Re: Etihad J (SYD-LHR-SYD)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by haydensydney, May 15, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. haydensydney
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    haydensydney Silver Member

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    My partner and I had to travel to Europe as I was organising a ten year reunion in Hungary. Etihad seemed like a great option and through Centurion we were able to get reasonably competitive J companion fares (~$6000 ea). After we had booked & paid, Qantas released similarly priced companion fares - we contemplated cancelling and rebooking on QF but decided to stick with EY to "try something different".

    Overall, we were fairly disappointed in the EY offering. I will admit that I have high expectations and expect minimum standards when flying in J or F cabins, but even my partner (who is fairly easy to please when it comes to flying) mentioned that this experience overall felt like a premium economy experience. The benefits such as limo service, flatbeds and ability to earn miles/status credits on Velocity were all great, but the service from FA's was consistently below par and there were other annoyances that I will outline below.

    SYD-AUH EY455
    Dep: 2150
    Arr: 0640

    Checking in online, it appeared that this was going to be a full flight and we had been allocated the middle two seats in the last row of the business class cabin. As it would turn out, we would be in the last row of the business cabin for 3/4 flights on this trip, meaning we never got to use the "forward" business cabin of the A340-600 aircraft at all.

    Check-in was stock standard so nothing exciting to report here. Etihad uses the Air NZ lounge in SYD, so off we went to enjoy a preflight beverage and a snack (as I am a slightly nervous flyer I always like to have a preflight drink or three to calm my nerves).

    We boarded through the First/Business class line and we were soon on the aircraft. We were shown to our seats by a FA and my first observation was how cramped the seats appeared. The photos you see online make out as if you have more room. I knew at this point that the flatbed would be tight even though I am not that tall (5'11). We were handed amenity kits, menus and a drink - I opted for the champagne.

    The doors were closed - we were departing ontime. A flight time of 14 hours 15 mins as per the captains welcome message - this is going to be a long one! Before we knew it, we were rolling down the runway. I'm not the biggest fan of the A340 and it's never ending run down the runway: you start to wonder if there is much runway left! After what seemed like eternity, we lifted off into the night sky and we were on our way to Abu Dhabi.

    EY Observation #1: No IFE during takeoff and landing. This irritated the hell out of me and when I asked a FA about this, they mentioned that the F cabin can start watching the IFE immediately upon entering the aircraft, but J and Y have to wait until the seat belt sign is turned off after takeoff. Why? I see no rationale for this other than to piss-off the guests. Instead I had to watch the mundane moving map for the 20 mins at takeoff and landing. Grr.

    EY Observation #2: The Seatbelt sign would stay on for at least 15 minutes after takeoff. I don't know if this is a EY thing, or a A340 thing, but it seems like forever before we could get up and use the bathroom etc.

    EY Observation #3: The EY J seats have very very limited storage space. The only room we had consisted of the little gap on the floor between the seat and the aisle: here I stored my bag and shoes. Under the "ottoman" by the PTV's, there is a space but this is used by the seat when you recline into flatbed mode: therefore, there is no space whatsoever. There is a tiny ledge you can use for small things, but this is not even wide enough for a glass. There aren't any "cavities" where you can put watches and small items either, so I thought that this was poor design by EY.

    [​IMG]

    Drink orders were taken but it was about 30 mins before we actually got the drink and the nuts that came with it. I found that EY were very slow with their J service, often taking about 3 hours for all the meal services.

    [​IMG]

    The meal service on this flight was a "Late Supper" or something similar. The food was OK. My partner got a chicken dish as his main, but this turned out to be fatty drumstick and thigh meat which was revolting; he wasn't impressed. My Beef was done quite nicely so I was happy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Please follow the report here

    TR also covers off:
    Sanderson Hotel, Soho London
    British Airways Economy - LHR-BU-LHR
    Budapest Serviced Apartment
    Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
     
    Junca, savydog, Noland and 3 others like this.
  2. Rlpro
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    Rlpro Silver Member

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    Enjoyed your report. Too bad about EY, but your accommodations looked great! Love the pic of the gold leaf coffee.
    Thanks for posting!
     
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  3. haydensydney
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    haydensydney Silver Member

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    Thanks Ripro - EY was a little disappointing but yes at least we had great accommodation to keep us happy :)

    I recommend Emirates Palace to everyone, and the coffee aint half bad ;)
     
  4. Open Fly
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    Open Fly Silver Member

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    Great Report.

    That pretty much covers EY J service. As for cabin service, they trend seems to be over-fawning the F pax and tend to ignore those in J.

    They also didn't think the dual central seats all the way through. They may be fine for couples but something different when two complete strangers have to use them. You have more privacy when sitting in economy.
     
  5. Noland

    Noland Active Member

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    Once again, thanks for sharing this
     
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  6. haydensydney
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    haydensydney Silver Member

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    A friend of mine mentioned that he knew people that recently flew in F and they were unhappy also. They didn't like the seats (compared to SQ F) and found the service & FA's to be standoffish and unresponsive. Looks like that even F doesn't guarantee you a good experience!
     
  7. Open Fly
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    Open Fly Silver Member

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    I've flown F twice (AUH-LHR both times) on the new suites. I do like the suits as you can shut the door and you have true privacy. I've been around to long to actualy savour the "flight experience" so the privacy suits me.

    I agree with the FA assessment. They may be all over you initially, but most become very unresponsive once in the air. Occasionally, you may have one that take it to the other extreme and fawn all over you, but these are the ones you wish would ignore you.

    BTW This is a common issue with all Middle East airlines.
     
  8. GeneCMH
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    GeneCMH Silver Member

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    I wonder, is this because of the carriers employing people from so many different area / cultures, vs. one home culture, that it is becoming increasingly difficlt to train and maintain service, especially given the quick rate of growth?
     
  9. BEYFlyer
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    BEYFlyer Silver Member

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    One could argue that SQ also has a "mixed" crew yet service is never really as "I can't be bothered" as some of the Middle Eastern airlines I've flown on (ME, EK namely). It's a culture that you instill in your cabin crew from day one and if that's not done and maintained, you start getting the type of "cold" service you see on some (but not all) Middle Eastern airlines...
     
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  10. Open Fly
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    Open Fly Silver Member

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    This is probably attributed to the "non-national" aspects of the supervision that is prevelant amongst ME airlines.

    Pursers on non ME arilines tend to be older and more experienced while ME airlines, with high turnover, then to have much yourger and definitely less experienced one.
     
  11. haydensydney
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    haydensydney Silver Member

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    Forgotten Observations!

    EY Observation #8. Amenity Kits. I was expecting a WOW amenity kit, but on the flights where the amenity kits were actually distributed (SYD-AUH / AUH-SYD) the contents included:

    - Socks
    - Toothbrush/Toothpaste
    - Earplugs
    - Eye mask
    - Lip Balm*
    - Moisturiser*

    On the AUH-LHR-AUH flights, if asked for a amenity kit you received a "lite" version which did not include items marked as *

    Slightly disappointing!

    EY Observation #9. Voss Water. No such thing exists anymore. The water is Etihad branded water in flimsy plastic bottles.

    Did someone say "Cost cutting"?
     

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