The big question when deciding between the two Middle Eastern carriers is which one provides the better flight experience. So, which business class is better Qatar or Emirates? Here are some facts and my thoughts on their Business Class services:
1. CHAUFFEUR: Emirates provides free chauffeur-driven airport transfers for its Business Class passengers all over the world. Qatar Airways does not provide free airport transportation (even not in First Class). This is a major win for Emirates.
2. LOUNGES: All two airlines have a large network of lounges, both at their hubs and at their international destinations.
3. CONSISTENCY OF THE BUSINESS CLASS COMMODITY THROUGH THE ENTIRE FLEET: Unfortunately, since none of the two major Middle Eastern airlines provides a standardized Business Class product across their widebody fleet, the configuration of the Business Class cabin and the seat type you'll get are dependent on the aircraft type. Although Emirates and Qatar continue to fly wide-body planes with (inconvenient) angled flatbed seats.
4. INTERIOR AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE CABIN:
5. FLAT BEDS: While Emirates' latest B777 planes are delivered with complete lie-flat seats, the B777s have angled lie-flat beds. Qatar Airways is replacing its Airbus A330 fleet (very uncomfortable) angled flatbed seats with real lie-flat seats (after which the whole Qatar fleet will offer flatbeds).
6. AMENITY KITS: Emirates has by far the best amenity package of the two airlines, but it is only available on long-haul flights, while Qatar Airways provides amenity kits on both medium- and long-haul flights.
7. DUVETS: On medium-haul flights, Qatar Airways and Emirates have duvets (to increase sleeping comfort).
8. FOOD: All two airlines serve decent meals, but Qatar Airways and Emirates have consistently provided me with the best culinary experiences. In reality, Qatar Airways' Business Class food is on par with what you'd find in First Class or at a high-end restaurant on the ground (with an amuse-bouche, soup, and luxury chocolates accompanying every three-course dinner).
In its Business Class cabins, the Doha-based carrier also provides dine-on-demand service, allowing you to dine whenever you want and order whatever you want from the menu. In terms of catering, Qatar Airways is obviously the winner.
9. NUMBER OF MEAL OPTIONS: all two airlines sell two meal options on long-haul flights (one after takeoff and one 90 minutes prior to landing). However, on medium-haul flights (e.g., Europe to the Middle East), Emirates only serves one meal; Qatar Airways used to serve a second light meal before landing, but now only serves a snack menu in case you get hungry again, so Qatar Airways wins (again).
10. IN FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: All two Middle Eastern airlines have a decent range of in-flight entertainment, and most passengers won't note the difference:
11. WIFI: Wi-Fi is available onboard. All two Middle Eastern carriers provide Wi-Fi, but at a different price:
12. ONBOARD BAR: Only the Airbus A380 aircraft have an onboard bar, which is only available to passengers flying in luxury cabins. However, the chances of flying an Airbus A380 and socializing with other passengers in a great onboard bar are best with Emirates, which operates over 100 of these mega planes (Qatar Airways own 10 A380s).
Qatar Airways has the best Business Class product onboard (by far). It is your time to decide is Qatar Airways better than Emirates?