Disappointing – Etihad To Remove Free Chauffeur For Business & First Class From July

by Zac George
a man in a suit opening the door of a car

Complimentary chauffeurs are an absolutely fantastic benefit when travelling in a premium cabin. Many carriers around the world offer free pickup and drop off services and they range from luxury sports cars all the way up to helicopters. It makes the whole travel experience a lot smoother and is extremely helpful especially when you’re visiting a new city.

Etihad has been offering a chauffeur service for years and I’ve used it every time I’ve flown the airline. Last year, Etihad stopped offering the chauffeur service for award bookings coming from American Airlines and various other partners. This was a massive downgrade for people redeeming for Business and First. To get around this, you could often go to the arrivals lounge and get the car from there but even that was hit and miss.

a man standing in a room with cars

Etihad Chauffeur

Unfortunately, Etihad is again changing it’s policy on the chauffeur service for the worse. From July 3rd, Etihad will no longer offer the service for Business & First Class passengers in any other city besides Abu Dhabi, even for revenue passengers. 

Etihad will instead introduce a paid service for passengers in Economy, Business and First. Passengers that will use the service will be able to earn Etihad Guest miles for their ride.

The airline is saying this is to ‘improve the experience’ however, to me, this sounds like more cost-cutting. The airline has already made quite a few changers this year to seating and lounge access and year and this is yet another fantastic ‘enhancement.’

If you are wondering, people who are in the Residence will still be able to have the car service, but for the price of the ticket – that should be a given anyway.

If you’re on a flight that’s been booked before July 3rd, you won’t be affected but if you’re booked after, you’ll have to arrange transport yourself.

Overall, this is very disappointing news and it’s quite sad to see Etihad remove it for free altogether, even for full paying passengers. I love Etihad but they need to really think about their spending and who they’re investing in. Emirates still offer the service in Business and First for both revenue and award tickets.


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Harrison Mendes June 22, 2017 - 9:28 pm

Wow….. makes VA awards not as worth it…. What’s next in terms of cost cutting in your opinion?
Any flights with EY planned?

Joey June 23, 2017 - 12:48 am

I wouldn’t consider this a “massive downgrade” but it certainly is cost-cutting by Etihad.
You’re quite young but in the days before airlines started offering this perk, those travelling on their company’s dime normally hired car service anyway or took a taxi and kept the receipt so they’d be reimbursed. My point is the business traveler won’t be affected by this change that much.
For those travelling by leisure, yes it would be slightly more inconvenient no question.

Nick June 23, 2017 - 2:16 pm

I agree. This is yet another cost cutting move by Etihad. If they did their homework and listen to their passengers they would know that the chauffeur service was the best best part of the Etihad experience. Emirates here I come and I’m sure many will follow

DS WP June 23, 2017 - 2:55 pm

Its sad news indeed. I can understand cutting the perk for business class, but first, come on. I hate it when the accountants make these calls on behalf of the company.

Brett Hannath June 23, 2017 - 5:20 pm

Just another reason to switch to Qantas or Emriates who still offer this great service.

Johnny June 25, 2017 - 10:19 am

There is also a rumour Emirates will also do the same here in Sydney… I’m telling you this from the hire car industry as I work for both services it’s a real shock to my business as it provides a lot of work for my drivers and myself when our own clients don’t need our services. Look at it from a business point of view I doubt Etihad would of cancelled this service here if it knew it would loose customers to Emirates/Qantas unless they have the same intentions.

Zac George June 25, 2017 - 2:39 pm

Hmmm – that’s interesting. If you hear any firm information about it or any more rumors, please let me know. It’s quite sad that a few carriers are cutting down the service.

David June 24, 2017 - 6:02 am

Very disappointed with Etihad All my family travelling with Etihad love the free chuffered service and that is one of the reasons they using Etihad.
After speaking to member of my family about Etihad cancelling the service they now changing to another carrier that offers the service

Dont go June 24, 2017 - 8:39 am

This blog is boring

Zac George June 24, 2017 - 9:05 am

Well don’t read it then, not that difficult. You must read it if you make the effort to comment….

Garth June 25, 2017 - 7:33 am

Well said Zac and for not deleting the post. You’ll find that your blogs will be trolled by the miserable, jealous and entitled. Take no notice of them. We love your work, your effort and your enthusiasm and look forward to every new post.

Zac George June 25, 2017 - 2:38 pm

Thank you very much Garth. It’s sad that people do it for fun but I’m used to it now I guess.

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