Complaint: Suggestion Business Class? EY/5G6DB3
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Old Apr 26, 2015, 12:15 AM
KG-BTR KG-BTR is offline
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 19
Default Etihad is easily the WORST airline for international business class travel

I am a frequent international traveler in business class. I had generally decent experience on most airlines for my international travels in business class. In March 2015, I flew ORD to HYD and back in business class on Etihad. I should have searched the Internet for reviews of this airline. I did not. I had horrible experience on Etihad.

I flew on Etihad EY150 from ORD to AUH on March 7, 2015 on my way to the final destination, HYD. On this long flight of >13 hours, the cabin crew ignored me while they served food and drinks numerous times to White and Arab passengers. The flight attendant waited on the Caucasian passenger in front of me over a dozen times for wine refills, other beverages, and desserts, but ignored me even when I raised my hand and had my seat light on hoping to get attention.

After poor quality experience on the ORD-AUH flight where I was ignored during food service and whatever little food served was horrible, I was hoping to get use the lounge to brush teeth and refresh, and have a snack before my flight to HYD.

I was dismayed by the appearance and quality of the Etihad business class lounge in Abu Dhabi. The men's rest room was very small. No shower facility. There was an Arab man in his traditional Arabic dress lifting his leg up and washing his feet in the washbasin. What an ugly sight to watch. There was an Etihad attendant watching the Arab man wash his dirty feet in the washbasin and not letting anybody else inside. It was so nauseating that I couldn't go in. The food available was very poor. The lounge was tiny. I rated the Emirates business class lounge in Dubai at the highest possible score of 10/10. I would give your lounge in Abu Dhabi the lowest possible score of 1/10.

On March 19, I returned from HYD to ORD via AUH on Etihad in business class. This time, I traveled with my 80-year old mother. We are both of Indian race and ethnicity.

On the HYD-AUH flight (EY275) of 4 hours and 20 minutes, there were no blankets. The cabin manager told me that Etihad eliminated blankets in business class on short flights. But, this was business class flight of 4 hours and 20 minutes that started late at night. My 80-year old mother was shivering and she fell sick when we arrived in Abu Dhabi. In AUH, the flight landed in remote area, not at the gate. We had to wait for 30 minutes to get wheelchair for my mother, then another 20 minutes to get a bus, 15 minutes of travel in a wheelchair to security point #1, 20 minutes in wheelchair to security #2, and 35 minutes for a third person to push wheelchair to US Immigration and Customs in AUH. While this was happening, an Arab man almost ran away with my Rolex watch as we went through security. At this airport, you have remove everything including your watch and go through security in a crowed narrow area and if you are not watching, Abu Dhabi airport employees and Etihad employees are waiting to steal your belongings.

Two hours of going from remove landing area to 3 different security checkpoints meant we had no time to go to the business class lounge. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7:15am and our next flight was at 9:30am. My 80-year old mother was starving and shivering and could not even get a cup of coffee, and was hoping to get coffee on the 15-hour flight from AUH to ORD leaving at 9:30am. When we boarded EY151, we were offered lemonade or orange juice or champagne, but no coffee was available. I repeat, this was at 9:30am. So, we had to wait for coffee until the first meal service.

When the meal service began an hour later, unfortunately, my mother and I were subjects of racial discrimination by Etihad flight cabin crew on flight EY151. Although we were seated in the middle of the cabin, the flight attendants who provided food and beverage service several times to the people and in front and behind kept ignoring us. At age 80, my mother wanted to eat early and sleep, but we were always the last ones to be served food during meal time, and this too after I had to raise my hand and wave repeatedly. We only got leftovers on this flight of >15 hours, and only after repeated attempts to get the attention of the flight attendants. The Indian couple who were seated in front of us were also ignored while the cabin crew made several trips to pour wine and whiskey to the Caucasian and Arab passengers on the flight. The flight attendants were disrespectful to us and behaved as if they did not like serving to non-Whites. Finally, after I complained to the cabin manager, a black gentleman was sent to serve us. He was nice to us, but the attitude of the other cabin crew was racially discriminative and painful to us.
It was an utterly humiliating experience to be ignored by the cabin crew because we are of Indian ethnicity while they paid full attention to the White and Arab passengers on the flight. This was in business class and on a flight longer than 15 hours.

If I experienced racially discriminative experience on Etihad only once, I would not have complained. However, I experienced the airline's racist attitude when flying from ORD to AUH on March 7, 2015 as well on AUH to ORD on March 19, 2015. My similar experience again on March 19, 2015 on the flight from AUH to ORD confirmed my belief that this airline has racist attitude. I filed a racial discrimination complaint about the airline with DOT.

When we arrived in ORD, we had to wait for 30 minutes for wheelchair for my mother. Her two checked bags were badly damaged and torn with wires around the rims coming out. At the baggage claim area, we showed the damage to her bags to Etihad baggage office attendants, but they quickly dismissed the damage as nothing to do with handling by Etihad.

I had another flight EY3164 from ORD to New Orleans (MSY) after a long layover. When I picked up my own checked bag in MSY, it was drenched heavily in rainwater and coated with thick mud, again showing how badly Etihad handles bags. My belongings were badly damaged.
Etihad quickly rejected our complaints about damage to bags.

When I booked travel in business class on Etihad website, the airline presented one itinerary for me with domestic flights MSY-ORD and ORD-MSY on American Airlines. This was an Etihad ticket. AA was portrayed as a partner of Etihad on Etihad website for earning frequent flier miles. More than a month after completion of entire travel, no AA miles have been credited for 3 of the 4 Etihad flights. I did not receive mileage credit for ORD-AUH, AUH-HYD, and AUH-ORD. American Airlines said Etihad does not allow them to give mileage credit for flights between USA and Abu Dhabi and vice versa in business class. They said I did not receive miles for AUH-HYD Etihad flight EY274 because the booking class was Z. When I contacted Etihad, I should have received miles for Z class (mind you, this is business class, not discounted, and booked on Etihad website) and I should contact AA. Well, Etihad says to contact AA and AA says to contact Etihad.

For my mother who also completed travel in business class on March 19th, as of April 25th, no miles have been posted to her AA account for HYD-AUH and AUH-ORD. She also flew in business class, and this business class ticket was booked on Etihad website.

So, for those of you hoping to get frequent flier on one of the US airlines while flying on Etihad business class ticket, forget it. Etihad does not give frequent flier miles for flights between USA and Abu Dhabi (these are 14-15 hr flights) in business class. You see zero miles in most cases. Etihad has the worst possible alliance with other international airlines.

So, in summary, avoid Etihad at all costs if you are flying in business class. Food in business class on Etihad is horrible. Etihad toiletry kits contain bare little. Etihad entertainment system in business class on 15 hour flights is so skimpy that you have to watch the same movie again and again. It is 1/50th of what Emirates offers. Avoid Abu Dhabi airport. Etihad's business class lounges are dirty, smelly, and lack basic amenities one would expect in a business class lounge. Etihad destroys your checked bags. Etihad is not a member of a good airline alliance. You get no frequent flier miles for flights between USA and Abu Dhabi. Avoid Etihad if you are non-White or non-Arab because their employees seem to be trained to be racist.

Please do not fly on Etihad. If you do, you will experience nightmares.