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....
... 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.
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?