Qantas Versus Emirates: Who Has The Best A380?

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.


        • when did Virgin Crash, or Jet Star or any number of other airlines. I guess parking a 747 on a golf course doesn’t count as a crash? Get your facts up to date.

      • it’s actually an airline without a crash of a jer powered aircraft. Back when aircraft only used propellers, Qantas actually did have a few crashes, but they were due to WWII

          • Get your facts right. It’s an airline without a hull loss. However it has merged several times with companies that have had hull losses and killed people. It’s also an old statistic that is far from being relevant any more.

        • The Qantas crashes were not only “due to WWII”. They had a few (fatal and non-fatal) crashes before and during WWII that had nothing to do with the war. Qantas has not had a fatal crash or had an aircraft damaged beyond repair since the jet age began. That applies to both jets and propellers.

      • would u fly on an airline with a flawless record with one crash… or an airline that has never crashed but planes catch on fire, kinda explode and need repairs weekly??…. based on that….

          • Why on earth would you fly Quantas over SQ or Emirates though? The fares are practically the same and you get MUCH better quality of service from a cabin crew that does not consist of old hags.

          • I would fly Qantas any day over Emirates. I flew to Dubai on their A340. The seat was so uncomfortable (hard) and there was no crossover access to the second isle (meaning any exercise had to be back and forth the same passenger cramed isle). Moreover, the service was lousy.

          • Your comment makes me think you are a rude ageist knob.
            You value ” prettiness” over experience, good luck in an emergency .

            And it’s Qantas.

    • Since Qantas have outsourced their engineering for many years now, you can see by their increase in maintenance related incidents, that it’s “Pure Luck” that they hav’nt had one come down yet!
      How would I know I was a Qantas AME in Engineering for 20 years when we used to do things right!

    • If you knew the budget, volume of meals and the process for providing food to an aircraft i doubt you would be so negative. I am always very impressed with the quality of food airlines are able to provide.

    • Inedible muck? Really? Are you one of those Master Chef judges? Either way I think you need re-calibration. Its never what you get at home, but its far from inedible.

      And as far as the safety debate goes, no matter which carrier you use, by far the most risky phase of any flight is the drive to the airport.

      I just hope Emirates dont lower their service standards to those of QANTAS, which is generally appalling .

  • Emirates win this easily. Aside from the general service, speed of check in and catering, it’s always nice to see cabin staff who want to be there rather than having to. And on a 380, Emirates are the best by far over both Qantas and Singapore.

    • You obviously haven’t flown an A380 before. I’ve boarded multiple Boeing aircraft in over the years, and no Boeing flight, whether it be a 777 or 747-400, is as smooth during takeoff, landing and flight as an A380. On top of that, the A380 has a significantly higher capacity than the equivalent 747-8. Airbus pretty much trump Boeing in the commercial sector, these days.

      • Qantas have actually just recently cancelled their order of about a dozen new A380s, due to ongoing issues that have been discovered with the aircraft and very high maintenance costs incurred due to these issues. You’ll find that Qantas’ fleet of current A380s will not get very much larger

  • “We’ve included seat measurements in inches because those figures are much more widely used in aviation.”

    who gives a shit, we live and breathe metric – so use that.

  • @David……. hmmmmmmm…. where are the Emirates A380s maintained??? Offshore………

    Pity about the female flight attendant uniforms needing that ridiculous hat and scarf….

  • @Jayrrr…….. I am thinking that you are putting the blame for the engine failure on the Qantas… so wrong… The issue was with the Rolls Royce engine…. 5 Qantas pilots managed to save everyones lives….. heroes!!!

  • Never judge an airline just by its in-flight service! Be warned!! I remember an Emirates Airbus smashing through the localiser antenna array at Melbourne in 2009?

  • Still has a minimum 51% Australian ownership ( by legislation ) therefore it is Australia’s national carrier.

    The Aboriginal motifs on uniform and planes are an expression of a side of Australia that many visitors are very interested in, the art is yet another reason to take a long trip ” Down Under ” a joyous celebration of a beautiful, unique art.

    I see the Emirates veil as a female suppression statement, guess it might be fine if their male flight attendants had to wear it as well …….

  • Alan Joyce is a vile little toad who has turned Quantas into a a shabby, pathetic shadow of what it once was. They’re now considered the bogan option. It’s pretty telling that you get far better service on Quantas’s cheaper budget option Jetsar than you do on the mother airline.

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