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Etihad announced it’s eliminating a beloved perk flyers have gotten accustomed to when traveling in the carrier’s premium classes: the chauffeur service. Effective July 3, 2017, Etihad will no longer offer this complimentary service for its premium passengers in all of its markets with the exception of destinations within the UAE. As a replacement, passengers will be able to buy the chauffeur service at specially negotiated rates in cities other than Abu Dhabi.

If you’ve already booked a first or business-class ticket with Etihad (or are planning to within the next few days) and were/are looking forward to the chauffeur service, Etihad is still honoring the perk for tickets issued prior to July 3, 2017. In addition, the carrier is making the option to pay for the service available to all passengers, regardless of class of service. For a price, even economy passengers can get a taste of the luxury Etihad is known to provide. There’s no word on exact pricing, but it’ll likely differ based on the city.

The business seat is large and comfy.
Business class on board Etihad’s A380.

Etihad’s reasoning behind the change somewhat puts the blame on the passenger, noting that there isn’t enough demand for the chauffeur service. “Many customers prefer to make their own ground transportation arrangements,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, executive vice president commercial for Etihad. “The decision by Etihad Airways to change its offering has been taken to provide increased choice and to ensure fares remain as low and as competitive as possible, while retaining best-in-class service for all guests, in all cabins.”

On the positive side, if you choose to buy the chauffeur service, you’ll earn Etihad miles for your purchase. And don’t worry if you want to fly on The Residence — the service will continued to be offered at all Etihad A380 destinations (Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, Sydney and New York). Check out the video of TPG flying The Residence with chauffeur service in the video below:

H/T: Live from a Lounge

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