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Sports in the Skies

The days of disembarking from a long-haul flight and wondering what’s going on in the world—or desperately trying to find out who won the game/race/match/tournament—may be coming to an end. If Etihad Airways has anything to say about it, no longer will being stuck on a flight mean that passengers have to be out of touch with what’s happening on the ground.

Etihad is set to transform in-flight entertainment options for travelers. The airline announced this week that it was introducing eight live television channels that will broadcast live news and sports to keep news addicts and sports fans in touch with the rest of the world.

Half of the channels will be introduced at the beginning of November, including: BBC World News, BBC Arabic, Euronews and Sport 24. Later in the month, CNBC, Japan’s NHK World Premium and CNN will come onboard; and Sky News Arabia will follow in the coming months.

All eight news and sport channels will be available on 21 Etihad Airways widebody aircraft, which will increase to 37 widebody aircraft by the end of 2014.

“In-flight entertainment is a key part of the guest travel experience,” said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, “and the introduction of the eight live channels will be a fantastic addition to Etihad Airways’ flights.”

All passengers will probably applaud the opportunity to stay abreast of world news, but sports fans are no doubt cheering wildly about Etihad’s latest amenity.

If you’re a Formula 1 racing fan, in particular, being on an Etihad flight will mean that you won’t miss the final three races of the Formula 1 season this year: the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to be held Sunday, November 3, at Yas Marina Circuit; the U.S. Grand Prix, on Sunday, November 17; and the Brazil Grand Prix, occurring on Sunday, November 24.

“We are delighted to broadcast this weekend’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on many of our aircraft,” added Baumgartner, “ensuring that passengers who are flying on race day won’t miss any of the action from Yas Marina Circuit.”

In addition to following Formula 1, passengers can also watch a wealth of live top sporting action this November—including the ATP World Tour Finals, the English Premier League matches; the German Bundesliga games; and Euroleague Basketball.

Coming up in 2014, the major sports coverage will continue, as Etihad passengers will be able to view the Australian, French and U.S. Open tennis championships; the Winter Olympics; the Masters Golf Tournament from Augusta; the Ryder Cup golf championship; and the FIFA World Cup from Brazil.

Let the games—and the races, matches and tournaments—begin!

Shan Willis
Premier Traveler

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