In July, I had the opportunity to use Etihad’s Chauffeur service. Etihad’s Chauffeur service provides business and first class customers with car service at both the departure and arrival points of their trip. In order to use the service, you need to book it at least 24 hours before your scheduled flight. Booking can be made either online or by calling Etihad customer service.
The best use of the Etihad Chauffeur service is within the United Arab Emirates. Etihad has no distance restrictions for customers inside the UAE. Outside the UAE, customers are generally restricted within a range of 50km to 70km of distance, both to and from the airport. The limits vary slightly by country. I’ve included the current distance limits by country at the bottom of the page.
The service is available under the following conditions:
- Anyone holding confirmed tickets in first and business class.
- Etihad guest members redeeming miles for first or business class tickets.
- Flights must be operated by Etihad.
- Discounted business class tickets.
- Flights operated by an Etihad partner airline (Air Berlin, etc.).
- Airport upgrades or day of departure purchases.
- Airport layovers or transfers.
- Wait listed tickets.
- Complimentary tickets / upgrades.
August 2016 Change
The major change in the service relates to tickets for business and first class purchased with miles from a partner airline. When I traveled to Sydney on Etihad’s First Apartments, I booked those tickets with American Airline miles. When I booked Etihad first class, I was still eligible to use the Etihad Chauffeur service. Unfortunately, Etihad changed their policy to make business and first class flights booked with American Airline miles ineligible for the chauffeur service.
How to Book
The flight I booked on Etihad business class from Dusseldorf to Abu Dhabi would still be eligible for the chauffeur service because I booked that with Etihad miles. I obtained the Etihad miles from American Express membership rewards points when they were offering a 15% transfer bonus to Etihad.
During my trip to Sydney, I was eligible for the Etihad Chauffeur service during the following legs of the trip:
- Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf to the Dusseldorf Airport.
- Abu Dhabi Airport to the Hyatt Capital Gate.
- Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi to the Abu Dhabi Airport.
- Sydney airport to the Park Hyatt Sydney.
I was picked up in a fancy black car similar to Uber’s black car service. Etihad contracts with a third party provider in each city to provide the chauffeur service. After booking the service, Etihad sends an email confirming the dates, time, and location you will be picked up by the chauffeur.
I found the service to be excellent. In each city I visited, the driver was early and in the exact location indicated in Etihad’s email. The driver also called me approx. 15 to 20 minutes prior to the expected arrival time to confirm the trip. When I was picked up at the airport in Abu Dhabi and in Sydney, a driver was already at the airport before my arrival with a clear sign posted.
Etihad’s service is especially convenient when traveling internationally, particularly when you may be uncertain whether a local taxi would accept a credit card payment. Overall each driver acted courteously, professionally, and arrived punctually. Etihad coordinated the entire process seamlessly. In fact, the desk agent at the Etihad Arrivals lounge in Abu Dhabi actually took the extra step of booking the Chauffeur service for the last two legs of my trip.
As an additional reference, I’ve included the distance limits for Etihad’s Chauffeur service by country. If you happen to exceed the distances in one of these cities, the customer is required to pay for the excess mileage directly with the chauffeur driver. Note: the distances represent the combined total of a pickup and drop-off from a single flight.
- Sydney – 50km
- Brisbane – 60km
- Melbourne – 80km
- Perth – 45km
- Brussels – 60km
- Sao Paulo – 60km
- Toronto – 50km
Beijing – 50km
Paris – 100km
- Frankfurt – 40km
- Munich – 40km
- Dusseldorf – 60km
- Delhi – 50km
- Mumbai – 50km
- Bangalore – 60km
- Hyderabad – 70km
- Chennai – 50km
- Dublin – 50km
- Milan – 100km
- Rome – 40km
- Amsterdam – 65km
- Moscow – limited to within Moscow Ring Road
- Singapore – limited to Singapore City and Sentosa Island
- Johannesburg – 100km
- Madrid – 40km
- Geneva – 60km
- Zurich – 80km
- Bangkok – 60km
- Edinburgh – 70km
- London – 100km
- Manchester – 100km
- New York – 60km
- Chicago – 70km
- Washington DC – 60km
- Los Angeles – 60km
- Dallas – 70km
- San Francisco – 60km