Emirates First ClassQantas and its partner Emirates offer distinctly different First class products. So, if both are the same price – or the same number of points – which airline is the better choice?

My partner and I are looking at booking an award flight from MEL to SIN next year and have enough points to fly FIRST – we’re just not sure if we should fly Qantas or Emirates. We have flown Emirates First previously, so is it worth giving Qantas a try?

Qantas’ and Emirates’ approaches to First class could not be more different. Emirates First class comes with all the bells and whistles, from on-board showers to a premium bar on the upper deck of the A380. (The bar is shared with Business class, but First class passengers can choose from a premium selection of beverages.) Emirates’ First class Suites also come with gold-coloured sliding doors for privacy and in-seat minibar. But the “bling” of Emirates is not for everyone.

I’ve found the EK food to be great. The shower is awesome and the bar is pretty good. The cabin feels a lot more exclusive than QF (although the decor verges on tacky). QF just doesn’t have these trimmings.

By comparison, Qantas First class is renowned for its understated luxury. The Suites, while not as flash as Emirates’, are still comfortable and private. In fact, many frequent flyers find it easier to sleep on board Qantas.

I prefer QF’s bed – larger and more comfy… Most of the long haul F flying I do is when I am travelling for business, and quality of sleep is important. I need a cool to cold, airy environment to sleep properly and QF F delivers that.

But where Qantas really excels – most of the time, at least – is in the soft product. The service combines casual “Australian-ness” with professionalism. Some members also believe that Qantas has a better selection of champagne in First class.

Champagne is better on QF, and the bed on QF is amazing. The English content on the IFE is about same same.

For many of our members, though, Emirates is a clear winner.

Emirates, every time. Private suites, shower and consistent service does it for me.

Some members believe that the quality of the service is more consistent on Emirates. But no airline can guarantee perfect service every time.

It’s fair to say that both airlines have their advantages and disadvantages. Our member phily sums it up nicely:

Both airlines have pros and cons with their First cabins. EK has great bathrooms regardless of whether you use the shower, a great bar, and excellent resolution on their large IFE screens. But EK’s First is upstairs where the cabin is a little narrower, and it’s 4 across, and the First suite is crowded with benches all around you.

On the other hand, QF First is downstairs where it’s a little wider, plus it’s only 3 across. If travelling with a colleague, one can sit at the other end of the large dining table. Best of all is the sense of space in the QF First suite.

Which airline would you choose? Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]