The 10 Most Expensive Plane Tickets in the World and Why


10-Most-Expensive-Plane-Tickets

Billions of people take to the skies each year, with about 4.5 billion passengers enjoying air travel in 2019. And those looking to experience the most refined and relaxing experience won’t settle for anything less than first class. But what is the most expensive plane ticket, and why?

The most expensive plane ticket is a roundtrip first-class ticket from Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD), costing $33,500 or more depending on the date. One of the primary reasons this ticket is pricey is that it’s one of the longest flights in the world, often lasting more than 17 hours.

This guide will take you soaring up the price range by exploring the world’s most expensive plane tickets. If you’re prepared to take an unforgettable (and costly) journey, you’ll want to check out these itineraries.

Why Are Some Plane Tickets So Expensive?

Before we reveal our ranking for the most expensive first-class plane tickets, it’s crucial to discuss why some plane tickets are more costly than others.

Generally, the most significant factors that impact a plane ticket’s price are:

  • Seating class
  • On-flight amenities
  • Travel distance
  • Travel date
  • Destination

Seating Class

Your plane ticket’s seating class is one of the influential aspects influencing its price. Airline tickets are typically available in four categories:

  • Economy
  • Premium Economy
  • Business
  • First Class

Naturally, economy tickets are the most affordable. However, they also grant the fewest amenities and in-flight services.

For example, when you purchase an economy plane ticket, you’ll likely be seated near the plane’s rear. You might also end up sitting in an uncomfortable chair squashed between two strangers.

For that reason, many travelers opt for first-class tickets. These typically ensure premium seating near the front of the plane, increased privacy, and optimal comfort. Some first-class experiences also include access to high-quality in-flight meals and passenger lounges!

Still, you’ll likely need to spend at least five times more on a first-class ticket than you would on an economy ticket.

This price increase might not be too punitive when taking shorter flights (five hours or less). But when you’re flying halfway around the world, first-class services and comfort can easily cost you several thousands of dollars.

On-Flight Amenities

Not all first-class experiences are identical. Depending on the airline, your first-class adventure can range from better seating and a wider entertainment screen to a private in-flight bed!

As you might expect, this massive difference in airline amenities affects ticket prices. Airlines offering the most luxurious in-flight services can charge thousands of dollars more than airlines providing only the bare minimum.

Travel Distance

Short-distance trips (1,000 miles or less) tend to be some of the cheapest flights. Alternatively, long-distance trips are often the priciest.

If you’re planning on flying to a distant destination, you can expect to spend more on your plane ticket than if you were hopping over to a nearby state or country. In fact, many of the longest non-stop flights feature the costliest tickets, especially for those who opt for a first-class ride.

Travel Date

The day of the week can also impact the cost of a plane ticket. Typically, the priciest days to travel are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. However, mid-week holidays can also hike up airfare costs.

The time of the year you choose to travel also affects prices. For example, most folks prefer to vacation during the summertime. As a result, there’s a much higher demand for air travel during May, June, and July.

This higher demand can’t compete with the steady supply of planes and pilots. Consequently, airfare prices tend to skyrocket during the summer months.

Destination

Your chosen destination can also affect your ticket price. After all, many of the most expensive places to travel are incredibly remote, necessitating long flights and multiple stopovers.

So, if you’re planning on flying from the U.S. to Iceland, Chile, or Australia, prepare to spend a small fortune on your flight!

Here’s the List of World’s Most Expensive Plane Tickets:

  1. Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD) – $33,500
  2. San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) – $32,500
  3. New York City (LGA) to Singapore (SIN) – $31,800
  4. Fort Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) – $31,500
  5. New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) – $31,200
  6. New York City (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) – $29,500
  7. Auckland (AKL) to Doha (DOH) – $28,100
  8. Perth (PER) to London (LHR) – $27,500
  9. Auckland (AKL) to Dubai (DXB) – $25,100
  10. Los Angeles (LAX) to Singapore (SIN) – $22,500

10. Los Angeles (LAX) to Singapore (SIN) – $22,500

Singapore-Airlines-Extra-wide-seats
photo source: Singapore Airlines

Those looking to travel from Los Angeles to Singapore will likely spend about $1,000 for a non-stop flight. But that’s only for an economy ticket during off-peak days and times!

Passengers who book a first-class plane ticket for this roundtrip journey can expect to spend far more, sometimes as much as $22,500. The airline responsible for this incredible ticket price is Singapore Airlines, one of the priciest airlines in the world.

Still, the price may be worth it, as a first-class Singapore Airlines ticket includes access to an extra-wide, semi-private leather seat, full table service, and a 24-inch HD LCD entertainment monitor. When you’re spending more than half a day traveling across the globe, these services are bound to keep you feeling satisfied and comfortable.

Why It’s Expensive

A non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Singapore takes almost 18 hours and covers more than 8,700 miles. This exceptional duration and distance are why this plane ticket is so expensive.

9. Auckland (AKL) to Dubai (DXB) – $25,100

Swiss-First-Class
photo source: SWISS

Dubai often ranks as one of the most expensive travel destinations in the world, so it should come as no surprise that it’s also the destination for one of the priciest flights! A first-class multi-airline ticket can easily cost upwards of $25,100, which is more expensive than some compact cars.

Though multi-airline tickets vary depending on your chosen dates and times, there’s a good chance that you’ll get to ride with both Singapore Airlines and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) during your journey. As such, you’ll be able to enjoy two unique luxury experiences.

SWISS planes only offer eight first-class seats per flight, guaranteeing your privacy and peace during the flight. These seats can recline into comfortable beds, and each ticket includes a soft pair of Zimmerli pajamas, a Bally toiletries bag, and fine in-flight dining.

Why It’s Expensive

A non-stop flight from Auckland to Dubai takes about 17 hours, making it one of the longest-duration flights on the planet. When you add first-class luxury to this lengthy flight time, the $25,100 price tag is unavoidable.

8. Perth (PER) to London (LHR) – $27,500

British-Airways-personal-suite
photo source: British Airways

The flight from Perth to London covers more than 9,000 miles, and passengers on non-stop flights can expect to spend at least 17 hours onboard their chosen plane. Qantas Airways is one of the few airlines that offers a direct flight between these two cities, and a roundtrip business ticket costs about $23,000.

But this non-stop option isn’t the priciest flight between Perth and London Heathrow. Instead, that honor goes to a multi-airline ticket offered by Singapore Airlines and British Airways.

This first-class ticket costs $27,500 and consists of four flights (two there, two back). Still, you’ll enjoy the airlines’ best luxuries, including a fold-flat chair that turns into a mattress-laden bed, Temperley London loungewear and amenity bags, and a semi-personal suite.

Why It’s Expensive

One of the reasons this flight is expensive is its rarity. Only a handful of first-class seats are available to passengers looking to travel from Perth to London, so they’re only available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

7. Auckland (AKL) to Doha (DOH) – $28,100

Lufthansa-First-Class
photo source: Lufthansa

Considering the fact that this first-class plane ticket often requires three separate flights, it’s pretty reasonably priced! After all, the journey from Auckland to Doha isn’t a short one. Fortunately, the airlines that typically serve this route do everything to make your travel experience comfortable and relaxing.

Singapore Air, Lufthansa, and Kuwait Airways provide outstanding amenities and services for those willing and able to secure a first-class seat on their planes. Still, you’ll need to shell out more than $28,000 to enjoy all three of these airline’s sumptuous meals, soothing chairs, and top-notch entertainment options.

Why It’s Expensive

Traveling from the relatively tiny island nation of New Zealand to the middle of Qatar is no small feat, and this price tag for this plane ticket reflects that. With an almost 18-hour flight time, this journey is naturally expensive. It’s even pricier when choosing a first-class experience.

6. New York City (JFK) to Hong Kong (HKG) – $29,500

Korean-Air-First-Class
photo source: Korean Air

Few airlines are willing to take you on a non-stop first-class flight from New York City to Hong Kong. Korean Air is one of the only brave competitors ready to escort you back and forth from these major cities. For that reason, they can charge pretty much whatever they’d like for the journey.

And at $30,000 per first-class roundtrip ticket, you might find that your flight to and from Hong Kong or New York City costs more than the rest of your vacation! However, the in-flight on-demand service, premium amenity bag, and first-class lounge bar can easily make the expense worth it. Besides, this flight doesn’t have any layovers!

Why It’s Expensive

When you choose to fly from New York City to Hong Kong, you’re essentially flying halfway around the world! And when you add luxurious first-class accommodations to the mix, prices rise higher than a commercial jet.

5. New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) – $31,200

Etihad-Airways-First-Class
photo source: Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is well-known for its expensive flights and over-the-top luxury services. But their priciest journey, often called The Residence, is a long-distance flight from New York City to Abu Dhabi. A single first-class ticket will set you back more than $31,000!

Still, there’s a ton of fun to be had while you travel through the air. First-class passengers on this plane dine whenever they like, get a fully private cabin suite, and enjoy an included amenity bag with body lotion, cologne, and a sleep mask.

The à la carte features dishes lovingly garnished with some of the world’s most expensive spices, and passengers are also welcome to choose a bottle from the boutique wine list. Overall, it’s challenging to compete with the splendor of this first-class flight.

Why It’s Expensive

Etihad Airways has made a name for itself as the priciest airline on the planet. Consequently, they have to keep prices high to maintain this reputation.

Still, it’s not as if they don’t deliver on this notoriety, offering passengers some of the most sumptuous in-flight meals and an unheard-of level of privacy.

4. Fort Worth (DFW) to Sydney (SYD) – $31,500

ANA-First-Class
photo source: ANA

A roundtrip flight from Fort Worth to Sydney takes about 17 hours and covers more than 8,500 miles. That’s a lot of time and distance. And as we all know, time is money!

This route is maintained by airlines like Qantas Airways, United Airlines, and All Nippon Airways (ANA). Consequently, you could enjoy three distinct first-class experiences when journeying from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to Sydney.

But the pampering you’ll get on a Qantas of ANA flight is virtually unmatched. If you’re fortunate enough to book a first-class flight with ANA, you’ll find that your seat comes with storage closets, a 43-inch 4K entertainment monitor, and high-panel walls for privacy.

First-class passengers can also enjoy delicately crafted meals featuring handpicked Japanese ingredients. Essentially, flying from Fort Worth to Sydney on ANA is like taking a brief trip to Japan while on your way to Australia.

Why It’s Expensive

A flight from Forth Worth to Sydney costs more than the average flight due to the time it takes to complete the journey, and the distance traveled. First-class tickets make this flight even more expensive, as first-class seats are extremely limited.

3. New York City (LGA) to Singapore (SIN) – $31,800

Singapore-Airlines-top-notch-meals
photo source: Singapore Airlines

What happens with you combine an Air Canada flight with a first-class Singapore Airlines flight? You may find that the answer is a $31,800 plane ticket and a roundtrip journey to and from New York City and Singapore!

Still, this hefty price will cover top-notch meals (served at your discretion), unbeatable wine lists, semi-private seating cabins, and advanced entertainment options. Thanks to these quality services and amenities, you might find that your flight feels shorter than ever.

Why It’s Expensive

This flight is, hands down, the longest flight in the world. The average flight time is about 18 hours, but it’s not the time that makes this journey expensive — it’s the distance.

When you choose to fly from New York City to Singapore, you’ll cover more than 9,500 miles. Traveling that far in a first-class seat easily costs several thousands of dollars!

2. San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) – $32,500

KrisWorld-inflight-entertainment
photo source: Singapore Airlines

As we’ve discussed, Singapore Airlines offers some of the most expensive plane tickets, including this roundtrip first-class plane ticket to and from San Francisco and Singapore.

And as you might expect, the high price tag has everything to do with the high-quality amenities you’ll find onboard your Singapore Airlines flight.

Of course, the journey from San Francisco to Singapore isn’t a short one. The long duration also adds to the total cost. Still, you’ll be able to sit back, take a nap, and enjoy some exquisite wines while flying high.

Why It’s Expensive

This roundtrip flight’s staggering price stems from two factors: flight duration and seating class. After all, Singapore Airlines is one of the most expensive airlines, and it’s one of the few airways offering first-class seats between these destinations. As such, this company can charge steep prices for its unique services.

1. Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD) – $33,500

American-Airlines-First-Class
photo source: American Airlines

The most expensive flight in the world might surprise you, as it’s between two well-known, major cities: Houston and Sydney. Additionally, this isn’t a non-stop flight. Instead, you’ll need to take two airlines to make it to and from your destination.

This route is managed by American Airlines and Qantas Airways. As you might expect, each flight is chock-full of standard first-class amenities and increased privacy. But still, what makes this particular plane ticket so pricey?

Why It’s Expensive

Houston to Sydney might not be the longest flight in the world (often clocking-in at just over 17 hours). But it’s the priciest due to high demand and top-notch first-class luxuries.

After you’ve enjoyed this unforgettable roundtrip adventure, you might want to book a trip on one of the most expensive cruise ships to round out your grand travel experiences.

Experience These First Class Flights

The most expensive plan ticket is one for a roundtrip first-class flight between Houston (IAH) and Sydney (SYD). Still, it’s crucial to note that prices vary depending on the day of the week and time of year.

But you’re looking for the most luxurious flight, you’ll want to invest in a first-class flight from New York City (JFK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) via Etihad Airways. You’ll have access to a private suite, boutique wines, and a chair that reclines into a comfortable single-person bed.

Be sure to check out these related articles about the world’s most expensive travel experiences!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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