Once a Beacon for Premium, Etihad Now Charging for Select Snacks and Drinks in Economy

May 27, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Etihad Airways — known for over-the-top first/business class products as well as an above-average main cabin experience — continues to cut back on services offered to passengers. According to posts on frequent flyer forum, The Australian Frequent Flyer, Etihad has rolled out the airline’s buy-on-board menu on all flights. The airline first announced its intentions to introduce a buy-on-board menu back in April.

The airline’s buy-on-board menu, “Sweet or Salty,” is available via the airline’s official website. Onboard options include simple pleasures like stroopwaffles, children’s snacks including fruit puree packs, and heavier meals like lasagna.

Buy-on-board categories offered by Etihad Airways. (Image via Etihad Airways)
Buy-on-board categories offered by Etihad Airways. (Image via Etihad Airways)

Etihad Airways will also begin charging for select beverages including Starbuck’s coffee and Perrier sparkling water.

Etihad's buy-on-board menu. (Image via Etihad Airways)
Etihad’s buy-on-board menu. (Image via Etihad Airways)

Though it is not unusual for an airline to charge passengers for mid-flight snacks and drinks, Etihad had become well-known for its premium onboard experience including free snacks in between meal services. In addition to charging for mid-flight snacks, Etihad is set to remove inflight entertainment from its narrowbody aircraft and recently introduced new meals to mixed responses.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

Recent passenger reviews on Skytrax, a website offering professional and amateur reviews of the world’s airlines, indicate issues with inflight catering, service, and amenities. A passenger review from earlier this month called inflight catering “disgusting” and claimed that the airline is actively cutting back on free food and beverages to get passengers to buy additional rations. The review also noted Etihad’s practice of charging high prices for advanced seat assignments.

For the time being, Etihad Airways’ First and Business Class products remain a solid use of points and miles despite recent service cuts. However, with the airline having implemented economy class service cuts, main cabin redemptions might not be the best use of points and miles.


Featured image by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.