Introduction: Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Economy Class Showdown

Filed Under: Emirates, Etihad

Introduction: Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Economy Class Showdown
Review: Zurich Airport Observation Deck
Review: Emirates A380 And 777-300ER Economy Class Zurich To Dubai To Delhi
The Delhi Airport Ground Experience
Review: Air India 747-400 First Class Delhi To Chennai
Review: Jet Airways 737-800 Economy Class Chennai To Mumbai
Review: Qatar Airways 777-300ER Economy Class Mumbai To Doha To Beirut
Transiting Beirut Airport On Separate Tickets
Review: Etihad Airways 787-9 And A320 Economy Class Beirut To Abu Dhabi To Muscat
Review: Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport
Emirates Vs. Etihad Vs. Qatar – Who Has The Best Economy Class?

With the amount of premium travel we discuss here, it’s easy to forget that most of the world flies economy. An impressive number of these flyers are either on Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar. Before I headed off to college, I decided to answer a question I’d been pondering for a long time: which of the ME3 has the best economy class?

I saw a lot of interesting comments on my previous post about this, so I feel I need to explain my logic. While the fairest review would have obviously been to fly from Heathrow to each airlines’ respective hub on their A380s, that wouldn’t make for the fairest comparison.

We tend to forget that Emirates is the only one with more than ten A380s in their fleet. The vast majority of long-haul aircraft in Qatar and Etihad’s fleets are A330s, 777s, and 787s. While it’s likely you’ll fly an Emirates A380 when connecting through Dubai, it’s far less likely you’ll be onboard the superjumbo with the other two airlines. Instead, your average experience would be a Qatar 777 or an Etihad 787, not their A380s.

Granted, we all know the A380 is a superior aircraft in almost all categories. Yes, this does mean that Emirates gets an unfair advantage, but that’s what makes this a realistic measure of the average passenger’s experience.

I planned this trip around an Avios booking from Doha to Beirut with Qatar. Then I just had to piece together an itinerary that gave me enough time to try their various products without risking missed connections.


Emirates Economy from Zurich to New Delhi via Dubai on the A380 and 777-300ER.

Price: CHF400

Air India First Class from New Delhi to Chennai on their 747-400

Price: $245

Jet Airways Economy Chennai to Mumbai on their 737-800

Price: 8500 INR

Qatar Airways Economy Mumbai to Salalah via Doha on their 777-300ER. Connecting to Salalah halved the ticket price. While we don’t generally recommend hidden city ticketing, I booked a 25-hour connection to make it as discreet as possible and had a backup plan just in case.

Price: $360

Qatar Airways Economy Doha to Beirut on their A330-300 (equipment change last minute to 777-300ER)

Price: 4,500 Avios + $40

Etihad Airways Economy Beirut to Muscat via Abu Dhabi on their 787-9 and A320

Price: 7300 Etihad Guest miles + $320


I only had one night in a hotel during the entire week, which was complete insanity on my part. For my night in Abu Dhabi, I stayed at the Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Airport.

Price: 244 AED

I can’t wait to share these reviews with you over the coming week!

  1. I clicked on this post hopeful that lucky finally would review a long haul economy product. Darn. Probably too busy at the next Aman.

    I would pay money for a long haul economy trip review from lucky, knowing how much he’d dread it :).

  2. Very good Danny boy. Some people may give you a hard time because you are luckys favorite blogger. That means they are just jealous.

    I want to at least 5 articles from you every week.

  3. You surely paid a lot for MAA-BOM at 8,500 INR on 9W . Should have been at max. 4-5k INR.
    Must have been a last minute ticketing.

  4. I wish your economy flights were more longhaul though. I used to fly EK in economy longhaul (JFK-DXB) before they partnered with Alaska and to me, my experience really depended on how full the flight was. When an Emirates A380 is sold out, the queues tend to be long from checkin to security; and the bathrooms in Economy get to be very dirty after the 7th hour.
    However, during the recession the EK A380 flights JFK-DXB were barely 50% full and it was nice to get my own row of 3 seats and a window in economy.
    Good luck!

  5. So you flew Emirates long haul (well medium but the service would be similar to long haul ZRH-DXB) and all the other flights were short haul. Not really a comparison is it.

  6. I’m impressed at the dedication. I barely want to go to India in J and you’re willing to do all these flights there in Y.

  7. WOW Im really looking forward. I love reading about luxury travel, but I normally travel in economy, so looking forward for new info and experiences. Thank you for posting, Daniel!

  8. Out of curiosity why do you not recommend hidden city ticketing?

    Obviously doesn’t work with checked bags, but otherwise . . .

  9. Did someone discard the queens in their 50s who think their catty antics will make Lucky somehow fall in love with them?

    For once, the comment chain isn’t full of OMG YOU SAID THE FLIGHT DEPARTED 9.38 BUT CLEARLY, JUDGING BY THE SUN’S SHADE, IT WAS 9.37. Bottoms from the wing.


    How refreshing, Daniel, to take up economy reviews. I like that. Can’t wait to see what the reviews will be like (and no, mr. Schlappig, that wasn’t an underhanded criticism, I don’t expect you guys to sit in coach year in, year out).

  10. Oddly enough, this is something I would do, just because I could. 🙂

    Looking forward to your reviews.

    One request – when you start writing these up, can you include flight numbers and connection times?

  11. “While the fairest review would have obviously been to fly from Heathrow to each airlines’ respective hub on their A380s, that wouldn’t make for the fairest comparison.”

    Are there different kinds of “fair”?

  12. can’t wait to read these Daniel. But having flown in India a lot, 8,500 in economy is pretty hefty. I’ve payed as low as 10,000 INR for J class travel. But I hope you get a lot of miles from that for that distance.

  13. If you multiply average by a factor of three, you will get average.
    Why, after 40 years of Melbourne-LHR, do I find cattle class more demaning on comparable airlines?
    Long haul feels longer with 12 hour hops. Service seems understaffed.
    Meals seem reduced. Seatback screens seem less fun than a movie house. Am pleased with improved air in A350-900 and 787.Her

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