Etihad Airways has been struggling financially for a while on the back of their failed investments in various airlines. One of their reactions has been, for Etihad to add a range of add-ons for monetization. Etihad’s Economy Class passengers have the option to buy Lounge Access, BoB products like First Class Pyjamas, bid for Neighbour free Economy seats to name a few. They even made standard seat selection paid except for those who book Economy Flex.
Etihad Airways was rumoured to introduce a Premium Economy cabin back in the day. After all, Emirates is already working on it. Now, Etihad Airways has launched Economy Space. It is their version of extra legroom Economy seat cabin, so more like an Economy Plus seat rather than a true blue Premium Economy seat.
So what is Economy Space?
Economy Space features an increased seat pitch of up to 36 inches. This is 5 inches more than what Etihad offers in their Standard Economy seats. The meal and beverage service will remain the same as it is in Economy. The only difference will be an increase in legroom. Currently, Etihad Airways sells all Exit row seats as Economy Space.
By end of this year, all 10 Airbus A380 will feature Economy Space cabin. This increases the number of extra legroom seats in Economy from 20 to 80 on the Airbus A380. Etihad will add more Economy Space seats on board their 19 Boeing 777-300ER and 27 Boeing 787 aircraft by 2019 end.
According to Etihad, there would be a 560% increase in the number of Economy Space seats by end of 2019. That is indeed a fast pace for modifying existing configurations. To be fair, it is quite a simple process as it involves increasing the seat pitch while the seats themselves remains the same.
How much does it cost to book one?
Well, you will get an option to select an Economy Space seat only at the seat selection page. You can even purchase one after you have booked your ticket. For a short Boeing 77W Mumbai-Abu Dhabi leg, an Economy Space seat costs INR 2201.
On an A380 flight to London, an Economy Space seat costs INR 10.6k.
For a longer A380 Abu Dhabi-New York JFK leg, it costs INR 13k one way.
The new seat maps for the Boeing 777-300ER haven’t been uploaded yet. In the case of the Airbus A380, the new seat map reveals a separate Economy Space cabin in the front end of the lower deck. This is in addition to the existing exit row Economy Space seats.
As for the Indian Market, only Mumbai and New Delhi get Boeing 777-300ER service. Etihad operates a Boeing 787-9 on Hyderabad-Abu Dhabi route but that will shift to an Airbus A330 post-March 2019. Etihad Airways operates Airbus A320, A321 and A330 aircraft on rest of the Indian routes.
Etihad follows the line of US carriers to introduce its own version of Extra Legroom Economy seating. I guess they are testing the waters to see how customers react to a new extra legroom Economy cabin before firming up plans for introducing a proper Premium Economy. For sure, the new Etihad Economy Space Cabin will help them to considerably increase add-on revenues.
What are your thoughts on the new Etihad Economy Space Cabin? Do you frequently pay for extra leg space?