New Etihad Seat Assignment Policy & Fees

In 2018, Etihad Airways implemented fees for selecting economy seat assignments in advance, a practice commonly adopted by many full-service airlines to generate additional revenue. Fast forward to November 28, 2023, and Etihad is set to make further adjustments to its economy seat assignment policy, as revealed in a memo to trade partners.

The upcoming changes include the introduction of zonal seat pricing in economy class. Currently, the airline charges a uniform fee for any standard economy seat assignment, but the new system will categorize seats into three zones: forward, middle, and rear. Pricing is expected to vary accordingly, with the rear zone likely to have the lowest fees and the forward zone the highest, aligning with customer preferences. There’s also a suggestion that pricing differentials may be introduced between middle seats and aisle or window seats.

One notable and potentially frustrating change is the elimination of free seat selection at check-in. Previously, Etihad allowed economy passengers to reserve any remaining standard economy seat for free starting 30 hours before departure during online check-in. The new policy suggests that seats will be assigned at check-in, and passengers will need to pay if they wish to change their assigned seats.

Additionally, Etihad will rebrand its Economy Space seating, which includes extra legroom economy seats. The change involves renaming Economy Space seats as extra legroom seats, Economy Space Exit Row seats as exit row seats, and Economy Space Bulkhead seats as bulkhead seats. This move contrasts with the industry trend, as other airlines have been emphasizing branding for extra legroom seating.

In summary, Etihad’s economy seat assignment policy changes on November 28, 2023, will introduce zonal pricing, eliminate free seat selection at check-in, and see the rebranding of Economy Space seating. These adjustments aim to refine the airline’s ancillary revenue strategy and align with evolving industry practices.