More Etihad economy passengers will be able to travel in additional comfort from December when the airline adds an additional 60 extra legroom seats to its Airbus A380s.
The Economy Space seats featuring an increased seat pitch of 36 inches are being added to the superjumbos in a cabin redesign that boosts the number of extra legroom seats from 20 to 80.
It also plans to add additional extra legroom seats to 12 Boeing 777s and 21 Boeing 787 Dreamliners by the end of 2019, boosting the total number of extra legroom seats by 560 percent.
The move is part of a growing trend among airlines to segment economy cabins and unbundle fares as they move to increase ancillary revenues.
It also comes as rival Emirates is looking at no-frills economy fares and premium economy seating.
Etihad does not say whether its cabin redesign will mean less space for economy passengers not prepared to shell out the extra bucks for the additional legroom.
The new seating is subject to availability and is charged on a per-sector, per-person basis. It doesn’t come cheaply with the Etihad’s website giving the cost for the extra space on a Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight as $A249.20.
The seats are only assigned on full payment and do not earn any additional frequent flyer points.
“We recognize that no two travelers are alike, and today’s customers demand more choice and personalization during their travels,’’ Etihad head of guest experience Jamal Ahmed Al Awadh said in a statement.
“In response to the popularity and demand for extra legroom seats, we have reconfigured our Economy cabin to allow travelers to enhance their overall travel experience.
“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 travelers.’’
Other ancillary products available on Etihad include a neighbor-free seating option in Economy and a range of ‘buy-on-board’ products.
The airline said customers will continue to receive complimentary core dining service and inflight entertainment regardless of which seat they select.