Qantas Versus Emirates: Who Has The Best A380?

Presuming the Qantas-Emirates alliance is approved, from April next year you’ll have a choice of 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai on an A380. Given that there will be points equivalence and lounge access, how will you choose between the two? Scheduling aside, the biggest difference will be how the planes are rigged out, so let’s see what is currently on offer.

Picture by Sergio Dionisi & Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“With reciprocal rights on FF miles why would you fly Qantas?” one Lifehacker commenter remarked on hearing this morning’s news about the Qantas/Emirates partnership. Sometimes, the answer is simple: you’ll only be able to get seats on one of the airlines, your schedule will dictate a particular airline, or the pricing will be better with one than the other. (I’m assuming ticket costs will be broadly similar a lot of the time given the partnership, but during Qantas’ long and now expired partnership with BA, there were regularly times where the BA flights were notably cheaper.)

Assuming that none of these factors apply and you don’t have a “Qantas at all costs/Emirates at all costs” mentality, the most obvious point of distinction is in what the planes have on offer. Both offer on-demand entertainment and at-seat power. Let’s compare the basics: how many seats you get in each class. (We’ve included seat measurements in inches because those figures are much more widely used in aviation.)

Airline Class # of seats Seat pitch Seat width
Qantas First 14 83.5″ 29″
Qantas Business 72 80.0″ 21.5″
Qantas Premium 32 38.0″ 19.5″
Qantas Economy 332 31.0″ 18.1″
Emirates First 14 86.0″ 23.0″
Emirates Business 76 48.0″ 18.5″
Emirates Economy 427 32.0″ 18.0″

If you want premium economy, Qantas is the only choice. Its business class seats are more generous in terms of seat space and more consistent; Emirates business seats vary in size depending which individual seat you get. In economy, Emirates offers a slightly bigger pitch (and hence more leg room), while Qantas has marginally more width.

Again, you won’t always have a choice, we don’t have pricing details yet, and many people have a firm preference for an airline that will often override these considerations. Share the factors that influence your decision in the comments.

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