When you're picking the best international airline, how can you be certain you're getting the best possible experience? Long flights can be uncomfortable, stifling experiences. Whether you're traveling alone for business or vacationing with your family, you want to have the easiest journey you can.
Qatar Airways and Emirates are two Middle Eastern airways that are both famous for the quality of their service. I've taken a look at typical flight experiences in terms of food, drink, entertainment, and overall comfort to help you choose the option that's best for you.
Overview of Qatar Airways and Emirates
Unique Qatar Airways Features
Unique Emirates Features
Food and Drink
Qatar Airways has a free selection of many different sodas, juices, coffee, tea, wine, and beer. For people in economy seating, there are always at least two white and two red wine choices.
For long flights, there are two meals included. One is served midway through the flight, and the other is served just before landing. The most noteworthy aspect of Qatar's meals is that there are options for nearly any dietary restriction. Some of the meal options include:
There are also meals provided for both children and babies. The youngest passengers may be given pre-packaged snack foods. For older kids, the airline serves simple dishes like pasta, chicken, and pancakes.
On Emirates flights, you can get all the same drink options included with the competition, plus free cocktails. Champagne and cake can be bought.
The Emirates food menu varies wildly depending on the departure point and destination of the flight. Meals are created to reflect local cultural options, with each choice including regional spices and flavors.
When flying in the Middle East, you can expect Arabic spices. When flying from Europe to Australia, you might find sausages mixed with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
In addition, the airline serves meals for children and babies on brightly colored trays. Young flyers can also eat packaged snacks.
Winner: Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is the best option for food and drink due to the many different meal options. If you have any dietary concerns or restrictions, you're likely to find a nutritionally balanced meal to meet your needs. For those who don't mind restricted options and want to experience local flavor, though, you may prefer the Emirates style of dining.
Qatar Airways has a fairly comprehensive entertainment system called Oryx. The system features entertainment options for people of all ages. There are Hollywood movies, television shows, streamed music, and available games.
Oryx has a feature called Oryx One Communications. When you hook your mobile phone up to this, you can continue using your phone to keep in touch with people. On most other flights, there's not an option to keep your cellular capabilities active.
The majority of Qatar Airlines flights will let you access Wi-Fi for an additional fee. However, not all of them come with this capability.
The Emirates entertainment system is an award-winning piece of technology that's been voted best-in-class for thirteen straight years. It's by far the most extensive option of any industry competitor on the market.
The system comes with 3,500 channels that include:
In addition, the majority of economy seats are equipped with easily-reached power outlets. That makes this airline an attractive option for those who want to work from a laptop or tablet and have a chance to plug in their chargers.
The first 20 MB of Wi-Fi data through Emirates is free for the first two hours after you log in. You can use up to 500 MB of data per flight for an additional fee.
Both of the airlines have entertainment systems equipped to keep you busy on long flights. But Emirates comes with a staggering number of options, including live television, radio, and podcasts. You also tend to have better Wi-Fi access, since not all Qatar Airways planes are equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities.
Comfort and Service
Qatar Airways has received multiple awards for its service and hospitality.
The First Class cabins have more space than nearly any competitor on the market. The luxurious seats feel more like recliners than airline seats. In Business Class, there's spacious comfort and multiple available options for conducting your affairs.
Economy Class has wide and spacious seating as well.
Some airplanes are equipped with Qsuite. This is an innovative style of seating that includes forward-facing seats that allow different business partners to work in the same cubicle.
Emirates also provides fairly spacious and comfortable seats that are contoured to fit your needs. The airline also staffs a multi-lingual crew made up of more than ninety different nationalities.
If you fly First Class or Business Class, some of the conveniences include the following:
Your entertainment screens in flight will also be larger than those in economy.
Winner: Qatar Airways
Both airlines offer excellent service options. Qatar Airways pulls ahead because of the spacious seating in all classes, the multiple service awards, and the consistent attention to quality. They also have innovative seating options that you won't find with other services.
Pros and Cons of Qatar Airways
Pros and Cons of Emirates
Final Thoughts: Which is Better?
It's hard to find any major drawbacks with either of these international airlines. Both of them provide some of the highest-quality comfort, service, and entertainment in the industry. If you're settling in for a long international flight, you'll appreciate the amenities in either option.
For unparalleled service at an affordable price, Qatar Airways is the best available choice. The airline's customer service team has won multiple awards for several consecutive years. In addition, this is the best choice for anyone with dietary restrictions, since meals are catered to nearly any dietary need.
Emirates, on the other hand, pulls ahead in terms of entertainment. There are more free alcohol options available. The entertainment system has more than 3,500 channels, and you even get free access to Wi-Fi for your first 20 MB of data. For those who need something to keep from getting bored on flights, Emirates will keep you occupied for hours.