Etihad Airways vs Qatar Airways vs Emirates

These Gulf state airlines operate hundreds of flights to many destinations throughout the world. They have built reputations for combining excellent service with stylish cabin decor. But which airline offers the best in-flight experience?



Economy class


Choosing an Economy Class seat with any of these airlines provides a similar level of comfort. There are usually rows of up to nine seats in a cabin that’s densely packed. There’s very little difference in the seat width. An Emirates seat is just 44.5 cm (17.5 inches). Qatar and Etihad seats both measure 45.7 cm (18 inches). You’ll have the same pitch of 81 cm (32 inches) whichever airline you choose.

However, Etihad has improved passenger comfort by introducing Economy Space. This provides an additional 12.7 cm (5 inches) leg room. You can also choose Economy Neighbour which prevents other passengers sitting in the seats next to your own. In each airline, your seat reclines by a small amount when you want to relax or sleep. You’ll also be given a cushion, blanket and pillow.




Business class


Upgrading to a Business seat with any of the Gulf airlines should be much more comfortable. You have more cabin space to yourself and there are usually panels for increased privacy. In addition, each Gulf airline offers seats that convert to flat beds. An Emirates bed is the smallest. Its width is 50 cm (20 inches), but the length is similar to Etihad’s at 185 cm (73 inches).

Qatar’s bed outperforms them both. You’ll have a generous width of 83.8 cm (33 inches) and a length of 206 cm (81 inches). And for even more comfort, Qatar provides a mattress topper.



First Class


Travelling First Class on any of these airlines provides extra comfort. You’ll have a private cubicle or compartment with a large seat that converts to a fully flat bed. An Etihad First Class cubicle is spacious and includes a leather seat. Qatar’s extra large seat is very well padded. When you transform it into a bed, you can use additional panels to increase your privacy.

Emirates has designed a cubicle with full sliding doors that create a completely private space. In First Class, the entertainment screens are much larger than those of the other classes.





When you dine in Economy with any of these airlines, your three-course meals are served in plastic containers. Typical menus include pasta, roasts and a selection of vegetables, beans and salads. You’ll also be served bread rolls and desserts of fresh fruit.

Emirates use fresh ingredients and present main courses that look very appetising. Etihad come a close second. Qatar’s meals are generous, but they aren’t quite so eye-catching.

Business meals are usually served on crockery and include several choices. Qatar’s Business meals in particular have an à la carte menu that’s similar to First Class. where you can choose individual items to suit your taste. Dining in First Class with one of these airlines is like being served in a high-quality restaurant. You’ll have fine tablecloths, caviar starters, afternoon tea and a selection of wine.





Your free luggage allowance depends on the destination of your flight. Emirates is the least generous when flying to America, allowing one free bag instead of two. When flying anywhere else, Emirates allows 15 kg free, Etihad 23 kg and Qatar is the most generous with 30 kg.



Etihad Airways vs Qatar Airways vs Emirates comparison conclusion


In Economy, each airline provides a similar level of service and basic comfort. Etihad’s Economy Space might be worth trying if you’d like more leg room. In Business Class, Qatar performs excellently with large, comfortable beds and high-quality cuisine. Qatar’s luggage allowance is also the most generous. In First Class, Etihad and Emirates provide spacious, private cabins, but all rate highly for comfort.


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