Emirates vs Air India

Compare Emirates and Air India to find out which airline can offer you the best deal.

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Whether you’re travelling for business or leisure, planning a trip can be a long and tiring process. Choosing an airline is especially time-consuming. We’ve made things simple by putting everything you need to know about Emirates and Air India into one handy comparison.

We’ve also compared their fares for identical flights and checked out their range of deals. Read on to work out which airline is best for you.

Emirates vs Air India

FeatureEmiratesAir IndiaVerdict
Where does it fly to?
  • Europe
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Caribbean
  • The Middle East
  • Europe
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • The Middle East
  • Australia
Emirates offers more destinations.
What star rating is it?4-star.3-star.Emirates has a higher star rating.
What classes are available?Economy, Business and First Class.Economy, Business and First Class.Both airlines have three ticket classes.
What is the baggage allowance?Most Emirates economy class tickets include one carry-on bag up to 7kg and up to 30kg of check-in baggage. This increases to 40kg of checked luggage in business class, and 50kg in first class.Air India allows one personal item and one piece of cabin baggage up to 8kg on board. The checked baggage allowance is 25kg, increasing to 35kg for business class and 40kg for first class.Emirates has a more generous baggage allowance.
Where does it fly from in Australia?Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Hobart, Darwin, Canberra, and other regional airports.Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.Emirates operates from many more Australian airports.
What's the in-flight entertainment like?Films, TV shows, music, games, language learning, flight information and communication services, available in multiple languages.Over 500 hours of films, TV shows, music, games and audio books available in a variety of languages to suit the clientele.Emirates and Air India both have well-developed in-flight entertainment.
Can I make changes/cancellations?Yes. Depending on the type of ticket, cancellation with a full refund is available, subject to fees. Changes to dates, passenger details, locations and more can be made online.Yes. Changes to your booking can be made online, and cancellations can be made up to one hour before the flight. A refund is not always available and charges apply.Both companies allow booking changes and cancellations, but Emirates offers refunds more willingly.
What type of plane will I fly on?/Do they have an A380?Emirates has a fleet of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.Air India has many aircraft types in its fleet from both Boeing and Airbus, but the A380 is not among them.Emirates has just two aircraft types, one being the A380.
Which frequent flyer programs is it with?Emirates Skywards allows frequent flyers to earn miles. Emirates is also part of the Qantas Frequent Flyer alliance.Air India runs Flying Returns, which allows you to earn points for flying with Air India and 27 other Star Alliance partner airlines.Both airlines have in-house frequent flyer programs. Emirates Skywards gives you more ways to earn miles.
Is there Wi-Fi?Yes. 20MB of Wi-Fi is included for free on most flights.No.Emirates has Wi-Fi available on most flights.
Can I price match?Yes.No.Emirates will price match.
Does it serve alcohol?Yes.Yes, on international flights.Emirates and Air India both serve alcohol, although Air India does not offer alcohol on domestic flights.
Is there online chat?Yes.Yes.Both airlines have an online chat service.
Does it charge for infants?If seated on an adult’s lap, children under two years old travel free.Yes. The infant fare is 10% of the basic adult fare.Emirates does not charge for infants.
Does it fly pets?Yes, but only guide dogs can travel in the cabin. All other animals must travel as check-in baggage in the hold.Yes. Small, harmless domestic pets can travel in the cabin or in the hold. Guide dogs travel free of charge.Both airlines fly pets.
What are my payment options?
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Net banking
Emirates has more payment options.
Can I book round the world fares?Yes.Yes.Both airlines allow you to book round the world fares.
Can I book multi-city fares?Yes.Yes.Both airlines offer multi-city fares.
Any features to find the best price?The featured fares page shows all current specials, with filters available to make searching easier.No.Emirates has multiple features for finding the best price.
BookBook with EmiratesBook with Air India

Who offers the best price?

Emirates will price match if you find the same fare on another site for at least €15 less than its own advertised price. The Best Price symbol guarantees that a fare is the lowest available online.

Air India does not price match, but as a less luxurious airline it often has significantly cheaper fares.

The verdict?

We made identical flight bookings through both Emirates and Air India and found that Air India’s cheapest fare was roughly half the price of the cheapest fare available from Emirates.

Again this likely comes down to the difference in quality between the two airlines.

Is it a good airline to fly with?

Emirates has a 4-star Skytrax rating while Air India has a 3-star rating, but what do the customer reviews have to add?


Air India’s highest rating across all of the comprehensive aspects of airline excellence that Skytrax measures is 4 stars.

On the other hand, Emirates earns a 5-star score for its priority boarding service, shower facilities, food choices, in-flight entertainment, onboard Wi-Fi and its meal service flexibility.

Interestingly, on AirlineEquality.com, both airlines score 6/10, with Emirates only coming ahead of Air India for in-flight entertainment. Both airlines seem to be good choices, with Emirates offering a little more in the way of connectivity, flexibility and hospitality.

Any other differences worth noting?

For First and Business Class customers, Emirates offers a complimentary chauffeur-drive service to and from the airport. The Emirates App is another big advantage, making it easy to manage your booking, track your Skywards miles, and explore Emirates destinations.

For domestic flights within India, Air India offers concessionary fares to armed forces personnel, Gallantry Award winners, senior citizens, students, passengers with disabilities and cancer patients.

What are the deals like?

Emirates has a huge range of deals that you can filter by destination, dates, budget, interests and class. Past deals include return flights from Melbourne to London from $1,199, return flights to Delhi from $749, and return flights to Nairobi from $1,819.

Air India does not offer deals on particular routes or dates, but it does have some specials. Its “Get Upfront” upgrade allows you to upgrade your ticket by one travel class for a set price.

Adult students of any nationality travelling from India can also access cheaper tickets and bring one additional piece of check-in baggage for free.

The Companion Free Scheme allows one immediate relative a free ticket when travelling from India to certain destinations. Passengers travelling from Dubai to the Far East, Southeast Asia, certain parts of Europe or Australia via Delhi can also enjoy free hotel accommodation for stopovers of more than six hours and will travel on a Dreamliner aircraft for the entire journey.

The verdict?

Emirates has a far greater range of deals available in locations all around the world, and its deals page is much simpler to navigate and understand than Air India’s.

While Air India offers heavily-discounted deals for students and groups, this is mainly confined to destinations in India.

Top Emirates and Air India deals

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