Etihad Airways To Launch New Flight Subscription Service

Etihad Airways has today announced a new travel solution which will enable frequent flyers to easily and flexibly book multiple flights at once. The new service called TravelPass has been announced via a press release and is a partnership with Norwegian tech company Braathens IT.

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Etihad is launching a new TravelPass service which will benefit frequent flyers. Photo: Getty Images

Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways is launching a subscription service for flights. The TravelPass technology will launch later this year and is aimed at improving and streamlining the booking process.

Once launched, TravelPass will mean that frequent fliers can purchase several trips at once. Etihad customers can also book a specific travel period instead of purchasing individual flights one at a time.

The aim of the initiative is to give passengers greater flexibility when booking and amending bookings. It will also make regular, recurring trips easier to manage and maintain.

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The benefits of using a TravelPass. Photo: TravelPass

Who is it for?

According to Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer at Etihad, the TravelPass will revolutionise the “booking experience for corporate and frequent clients who will also be enrolled into our award-winning Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme”.

He continued to clarify that “We know our corporate clients are time-poor and believe this innovative addition to our digital offering will improve the travel journey for subscribers.” The TravelPass will be available on the Etihad website later this year to ensure a “seamless transaction”. It will also allow for changes to bookings without fees and will offer a pay-later option.

The airline’s press statement says the new travel solution will be “initially aimed at corporate and frequent travellers”. This does imply that the airline is looking to expand on this technology if it is a success and may lead to a smoother booking experience for all Etihad passengers.

Aviation innovation

Etihad was keen to stress that this innovation was not only good news for flyers, but also for the aviation industry as a whole. The airline is clearly hoping that if the programme is a success, other airlines may follow suit using similar programmes. Alongside code-sharing agreements, this booking system could allow travellers to access more difficult-to-reach destinations with ease.

Etihad’s partner in this new venture is Norwegian company Braathens IT said that Etihad was an “innovative player and they will continue in that direction to improve their customers’ digital experience using TravelPass”.

Braathens IT offers technological solutions for airlines and airports around the world. Its TravelPass service has been available for several years.

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Etihad is not the first airline to offer TravelPass. Photo: Getty Images

Other options

While TravelPass will certainly make many frequent travellers’ lives easier, it’s not as innovative as it first seems. Not only has TravelPass itself been around for several years, but Etihad is not even the first airline to offer this service.

In fact, each of the three largest airline alliances offers a similar travel pass option. For example, Star Alliance offers regional air passes to different continents. This allows passengers to fly on any of Star Alliance’s airlines within a specific region at a discounted price.

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Cape Air already offers the TravelPass service. Photo: Getty Images

OneWorld offers the same opportunity and also allows multi-continent travel passes. SkyTeam offers the same. So, although no one can deny that the TravelPass feature will smooth out Etihad’s booking system, it may not be the revolutionary change it initially suggests. As the system is restricted to Etihad flights, it doesn’t allow for the same flexibility as the larger alliance options.

What do you think of Etihad’s announcement? Do you think this will make a big difference to the booking systems in the future? If this the start of a new method of managing frequent fliers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.