‘Flying Reimagined’ is quickly becoming a tagline Etihad may live to regret, given the score of cost-cutting measures the airline continues to take.
Last year I reported on Etihad selling First Class Lounge access in Abu Dhabi, and last week, news that their Style and Shave Salon would no longer be providing complementary treatments broke the internet. The salon which previously provided First Class passengers with a complimentary wet shave, manicure, blow dry, or beard trim (which I thought was excellent when I reviewed the Business Class) will be closed, with only the Six Senses spa in Terminal 3 remaining open for a 15 min massage.
I’m fascinated that they’ve chosen to axe the Style and Shave salons altogether rather than just extend the nominal fee (which they previously charged Business flyers) to First Class passengers, as it really was a great point of difference.
Fortunately, I can report that the new First Class Lounge in Abu Dhabi, even without the salon, is very good, however, this news is a worrying sign for Etihad and Virgin devotees coming off the back of the airline axing Business Class pyjamas and selling them to Economy passengers.
While this may seem fairly inconsequential, perks like this encourage flyers to earn status with the airline so they can access the lounges, which also boosts sales. If there is no longer desire to use the lounges in Abu Dhabi, there is no reason to transit there – it’s a hell hole as it is.
As a trickle on, it also effects Etihad’s partner airlines whose premium flyers may decide not to pursue their status. I for one am transitioning away from Virgin, as I’m more captivated by the offerings at Hong Kong airport with brilliant lounges by Qantas and Cathay Pacific, not to mention Qantas’ new lounge at Heathrow. My personal opinion is that the One World Emerald Lounge selection at HKG is leaps and bounds better than either Etihad or Emirates.
Who knows what’s next on the chopping board at Etihad!