The Best Airlines To Fly Into Dubai, UAE

Dubai UAE

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Dubai is the epicenter of travel within the Middle East, easily marking it as the most popular destination for tourists and business travelers. The city has a lot to offer with its futuristic attractions to its relaxed beaches.

Over 90 million people fly through Dubai International Airport every year making it one of the worlds busiest destinations. The city is a major hub within the region with Emirates Airlines as the flag carrier leading the way.

Just a short drive away is Abu Dhabi, the more relaxed capital of the UAE. With its own airline in Etihad, this gives travelers options on two of the best airlines in the world.

If you are planning a trip to Dubai or just laying over, we will break down the best airlines to fly.

Airports Near Dubai

Dubai is primary served by one international airport, located very close to the city center. The city is also easily reachable from Abu Dhabi, that is only a 1 hour drive away.

AirportTaxi To CenterEst Taxi Price
Dubai International Airport (DXB)25 minutes$40
Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH)1 hour$125

Many travelers fly out of each airport interchangably and having two major hubs opens a lot more options for travelers. Given the airports size, there are also many restaurants, lounges, duty free shops that you can visit on arrival or layover.

When you arrive to the airport you will most likely take a taxi into the city and note there are several ride sharing options as well.

Airlines Flying To Dubai

If you are departing from the US, there are a lot of options if you want to fly direct to Dubai. The airlines that offer service include the flag carriers Emirates and Etihad but also United Airlines recently started offering nonstop service. There are several other airlines offering service with 1 stop but in this case we think its best to fly direct.

The airlines is one of the most well connected to US cities with nonstop service from New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Houston,, Miami, and San Francisco. This gives you plenty of options and if you are connecting your ticket may even be cheaper than flying direct.

Airfare to Dubai

Ticket prices to Dubai can vary depending on season but given the amount of airlines offering service you can expect $650 – $900 roundtrip in economy. During peak season of summer this can go up pretty significantly to around $900 – $1,800. We like using Skyscanner to find the best deal and their compare page makes it easy.

Here is a breakdown of average round trip prices by month. Note we pulled the data towards the end of February, which is why that appears so high.

Dubai Prices
Skyscanner Dubai Flights by Month

There is also a tool that can run a compare of various cities if you have set dates or months in mind. All you need to do is enter a timeframe for departure and Skyscanner does the rest.

Dubai Search
Skyscanner Cheapest Flights to Dubai

You can find all Skyscanner tools on this page here and utilize this info to find the best flight deal.

Best First Class

It feels like barely any airlines offer First Class anymore but on this route you have some of the best seats money can buy. Both Emirates and Etihad still offer first class and they are some of the worlds best products.

We will tell you what to expect in each and also what airline we prefer to fly.

1. Emirates First Class Airbus A380

When it comes to first-class travel, you can’t go wrong with Emirates’ Airbus A380. The luxury airline really stands out in their first-class cabins, offering private suites, in seat bar, and an exclusive pass to the legendary onboard shower. Emirates offers plenty of routes via US cities to Dubai and operates one of the worlds largest networks. A huge plus to this seat is its offering via Air Canada Aeroplan miles that can be booked for about 135,000 points each way. There really are very few first class experiences like Emirates A380 still flying so if you get the chance to book it on this route you won’t be disappointed.

2. Etihad First Class Boeing 787

Etihad First Class is truly one of the most spacious airline seats in the sky. Dubbed “The Apartment” the each passenger will receive a private suite, love seat couch, large screen TV, and the most personalized service. It’s really hard to beat the amount of luxury and space you will receive that is more akin to flying private than commercial. The reason we don’t rank this as number 1 is because of the lack of availability and the difficulty to book. This seat only appears on Etihad A380 and they are inconsistent when they offer it. However, if you are able to snag a business class seat you can upgrade to this for about $1,800 one way that while steep will be worth the experience.

Best Business Class

Not all business class are made equal so if you are willing to pay a premium for comfort (or shell out some points) we’ll tell you what option would be best. Given the premium that comes with first class, business class cabins on this route can be almost as luxurious as first and easily stand above many other business class offerings around the world.

1. Etihad A350 Business Class

When it comes to business class, this is where Etihad has a leg up on Emirates. The carrier released an all new business class offering in a 1-2-1 configuration. We were able to fly this route on Etihad from New York to Abu Dhabi and it was one of the best flight experiences we had. Each suite has a private door and aisle access, something missing on Emirates that lacks privacy. We also like that this route is bookable via Air Canada Aeroplan and for only 88,000 points each way. Etihad still operates a few different planes on this route but even their old business class on the 787 is worth it as the best on this route.

2. Emirates A380 Business Class

Emirates went through an entire business cabin style refresh and we’re really liking their new sleek interior. While the business class seat arrangement is still in a 2-3-2, you may end up getting stuck in a middle seat that is very unfortunate in business class. Still the Emirates offering is well above most carries with excellent food and even an onboard bar to stretch your legs at. We like that this route is bookable via Air Canada Aeroplan making it more accessible and with arrival access to the business class lounge in Dubai isn’t a bad way to make the journey.

3. United Airlines 767 Polaris Business Class

United Polaris Business Class is one of the most comfortable hard product of the major US airlines to fly to Dubai. We’ve flown it multiple times on other routes from Newark to Frankfurt and indulged in the amazing Polaris lounge prior to takeoff. United flyings the 787 nonstop to Dubai from New York only and has plenty of premium space aboard these aircrafts. You can expect a 1-2-1 layout but still giving each seat its own aisle access but don’t count on much when it comes to United food.

Best Economy Class

There usually isn’t a major difference in economy class hard product but there may be items some airlines do better than others. However, on long haul routes to Dubai, airlines like Emirates, Etihad, and United offer Premium Economy, which is certainly a step above a standard seat. While many premium economy seats are similar, we especially like those offering comfortable seats and reasonable food to make us pick one over the other.

1. Emirates Premium Economy

In their cabin refresh, Emirates also updated their Premium Economy to appear very similar to a business class just without the full bed. The premium economy experience has each seat in a 2-3-2 format and offering extra recline making it more comfortable than standard economy. What you really get in this part of the plane is a food service similar to business without the full bed. On the plus side the upgrade from economy to premium economy is only a few $100 and in our opinion is totally worth it for overnight flights to Cairo.

2. Etihad Premium Economy

Etihad has a very similar premium economy offering to Emirates although not as up to date in our opinion. You can expect a larger seat in a 2-3-2 layout but the seats will be very close together. The food offering is also upgraded and you will certainly have better service with such a small cabin. We don’t find availability on this cabin often but it certainly beats a standard economy seat.

3. United 767 Premium Economy

United also started offering Premium Economy on many of their long haul aircraft and is very similar to Emirates and Etihad. The good about United is they make it much easier to upgrade into with either points, cash, or plus points. If you are booked in Economy you can expect to pay about 20,000 points to upgrade to this seat or 20 plus points. In our mind its worth it especially for a red eye to get a more comfortable seat but don’t expect a great meal as United does not compare to the home carriers of the UAE.

4. Emirates Airlines Economy

In Emirates Airlines economy you can expect a layout of 3-3-3 and a very newly designed cabin. The main difference you will see on Emirates is the level of service that you won’t find as good on any other airline. There are also several routes via Dubai daily that can ensure there is a time that fits your schedule.

5. Etihad Economy Class

Etihad prides itself on a very comfortable economy cabin that has seats on par with other top tier airlines. Each seat has a large IFE and large headwrests making it easier to sleep in this seat. While most standard economy seats are the same across many airlines, we liked the service we have received each time on Etihad as well as it having some of the best food in the sky.

Award Flights to Dubai

Airline miles and credit card points are some of the best way to get a cheap if not entirely free ticket to Dubai. If you are unfamiliar with this process read our guide on credit card points and miles.

The fastest way to get airline miles and also the biggest benefit to credit card points is the ability to transfer them to airline partners. If you are looking to increase your balance for a flight to Dubai see the latest offers in our guide to the best credit cards for every traveler.

There are multiple airline partners that fly to Dubai but not all are created equal. If you are planning a trip you will want to consider booking through:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan: Booking options on Emirates, Etihad, and United. Points can be transferred from Chase, American Express, and Capital One.
  • Etihad Miles: Booking options on Etihad. Points can be transferred from American Express, Capital One, and Citi.
  • Emirates Miles: Booking options on Emirates and United. Points can be transferred from Chase, American Express, Capital One, and Citi.
  • United Airlines MileagePlus: Booking options on United and Emirates. Points can be transferred from Chase.

While there are many more programs that offer points bookings to Dubai, the above programs typically are the easiest and cheapest way to book.

Summary & Takeaways

Dubai as a travel destination is one of the most popular with business travelers and plenty of visitors each and every year. While we usually always prefer to fly the flag carrier, in this case Emirates, but the likes of Etihad only being an hour away opens up more choices.

Given Dubai popularity, you have plenty of options on this route and if you go premium certainly won’t be let down.

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