A Comparison of Direct Flights from Chicago to Dubai

by Richard Gilbert-Cross  |  Published December 3, 2023

Despite having just one direct flight each day, it has never been easier to fly from the banks of Lake Michigan to the affluent shores of the Persian Gulf. This route also has dozens of connecting flights, giving you a wealth of options for your trip.

direct flights NYC to Dubai

Emirates Airlines ranks as the third-best airline in the world. (Photo: Emirates Airlines)

There is just one daily direct flight between Chicago and Dubai. This route, operated by Emirates, flies passengers from Chicago O’Hare International (ORD) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) in 13 hours and 25 minutes.  Typically, the cheapest month to fly is in April. However, if you have at least four weeks’ notice, you should be able to find a competitive price, especially if you’re flexible with dates.  To help with your options, we’ve analysed the best connecting flight options between these two cities, taking into consideration departure times, onboard facilities and amenities.

Emirates Airlines 

Emirates operates one direct flight from Chicago to Dubai each day. The flight departs from O’Hare International Airport at 20:45 and arrives in Dubai at 19:10 local time. Although the flight time is 13 hours, the plane has enough comfortable amenities to allow you to enjoyably pass the time. The Dubai-based airline has a very impressive long-haul reputation, which is no surprise considering the airline’s service is known to be one of the best in the world. 

Seating for the Chicago-Dubai route is the traditional Emirates 3-4-3 configuration with comfortable seating, spacious legroom and the use of the airline’s highly-rated ICE entertainment system. It’s worth noting that this route previously used an Airbus A380 but in early 2023, Emirates swapped this with a smaller Boeing 777-300ER and redeployed the jumbo jet to its London-Dubai route instead. 

The best connecting flight options

If the direct flight is not convenient for you, it’s good to know there are many other options available. The quickest connecting flight for this route is operated by Turkish Airlines. The journey takes 15 hours 45 minutes, with a brief stop in Istanbul. The next speediest route is the Qatar Airways-operated Chicago-Dubai route with one stop at Doha. The Qatar option is more expensive, but it could be a good opportunity to fly with a carrier that came second place in the Skytrax Top 10 Airlines of 2023 awards ceremony (as a basis for comparison, Emirates was fourth).

By far, the least expensive connecting flight is the 15:50 United Airlines route, which takes under 18 hours and has a 2-and-a-half-hour stop in Newark.  Although Emirates is known to be far superior to United, the Chicago-based airline could also get the edge if you’re a lover of Premium Economy. United offer a great Premium Plus service which could attract those disappointed by a lack of Emirates Premium Economy on this route.

Emirates has dominated the U.S. to Dubai market for a long time. However, after striking a historic partnership with United Airlines in September, it is expected that United Airlines will operate more direct routes between the U.S. and the Middle East in the future. Chicago O’Hare International is United’s hub for the Midwest and the sixth busiest airport in the world. With the United offices also located Downtown, it will be interesting to see if the Chicago-based airline makes more of an appearance on this route in the future.