I’m off to India in the coming weeks, and as excited as I am to visit a new country (and attend an Indian wedding), in true #AVGeek form I’m even more excited to fly a new airline.
But while my return flight from India is booked in First Class on Etihad, it’s worth noting that it will actually be on one of the Boeing 777-300ER planes wet leased to Etihad from Jet Airways. In other words, the seat, food, and service really won’t be the same as that offered on standard Etihad flights. And according to some of the threads (here and here) on Flyertalk, that’s a bad thing. Reader GGL Flyer summarized the comparison by saying:
1. Aircraft with very tired interiors
2. Predominantly 9W crew whom seemed quite aloof and disinterested
3. Very poor meal quality – even the onboard chef said he was ashamed as the galley was not configured to cope with the usual EY service
As far as I can tell, the “Jetihad” moniker has really evolved to carry a negative connotation. Don’t get me wrong, I am not actively going out of my way to fly Jetihad over Etihad, it’s just the most convenient routing in accordance with rule #2 for how I return home from trips.
So you may be wondering why in the world I’m excited about Jetihad – here’s my rationale:
- Seat: I flew the Jet Airways cabin on a Thai Airways flight in 2013, and while I haven’t been able to confirm, I’m assuming that my upcoming flight will feature the same seat. Sure, this isn’t the most state-of-the-art First Class product out there, but the seat turns into a flat bed and there’s a huge TV loaded with a great selection of IFE. So to me, this isn’t a huge deal.
- Service: I’m probably at the lowest end of the spectrum in terms of being a demanding passenger. On my Singapore Suites flight earlier this year for example, other than the two meal services, I don’t recall interacting with the flight attendants more than 1-2 times. So as long as the flight attendants deliver food and drink to me in a timely manner, they can be as “aloof and disinterested” as they’d like.
- Food: Now, this is where I’m really getting excited. In general, I’ve found the food on Emirates to be among the worst I’ve had, and in some cases borderline inedible. Maybe I was unlucky or maybe the food just didn’t sit well with my palette (for the record my palette is very easily pleased, and I really like Middle Eastern food in general). What really puzzles me, is how others seem to rave about their food. Now, I know that we are talking about Etihad and not Emirates here, but I’m inferring that perhaps there is just some disconnect about how the general public views that style of food versus how I see it. And perhaps the opposite is true about the Indian-heavy menu found on Jetihad. On a German message board, one of the readers provided a copy of the “All Day Dining” and “A la Carte” menus. Indian food is among my favorite, and reading that menu left me salivating. Of course the quality of the actual food remains to be seen, but nonetheless this is the most excited I’ve felt about an upcoming airplane meal in a long time.
I’m interested in hearing from those of you that have flown Jetihad, and especially those that have also tried Etihad. How was your flight and what’s how did it compare to the standard Etihad product?