During Etihad’s $0 mistake fare “xmas sale” several purchasers opted for connecting flights so that they could take advantage of a free stopover in a European city via one of EY’s partner carriers. Over the last week, Etihad has begun informing these customers that they are changing their itineraries to direct flights operated by Etihad. While this would normally be considered an upgrade compared to say a connection on AA, customers are upset that they are losing their European stopover and are being forced to book an extra night in the UAE. Etihad is informing customers that they cannot even select an earlier or later EY operated flight, they must take the one being assigned or have the option to cancel their itinerary for a full refund. This is not a case of the partner flights disappearing either, they are still scheduled but EY will not put passengers back on those originally selected flights. I’ve reached out for comment and will report their response here when I hear back.
We refer to the recent booking you made online to travel on our services. The flights that were selected require travel on our code share partner American Airlines for a part of your journey and then a transfer on to a connecting Etihad Airways flight. As we operate a non-stop service on the same date, we have accommodated you on the direct Etihad Airways flight at no additional cost to yourself. Please find attached the new travel itinerary and e-ticket for your journey.
Here’s a copy of the email being sent out:
…and here was one of the original itineraries: