Sydney-Singapore business class: here's how the airlines compare

By Brandon Loo, December 14 2018
Sydney-Singapore business class: here's how the airlines compare

Flyers on the busy Sydney-Singapore corridor are spoilt for choice, with four carriers – Singapore Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Scoot – offering a wide range of departure times, business class seating, service, lounges and more. Here's how they stack up for the business traveller.

Sydney-Singapore business class: the best schedule

The flight schedule is perhaps one of the most important aspect for busy travellers to consider to minimise downtime and make quick connections, so which airline offers the most services?

Singapore Airlines makes it easy to find a flight that suits your own work schedule and individual preferences, including flexibility on your arrival time into Singapore. There are four daily departures from Sydney at 9:05am, 12:15pm, 4:10pm and 7:10pm, plus an overnight one-stop service via Canberra which leaves Sydney at 9:35pm. 

Qantas is the strong second contender with daily 11:30am and 5:00pm departures that respectively accommodate morning regional connections, and those who need to work during the day; there’s also a mid-afternoon (3:30pm) service on Sunday, Monday and Fridays.

Singapore Airlines' low-cost carrier Scoot bumps up its schedule to 8-weekly from mid-January 2019, departing at 2:20pm every day except for Tuesdays and Thursdays, which sees a 7:15pm push-back instead. There's also an extra 7:15pm service on Mondays as well.

British Airways has a single daily 4:30pm departure from Sydney which stops over in Singapore before continuing through to London.

(These flight schedules are current for the 2018-2019 daylight savings period, and will naturally have some variations throughout the year.)

Sydney Airport’s 11pm curfew makes it difficult to offer an overnight service to Singapore, and so far only Singapore Airlines has been able to overcome that by providing a late-evening flight via Canberra with a still-very-early 5am arrival at Changi Airport.

Sydney-Singapore business class: the best lounges

Qantas has the obvious home base advantage, especially if you hold Platinum or Platinum One status (or the Oneworld equivalents) or enjoy Chairman’s Lounge membership – each of those shiny cards opens the frosted glass door of the Qantas International First Lounge...

... which recently launched its tasty summer menu....

Turtle bean salad with avocado, corn, blanched kale, puffed wild rice and a Tuscan-based 'dragoncello' dressing.
Turtle bean salad with avocado, corn, blanched kale, puffed wild rice and a Tuscan-based 'dragoncello' dressing.

... and offers relaxing preflight spa treatments if you're fast enough to snare a booking.

The most likely lounge to be used by Qantas business class travellers will be the neighbouring Qantas International Business Lounge, which is due for a welcome refresh by the end of 2019.

Business class passengers and those holding Qantas Gold frequent flyer status and above (but not their Oneworld equivalents) also have the option of visiting the Emirates lounge, although its opening hours sometimes don't line up against the departure times of Qantas' Sydney-Singapore flights.

By virtue of being a Oneworld member alongside Qantas, British Airways grants access to the same Qantas lounges for its business class passengers and Oneworld Sapphire/Emerald members.

Singapore Airlines’ Sydney SilverKris business class lounge is certainly no slouch.

It has a contemporary vibe, a pleasing buffet and useful 'productivity pods' (below), although the WiFi is notoriously slow compared to the very high speeds of the Qantas lounges.

Solitaire PPS Club members booked in business class enjoy access to the SilverKris lounge's refined first class wing, hidden behind a discreet sliding door near reception.

If you're doing business travel on a budget with Scoot, one of the compromises is that Scoot doesn’t provide lounge access in Sydney. Plan B is the American Express lounge, provided of course that you have an eligible card, or you can also pay for entry in the adjacent SkyTeam lounge. Both are located near gate 24.

Also read: The business traveller's guide to Sydney International Airport lounges

Sydney-Singapore business class: the best seats

The business class seats you'll get flying between Sydney and Singapore are a bit of a mixed bag, with Qantas and Singapore Airlines both using different generations of business class seats depending on the aircraft. This makes it especially useful to know which seat is offered on which flight. Here's how we rate them for comfort

1. Singapore Airlines’ latest Airbus A380 seat is currently found on SQ 232, the 12:15pm departure. It’s slightly narrower to previous generations at 25 inches across but does have more storage space overall, as you can store a cabin bag under the seat in front.

Unlike SQ’s older seats, this one can finally electronically recline into a fully-flat bed, although some travellers find the diagonal sleeping position uncomfortable.

2. Usually featured on Qantas' 11:30am and 3:30pm departures from Sydney, the airline's highly-regarded Airbus A330 Business Suite is a close second, ticking all the boxes for the business traveller.

There's plenty of room and spaces to stow your stuff, and a mattress topper is supplied for overnight flights back from Singapore.

3. Singapore Airlines’ refurbished Boeing 777-300ER seat is vast at 28 inches across, and like SQ's older seats converts into a fully flat bed once you flip over the seatback. At the time of writing the Boeing 777-300ERs are scheduled on the 9:05am, 7:10pm and 9:35pm services out of Sydney.

4. Singapore Airlines’ older Airbus A380s is currently cruising as SQ222 departing at 4:10pm. Its business class berths are a noticeably last-decade design, but indulgently so: the seat itself is 30-inch-wide behemoth which ironically some travellers says feels too big.

5. Qantas’ Airbus A380 makes its way as the airline's flagship QF1 from Sydney at 5:00pm, and after landing in Singapore at 10pm it continues to London. The superjumbos still sport the second-generation Skybed II business class seats which have definitely seen better years.

There's almost no storage at your seat, the 2-2-2 arrangement is inconvenient for passengers in the window pairs, and the ends of the fully flat-bed often develop an unstable and uncomfortable droop.

Thankfully Qantas A380s will be renewed beginning March 2019, with these seats ripped out and replaced by the same updated Business Suite as the red-tailed Boeing 787 Dreamliners...

... although there's no guarantee that your Sydney-Singapore-London flight will be graced by one of the souped-up superjumbos.

6. British Airways' daily BA16 sees a Boeing 777-300ER headed from Sydney to Singapore and onwards to London. Its Club World business class is densely filled, with a 2-4-2 forwards/backwards configuration which results in less personal space overall and may require you to hop over someone’s legs to get out if their seat is fully reclined.

7. Rounding up the list, Scoot's ScootBiz is more akin to premium economy on other airlines. The seats on Scoot's Boeing 787 recline rather than convert to a bed – but with ScootBiz often pegged at a similar price to economy on other airlines, this is a clear case of getting what you pay for.

Sydney to Singapore business class: the best inflight service

The inflight experience varies widely between airlines, and from the perspective of individual passengers also between flights. Here’s a brief outline of what each airline offers while you’re onboard.

The 'best' airline in this category is very subjective. Singapore Airlines provides much more variety with business class dining through its Book the Cook service but skimps on amenities, while Qantas offers a pared-back Menu Select pre-ordering system yet provides generously-stocked amenity kits on all flights plus pyjamas on the overnight Singapore-Sydney leg. Only Singapore Airlines and Scoot have inflight Internet if you need to be connected up in the air.

  Singapore Airlines Qantas British Airways Scoot
Pre-book dining Yes – Book the Cook from Sydney has nine options in addition to the inflight menu
There are more than 40 options on the return flights from Singapore
Yes – Menu Select allows you to pre-select from the inflight menu or an online exclusive No, order onboard Yes – one meal of your choice included with ScootBiz
Amenity kits No, but essentials are stocked in the lavatories. Yes Yes No
Pyjamas No No – only on the overnight return flight from Singapore No No
Inflight WiFi Yes – 30MB free initially for business class passengers No No Yes - US$32.99 for 200MB

Taking all the above into consideration, what’s your favourite business class for travelling between Sydney and Singapore?

Brandon Loo

Based in Perth, Brandon enjoys tucking into local delicacies, discovering new cocktails, and making aeroplane food look good on camera.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Apr 2015

Total posts 11

SQ - reliably excellent & friendly service. They make flying a pleasure..

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 49

That’s the 1:05 out of melbourne on SQ.

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 177

I've been flying a lot more to Singapore this year due to new clients based there. Qantas works pretty well for me, especially with Platinum to get into the first class lounge. The only issues are on the return leg from Singapore. Firstly the Singapore lounge is way too crowded, can't wait for the new SIN First lounge to open this time next year. But I wish Qantas had a daytime SIN-SYD flight, the overnight service just a bit short for getting a really good sleep even if you take dinner in the lounge like I do. I also fly to Hong Kong a lot and have switched to Cathay because they have daytime flights back, so once I requalify for Qantas Platinum I will probably try SQ for some Singapore flights in 2019.

I tend to do this flight the other way, SIN-SYD, and SQ is my pick. Great choice of flights including the overnight SYD-CBR-SIN flight which I think many people forget about or overlook. Some great business class seats on various flights plus Book The Cook as a super bonus.

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

14 Nov 2013

Total posts 40

SQ has the variety of flights from Sydney and that allows for more flexibility. I usually leave on Sunday morning arrive early afternoon and am ready for a full day Monday. BA i have only flown twice however for $400 at check in the upgrade you to First which is lovely. The negative about SQ is that there are no pyjamas and amenities only in First and their award availability is restricted heavily, i struggle to find seats in business unless its 2 or 3 months out.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 May 2017

Total posts 4

I prefer SQ but also flying from Melbourne which is closer to Singapore than Sydney with Emirates in Business Class!

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 261

Definitely give me the old wide seats on SQ - still my favourite business class seat even after all these years.

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 110

if i won a lotto BA for me with QF connection from adelaide.willing to try something different and i am also frequent flyers with american which helps when redeeming awards for magazines or donations to charity.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jul 2016

Total posts 11

i really like the new SQ A380. It has my vote as well.

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 36

I was thrilled when QF announced it was returning to Singapore for flights through to Europe but having just flown their A380 return to LAX, I wouldn't choose it for flights to Europe given the second leg to LHR is overnight - that sloping Skybed II seat is really subpar!

Would much rather fly with QF to BKK and Finnair onwards of even MH - their A380 seat is similar to Skybed II but 10 times more comfortable - had a great sleep.


03 May 2013

Total posts 670

That BA 'Business Class' pic made me want to gasp for air. People actually pay for that?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 232

Without any doubt Singapore Airlines are by far the best .Other Airlines can only dream of providing such constantly good service, some are close but not as good.

Having tried most except scoot I can honestly say SQ every time for me.

Their service either inflight or on the ground is impeccable. The only gripe I have is that I don't like the angled bed and the tiny cubby hole foot receptacle. From what I gather the new product has not fixed that but it's still well worth flying SQ. I guess it's a small price to pay for such good service.

P.S . .I don't work for or ever have with SQ , I'm just an extremely satisfied First Class and Business Class passenger of theirs.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 784

You beat me to it. SQ just works, plenty of flights, new aircraft, service is great. A few kg over? OK lah. Want a full hot meal at 4am? Sure, no problem. Hot breakfast after sleeping too close to landing? Yes sir. Earn VA status credits, makes keeping WP too easy.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

The article is interesting and the comparisons well written and informative but Melbourne to Singapore is becoming the number one route internationally for passenger numbers. Too many sites concentrate on Sydney.

SQ is clearly the market leader. I've yet to have a grumpy or inattentive SQ cabin crew member but I have had both on QF.

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 105

Thanks for your feedback – similar guides on Melbourne and Brisbane are coming out soon as well.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

Also can we please quote everything in centimetres not inches? Australia metricated in 1973, almost 50 years ago.

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