Etihad Voted World’s Leading 1st Class Airline

Abu Dhabi (UAE) 11 Dec 2008 - 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 Middle East in October, so to receive the top global 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 Abu Dhabi base in 2008. 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 Abu Dhabi airport. The luxury service is also available to first class customers in several of Etihad’s key global destinations, including London Heathrow, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Manchester, Munich, New York, Paris, Sydney and Toronto.

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.

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi. Currently Etihad offers flights to 50 destinations in the Middle East, Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

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