Difference Wiki

Etihad Airways vs. Air India: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 6, 2024
Etihad Airways is the national airline of the UAE, focusing on luxury services; Air India is India's flag carrier, known for extensive domestic and international routes.

Key Differences

Etihad Airways and Air India are both flag carriers, representing the United Arab Emirates and India, respectively. Etihad, established in 2003, has quickly grown to become a symbol of luxury and innovation in the aviation industry, emphasizing comfort, high-quality service, and a modern fleet. Its headquarters in Abu Dhabi positions the airline as a key player in international travel, connecting the East and West. In contrast, Air India, founded in 1932, carries a rich history as one of the oldest airlines in the world. It has played a pivotal role in connecting India with the rest of the world, offering extensive domestic routes alongside international flights. Known for its Maharaja mascot, Air India embodies the traditional Indian hospitality, providing a unique experience that reflects the country's culture and heritage.
Etihad Airways invests heavily in state-of-the-art aircraft, luxurious amenities, and premium cabins, including The Residence—a three-room suite on select A380 flights—Air India focuses on delivering reliable service and connecting underserved markets, making international travel accessible to a broader audience. Air India, under the ownership of Tata Sons since 2021, is undergoing a transformation aimed at revitalizing its fleet, enhancing customer service, and improving operational efficiency. This shift indicates a move towards modernization, yet the airline remains committed to its mission of serving as India's ambassador to the world, showcasing the country's diverse culture and warm hospitality.
The differences between Etihad Airways and Air India extend beyond their fleets and service offerings; they represent the distinct identities and aspirations of their home countries. Etihad portrays the ambitious, forward-looking spirit of the UAE, while Air India reflects India's rich history, diverse culture, and its journey towards modernity and growth in the global aviation sector.

Comparison Chart


Abu Dhabi, UAE
New Delhi, India




Government of Abu Dhabi
Tata Sons (as of 2021)


Luxury services, innovation
Extensive routes, cultural heritage

Notable Features

The Residence, modern fleet
Maharaja mascot, widespread domestic routes

Etihad Airways and Air India Definitions

Etihad Airways

UAE's flag carrier focusing on luxury air travel.
Etihad Airways offers a luxury suite known as The Residence.

Air India

Underwent modernization after Tata Sons' acquisition.
Air India is revamping its fleet and services for a better customer experience.

Etihad Airways

Offers global connectivity from its Abu Dhabi hub.
Etihad Airways connects passengers to over 80 destinations worldwide.

Air India

Features extensive domestic and international routes.
Air India serves as a vital link between India's cities and the globe.

Etihad Airways

Emphasizes innovation in the aviation industry.
Etihad Airways has introduced sustainable fuel initiatives.

Air India

India's oldest and largest international airline.
Air India has been connecting India with the world since 1932.

Etihad Airways

Reflects the ambition and luxury of the UAE.
Etihad Airways is a symbol of the UAE's luxury and innovation in aviation.

Air India

Symbolizes traditional Indian hospitality.
Air India's service reflects India's warm and welcoming culture.

Etihad Airways

Known for its modern fleet and premium services.
Etihad Airways continuously updates its fleet with the latest aircraft models.

Air India

Represents India's heritage and diversity.
Air India showcases the diverse cultures of India through its services.


What makes Etihad Airways unique?

Its focus on luxury, innovation, and a modern fleet sets it apart.

Can I fly direct from the US to India with Etihad?

Etihad offers routes from the US to Abu Dhabi with connections to India.

What are the premium cabin options on Air India?

Air India offers First, Business, and Economy classes.

Are there direct flights from India to the UAE with Air India?

Yes, Air India operates several direct flights to the UAE.

What is the Maharaja mascot?

It's Air India's iconic symbol representing its service and hospitality.

Does Etihad offer flights to Europe?

Yes, Etihad serves numerous destinations across Europe.

How does Air India support domestic travel within India?

By offering an extensive network of flights connecting major and minor cities.

How does Air India represent Indian culture?

Through its service, branding, and role as India's flag carrier.

Does Etihad participate in any sustainability programs?

Yes, Etihad is involved in several sustainability and environmental initiatives.

How has Tata Sons' acquisition affected Air India?

It's expected to lead to significant improvements in service and fleet modernization.

What is the baggage allowance on Etihad flights?

It varies by class and destination but is generally generous.

What is The Residence on Etihad Airways?

A luxurious three-room suite available on select A380 aircraft.

Is Air India part of any airline alliance?

Yes, Air India is a member of the Star Alliance.

What in-flight entertainment options does Etihad offer?

Etihad provides state-of-the-art entertainment systems with movies, TV shows, and games.

Can I fly to Australia with Etihad Airways?

Yes, Etihad operates flights to several cities in Australia.

What are Etihad's cabin classes?

Etihad offers Economy, Business, First Class, and The Residence.

How can I check in for my Air India flight?

Through online check-in, mobile app, or at the airport.

What makes Air India's domestic network unique?

Its wide reach, connecting even remote parts of India efficiently.

Does Air India offer any special meals?

Yes, Air India provides a variety of special meals catering to different dietary requirements.

What loyalty programs do these airlines offer?

Etihad has Etihad Guest, while Air India offers Flying Returns.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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