Etihad Airways has revealed that it will be replacing seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) screens with a wireless IFE solution on its A320 and A321 aircraft as part of an overhaul of its economy class experience.
The retrofit programme is scheduled for completion in August. The programme, introduced alongside the carrier’s “Go Your Own Way” advertising campaign, will also see the entire economy cabin refreshed and a new dining experience introduced.
The new-look cabin will feature ergonomic seats from UK-based Acro’s Series 6 range. The seats will provide increased knee room and include fast-charging USB points as well as an adjustable phone and tablet holder.
Passengers will be able to log on and connect to the IFE system via a web browser to wirelessly stream more than 300 hours of free IFE content through the onboard Panasonic eXW system directly to their own devices. To view a wider range of entertainment programming, including more Hollywood blockbusters, international movies, and premium TV programming such as HBO and Universal shows, they can download the new E-BOX Stream app prior to travel.
The carrier has stressed that seatback IFE screens will remain in the economy cabins on the airline’s fleet of wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
New dining experience
Etihad has also launched a redesigned complimentary dining concept on all its flights. On journeys of over three hours, the main course of the core complimentary dining service is now a larger, contemporary bistro-style meal which is higher in quality, with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients and more destination focused choices. A new curved triangular base plate design reflects the heritage of Abu Dhabi and is made using recycled materials. New cutlery is 85% lighter, reducing aircraft weight and fuel burn. Each year, the airline will also remove 27 million plastic lids, and other containers, supporting its drive towards greater sustainability and to reduce the use of single-use plastics by 80% by 2022.
As part of the new dining sequence, dessert items will be served separately with the after-meal coffee and tea service, reducing clutter on the tray during the main meal. On shorter flights, dessert will be served with the main meal.
In addition, the significantly expanded ‘Sweet or Salty’ retail menu complements the core dining service with offerings including a Tapas box, hot dishes, and premium sweet and savoury snacks, all available for purchase. The selection also includes options for children. The new retail service will be enhanced by partnerships with leading brands such as Bateel, Starbucks, Thorntons, Cawston Press, Heavenly, Perrier and Barebells.
Etihad is also refreshing soft products including new blankets, pillows and headrest covers to further enhance inflight comfort and ambience.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad has always been a challenger brand, shaping the future of travel as the market constantly changes. We are bringing the leadership and innovation to economy travel which we have long established in our award-winning Business, First and The Residence cabins.
“As part of our ‘Choose Well’ promise, we are empowering our guests with more control of their travel experiences, through onboard digital transformation, improved choice and redesigned cabins and products.
“As a leading full-service airline, Etihad is adapting to meet the specific needs and requirements of all travellers, providing more of what they really want to enjoy inflight. This not only delivers greater choice and personalisation, it also ensures we continue to provide a superior, commercially wise and sustainable service offering.”