Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — It’s not even 2019 yet — we’re only a few days close — but pundits and publications are already listing down the perfect places to travel to in the coming year. Jetsetters, frequent travelers, and even first-timers are already looking forward to spending the coming year in different destinations far and wide — whether it’s a familiar sight or an exciting locale that’s so far off from where you’re from.
In travel, they say it’s the journey that matters and this is something that Etihad keeps in mind as it celebrates its 15th year as one of the leading companies in the aviation industry. In that short amount of time, Etihad has upheld the best aspects of Arabian hospitality, delivered with flair and sophistication that has become synonymous with the airline.
In the last 15 years, Etihad has grown to fly to 84 destinations 55 countries with over 100 aircrafts bearing 18 million passengers annually each year. It has operated over 840,000 flights and carried 139 million guests who are served by a workforce of over 22,000 talented individuals from 150 countries. That’s a whole lot of people moving to and from vacations, business trips, reuniting with loved ones, or just simply enjoying the zen of travel.
The world has rapidly become more connected since Etihad started in Nov. 5, 2003 with a symbolic trip to the historic city of Al Ain in Abu Dhabi. Customers are more discerning, more demanding, and have higher expectations of what an airline should be.
“Today, customers call the shots and they only respect the brands and business that recognize this and serve them accordingly,” said the airline’s Philippines Country Manager Yarub Mohd Obaidalla at the celebration of Etihad’s 15th birthday. “Technology has also created a new era of customer strength, control, expectation and demand.”
To mark their 15th year, Etihad has launched their Choose Well brand platform which enables passengers to choose how they want to fly and get the Etihad experience that they want. Whether you’re in First Class, Business, or Economy, you can customize your flight however you want, from smart seats with a “shoulder” to lean on; the First Apartment at First Class which has a “large leather armchair and separate bed of 6 feet and 10 inches;” the recently introduced “Neighbour-Free” seating option; or a new range of buy-on-board products.
One of the new highlights of Etihad is the Economy Space option which is retrofitted for its 10 Airbus A380s and features an increased seat pitch of up to 36 inches for that wide extra legroom. This is especially beneficial for families with small children, the elderly, or those requiring wheelchair assistance.
“While many airlines have been squeezing more seats into economy class, we continue to focus on providing our guests with exceptional products and services that meet and exceed the demands and budgets of different types of travellers,” said Jamal Ahmed Al Awadhi, Etihad Airways Head of Guest Experience.
Celebrated fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg also created limited edition scarves and ties for the flight crew which match the airline’s colorways: bold yellow for cabin managers, purple for the cabin crew, and white for food and beverage managers. The new design also coincides with Etihad’s 10-year partnership with the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The airline has also added a new service to Barcelona, Spain which starts five times a week via two-class Airbus A330-200 before it becomes daily starting March 31, 2019.
So whether passengers are bound for New York or coming home to Abu Dhabi, Etihad has made it their mission to tailor experiences that suit every passenger’s needs.
“While traditionally airlines look to provide all their guests with the same products and services, Etihad is empowering its guests by enabling them to design their entire travel experience,” said Obaidalla. “We passionately believe that if you choose Etihad, you’ve chosen well.”