Cost-cutting isn’t something new in the travel industry. Many airlines face times when they need to cut costs somehow but some are doing it a little too much, and it’s quite easy to see where it’s happening. Over The last few months, I’ve shared some posts on aspects that all of the ME3 has been changing and there’s a lot. This post is more to show how bad it’s gotten and is it that bad? Note: I’m a huge fan of Etihad, Emirates and Qatar but I will not be holding back in showing what’s been cut.
This is quite the controversial topic among frequent flyers. The ME3 have amazing lounge facilities, and it’s great to be able to use them. But, at what point does it become necessary to allow passengers who usually wouldn’t have access to be able to purchase entry into these ‘exclusive’ facilities.
In January, Emirates announced that it was possible to pay for access to their Business Class First Class lounges in Dubai. Prices are $200 USD for the First lounge while it’s $100 USD for Business Class.
In March, Etihad announced that you could access their premium lounges all around the world for around $60-100. Then in May, they announced it was possible to pay to access their First Class lounge in Abu Dhabi for $200 USD.
Late last month, Qatar even started allowing pay-per-access into their Al Mourjan lounge in Doha which is one of the more exclusive lounges in the world. Australian Business Traveller states that the cost to enter is $161 USD.
This is a very recent change but still worth mentioning. Etihad just announced that they would be removing the service for all passengers expect those in the Residence, even for a passenger paying for a full fare first class ticket.
Emirates still offer the chauffeur, but there have been rumours that it may be taken away from several cities which is very disappointing to hear.
Qatar doesn’t do a chauffeur, so there’s no comment about theirs.
Food & Beverages
This is possibly one of the biggest subjects talked about when looking at ‘cost-cutting.’
In my eyes, the food on Etihad has generally been great; it helps when you have a chef on board. It also depends on the type of flight and where you’re flying too and from. The biggest cut back I’ve noticed on Etihad is the reduction of quality waters (Acqua Panna & San Pellegrino), The alcohol list is quite laughable for First, and they’ve also heavily reduced the dessert menu, the afternoon tea was lovely on long-haul services.
Emirates has always been pretty consistent, they serve some fantastic wines and other beverages, and they’re menu’s are always quite extensive. I haven’t flown too often, but when I have, I’ve noticed their menus are similar and don’t change too often. They’ve removed Voss water in Business and First as well.
Qatar is a funny one, they started off big but have slowly reduced parts of the service over time. They used to serve top shelf liquor at the bar, but that was taken away. The last few times I’ve flown them, I’ve noticed that the food is alright but hasn’t had an amazing ‘wow’ factor that First Class should.
Ah yes, amenity kits, where do we start.
Etihad used to have Le Labo amenities which I absolutely loved, however, last year they switched to Omorovicza products which I find aren’t nearly as nice but the leather bag is nicer if that is a benefit. They also don’t provide kits in Business on medium-haul flights which is disappointing.
Qatar used to offer Armani kit’s, and they were one of my favourite in the sky. At the start of the year, they switched to BRICS which I find to be nowhere near as nice. The pyjamas in First and Business are also now exactly the same.
Emirates offer Bvlgari kits, and they are lovely. The carrier has stayed with the brand and even has the products in the Business Class kits. The First Class pyjamas are lovely as they’re rejuvenating, but Business Class don’t get any, even on a long-haul flight.
These adjustments in service are beginning to be seen more often, and it’s not right. This post may sound a little picky and make me sound like an entitled a$$h0le however, for the people paying top dollar for First Class and even Business, it’s pretty disappointing to see what it’s come to.
What’s your take, is it that bad or is it moderate?