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Emirates vs Malaysia Airlines

Which airline is better for your needs: Emirates or Malaysia Airlines? Read on to see for yourself.

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Planning a trip to Asia or the Middle East? You may well be stuck trying to choose between flights with Emirates and with Malaysia Airlines.

While Emirates is perhaps better-known than Malaysia Airlines, both offer excellent fares and pride themselves on providing high-quality passenger experiences.

Check out our comparison to see which airline can offer you the best deal on your next trip.

Emirates vs Malaysia Airlines

Feature Emirates Malaysia Airlines Verdict
Where does it fly to?
  • Europe
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Caribbean
  • Middle East
Malaysia Airlines flies to 22 destinations across:
  • Asia
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Europe
  • Middle East
Emirates flies to many more destinations.
What star rating is it? 4-star Not rated on Skytrax Emirates is higher-rated airline.
What classes are available? Economy, Business Class and First Class Economy, Business Class and First Class Both offer the same cabin classes.
What is the baggage allowance? Economy Class: 1x carry-on up to 7kg and 30kg of checked baggage.

Business Class: Carry-on and 40kg of checked baggage

First Class: Carry-on and 50kg checked baggage.

Economy Class: 1x 7kg carry on and 30kg checked luggage.

Business Class: 2x carry-on bags up to 14kg and 40kg checked luggage.

First Class: 2x 14kg carry-on and 50kg checked baggage.

Both airlines have similar baggage allowances.
Where does it fly from in Australia? Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, Hobart, Darwin and Canberra, along with regional airports. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Emirates flies from more Australian locations.
What's the in-flight entertainment like?
  • Films
  • TV shows
  • Music
  • Games
  • Language learning
  • Films
  • TV shows
  • Music
  • Games
  • Audiobooks
Emirates has slightly better inflight entertainment.
Can I make changes/cancellations? Yes. Cancellation with a full refund may be possible depending on your ticket. Changes to dates, destinations, times and more can also be made online. Fees apply. Yes. Certain types of tickets can be cancelled and refunded. Changes can be made online. Fees may apply. Both allow changes and cancellations.
What type of plane will I fly on?
  • Airbus A380
  • Boeing 777
Numerous Boeing and Airbus models, including the A380. Both airlines have A380 aircraft.
Which frequent flyer programs is it with? Emirates Skywards. Emirates is also partnered with Qantas. Enrich is the in-house program. Malaysia Airlines is also part of the Oneworld alliance. Malaysia Airlines is aligned with Oneworld where Emirates is not with a big alliance.
Is there Wi-Fi? Yes. 20MB is included on most flights. Yes, on A350 aircraft. Packages are available for purchase. Emirates offers 20MB of free Wi-Fi on most flights.
Can I price match? Yes. No. You can price match with Emirates.
Does it serve alcohol? Yes. Yes, on some flights. Emirates serves alcohol on all flights.
Is there online chat? Yes. No. Emirates has an online chat.
Does it charge for infants? No, not if the infant sits on an adult’s lap. No. Neither airline charges for infants.
Does it fly pets? Only guide dogs are permitted in the cabin. Other animals must be placed in the hold. Pets can fly either as checked-in baggage or as cargo, but not as carry-on. Emirates and Malaysia Airlines both fly pets.
What are my payment options?
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • PayPal
  • Direct debit
  • Online banking
Malaysia Airlines has more 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. Both airlines offer multi-city fares.
Any features to find the best price? The Emirates best price symbol guarantees that a fare is the cheapest available. The Featured Fares page shows all special offers, with optional filters to help you browse. The deals page on the Malaysia Airlines website shows you all current deals from a given destination, sorted by class, price, trip type, booking date or travel period. Emirates has more features to help you find a deal.
Book Malaysia Airlines

Who offers the best price?

Emirates price matches if you find a fare at least US$20 cheaper elsewhere online. Malaysia Airlines does not, so there’s no guarantee that you're getting the cheapest fare available. But price matching itself is no guarantee of the best price so we compared the two on a single journey below.

The verdict?

We made identical flight searches through both Emirates and Malaysia Airlines and found that Malaysia Airlines offered a fare less than half the price of Emirates’ cheapest fare.

Prices may change depending on sale periods and seat availability and this is merely an idea of flight prices taken at the time of search.


Is it a good airline to fly with?

Emirates and Malaysia Airlines are both statistically safe airlines to fly with.

However, in 2014, Malaysia Airlines lost two aircraft within five months of each other. Prior to this, the airline had been highly awarded as a 5-star Skytrax airline, but now Skytrax makes no mention of Malaysia Airlines on its website.

Nonetheless, Malaysia Airlines strives for excellence in its service, safety and onboard experience. One advantage for consumers is that Malaysia Airlines still offers a premium experience for passengers, but at cheaper rates than pre-2014. It’s up to you whether you place more weight on the airline’s unfortunate history or on its overall track record.

Meanwhile, Emirates has a 4-star Skytrax rating, is rated 6/10 on AirlineEquality.com, and has a 4-star rating for all its flights except long haul first class, which receives 5-stars. Malaysia Airlines also rates 6/10 in AirlineEquality.com, with better staff service and value for money than Emirates, but one star less for seat comfort and inflight entertainment.

The verdict?

Both airlines have the same rating based on customer reviews. If seat comfort, inflight entertainment and an unmarred reputation for safety matter to you most, Emirates is a winner. If you consider value for money and staff service more important, Malaysia Airlines has our vote.


Any other differences worth noting?

Emirates provides free chauffeur services to and from the airport for Business and First Class passengers.

Coincidentally, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates have recently partnered. They now share miles for their frequent flyer programs, combine routes to allow both airlines to reach more destinations, share lounge privileges for First Class, Business Class and frequent flyer members, and more.


What are the deals like?

Emirates has a huge range of deals available. In the past, deals from Australia to Europe have started from $1,199 (Melbourne-London),

Some of Malaysia Airlines' flight specials from Australia have included Melbourne-Bangkok for $643 and Sydney-London for $1,065.

The verdict?

Emirates flies to more locations, and so has a wider range of locations included in its deals. however, both airlines offer deals to and from a large selection of their destinations, and it’s difficult to pick a winner.

For example, at the time of writing Malaysia Airlines and Emirates both had special offers on flights from Melbourne to London Heathrow for $1,110 and $1,199 respectively – a comparatively small difference. It seems your destination is the key factor in deciding which airline offers the better deal.


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