the TAAG livery is fabulous and this livery reflected in the service wear (plates, glasses, etc), the inflight service is shocking. Thank You for your honesty.
    Happy travels to the Seychelles!

  30. Hi Ben,
    Sorry to hear that you’ll be on Ethiad instead of Air Seychelles. I’ve flown Air Seychelles before recently last October from Mauritius to Mahe. There business was great and the crew fantastic. I then flew on Ethiad from Mahe to Abu Dhabi and as the flight was empty the crew was horrible. Enjoy the Seychelles. Hope you get to Praslin by air or even by boat.

  31. In a perfect world you would have been notified. I understand your frustration. Maybe you can review the Air Seychelles SEZ JNB flight, it’s on a A320 but at least you would get to experience something about this airline. Sorry it didn’t work out. Enjoy this special place. Disconnect and enjoy your time with Ford.

  32. I have no idea why everyone is acting like Lucky’s being a prima donna or some such. If you are a traveler, and you are looking forward to the [country, city, plane, train, hotel] that you booked, and you have it taken from you, it sucks. I booked an A310 to the Azores last year and it was replaced by an A320, the most boring plane in existence. Did I still get to go to Sao Miguel? Yes. Did I still have a fantastic time? Yes. But you know what? I will probably never get to fly an A310, so that smarts a bit. And Lucky will never get to fly an Air Seychelles longhaul. And that smarts too.

    So don’t be a jerk about it, especially when the man says “Obviously I’m not objectively angry in the sense that they’re still getting us there in a flat bed…”

  33. Did every commenter turn into a Trump supporter all of a sudden? How dumb are you? Lucky is saying that Etihad ruined his plan to fly and review Air Seychelles. He had to position to Paris to fly that specific airline. He is not saying Etihad ruined his vacation or his life. Just like Republicans need to pass an IQ test to be eligible to vote, there should be some kind of a system to verify people’s intelligence so that only intelligent comments appear on this blog.

  34. Maybe you should actually start flying like a normal person to get to the destination you want to (as comfortably as possible). And not just so you can ‘sit on some airlines product that won’t exist anymore soon anyway’. Who cares you didn’t get to fly Air Seychelles? Grow up

  35. @CS

    You are a little short minded. He’s not acting as a spoiled brat. His job is to test airlines and their product (new or old) and write reviews. You don’t like them? No one obliges you to read them.

  36. I flew from AUH-HKG on Etihad and Air Seychelles from HKG-AUH about 2 years ago. The AUH-HKG was operated by this exact same A330. The Air Seychelles return flight was in name only, meaning it featured an Air Seychelles hard product with an Etihad soft product. Food, China, flatware, amenity kit, pillow/blanket, even flight attendants were all Etihad. Even though Etihad’s old business was not cutting edge, it still bested Air Seychelles’ as the latter had no aisle access and does not have a privacy divider between you and your neighbor. The power outlets also did not work, but the purser was nice enough to charge my phone in the galley. @Lucky, you did not miss much.

  37. Folks, I appreciate constructive feedback and criticism, though I must admit I’m a bit confused here. In no way am I claiming that my vacation was ruined, or that this was something awful. Instead I think I make it quite clear that I’m a sad *aviation geek*, and that the only thing that has been “ruined” is my opportunity to fly Air Seychelles.

    I review airline products for a living, and I think some people can appreciate my enthusiasm for flying certain airlines. I specifically booked this flight because of Air Seychelles, and that’s not what I got.

    Do I plan on complaining to the airline? Nope. Is this impacting the fun I’ll have in the Seychelles? Nope. Was the flight terrible? Nope.

    But I also went out of my way to book it, and I was a bit frustrated. That’s it.

    To people like CS who say “maybe you should actually start flying like a normal person to get to the destination you want to (as comfortably as possible).” You do understand this is my job, right?

  38. 1st world rich White People problems…

    Look Lucky, I am a huge fan and read daily, and get it that you are disappointed that you aren’t going to get to review Air Seychelles, and this is part of your gig. I think the issue here is it’s not reading well. Meaning, maybe complaining that you aren’t getting the business class experience you want is worthy of a post. This seems more like a conversation you have with friends (and Ford) and not your readers.

    For many of us, we save up for years just to get a business class seat, so we would not be in any position to complain if we didn’t get the exact one we were looking for. I just don’t think your readers are the place you should come to for sympathy in this sitch. And I think that’s why many of your readers are reacting the way they have. It just might seem little tone deaf and sanctimonious to be bitching to your readers about this.

    Listen, thank God you have these problems. 🙂

  39. I think the key issue in this discussion is the distinction and balance between interesting/amusing trip reports on the one hand, and useful/relevant ones on the other. This report comes hot on the heels of the Lisbon-Angola-Sao Paulo one.

    Both are amusing , this one less so than the last, but maybe there’s too much exotica creeping into the reports. After all, very few of us will ever go to Angola or to the Seychelles or to that God-forsaken/awful place in the article circle
    Where Lucky is best/most relevant, to me at least, is in the slightly hard-edged ‘mainstream’ airline /hotel reviews. The fringe Airlines and destinations could be covered a little less frequently but it is understood that they are personal vacations as well. But there’s an awful lot of mainstream yet to least 20 years.
    I’m a bit amused that this trip went pear shaped ; after all, it’s something we all experience once in a while. Maybe some schadenfreude as well. Hah!

  40. Jesus, those whinning for literally nothing! Do not forget, you are only a reader or a commentor here. If you do not like what you read, than go somewhere else! Nobody is forcing you to stay and bear Ben’s disappointment. Do not tell him how he should react or not, you are not his mother or in any legal situation to do so!
    It is his job to fly around and stay in hotels, so pls. stop comparing yourself to him. You are just a guest in his world..which offers you a free view of a great life full of premium and luxury. So either shut up on those cheap seats you are siting on..or start doing on your own(let us see how much money you are going to spend just to experience a bit of what Ben has accomplished)..such ungrateful cretins!

  41. I would not worry. I flew Air Seychelles and it was rubbish. Better just enjoy Ethihad and be thankful

  42. @Lucky – I just want you to enjoy your job as well. Enjoy the Seychelles. Enjoy your time with your finance. Not flying on an airline that has zero relevance (because as you yourself mentioned, the long haul flight you booked doesn’t exist anymore anyway) shouldn’t ‘ruin’ your mood.
    There is nothing wrong flying on Etihad or Turkish or whoever else that people would ACTUALLY be able to fly on. That used to be your job when I joined as a reader about two and a half years ago. Lately you’ve only been doing fun trips on obscure airlines that you then complain about (see TAAG)

  43. @Lucky

    You literally said Etihad “ruined” your flight.

    That’s what makes you come across as an incredibly spoiled brat and why people are giving you crap.

    Saying something like “ugh, Etihad changed my flight” would have elicited a very different response.

    Just trying to clue you in because you put your foot in your mouth a lot. We get it, you’re incredibly naive, but maybe throw some of these headlines by the rest of your staff for some feedback from now on.

  44. @ AS — No, I said they “ruined my flight on Air Seychelles,” which they quite literally did. There was no flight on Air Seychelles to speak of!

  45. @ lucky

    Do what you like to do in which you are good at..trying new airlines and staying in great hotels! Just ignore these envious nowbodies who still think they can dictate you in how you have to do your job! They want you to try the so common and so expectable airlines and hotels which we have read for so many times! What is the point of that..trying a product for a hundred times..let the mundanes do that. There are enough blog sites out there, nobody wants to have one more of those. Jusr get a thicker skin and just plain ignore the envios haters who can only live their dreams through you experiences…I repeat it again..ungrateful cretins!!

  46. Yeah the article is total click bait as it paints Etihad as a bad actor when most people would be happy this happened. Agree with others.

  47. @Lucky not bother to report if the soft products on your CDG-SEZ flight is identical to EY..we have already seen and heard the need to remember us! Enjoy your stay in the Seychelles, hopefully your hotel stay will compensate the disappointment caused by the airline..but if you still can try to rebook this flight on Air Austral or Air Madagascar as we have not seen it yet or what about Condor from GE?

  48. [GASP] Oh, the horror! The unadulterated injustice of being forced to fly around sunny climes in……business class(!) To Lucky: we, your readers, will stand by you in your time of trials and tribulations. To Air Seychelles: where is your humanity?

  49. It’s a shame they are stopping flights from CDG to Mahe. They had good timings and it was possible to fly for extended weekend from Paris. Maybe for Americans, it sounds very surreal, but Seychelles are not that far from European perspective and not that exotic.

  50. I completely don’t understand why some people are nitpicking here. You don’t like what Lucky writes – then move on to other things…
    The major purpose of Lucky’s blog is to review different flights, airlines, routes…
    Those of us who were looking forward to his review of Air Seychelles also got “ruined” expectations…
    If I were you, Lucky, I wouldn’t even bother explaining why you wrote what you wrote – it’s your blog, your opinion, and people can take it or leave it…many, many of us will gladly “take it”…looking forward to your next posts…

  51. @ Reader from UK –
    I know, it’s a shame, but! It seems (please correct me if I am mistaken) that BA have direct flight to the Seychelles from London (and it might be more convenient for you even, since you are located in the UK )…I also think that BA flight has better schedule than the Paris flight had – with the BA flight arriving to Mahe in the morning (so that you have the whole day ahead of you)…

  52. just fly some inter island routes or go to india or s africa on air seychelles ???
    very dumb article

  53. You know what Lucky..why not stop reporting about premium class trips for a show some impertinent readers of yours that you do not need to be bossed around! Let James report some mundane report over economy class trips and budget motels and cheapo group tours until they realize how sad to read over their daily lives! When nasty children behave badly, they are spanked and reprimanded accordingly in order not to do it again!..talking over you as naive and weak!! show them where they belong to!..ungrateful cretins! like parasites all those time with you!..

  54. Yes, I’m aware that BA is starting or already started flights to SEZ. However I’m not that keen on their business product, even though I’m BAEC member and use avios for flights with them. Air Seychelles was departing in the evening from CDG and you could also take evening flight back to CDG so you had full day after arrival and full day before departure. BA departure from SEZ is in the morning.

    Anyway, I enjoyed my trip to SEZ from CDG.

  55. @ steve

    ..want to be invited for a round..have plenty of free seats..
    ..regarding my is nobody’s business, hai capito!..

  56. Ben, the real issue of the title versus content of the post in as few words as possible (the way a Northern European prefers it):

    The title suggests Etihad ruined/destroyed/nullified your flight on Air Seychelles while the reality was that Air Seychelles substituted a different (albeit a better) product for the one they promised you. Your flight was upgraded, on time, comfortable and satisfactory, not “ruined.” That’s just an objective fact.

    What was ruined is your chance to review Air Seychelles and that was ruined by Air Seychelles, not Etihad (also an objective fact).

    If you compare this factual statement against your title, you’ll see where all the comments are coming from.

    I’m not trying to discount your feelings at all, but when you tell a story, tell the facts and then how you feel about them, not twist facts into conforming with your feelings.

  57. We are flying the same route on JOON in Business; sub of Air France. Unfortunately will be unable to try Air Seychelles. I enjoyed Air Mauritius.

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