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Perth enjoys several daily non-stop flights to Singapore across Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Scoot, but which is best for the business traveller?
Depending on which airline and aircraft type you choose, you be jetting off in a fully-flat business class bed with direct aisle access: but at the other end of the scale, could also wind up stuck in a middle seat (yes, even in business class!), being one that merely reclines rather than tilting fully-flat.
Australian Business Traveller ranks your business class options on the favoured Perth-Singapore route.
1. Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200ER business class
For the best business class seat between Perth and Singapore, look to Singapore Airlines' Boeing 777-200ER flights, which offer a comparable experience to the airline's flagship Airbus A380s.
Upsides: These are some of the widest business class seats in the sky, which is great for getting work done on daytime flights – where these jets usually appear – but if you do decide to sleep, the seat also folds forward to form a fully-flat bed:
Choose a window seat in the very front row (row 11) and you'll find even more space, with these solo suites more akin to first class than business:
But wherever you sit, you're guaranteed direct aisle access thanks to the 1-2-1 cabin layout:
Downsides: It's fair to say that while these seats are wide at the top when sitting upright, the space around your feet is reduced considerably when in bed mode (except in row 11), owing to a smaller ‘foot cubby’ which forms the tail end of your bed.
It's not that there's 'no room', of course, just less of it.
These jets also appear on only one of four daily Singapore Airlines flights, so if departure time is most important to your journey, you may find yourself aboard one of SQ's other jets instead, detailed below.
Schedule: Keep your eyes peeled for flight SQ226 from Perth (2:05pm departure, 7:35pm arrival) and flight SQ213 home from Singapore (leaving Changi Airport at 7:40am to reach Perth at 12:55pm), which are normally served by the Boeing 777-200ERs fitted with the favourable 1-2-1 business class cabin.
2. Singapore Airlines Airbus A330, Boeing 777-200 business class
Can’t get yourself onto a flight with a fully-flat bed? Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A330 business class is your next-best option, as are flights served by the airline's non-1-2-1 Boeing 777-200s, which offer the same seat as found on the A330s.
Upsides: As with all Singapore Airlines flights from Western Australia, passengers receive pre-flight access to the Singapore Airlines lounge in Perth and to the SilverKris business class lounge in Singapore prior to the journey home.
Also regardless of the aircraft type, on flights departing Singapore (although not from Perth), passengers can also pre-order their main course via Book The Cook: including many dishes which aren’t on the regular inflight menu, such as the scrumptious Lobster Thermidor.
Singapore Airlines also offers the most flights between Perth and Singapore of any airline, with four daily flights in each direction compared to one daily return service with Qantas (double-daily during peak periods), six flights per week with Scoot (daily during peak season) and 12 returns each week with Jetstar Asia, which don't provide a business class service.
Downsides: Seats aboard Singapore Airlines' Airbus A330s and 'non-refitted' Boeing 777-200s are in a 2-2-2 configuration, which has most passengers stepping over their seatmate to access the aisle, or being stepped over themselves.
Unlike the more favourable Boeing 777-200ERs, these seats also don’t recline fully-flat – instead sliding forward to create an angled-flat bed, which Perth flyers may recognise as being similar to Virgin Australia's previous generation of Airbus A330 business class, before 'The Business' was introduced.
Schedule: From Perth, you'll most commonly find these seats on the late afternoon (SQ214), late evening (SQ216) and early morning (SQ224) flights, and from Singapore, on the mid-morning (SQ223), early evening (SQ215) and late evening (SQ225) flights.
AusBT review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 business class
3. Qantas Boeing 737 business class
While competitor Singapore Airlines offers a mix of fully-flat and angled-flat beds on all its Perth flights, Qantas instead rolls out its domestic-style Boeing 737s on the 5.5-hour trek, with reclining seats in business class.
Upsides: Although there’s no bed (which is itself a 'downside'), passengers can put their feet up thanks to a padded leg rest, while shorter flyers can take advantage of a swing-out foot rest as well.
The Qantas Singapore Lounge is also a tad more lively than Singapore Airlines' own SilverKris lounge at Changi Airport, with cocktail bartenders mixing up favourites, plates of the day served to your table and a large bank of shower suites to minimise any wait times.
Another advantage to booking Qantas is also that Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn Qantas Points and status credits on the airline's Perth-Singapore flights, although the same is true for Virgin Australia's Velocity Frequent Flyer members travelling with Singapore Airlines.
Downsides: You won't find Champagne in the Qantas Singapore Lounge unless you're a Qantas Platinum One frequent flyer or Chairman's Lounge member (in which case, there's Veuve Clicquot), with Australian sparkling wine poured for all other guests. In comparison, Singapore Airlines stocks Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve in its own business class lounge for all passengers.
Speaking of lounges, Qantas' current international lounge at Perth Airport isn't one to write home about, although the airline is planning to open an all-new international lounge at Perth Airport in early 2018 which Perth-Singapore flyers will have access to, ahead of the airline's launch of non-stop Perth-London flights in March 2018.
Also as a downside, the timing of Qantas' regular daily flight isn't ideal for maximising sleep after returning home, with flights touching down in Perth at 12:30am every evening: after which, you need to clear passport control, collect any checked bags, proceed through Customs and then take that final step from airport to your comfy bed on the ground.
The absence of a bed in the sky is even more noticeable on the seasonal, overnight Singapore-Perth flights.
Schedule: Qantas flight QF71 takes to Perth's skies at 12:25pm each day to reach Singapore at 5:45pm, with QF72 pushing back at 7:10pm in Singapore for that after-midnight arrival.
During peak periods, QF77 also joins the mix with flights from Perth at 4pm ahead of a 9:30pm touchdown in Singapore, paired with QF78 which is wheels-up at 11:40pm, arriving in Perth at 5am the following morning.
4. Scoot Boeing 787 'ScootBiz' business class
Last on this list but certainly not least, Scoot, the low-cost offshoot of Singapore Airlines, with its Boeing 787 'ScootBiz' product.
Upsides: As with Qantas, Scoot's main upside plays off its major downside – being the lack of flatbeds – with reclining seats that provide a padded leg rest for comfort, plus AC (although not USB) power:
Scoot is also the only airline to offer inflight Internet between Perth and Singapore, with plans starting at US$5 (A$6.35) for a slow speed and 20MB of data with no time limits (suited to text-based messaging), through to US$16.95 (A$21.45) for three hours of higher-speed unlimited data, or US$21.95 (A$27.75) for up to 24 hours of unlimited use, including on any connecting Scoot flights within that period.
Downsides: Although the seat itself is relatively similar to Qantas, service in the ScootBiz cabin is much more 'low-cost', with passengers offered a welcome drink, one further complimentary alcoholic beverage and one meal, and anything further requiring additional payment.
ScootBiz also provides no airport lounge in Perth, while in Singapore, lounge access (to the SATS Premier Lounge) attracts an extra charge – and even then, is only offered for up to three hours from a single entry. If you decide to leave the lounge after entering, such as to shop, you can't return as "your lounge usage is considered complete", says Scoot.
While Qantas also provides inflight entertainment via seatback screens (or fold-up displays in row 1), you'll need to use your own device to access Scoot's 'ScooTV' entertainment platform, although access is at least complimentary for ScootBiz passengers (just ask the cabin crew for an access code).
With a 2-3-2 seating layout, Scoot is also the only airline to have a dreaded 'middle seat' in its better-than-economy cabin, but in fairness, Scoot's ScootBiz fares do tend to be more affordable than those commanded by Qantas and Singapore Airlines.
Schedule: On Thursdays and Saturdays (plus Tuesdays during peak periods, adjusting for Daylight Savings Time), TR7 leaves Perth at 6:10pm ahead of an 11:25pm arrival into Singapore, while on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, TR17 kicks off at 9:10pm for an eye-watering 2:30am landing in Singapore the next morning.
From Singapore, TR8 takes to the skies at 12:10pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (Tuesdays also during peak) for a 5:10pm arrival in Perth, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, TR18 pushes back at 3pm, landing in Perth at 8:05pm.