The Most Expensive Airlines


Deciding the world’s most expensive airlines is difficult: with different routes and varied facilities, few flights are exactly the same. That said, we’ve put together a list of some of the most luxurious airlines around with sample fares for both economy and first class. Offering apartment style units, 32 inch TV screens, butlers and Michelin-star culinary delights, these airlines prove that luxury doesn’t come cheap.

Note: Sample fares are calculated for mid-April 2018.


Image by @emirates

Emirates is often the poster airline for luxury and it doesn’t disappoint. Economy passengers on A380s (Emirates have the most of these spacious,modern aircrafts in their fleet) have enough room to stretch their legs, with a reclinable seat that’s 45cm wide. Amenities are provided, including a warm blanket made from recycled materials. 20 MB of wifi is free to every passenger on board and the airline boasts 2500 entertainment channels. Regular economy fliers will know not to take the metal cutlery and variety of meals that Emirates offers for granted.

Up in first class, however, is where comfort takes on a new definition.Amenities are supplied by the legendary beauty house Bulgari and the award-winning, organic brand VOYA which uses nourishing seaweed in its products.

At bedtime, there’s a special Hydra active Microcapsule sleepsuit given to every passenger, the first of its kind around the world. It’s specially-designed technology moisturises the skin while you sleep, preventing dehydration and promoting circulation.

The cabin also offers a shower, mattress beds and faux sheepskin blankets.

Image by @flightshacks

The onboard bar is the networking hub for highfliers, serving cocktails and snacks throughout the flight. It also has a 55 inch TV screen to watch live events. The menu is designed by award-winning chefs for the passengers utmost enjoyment.

  • Sample airfare: London Heathrow- Bangkok (one-way): $670 for economy, $4581 for a first class ticket.
  • Additional sample fare: London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay):$634 for a one-way flight in economy.
  • The most expensive Emirates flight, from Los Angeles to Dubai in first class, costs over $30 000.


Image by @thrillofstyle

First class passengers are well-provided for by this Doha-based airline. The fully flat bed comes with Frette linen for a comfortable rest. The gourmet food is freshly prepared and served in a spacious dining area, an integral element of each first class seat unit. Amenity kits and sleepwear designed by White Company completes the package.

Image by @ptagg001

Economy class passengers still have more room than on many other airlines and can enjoy carefully selected meals, free wifi for a limited time on certain flights and a complimentary designer toiletry kit.

  • Sample fare: London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay): $937 for a one-way ticket in economy, $3330 for business class.
  • Additional sample fare London Heathrow- Bangkok (one-way): around $954

Air France

Image by @tarianlatelier

In ‘La Première’ (first class) on Air France, a designer experience, noted for its comfort, awaits the lucky passenger. The seat reclines into a 2m long, memory foam bed, complete with a bedside lamp. There’s a 24 inch screen to enjoy over 1000 hours worth of entertainment. The first class ticket also provides plenty of nearby storage space and a Carita travel toiletry kit.

The new economy cabin offers electronic plug points, standard storage facilities, a toiletry kit and a fully retractable armchair.

  • Sample fare: London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay): $759 for a one-way ticket in economy class, $2775 in first class
  • Additional sample fare: London Heathrow- Bangkok (one-way): $954 for an economy ticket

Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin is all about the glitz and glamour. The first class cabin is decorated in shiny blacks and purple lighting. There’s a sleek bar for socialising and working, as well as a massage club. First class service also includes chauffeured transfers and luxurious airport lounges with Clubhouse salons.

In economy, the inflight entertain system has plenty of options to keep passengers busy, while also boasting an inflight messaging system which goes from one seat to another seat.

Image by @lunch.with.bae
  • Sample fare: London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay):$551 one-way
  • Additional sample fare: New York JFK- London Heathrow (non-stop, one-way): $1694 (economy), $5762 (business class)
  • Virgin’s most expensive flight is New York JFK to Singapore, coming in at a whopping $20 000!


Image by @braintrepreneur.firstmove

This German airline sets the bar pretty high. The first class experiences includes limousine transfers, private assistants and Michelin-starred menus. The wine selection is top-quality. Forget about reclinable chairs if you’re ready to sleep: on Lufthansa, there’s a leather TV armchair and a comfortable bed.

Transfers and checking-in are done in no time with a Porsche to drive you to the plane door. No wonder Lufthansa’s one of the most expensive airlines, with a five star Skytrax rating for first class.

Image by @dolphineairlines

Standard economy tickets buy generous meals and a host of entertainment options. Lufthansa even offers an app for passengers to enjoy shows on their preferred devices.

  • Sample fare: $1193 for London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay) for a one-way in economy class, $4869 in first class.
  • The airline’s most expensive offering is from New York to Hong Kong in first class for around $43 535.


Image by @taleselias

As of 2016, Etihad has boasted the world’s most luxurious first class experience and the world’s most expensive flight. The airline created a penthouse suite for its wealthiest customers. Known as ‘The Residence’, it’s an all-inclusive ticket to ensuring your journey from hotel to hotel is smooth and enjoyable.

Limousine transfers and a private VIP travel concierge are at your service for stress-free arrival and departure from the airports. Once on board the airline, a butler is at the passenger’s service throughout the entire flight and the in-flight chef will cook anything desired.

The Residence is a three-roomed apartment, the only one of its kind, and there is room for two people. The double bed is covered in Egyptian cotton and the entire unit, which boasts an en-suite, has been tastefully furnished by top international designers.

Image by @etihadairways

In Etihad’s economy cabin, the unique Smart Seat has a meticulously designed headrest and adjustable back support, as well as being fully retractable.

  • Sample fare: London Heathrow to Mumbai (Bombay): $525 for a one-way ticket in economy class
  • Additional sample fare: London Heathrow- Bangkok (one-way): $573(economy), $1057 (business class)
  • A first class ticket in The Residence from New York JFK to Abu Dhabi costs around $64 000, a staggering amount!

Some More Expensive Airlines

Image by @upgradedpoints
  • Cathay Pacific Airlines has one of the world’s most expensive flights: Hong Kong to New York for $26 572 in first class.
  • Korean Airlines is also an expensive airline with a first class ticket from New York to Beijing for $27 000.
Image by @unreal_ishan

With flights around the globe, award-winning culinary menus and first-rate comfortable facilities, these are the world’s most expensive airlines.

Matt Davison
Matt has done marketing for travel and tourism for over a decade. His first love is SEO, with entrepreneurship hotter on its heels than a girlfriend. When he is not looking up flights back to his next destination, you can find him in the garden, making excuses to walk Rusty, strategizing with the team and tinkering on sites until the early morning.