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Emirates vs Cathay Pacific

We’ve stacked Emirates and Cathay Pacific against each other to see which airline is better.

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Emirates and Cathay Pacific are both known for the quality of their air travel experiences. Choosing between the two can be difficult, but we’ve saved you a whole lot of time by putting both airlines side by side in our comparison. Read on to see which can offer you the better fares, inflight entertainment, aircraft, booking process, deals, destinations and more.

Emirates vs Cathay Pacific

FeatureEmiratesCathay PacificVerdict
Where does it fly to?
  • Europe
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Middle East
  • Caribbean
  • Europe
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Middle East
Emirates offers more destinations.
What star rating is it?4-stars5-starsCathay Pacific has the highest star rating.
What classes are available?Economy, business and first classEconomy, premium economy, business and first classCathay Pacific has more classes.
What is the baggage allowance?Economy: 7kg carry-on + 30kg check-in

Business: 7kg carry-on + 40kg check-in

First class: 7kg carry-on + 50kg check-in.

Economy: 7kg carry-on + 30kg check-in

Premium economy: 7kg carry-on + 35kg check-in

Business: 10kg carry-on + 40kg check-in

First Class: 15kg carry-on + 50kg check-in

Cathay Pacific has more generous baggage allowances.
Where does it fly from in Australia?Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Hobart, Darwin, Canberra, and various regional locations.Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns and Perth.Emirates operates from more Australian locations.
What's the in-flight entertainment like?The “Ice” inflight entertainment system features movies, TV shows, music, games, language learning, flight information and communication services.Cathay Pacific’s inflight entertainment includes films, TV shows, music, games, language learning and flight information in many languages. Newspapers and magazines are also available.Both airlines offer excellent inflight entertainment.
Can I make changes/cancellations?Yes. Cancellation with a full refund is included with certain fare types. Changes to dates, passenger details, locations and more can be made online. Fees apply.Yes. Refunds are given for certain ticket types, and changes to dates, times, personal details and special requests can be made online. Fees apply.Emirates and Cathay Pacific both allow changes and cancellations.
What type of plane will I fly on?Emirates has a combination of Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.Cathay Pacific uses Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 and A330 aircraft.Emirates has Airbus A380s.
Which frequent flyer programmes is it with?Emirates’ frequent flyer programme is Skywards. It belongs to the Oneworld alliance alongside Qantas.Cathay Pacific’s Marco Polo Club allocates points for flights with Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and Oneworld airlines.Both companies have in-house frequent flyer programmes and are part of the Oneworld alliance.
Is there Wi-Fi?Yes. Wi-Fi is complimentary up to 20MB on most flights.Yes on Cathay Dragon A320 aircraft.Emirates has Wi-Fi with fewer limitations, and available on more of its aircraft.
Can I price match?Yes.Yes.Emirates and Cathay Pacific both price match.
Does it serve alcohol?Yes.Yes.Both airlines serve alcohol.
Is there online chat?Yes.Yes.Both airlines have live chat services.
Does it charge for infants?If seated on an adult’s lap, infants travel free.Yes. Children under 2 years old require an infant ticket.Emirates does not charge for infants sharing an adult’s seat.
Does it fly pets?Yes, but guide dogs are the only pets allowed in the cabin. All other animals must be transported in the aircraft hold.Yes. Service animals can travel in the cabin. Other pets must travel in the hold. Charges are calculated by weight.Both Emirates and Cathay Pacific fly pets.
What are my payment options?
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa debit
  • PayPal
  • Union Pay
Both airlines have similar payment options.
Can I book round the world fares?Yes.Yes.Both airlines offer round-the-world fares.
Can I book multi-city fares?Yes.Yes.Multi-city fares are available from Cathay Pacific and Emirates.
Any features to find the best price?The Featured Fares page allows you to browse all current deals, while the Emirates Best Price symbol guarantees that a fare is the cheapest on the market.The Latest Offers section lets you filter by ticket class and dates, and search by city, country or region.Emirates and Cathay Pacific have multiple features to help you find the best price.
Book with Cathay Pacific

Who offers the best price?

Emirates will price match if you find the same fare for at least €15 less on another website, and the Best Price symbol guarantees that you’re getting the cheapest fare.

Cathay Pacific’s Price Promise guarantees that if you find an identical fare at a lower price on an Australian website, the difference will be refunded.

Whichever airline you book with, you’ll get the best available price on the airline’s website.

The verdict?

We searched for the same flights with Emirates and Cathay Pacific and found that Emirates offered a fare about $100 cheaper than Cathay Pacific’s best fare.

There really isn’t too much in this one and with both offering high quality services and the ability to earn points via Oneworld, either airline could work out just as well. These prices aren’t reflective of sale fares, so it’s best to check both before making your decision if price plays a major role in your decision making.


Is it a good airline to fly with?

Emirates has a Skytrax rating of 4-stars, while Cathay Pacific is one of just 10 airlines to rate 5-stars.

For long-haul flights in first class, Emirates scores 5-stars, with 4-stars for all other categories.

Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific’s long and short haul business class and short haul economy class score 5-stars, with the three remaining categories receiving 4.5-stars.

On AirlineEquality.com, Emirates scores 6/10, and Cathay Pacific is one step ahead at 7/10.

According to customer reviews, it’s Cathay Pacific’s food and beverages that are letting the airline down. It tops Emirates for staff service and value for money.

The verdict?

Both airlines are excellent choices, but Cathay Pacific comes out on top.


Any other differences worth noting?

For first and business class customers, Emirates provides a complimentary chauffeur service to and from the airport. The Emirates App is well-designed and makes it easy to manage your booking, track your Skywards miles and explore Emirates destinations from anywhere.

Cathay Pacific has a comprehensive sustainability strategy, which could align with your lifestyle. Recycled and sustainably sourced materials are used for products such as food and beverage containers and surplus food and superseded computers are donated to Hong Kong community groups. Fly Greener also allows passengers to offset the carbon emissions of their journey.


What are the deals like?

Emirates has deals on flights to destinations all over the world. Discounts have included Melbourne-London flights from $1,199 and New York flights from $1,499.

Cathay Pacific offers deals on flights to Europe, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and North America. Previous sales have featured deals on over 60 Asian cities from $550. Other deals have included Sydney-Vancouver flights from $2,190 and Melbourne-Dublin flights from $1,951.

The verdict?

As it services a wider range of destinations, Emirates consequently has a wider range of deals. However, both airlines have excellent offers available.


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