experience of etihad contact centre

Old Feb 1, 12, 2:02 pm
  #1  
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experience of etihad contact centre

I booked two F tickets from LHR to SYD in early Jan for my wife and son (who is four) with the outward journey end march 12. We were assured getting the two middle seats for all four legs would not be a problem but at the time we could only reserve actual seats for three of the legs as the SYD to ABU had not opened yet. Seemed strange at the time as, of course, the ABU to LHR leg is later but they were clear when pressed and promised to put a note on the system to book two middle seats when the flight opened. All very odd.

I chased this week for progress and was told the flight had always been open and we had no allocated seats and that it was not possible to seat my wife and son together as all of the double seats had been allocated. Clearly not acceptable for a 15hr flight! Geoff who took the call though was wonderful and over the next 24hrs sorted it out for us through contacting customers etc. I didn't have to do any chasing, I was called back to explain progress and given options to changes dates etc.

Although the initial booking experience was not good, Etihad were excellent at resolving the situation. I've never used them before (tend to use BA and Emirates) and overall I am impressed.
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Old Feb 1, 12, 5:54 pm
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It doesn't make sense that you couldnt select seats in F at time of booking. Who did you book through?
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Old Feb 1, 12, 11:56 pm
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we booked directly with etihad using the london office telephone number. 'checkmytrip' shows the reservation office as Bombay, India. I must admit the booking process was confusing and you got the sense of a lack of training - for example, we had to phone three times after the money had left our account to get the confirmation email. but as I said in the post, etihad were fantastic at resolving the situation earlier this week.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 2:54 am
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I'm not surprised by this. Etihad's telephone customer service is horrendeous. Severe language problems with English, inexperienced staff, and really no dedicated experienced customer service agents even for Gold Elite flyers. I just try to avoid calling them at all costs. The only time I ever do is to change my chauffeur details after IF i have to change them after making them online, booking a seat assignment, or having to change my flights.

They are making a new Manchester call centre, but not sure who will be routed there. Etihad's Gold Elite email is great, but still lacks compared to other top airlines top tier customer service exclusive contact methods.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 1:49 pm
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Hi SighMN. The individuals who sorted out the seats earlier this week were definitely UK based so may be that call centre has opened. I notice you are based on sydney. my aussie born wife is returning with my son to see her family. we have 3D and 3G booked for all four legs. any tips for my wife? many thanks
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Old Feb 2, 12, 7:31 pm
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Originally Posted by PeterLON View Post
Hi SighMN. The individuals who sorted out the seats earlier this week were definitely UK based so may be that call centre has opened. I notice you are based on Sydney. my aussie born wife is returning with my son to see her family. we have 3D and 3G booked for all four legs. any tips for my wife? many thanks
1) If the cabin is too hot to sleep make sure you let the lead flight attendant know so she can reduce the cabin temperature. A lot of them keep the plane at 23 degrees and the first class cabin vents are pathetic (most of mine don't blow any air at all and it gets stuffy especially when the doors are closed).

2) Sounds like she will be on flights with the new onboard chef. Make sure she orders very specifically, and if I were her I would avoid anything off the Grille menu. Tell her not to feel bad to pick and choose from anything on the menu. I often have nice sounding seafood dishes from the kitchen anytime menu and sometimes have all the entrées and skip the mains. The soups are especially delicious so I wouldn't avoid those.

3) The sandwiches that can be prepared at anytime are delicious. You can have any type of filling and its nicely toasted on a nice bun.

4) Use the call button if you need anything. Etihad staff are somehow very reactive but not proactive like other first class airlines. They usually are very accommodating when you press the call button to ask for something. I normally make sure I always have a glass of ice water throughout the flight and get them to refill the ice. The "mini-bar" is basically a compartment that SOMETIMES contains a bottle of water and some nasty snacks. The water is usually warm so ask for a cold bottle instead of using that one.

5) Don't feel bad about changing into the PJs they give you during the flight. At least for men they are 100% cotton and are very comfortable. Everyone in the cabin eventually changes into this during the flight.

6) Make sure when you are ready to sleep you ask for the staff to prepare your bed. They should put a cover over the bed (it sometimes slips off so just double check to make sure its put on properly), give you a duvet, and cover your pillow with a cotton white cover. The duvet is usually all you need to keep warm to sleep, but there is a wool/polyester type blanket that is in your cabin when you board which I find usually too hot and heavy.

7) Always use the right bathroom if you can as it is double sized, and is better for changing and just an overall better bathroom. If you need to sit down to change there is a table you can fold down over the toilet to sit on. I also think this doubles as a baby changer table.

8) If you need laptop or USB power the flight attendants actually have to turn on a switch to let the power go through. Even though there is a light on the power source normally, it usually isn't switched on.

9) You can fast forward through the Etihad promotional crap before every video that is watched. (Surprisingly some frequent fliers still don't know this).

10) Have the arabic coffee that comes around pre departure and have their figs. Both are wonderful and make the Etihad onboard experience a bit different than others. The arabic coffee is not at all strong like some people think, its just flavoured with cardamom and cinnamon.

11) Make sure your wife/son go to the six senses spa if ther is time between connections and get a treatment. The staff there are excellent and its a really good service.
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Old Feb 2, 12, 11:44 pm
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A very good summary, SighMN
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Old Feb 3, 12, 12:48 am
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Thanks for taking the time SighMN to set out these very helpful points. In the past we have always taken one of the numerous night flights out of LHR and getting to SYD early in the morning. the 9am etihad flight looked attractive as our son can play on the first leg and the second leg should be his natural sleep time. does mean getting to SYD at 8 in the evening. my wife's mum lives on the central coast and when we have gone with emirates we have asked the car to take us the maximum distance and her mum meets us there which saves her having to drive through SYD (they are on the night flight back from SYD). Do you know if Etihad are flexible on the distances they will take people? For example, if there are two F passengers sharing the same vehicle? thanks again for your help
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Old Feb 3, 12, 2:50 am
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I would also like to thank SighMN for his very informative and very useful post.

And to confirm to PeterLON re pyjamas! I always change into them at the first opportunity, am definitely older than your wife, often travel alone, and whilst it can seem a bit daunting for a lady to wander around in pj's, I have two strategies, get a large size and roll up the over long sleeves and legs, - they always shrink in the wash if you are keeping them - we are not on a catwalk, quite the opposite!
Secondly a pashmina is just brilliant. Takes up no room, can be used as a flattering cover up in so many situations, and even acts as a very thin blanket if the supplied duna is too warm. ps, since your son is 4, you might consider packing a pair of his pj's in carry on luggage (preferably not freshly laundered - sounds bonkers, but that smell of home could make all the difference in getting him to settle for some sleep!) Another good suggestion is to make sure your son has his own backpack, with his favourite things that he has packed by himself (will take some care - that entire box of lego will not fit!!) Flew many times with my son when he was little, and whilst he was a 'little tyke and very active' I was never embarrased by any behaviour that caused other pax problems - it was just Mum that was exhausted - mentally not physically - a case of keeping new ideas flowing to pass the time! I wish your wife all the best for a good trip.

ps, chauffer cars, whilst I am no expert, and this thought must be researched by yourself. I know another poster asked about getting two cars for a family group, flying F Etihad into LHR, because they knew that their luggage plus themselves would not fit in one car. I believe that there was no problem obtaining another car for the party. So on this basis (if I am correct of course), I would definitely 'push' for an extension of car miles. Sydney side I believe it stands at 50 km - which is actually rather poor. From LHR its 150 miles, which is oodles more. Perhaps it will depend on your sons ticket, they may argue if he has been discounted because of his age his ticket will not count
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Old Feb 3, 12, 2:52 pm
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thx for the helpful advice. they were sale priced tickets so we only saved 30 pounds on his ticket. we will raise with etihad and see what they say. it is frustrating that all the airlines seem to offer limited mileage in aus.
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Old Feb 4, 12, 1:48 pm
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Another thanks to SighMN

Just a thank you as well to SighMN for the great overview. Next week we are flying Etihad First from JFK to AUH and then Business down to JNB. We are looking forward to our first EY experience. We will take the same food strategy for our JFK - AUH flight. And I promise to address temperature in the cabin quickly. A warm cabin is a major pet peeve.

Any other recommendations are welcome.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 5:13 am
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Originally Posted by SighMN View Post
I'm not surprised by this. Etihad's telephone customer service is horrendeous. Severe language problems with English, inexperienced staff, and really no dedicated experienced customer service agents even for Gold Elite flyers. I just try to avoid calling them at all costs. The only time I ever do is to change my chauffeur details after IF i have to change them after making them online, booking a seat assignment, or having to change my flights.

They are making a new Manchester call centre, but not sure who will be routed there. Etihad's Gold Elite email is great, but still lacks compared to other top airlines top tier customer service exclusive contact methods.
Just an update on the Manchester call centre. I used them this week and they were excellent. If you go to:
http://www.etihadairways.com/sites/E...s/Offices.aspx
you can choose the Manchester office contact details from a dropdown.


T
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Old Feb 19, 12, 6:47 am
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I ,too, have found the Manchester contact centre to be helpful. My only compliant is that the answering service talks to you about all sorts before you get any options!
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Old Feb 20, 12, 2:53 am
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I agree. they certainly need more tuition even on their own products as they dont seem to know this either. I recently asked about Family Programme and got a complete different reply about tier miles. At one time staff did not know that EY had a partnership with Qantas (they do not have that now). they certainly need to inprove their information qualty and response time.
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