Global Traveler: What led you to your position as country manager for Etihad Airways?
Josephine Boulus: I began my career in the airline industry with Northwest Airlines in reservations, then international sales training, pricing and sales. Prior to joining Etihad, I was with Emirates for over 13 years. I was the first Emirates salesperson hired in the United States and I assisted with the airline’s startup here. At Etihad, I look forward to developing and growing our presence in the American market, establishing the airline as a leading carrier for the international business traveler and building awareness of Abu Dhabi as a major hub between East and West.
GT:What benefit does Etihad offer travelers doing business in the Middle East, Asia and India?
JB: We offer connections in Abu Dhabi within three hours transit time to India and Pakistan. We have excellent connections to points in the Middle East and the Gulf region, and under-90- minute connections to Bangkok, Sydney, Brisbane and Singapore. We also offer a convenient Dubai check-in facility and complimentary chauffeur service for Diamond First and Pearl Business guests to and from JFK, and in Abu Dhabi between the airport and anywhere in the U.A.E. For Coral Economy guests, we offer complimentary motorcoach service.
GT: As air service to the Gulf increases, how does Etihad stand out from the competition?
JB: Our goal is to breathe new life into the world of airline transportation and to make airline travel more pleasant and relaxing. The traveler must not simply be transported from one point to another, but must take away a pleasurable, unforgettable experience. Because we recognize travel is an individual experience, our customers are treated as guests and not merely passengers.
Etihad has redefined the standards of hospitality and service in our region. That’s why, at the 2007 World Travel Awards, we were named the Middle East’s Leading Airline, the Middle East’s Leading First Class Airline and the Middle East’s Leading Airline Web site.
GT: Etihad service includes the Diamond, Pearl and Coral classes. Please explain those designations.
JB: Our Diamond First, Pearl Business and Coral Economy classes all offer exclusive services to make our guests feel welcome and completely at home. All classes offer generous seats and legroom, unparalleled service and Etihad’s succulent “world classic” cuisine. In addition, Diamond First seats rotate 180 degrees so passengers can converse, hold meetings or dine together, and Diamond First suites are fitted with privacy shells and six-way movement headrests with built-in massage. Diamond First seats recline to a 6-foot-8-inch flat bed and include a 23-inch LCD video screen. Pearl Business has 28 seats allowing for a very spacious cabin. The seat transforms into a 6-foot-1-inch flat bed and contains a 15-inch personal LCD video screen. Each seat has direct access to the aisle, allowing guests to move freely around the aircraft without disturbing other guests. Coral Economy has 200 seats that recline 30 degrees with a seat pitch between 31 and 32 inches, and a 10.4-inch LCD monitor. Every seat is only one seat away from the aisle.
GT:What’s next on your agenda?
JB: Right now, we’re preparing to open a new office at 600 Fifth Ave. in New York’s Rockefeller Center.
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