Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has been voted
the ‘world’s leading first class airline’ at this year’s World Travel Awards.
Votes for the WTA ceremony, which took place at Beaches Turks and
Caicos Resort and Spa, were taken from nearly 170,000 travel industry
professionals from around the world, including more than 110,000 travel agents.
The global accolade comes just months after the Abu Dhabi-based
airline was awarded the regional title of ‘leading first class’ at the Middle
East World Travel Awards in October 2008.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said: “To be voted
the world’s best by nearly 170,000 travel professionals from around the globe
is a great honour and testament to the investment we continue to place in our
flagship first class product.
“WTA adjudged our first class to be the best in the
award now rounds off a fantastic year for us.”
Etihad Airways offers its first class passengers an award-winning
fully flat bed seat with 80 inch seat pitch, which is self-contained in an
individual privacy cocoon with special mood lighting designed to relieve the
symptoms of jet-lag. The seat can rotate 180 degrees to allow in-seat dining
for up to four fellow passengers.
First class passengers can take advantage of an in-seat massager
and more than 500 hours of on-demand entertainment provided via individual 17.3
inch screens, operated by touch-screen technology.
Passengers can eat ‘on demand’, anytime, from a la carte fine
dining menus or opt for kitchen style snacks.
Etihad has also introduced a new cabin crew position called the
onboard food and beverage manager. These new managers, most of whom joined the
airline from the five-star hospitality sector, are responsible for championing
the quality, presentation and delivery of food and beverages on board, ensuring
it is consistently to the highest standards.
Etihad Airways opened a new first class lounge at its
Key features include a ‘open kitchen’, dedicated ‘wi-fi’ area, library,
relaxation zone, well-being spa, hi-tech electronic games room and an art
gallery showcasing work by local Arab artists.
Etihad’s first class customers also have access to a complementary
limousine service, taking them to and from
available to first class customers in several of Etihad’s key global
destinations, including London Heathrow,
The WTA ‘world’s leading first class airline’ accolade is the
latest in a series of top awards that Etihad has received in 2008, including
‘airline of the year’ at both the Aviation Business Awards and British
Travel Awards; ‘leading airline’, ‘leading first class’ and ‘leading travel
website’ at the Middle East World Travel Awards; ‘best cabin staff’ and ‘best
economy class’ at the Business Traveller (Middle East) Awards; and ‘best
website’ at the Pan Arab Web Awards.
Etihad Airways was awarded ‘world’s leading flatbed seat’ and
‘world’s leading travel television commercial’ at the 2007 World Travel Awards.