Here’s why Emirates is expensive.

Competition in the airline industry is very severe. We have numerous international flight options such as Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, Kuwait Airways, Turkish Airlines, and many other airlines. Everyone is competing with each other for passengers. Thus, one airline can’t raise the ticket price without losing market share.

However, we have seen that compared to other airlines, Emirates flights are costly. So, why are Emirates flights expensive?

Emirates is expensive because it has better service, the best in-flight infotainment system with thousands of movies, good food, the newest and best airline fleets, and better customer service. 

Let’s elaborate.


We know the iPhone is significantly expensive compared to other smartphones in the market. We can purchase a phone with similar or better hardware than the iPhone at a cheaper cost. Still, Apple has the largest market share in the premium phone market. Hundreds of millions of people buy the iPhone even though it costs more. There are reasons for it.

The primary reason is that an iPhone gives a superior phone experience than other phones. Many people criticize by saying that the iPhone is expensive because of its brand value. It does not offer anything compared to its competition. However, it’s not entirely correct. 

If we figure out why Apple can charge more for their iPhone, it would be easy to understand why Emirates can charge more for their flights than their competition.

The iPhone’s build quality, operating system, software optimization, battery life, long-term OS support, battery performance, etc., are superior to any other phones on the market. 

For example, Apple provides a software update for iPhones for more than 60 months, whereas Samsung never releases OS updates after 24 months. However, this is for Samsung’s flagship phones; sometimes, they never provide OS updates for budget phones. 

Furthermore, you can take your iPhone to any Apple store for repair. They will fix your phone at a reasonable price. The whole Apple phone experience is on another level.

In the same way, Emirates has better airlines, and their services are better than their competition. 

Emirates has a bigger Fleet size:

Qatar Airlines passenger fleet size is 201, Etihad’s fleet size is 104, Kuwait Airways’s fleet size is 30, and the Emirates fleet size is 254. Furthermore, Emirates has placed an order for 50 A350 XWBs and 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner worth $24.8 billion. Emirates not only has the largest fleet, it is actively investing in expanding its business further. Because of all these business investments, Emirates charges a little bit more money for their flight tickets.[1][2]

If we look into the Emirates 2020 annual report, we will find that Emirates operating margin is around 6%, which is very low. So, Emirates is not profiting that much and operating on a thin margin.[3]

So, where Emirates is spending all their money? The answer to this question will provide us other reasons why Emirates is expensive.

Emirates has the best In-flight infotainment system:

Emirates in-flight infotainment system is considered the best in the industry.

For every passenger, there is a wide touch screen display. ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) is the name of their entertainment system. It has more than 4,500 channels for movies, tv shows, music, and games. 

ICE offers over 700 on-demand latest movie titles, over 2100 video on demand and pre-recorded television channels, over 1000 hours of music, and on-demand live television.[4]

Compared to the competition, no airline has this extensive movie and show titles in their fleet. For example, Turkish Airlines has almost no infotainment system. Qatar and Etihad airways entertainment option is also minimal.

Emirates pays hundreds of millions of dollars for licensing fees for these shows and movies. As their inflight entertainment service is better, it’s another reason why Emirates is expensive.

Emirates Food is better:

We know that airline food does not taste that delicious. We have traveled through Qatar, Emirates, Turkish, and Etihad airways. So, we have a lot of experience regarding airline food.

In our opinion, Emirates foods are better than other airlines. They also provide a wider variety of choices. Food is a personal choice and objective topics. However, we have talked to many fellow travelers, and they agree with us.

Emirates food quality is higher than the competition, and they spend hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare food and serve in the airlines.  It’s another reason why the emirate’s ticket price is high. 

Emirates has better Service quality:

Emirates has the highest customer satisfaction rates in the airline industry.[5]

In the US, we have not seen anyone satisfied with American or Delta Airlines. To save cost, they compromise on customer service.   

But compared to other airlines, Emirates customer service is excellent. They have one of the most rigid standards to hire in-flight crews. If you fly with Emirates, you will notice the difference. 

Many times we have seen on other airlines where cabin crews treat passengers rudely. But we have never seen it on Emirates airlines. They always treat their guests respectfully. 

Here’s another example. Suppose for any reason your flights get delayed for longer than expected. In that case, Emirates will not only provide you food coupons; if necessary, they will arrange free hotel rooms for you and will provide free transportation service. 

This unique and unbeatable service is only available in Emirates, and they spend a lot of money to keep their service standard higher than its competition. It’s another reason for the higher ticket price.

Upgrades in planes:

Emirates is regularly replacing their older planes with newer ones. No other airlines in the industry have a fleet of newer airplanes than Emirates.

Moreover, technology in their planes is far superior to other Airlines. 

Emirates is too big as a corporation:

If a corporation becomes too big, its overhead cost also becomes too big. The revenue drop will be devastating. 

Emirates Airlines directly employs 59,519 employees and operates all over the world. They have to be prepared for all types of the financial downturn. Thus, even if they want, they can’t sell tickets at a lower price.[6] 

Side Note:

This article has not compared prices between first class, business class, and economy class because it’s unfair to compare the first class with the business class or economy class. 

First-class is only comparable to private jets. Those who don’t want to travel in a private plane but want personal air travel experience, such as CEOs of big companies, First class flights are for them. In short, Emirates’s first class is a cheap option to fly ‘privately’ in an exclusive environment.

Furthermore, first-class and business class tickets cost more because the first and business class passengers take more space than economy passengers.

Bottom Line:

In summary, Emirates charges more for their tickets because they provide better service than the rest of the airline industry.