Etihad boutique

Retail inMotion will develop and manage Etihad’s Boutique duty-free program. Image via Etihad Airways

APEX Insight: Rather than following the British Airways’ model and phasing out complimentary in-flight catering in favor of buy-on-board services (only on short-haul flights so far), Etihad is moving towards a hybrid model which it says will enable passengers to further personalize their travel journey.

In a new partnership, Retail inMotion is to provide Etihad Airways with advanced onboard retail solutions for a new range of catering, beverage and amenity items, available for purchase alongside the airline’s complimentary in-flight service.

Additionally, Retail inMotion will develop and manage Etihad’s Boutique duty-free program, providing the carrier with retail services including range development, category management, crew training and catalog design.

In terms of technology, Etihad will implement Vector, Retail inMotion’s proprietary onboard retail management software, to capture and process onboard payments and run data analytics to ensure optimized products and services for passengers. The company will provide the carrier with guidance on how best to use their products.

Etihad became the first of the ‘big three’ Middle East carriers to introduce buy-on board options to passengers towards the end of last year. Products included coffee and champagne as well as Christian LaCroix branded sleepwear, which is offered in first class at no charge. This was in addition to other previous enhancements, such as the ability to pay for lounge access, chauffeur transfers, neighbor-free seats and extra-legroom seats.

“By working with industry experts Retail inMotion, we will now be able to push the boundaries of personalization even further.” – Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways

Linda Celestino, Etihad Airways’ VP of Guest Experience and Delivery, said: “By working with industry experts Retail inMotion, we will now be able to push the boundaries of personalization even further by evolving our proposition to not only include our acclaimed complimentary full-service model, but to provide wider choice and allowing guests to truly customize their journey with us.”

This latest announcement builds on a previous agreement signed by Etihad and Retail inMotion’s parent company, LSG Group, in February 2017 to form a strategic cooperation across various aspects of catering and in-flight services.