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Melbourne-based travellers are quite literally spoiled for choice when jetting to Singapore with no less than five airlines offering non-stop flights including Qantas and Singapore Airlines, but also Emirates, Jetstar and Scoot.
Depending on which option you choose, you could either find yourself relaxing in a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, or at worst, stuck in a middle seat that only reclines rather than folds flat.
Australian Business Traveller ranks your options on the popular trek to The Lion City.
1. Emirates: Airbus A380
Emirates doesn't just fly from Melbourne to Dubai – it also runs a daily superjumbo flight from Melbourne to Singapore which you can book even if you're not travelling onwards to the Middle East or Europe.
Upsides: Naturally, fully-flat beds and direct aisle access are standard features here...
... but joining that is an inflight bar and lounge area where you can order cocktails in the company of fellow travellers, or could even visit as a good excuse to get up and stretch your legs before returning to your movie (or your work).
Free inflight Internet is too provided with 10MB of data offered at no charge and a further 500MB available for only US$1, while the recently-renovated Emirates lounge in Melbourne adopts the airline's latest design palate with the Singapore lounge due to re-open shortly following its own revamp.
(Until then, business class passengers can visit the Qantas Singapore Lounge.)
But wait, there's more – complimentary chauffeur-driven airport transfers are provided at each end of the journey, and if you book an Emirates flight under the Qantas QF codeshare flight number you can earn those all-important status credits in addition to frequent flyer points.
Downsides: Those limousine rides are only available when book your journey on the Emirates (EK) flight numbers, not on Qantas (QF) codeshares, so if you prefer to pocket Qantas frequent flyer points rather than Emirates Skywards miles, you'll need to choose between enjoying Chauffeur Drive or earning status credits: you can't have both.
Schedule: Daily flights depart Melbourne at dinner time to reach Singapore just before midnight, while on the return, flights leave Singapore late in the evening and touch down in Melbourne early the next morning.
Also read: Emirates Airbus A380 business class review
2. Singapore Airlines: Airbus A350, Boeing 777-300ER
Hop aboard Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350s or its newer-generation Boeing 777-300ERs and you'll find a business class experience that tops even what you'd get on SQ's flagship Airbus A380.
Upsides: The spacious 1-2-1 cabin layout guarantees direct aisle access to every business class passenger from a seat that folds forward into a fully-flat bed.
Travellers in the centre pairs can also close a privacy divider in between seats to make the space their own, or can leave it open for a little chit-chat with a partner colleague.
Wherever you sit, you'll notice a subdued yet refined look and feel throughout the cabin accented by warm colours and dark hues, with plenty of storage nooks for your gear ranging from space for laptops and tablets through to closed-off cupboards for valuables, a shoe bin, a fixed beverage tray and a secluded at-seat mirror.
Inflight Internet access is also available for purchase, although charges can vary from aircraft to aircraft depending on the WiFi supplier.
Downsides: Some travellers find the 'foot cubby' on these seats to be on the smaller side, so try to snag a bulkhead seat if you can which offers more space.
Singapore Airlines' SilverKris lounges in Melbourne and Singapore are also acceptable but could use with refurbishments to elevate the overall ground experience, while other extras like inflight bars and chauffeured transfers aren't found here.
Schedule: Singapore Airlines has four flights a day in each direction although aircraft types do vary from flight to flight, so pay close attention when making your booking if hunting for a particular aircraft type.
3. Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite
Very closely behind with the bronze is Qantas and its Airbus A330 business class Business Suites.
Upsides: Again, the industry standard 1-2-1 cabin layout features here with its usual perks, joined by the ability to partially recline during take-off and landing and slide the seat into a fully-flat bed in between.
Storage space is practically unlimited with room for your laptop, tablet, smartphone, amenity kit, glasses (if worn) and reading material, with both AC and USB power as standard. A handy mirror is also tucked away underneath a fold-up compartment.
Before the trip home, travellers receive access to the Qantas Singapore Lounge with a choice of dine-on-demand plates which change frequently, along with a staffed cocktail bar and a bank of private shower suites where you can freshen up before the flight home.
And, once settling in for that overnight flight, you’ll receive a pair of Qantas-branded pyjamas which are yours to keep – Qantas being the only airline to offer these in business class between Singapore and Melbourne.
Downsides: There are no ideal seats for couples travelling together, because even those in the centre pairs have a fixed barrier in between which can’t be lowered, moved or retracted, making it hard to chat mid-flight.
Qantas' international business class lounge in Melbourne may offer the 'business traveller basics' like barista-made coffee and free WiFi, although the overall atmosphere of the lounge is rather uninviting owing to a lack of natural light in most areas.
Schedule: A daily flight departs Melbourne at midday and arrive in Singapore just in time for dinner, with an extra service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays pushing back mid-afternoon for a late evening arrival.
On the return, your options include the daily service at around 8pm or the thrice-weekly flight at midnight, both of which return to Melbourne before the business day begins.
4. Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, Boeing 777-200ER
There's no shortage of qualify business class options on this route with Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380s and refurbished Boeing 777-200ERs next in line – still with beds that swing fully-flat and aisles right next to every seat.
Upsides: When in the upright position, these are some of the widest business class seats in the sky, useful for getting work done on daytime flights – and there's still plenty of room when the seat folds forward into bed mode, whether you're actually sleeping or just taking in a good book or movie:
For an even roomier flight, plonk yourself by the windows in the very front row (that's row 11) and you'll discover a solo suite that's closer to first class than it is business class:
SQ's Airbus A380 flights again have inflight Internet at the ready, although this isn't offered on the Boeing 777-200ERs.
Downsides: Sure, these seats may be wide at the top, but the space around your feet shrinks considerably when in bed mode, owing to a smaller ‘foot cubby’ rather than the more open area around your feet in Qantas’ Business Suites.
It's not that there's 'no room', of course, just less of it.
5. Jetstar: Boeing 787
Providing a lower-cost alternative to the traditional business class experience, Jetstar's Boeing 787s swap out beds for reclining seats at the pointy end, but with many of the usual business class perks included.
Upsides: Whether travelling for work or leisure, you're sure to appreciate that AC and USB power outlets are accessible at every seat, allowing you to keep your laptop, tablet or smartphone recharged throughout the flight.
Speaking of seats, there's no need to balance your own tablet on the tray table to enjoy a movie, with seatback or fold-up monitors at the ready.
Passengers on Business Max fares also receive access to the Qantas business class lounges in Melbourne and Singapore, while Qantas Club and Qantas Gold frequent flyers (and above) can visit the lounges as well when booked on lower-cost business class fares.
Downsides: A reclining seat is certainly tolerable on a daytime flight, but it's a harder sell on the overnight journey home where sleep becomes the priority.
In many respects, the overall experience is more akin to what other airlines would sell as premium economy, but without the hefty price tag.
Schedule: Jetstar provides six flights a week in each direction, departing Melbourne at 11am every day except Thursday to reach Changi Airport by 5pm. Flights home run on every day except Wednesday, pushing back at 9pm for a 6:30am arrival back home.
Also read: Jetstar Boeing 787 business class review
6. Scoot: Boeing 787
Last but certainly not least, Scoot – the low-cost offshoot of Singapore Airlines – with its Boeing 787 'ScootBiz' product.
Upsides: As with Jetstar, these seats are more like international-grade premium economy, but still provide in a generous recline and a padded leg rest for comfort...
... with inflight Internet also available for purchase at an extra cost: usually US$21.95 for the entire flight but sometimes offered at a discount at the time you book your flights.
Downsides: What you see during the day is what you get at night time: a seat that simply reclines, rather than one that transforms into a fully-flat bed.
Scoot is also the only airline not to offer any lounge access in Melbourne, but sells it as an added extra for travellers departing Singapore.
Schedule: Jetting five times per week each way, travellers can fly from Melbourne at midday on all but Tuesdays and Wednesdays, touching down in Singapore at roughly 6pm. Return flights are less business-friendly with departures at 1:15am on the same days, arriving in the Victorian capital at 10:40am: well after the work day has begun.
Also read: Scoot Boeing 787 'ScootBiz' review
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