Etihad Airways has yet again challenged the norms of the aviation industry with the launch of its 'enhanced' Economy Class, offering increased legroom, new entertainment streaming options and improved dining concepts.
The new developments were introduced at the Arabian Travel Market held recently in Dubai, together with a new advertising campaign, ‘Go Your Own Way', which focuses on giving guests greater control of their travel experiences, “through onboard digital transformation, improved choice and redesigned cabins and products”.
The Economy transformation programme, which also includes new ergonomic seats, is scheduled for completion in August this year on all of Etihad’s narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.
For starters, the retrofit programme will see the built-in entertainment screens replaced with the option to wirelessly stream entertainment to personal electronic devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets).
“Removing the screens will result in the airline saving 18 tonnes of weight per year,” said Jamal Al Awadhi, vice president of product and guest experience at Etihad Airways. The lighter load means less fuel usage, which is a major operating cost for carriers.
To access entertainment content, passengers can connect to the internet to wirelessly stream more than 300 hours of free inflight entertainment through Etihad’s onboard system. To view additional programming, including Hollywood blockbusters and premium TV programming such as HBO, guests will have to download the new E-Box Stream app prior to travelling.
The upgrade also includes new seats which will offer increased seating space and legroom as well as fast-charging USB points and an adjustable phone and tablet holder.
An improved complimentary dining concept will also be introduced on all its flights, offering a larger meal on flights longer than three hours, as well as an expanded ‘Sweet or Salty’ retail menu that offers snacks and beverages for purchase.
“The first flight with the new service will take off in May,” Al Awadhi said.
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