Etihad Airways remains committed to offering first class service

Etihad Airways remains committed to offering first class service

As some airlines turn their attention away from servicing customers who prefer to purchase first class tickets, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, continues to focus on the travel needs of its premium passengers.

At the recent Aviation Outlook Summit, which was held from July 20 to 22 in Sydney, Australia, Peter Baumgartner, the chief commercial officer for Etihad, spoke about the airline's views on its first class service, Travel Weekly reports. During his address as the event's international keynote speaker, Baumgartner explained that while other carriers have turned their backs on first class travelers, Etihad has embraced them with open arms.

"What we took out of the global financial crisis was not that people had ceased to spend money, but that when they did, they wanted a product or service that could be perceived as good value," Baumgartner said at the summit, as quoted by the news source.

Furthermore, the chief commercial officer believes that having a strong first class offering is essential for a serious international full service airline like Etihad, states the news outlet.

Individuals who purchase first class airfares for Etihad flights aboard the airline's Airbus 340-600s and 330s can take advantage of all that the carrier's Diamond First Class Suites have to offer, according to the company's website. Meanwhile, passengers who book first class tickets aboard Etihad's Airbus 340-500s, 330-200s, certain 340-600s and Boeing 777s travel in the Diamond First Class cabin.

In the Diamond First Class Suites, passengers enjoy higher levels of comfort and space, in addition to having a seat that converts into a fully flat bed. Diamond First Class also includes a chair that can extend into a bed within a privacy shell.

As a result of Etihad's focus on offering high-quality premium travel options, Baumgartner said that the airline's market share of first class flying on its Sydney-London route has nearly doubled, Travel Weekly reports. In fact, he added that the Diamond Class offering has played a critical role in the carrier's long-term strategy and continued strength following the global financial crisis.

"Some airlines have looked at the Australian travel market and concluded that first class is a dying product," said Baumgartner, quoted by the news source. "That view is a short view." 

By Arnold Meyer

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