I was ready to embark on my long, tiring, 14-hour journey to U.S.A. I was hoping to have the same level of service I experienced in the first leg of the journey. But lo and behold! All I have is complaints. So, brace yourself for the review.
I will get straight to the good & bad!
- They have upgraded their pillows, which now can be worn around the neck like travel pillows.
- The blankets are bigger and keep you nice and warm. The colors are now a bright turquoise for economy class.
- They have upgraded the travel pouches that you receive in long haul. So instead of a zipper now they have a little pouch with strings. The eye cover has been changed to two sides; green and red. The green signifies ‘Wake me up to eat’ and the other is ‘Do not disturb’. Although I liked the zipper pouches better, the eye cover is a smart upgrade.
- The two meals they provide taste relatively better. One time, I got Lentils and rice and the second meal I received was chicken with mash potatoes. Both tasted decent.
- They take off on time and reach destinations on time.
The new neck pillow and the blanket
The second ‘proper’ meal
Bad, bad, bad!:
- My seat was broken, and didn’t recline throughout the 14-hour journey. When I asked the crewmember all she said was “Sorry there is nothing we can do, a lot of the seats have the same problem.” Well great, so much for just a 7 year ‘new’ plane. My spine feels like I picked up heavy rocks and is completely stiff even now, after a 12-hour sleep at home. Not cool, that I had to manage to sit & sleep upright for 14 hours, while my neighbors reclined and enjoyed a sound sleep. Arghh and curses! I paid the same amount they did – did I not? The least the airline can do is repair their seats. It can’t be that hard or pricey to do.
- They gave only two main meals in the entire flight, that too, one was a light meal and one was a full meal, along with some snacks in the middle. Even though, I had the green side of eye cover out which denotes ‘wake me up to eat’, I was not woken up for any of the snacks or sandwiches. I almost missed the first ‘light’ meal, because the crew never bothered to wake me up. That is just NOT COOL. In a 14-hour flight, where you hardly serve enough to eat, the crew tops that by not waking people up, especially when they WANT to be woken up. Its just not cool! So I didn’t get to eat any sandwiches, hated the caramel popcorn and remained hungry for several hours.
- They should just remove the flight attendant call button. I pressed the button and the light was on for 3 hours. I’m not joking! Not a single crewmember came to ask me what I wanted. NOT A SINGLE SOUL! I was at the window seat and was thirsty, and had to stay thirsty, till we encountered some turbulence, and the crew scurried along to check seat belts. That is when I requested water! So I couldn’t dose off in the meanwhile in case they came and went. I even tried pressing the attendant light on and off to beacon signal the crew but just no luck. I would have gone ahead and walked to the catering area if I was not sitting on a window seat. The service level here was pretty pathetic. The next time water came I took two glasses, just in case!
- The menu said there would be a choice between Chicken Biryani, Lamb Kebabs and a Vegetarian meal. We had a choice, but it was not Chicken Biryani. It was something with chicken and mash potatoes. It did taste decent.
- I missed most of the snacks, but the one I did get, the caramel popcorn, was plain horrible. The sliced fresh apple ended up making me even hungrier.
Overall, it was a really bad experience with the long haul. Surprising that they get all these awards for their service and make tall promises but cannot provide basic customer service. I still can’t get over the seat. Doesn’t this plane undergo routine maintenance?
Final leg of the journey: Chicago to Cincinnati, Ohio
Chicago has become a better airport. It now has many food chains and it’s fairly easy to get through places. The Subway sandwich, I had after the long flight was pretty delicious.
The Subway Sandwich – Yum!
The American Airlines staff and crew are always helpful. The flight was on time, and the take off and landing was very smooth. In fact I was greeted pleasantly with rain and you know how we all love the rain!
Landing in American Airline – A view of Cincinnati
Raindrops on the airplane window
Finally I reached home, after almost 32 hours of travel. Overall a very long and tiring journey and a disappointment as Etihad Airways failed to meet basic expectations.
If someone at Etihad is reading; fix your damn seats so that at least on the return flight I don’t break my back!