Guide to Etihad Economy Fare Types and Booking Classes

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As is true with any airline, the different economy fare types available on Etihad Airways offer different experiences in terms of comfort, convenience, and price. The better the seat and the service, the more the flight will cost you – but you’ll also earn more frequent flyer miles and enjoy a higher upgrade priority status.

If you’re going to thoroughly enjoy your trip, knowing exactly what you’re getting when you buy the flights is key. This simple yet comprehensive guide to Etihad’s economy service class explains the services included with each fare type, the differences between economy seating options, how to select seats, and how to determine the frequent flyer mileage earning rate for each fare type.

Are Booking Classes and Fare Class the Same Thing?

Terms like fare class, booking class, and fare type are often used interchangeably when describing airfare details and rules. In addition, service class is often confused with booking class. Etihad Airways uses only some of these terms and only in specific ways, so we’ll define those here:

On Etihad flights, the term service class refers to whether a passenger is flying in economy, business, or first class.

Etihad uses the term fare types to describe the different fares available in each service class. For Etihad economy, those are Sale fares, Value fares, Choice fares, etc., as discussed in more detail below. The different fare types are offered at different prices based on the allowances, services, and conveniences included with each.

Each Etihad fare type is governed by a different set of fare rules, which dictate things like baggage allowances, fees for date changes and seat selection, and refund eligibility. We’ll show you how to find the fare rules when booking your flight in the example below.

Within each Etihad fare type is one or more booking classes (you may also hear these referred to as fare classes). Booking classes determine upgrade, standby, check-in, and boarding priorities, as well as the number of frequent flyer miles earned for Etihad flights.

Booking classes are represented by the first letter of an alpha-numeric fare basis code, which airline staff use to prioritize passenger services. Learn more about fare basis codes and how to find the booking class for your Etihad flights in the frequent flyer miles section at the end of this guide.

What’s Included in Etihad’s Economy Class?

All fare types within Etihad’s economy service class come with free meals, snacks, and beverages – including alcohol. Short flights offer express meal service while longer flights include full meal service. Etihad economy flights also include a full-size blanket and pillow. Only Choice Plus economy fares include free seat selection; for all other fare types seat selection is available for an additional fee.

Although complimentary wi-fi isn’t available on Etihad economy flights (except for Etihad Guest Platinum members), you can get it for a fee. Etihad economy service does include pre-flight and in-flight entertainment like TV, movies, newspapers, and magazines. Much of the content is available to stream or download to your own device. Charging ports are standard; some may be USB-only depending on the aircraft.

Etihad has six economy fare types: Sale, Hand Baggage Only, Value, Choice, Choice Plus, and Guest Seat. You can also choose from three seat types: Economy Standard, Economy Space, and Economy Neighbor-Free. Here’s the skinny on what you get with each fare type and seat type:

Etihad Economy Fare Types

Sale Fares

Etihad Airways reserves its economy Sale fare type for just that – flights on sale. As you might expect, some of the cheapest Etihad flights can be found in the Sale fare type. Etihad Sale fares allow for one personal item (5 kg) and one carryon bag (7 kg); sometimes Sale fares include one or more checked bags (up to 23 kg). While date changes usually aren’t allowed with Etihad Sale fares, they may occasionally be permitted with an additional fee. Etihad Sale fares usually aren’t eligible for upgrades of any kind.

Value Fares and Hand Baggage Only Fares

Other than sale flights, the cheapest Etihad flights can be found in its Value fare type. Value fares are eligible for upgrades and date changes are allowed with a fee. One 5 kg personal item and one 7 kg carryon bag are included, and a 23 kg checked bag is occasionally included as well.

The Hand Baggage Only fare type is exactly the same as the Value fare type but never includes a checked bag.

Choice Fares

The Choice fare type offered by Etihad is more expensive than Sale or Value fares but has better terms. Choice fares include one free date change, one personal item (5 kg), and a carryon bag (7 kg). Etihad Choice fare type is eligible for upgrades and you can cancel your reservation with a fee. Choice fares may also include one or more checked bags up to 23 kg each.

Choice Plus Fares

Etihad Airways Choice Plus fares are full-fare refundable and are the most expensive economy fare type. With Choice Plus Fares, you can change dates an unlimited number of times for free. Choice Plus fares are fully refundable and seat selection is free. Passengers flying in the Choice Plus fare type get priority check-in and have higher priority for upgrades. Choice Plus fares include a 7 kg carryon bag and 5 kg personal item; one or two checked bags (23 kg) are usually included depending on the destination.

Guest Seat Fares

Etihad Airways award flights (flights purchased using loyalty program miles) are assigned to the Etihad Guest Seat fare type. The baggage allowance is one 5 kg personal item, one 7 kg carryon item, and may also include one or two checked bags up to 23 kg each.

How to Determine Etihad Fare Rules When Booking

Once you’ve identified and selected Etihad Airways flights, you should see a page like the one in the image below. As an example, we selected a Value fare from Washington, D.C. to Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Airways - View Fare Rules

Step 2. Open the fare and baggage rules

Click “Fare and baggage rules” to view the rules governing the selected fare. As shown in the image below, these rules are for an Etihad Value fare that allows date changes for a $200 fee but does not permit refunds. If you miss your flight, you can change the departure date to one in the future for $600 (even after the flight has departed). The fare includes two checked bags.

Etihad Airways - sample fare rules for Value fare class

Etihad Economy Seat Types

Once you’ve figured out which fare type is best for your flights in Etihad Airways‘ economy cabin, the next step is to choose the type of seat you’d prefer, from a standard seat to a whole row all to yourself.

Read on to learn the differences between Etihad’s Economy Standard, Economy Space, and Neighbor-Free seating.

Economy Standard Seat

Economy Standard seats are Etihad’s regular seats. That being said, they’re arguably better than business class seats on a lot of airlines, especially if you upgrade to Economy Space. If the fare type you chose doesn’t come with free seat selection during booking, you can choose to pay extra for that convenience, or you can select your seat for free once online check-in begins (up to one hour before you fly).

Economy Space Seat

If you like to stretch out a bit while you fly, try an Economy Space seat, Etihad’s version of premium economy. You’ll enjoy 5 more inches of legroom than in an Economy Standard seat. You can pay for an Economy Space seat when you book your flights, or you can upgrade later – even during check-in, if you like.

Economy Neighbor-Free Seat

The Neighbor-Free seating option in Etihad’s economy cabin allows you to keep one, two, or three adjacent seats empty to allow you to maximize space and comfort. You can only purchase Neighbor-Free seats during a period starting 72 hours before your flight and ending 4 hours before your flight.

How to Select Your Seat on Etihad Airways

To select a seat while booking on the Etihad Airways website, select the desired flights. Once you’ve entered passenger information, you’ll be able to see the seat selection screen. Choose from Economy Standard or Economy Space (gray and brown in the image below, respectively). If the fare you chose doesn’t include free seat selection, you’ll see the price to select each seat when you hover over it with the mouse, or when you tap the seat if on a mobile device.

In the example below, we selected an exit row 24 Space seat, which would cost an additional $105. In comparison, the additional cost would be $45 for a Standard seat in row 25.

To select a seat after your flights have been booked, visit Manage my booking, enter your ticket number, then locate the seat selection option.

Etihad Airways - how to select a seat

How to Select a Neighbor-Free Seat on Etihad Flights

Once your flight is booked, you can pay to have one, two, or three empty seats next to you. Visit Manage my booking from 72 hours before to 4 hours before departure and selecting the Neighbor-Free seat option.

How Many Frequent Flyer Miles Do Etihad Flights Earn?

Different economy fare types on Etihad Airways earn frequent flyer miles at different rates. In this section, we’ll show you how to find the mileage earning rate for each economy fare type and its corresponding booking class.

How to Determine Etihad Booking Class (Fare Class) for Your Flights

Fare basis codes are alphabetic (sometimes alpha-numeric) codes used, in part, by airline staff to prioritize passenger boarding, upgrade, and standby status. You can find the fare basis code on either your ticket, your itinerary, or both. Look for a line or box labeled “Fare Basis”. The first letter in the fare basis code indicates the booking class.

Etihad Guest Mileage Earning Rates by Fare Type / Booking Class

  • Etihad Airways flights earn frequent flyer miles at the following rates:
    • Economy Sale fares (booking class T) earn 25% of actual miles flown.
    • Value fares (booking classes L, U, V, and E) earn 50% of actual miles flown.
    • Choice fares (booking class Q, M, K, and H) earn 75% of actual miles flown.
    • Choice Plus fares (booking classes B and Y) earn 100% of actual miles flown.
    • Etihad Guest Seat booking classes earn 10% of the total fare in miles.
    • Booking classes N, I, O, S & X do not accrue frequent flyer miles.

If you need more Etihad Guest miles, you can always buy or boost them.

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