My Middle Eastern Airlines Dilemma

I am flying from Dubai to Bangkok in December and I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of options for the 5000km/3000 mile flight. There are hundreds of viable Business Class and Economy Class options. If I travel the hour and a half journey by car to Abu Dhabi, there are hundreds more.

While only three airlines (FlyDubai, Emirates and Thai) run direct services, they still have ten direct services a day between them. Multiple indirect services go via a whole range of fascinating stopover places! Kazakhstan anyone?

So I kept playing and searching. I found in December that flying from Cairo to Bangkok via Dubai is cheaper than directly flying from Dubai on nearly all airlines:

  • Emirates $US596 in Economy & $2114 in Business Class from Dubai VS $369 Eco & $754 Business from Cairo. What is crazy is that not only is distance further but in the case of Emirates the differennce in price on a Busienss Class seat is $1400 cheaper than direct from Dubai. On the second leg, I am in the same aircraft in the same class. (Maybe even the same seat)!
  • Royal Jordanian: $757 Eco & $1864 Bus Vs $320 Eco & $700 Business from Cairo. In the case of Royal Jordanian, I can fly Business Class from Cairo for less than their Economy fare from Dubai!

The pattern was the same  from Abu Dhabi:

  • Etihad: $577Eco & $2258 Business from AUH VS $329 & $759 Business from Cairo

Gulf, Kuwait, Oman and Turkish all had similar patterns. Qatar not so much.Biman Bangladeshi had a very cheap flight from Dubai but I am not flying them-ever!


What gets more interesting is that for around $150 in Economy or $300-$400 in Business I can fly the 1,503 miles from Dubai to Cairo.

In fact, flying from Dubai to Cairo on an Economy ticket and then back again and onto Bangkok on a Business ticket saves hundreds on the business fare out of Dubai! In Economy, the savings are still there. And I get a Cairo stopover.

These anomalies show up all the time. I used to buy Premium tickets from Auckland, New Zealand to the USA instead of Sydney, Australia. Even with the Sydney to Auckland flight, I could save hundreds if not thousands! I would combine a business trip to New Zealand and it all became very worthwhile.

In  this case, I have the time and I have always wanted to see the Pyramids!

qatar_airways_a330-200f_take_off_from_dxbThe next dilemma is choosing the airline. The fares and durations are all slightly similar. I have narrowed to six options:

  1. Qatar was much pricier than the others so I cancelled them out even if they are my favourite airline
  2. Egyptair didn’t grab me nor did Kuwait Airlines even though I have not flown either and I like finding new airlines
  3. Oman is also a new airline for me and the second leg is on a 787 which I am trying to get on as much as I can
  4. I am tempted by Royal Jordanian  because I earn Qantas points and status and I get to be on their 787 for the second leg
  5. Emirates is also a front runner because it means a 380 but I get no Qantas status credits with them and very few Qantas frequent flyer points ( I am not starting a new Emirates frequent flyer account!)
  6. Etihad would allow me to earn a decent number of points and to improve my status level with Virgin Australia

That’s my dilemmas!

How would you choose?

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  1. Funny, because I’ve been agonizing over the same flights NEXT month. Found the Cairo fares and EK is very attractive as credit to AS. BTW, EgyptAir has some hidden city fare opportunities to BEY, LXR, ASW, HRG (just get off in Cairo).

  2. I saw 1600 euro RT from CAI to BKK in first on Qatar yesterday just gotta play with the dates a bit. I saw one day where rust was cheaper then biz even not 750 cheaper but heck it’s first on the A380 right??? I don’t know how your dates impact it though….

  3. I am flying SFO-LHR-DXB (tentatively) DXB-CAI CAI-DXB-BKK BKK-DOH-LAX

    @Ben O The Qatar fares are indeed alluring. I’m already going to re-qualify for AA EXP (with BKK-LAX QR booking), so am looking for AS elite building miles.

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