Etihad Decline Continues with Hand Luggage Only Fares

Etihad Decline Continues with Hand Luggage Only FaresEtihad Airways has introduced a new fare type which doesn’t include checked luggage.

Etihad’s new hand-luggage only fares are being sold as “Economy Deal” tickets and include only up to 7kg of carry-on luggage. Economy Deal fares also cannot be cancelled or upgraded, and Etihad Guest miles are earned at a reduced rate. Economy Saver tickets continue to include 30kg of checked luggage.

Frequent flyers with Etihad Guest status will still be able to use their complimentary checked baggage allowance on Economy Deal fares. Silver member receive up to 10kg of complimentary checked luggage. Gold members receive a 15kg allowance, while Platinum members can check up to 20kg of luggage at no cost. We believe that Virgin Australia Velocity members with Silver, Gold or Platinum status also receive the same complimentary checked baggage allowance with Economy Deal tickets.

Thankfully, Etihad’s hand-luggage only fares have not yet been rolled out on flights to or from Australia. At this stage, they are only being sold on point-to-point flights between Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. But it is likely that the concept will be expanded into other markets in the future. Indeed, this is what happened when the US airlines all introduced “Basic Economy” fares on domestic routes. These fares are now also being sold on many international routes.

Back in July, Etihad also began charging to select a seat in Economy. Many AFF members are unhappy about this change, described by Etihad as an “enhancement”.

Can confirm this is the case. At checkin in Dublin this week we were told that in the future we would need to pay for seat selection to guarantee that we would be be sitting together as a family. So Etihad has really reduced themselves to the level of Ryanair. Can only be a matter of time till we are paying for meals as well. Will add about €200 to a round trip for 4.

Emirates (and many other airlines) also now charges for seat selection on the cheapest Economy tickets.

The Etihad hand-luggage only fares are just the latest in a series of changes at Etihad over the past few years – most of them negative. Etihad also recently closed its Manchester Airport lounge and last year axed Chauffeur Drive (except in Abu Dhabi on certain more expensive ticket types). Etihad Airways will also stop flying to Perth from the start of next month.

Flying with Etihad Airways is normally a great experience. But with so many negative “enhancements” in recent times, we can’t help wondering whether Etihad Airways’ best days are behind them.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Starting a new trend, no check in bag fare!


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]