The best business class seats on Sydney-Singapore flights

By Chris Chamberlin , November 29 2016
The best business class seats on Sydney-Singapore flights

Travellers on the popular Sydney-Singapore route can select between four different airlines and six distinct business class seats, but which of those options is best for your next trip to The Lion City?

Among your choices, business class on Qantas' Airbus A330s, British Airways' Boeing 777s, Scoot's Boeing 787s and also Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380s, Boeing 777-300ERs and its Airbus A330s/Boeing 777-300s, which both adopt the same seat.

Australian Business Traveller evaluates your choices and shows how much you should expect to pay when taking a return trip in mid-January 2017.

1. Singapore Airlines: Boeing 777-300ER

You'd normally expect an airline's top-ranked seat to be found on its Airbus A380 aircraft, but Singapore Airlines offers an even more refined product aboard its Boeing 777-300ERs.

Upsides: With a 1-2-1 layout, every traveller enjoys direct access to the aisle from a seat that transforms into a fully-flat bed. Solo travelers in the centre pair can also close a privacy divider in between, while high flying couples can leave the screen open to chit-chat.

But that's not all – these seats also have a very refined look and feel, with plenty of storage nooks for your gear ranging from space for laptops and tablets through to closed-off nooks for valuables, a shoe cupboard, a fixed beverage tray and a secluded at-seat mirror.

Downsides: Try to snag a bulkhead seat if you can which offers more space, as some travellers find the 'foot cubby' on these seats to be on the smaller side.

Price: From $4,139 return in mid-January

2. Qantas: Airbus A330

In a close second, Qantas' flagship Business Suites also appear on the airline's Airbus A330 flights to Singapore, representing a significant upgrade to the Airbus A330 seats of yesteryear.

Upsides: There's no shortage of storage options at these seats, with ample space for your phone, tablet, laptop, preferred book, magazine and newspaper.

The seat can also remain partially reclined for take-off and landing, transforming into a fully-flat bed during the journey in between. Of course, direct aisle access comes standard here too.

Downsides: Unlike with Singapore Airlines, there are no ideal pairs of seats for couples travelling together. While in the same 1-2-1 layout, Qantas' centre pairs instead have a fixed wall between the middle duos which can't be opened or moved.

When typing on larger and heavier laptops, the tray table in these Business Suites can be somewhat 'bouncy' – but naturally, not so much as to affect productivity or cause your laptop to slip to the floor.

Price: From $3,457 return in mid-January

3. Singapore Airlines: Airbus A380

Taking out the bronze medal, Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 business class seats.

Upsides: These seats offer many of the same features as you'd find on the airline's newer Boeing 777-300ERs, such as the usual pairing of direct aisle access with fully-flat beds...

... plus privacy dividers in the centre pairings that can remain open or be closed throughout the flight.

Downsides: Where these seats lag is on storage, and that's to be expected of a design which first took flight on the superjumbos nearly 10 years ago: three years before Apple's very first iPad hit the shelves, unleashing a new era of tablet-toting business travellers.

There's still room to store smaller devices such as smartphones, but on these aircraft, we've found the best place to charge your laptop or tablet is on a vacant seat beside you: provided your flight isn't completely full, of course.

Price: From $4,139 return in mid-January

4. British Airways: Boeing 777-300ER

Qantas partner British Airways also flies daily between Sydney and Singapore as the first leg of its Sydney-London route, but travellers needn't jet through to Heathrow, with tickets open for booking purely on that first leg of the journey.

Upsides: In line with the competition, BA is another to offer fully-flat beds in business class for a good night's sleep.

Downsides: Rather than a 1-2-1 layout which provides direct aisle access for all, British Airways instead uses a 2-4-2 layout which sees (almost) every traveller stepping over somebody else to access the aisle, or being stepped over themselves.

There's also not a great deal of space around each seat, with half of the cabin facing rearward in a move that maximises the number of people occupying the same amount of floor space.

Price: From $2,997 return in mid-January

5. Singapore Airlines: Airbus A330, Boeing 777-200

Yet another Singapore Airlines business class option for Sydneysiders, but one which reminds us that not every business class seat is created equal.

Upsides: Whether you pick the Boeing 777-200 or the Airbus A330, you'll find comfy leather-wrapped business class seats at the pointy end...

... with decent storage options for your laptop aside the seat, plus your glasses, smartphone and water bottle in front.

Downsides: These seats don't transform into fully-flat beds, nor do they offer direct aisle access from every seat: instead, they're 'sloping sleepers' in a 2-2-2 layout...

... but if you have to take one of these flights, aim for a spot in the centre pair to avoid the 'business class aisle shuffle' with your seatmate.

Price: From $4,139 return in mid-January

6. Scoot: Boeing 787-9

Last but certainly not least, Singapore Airlines' low-cost offshoot Scoot and its 'ScootBiz' product on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Upsides: Compared to your other options, these seats are more like international-grade premium economy – but still pack in a generous recline and a padded leg rest for comfort...

... with inflight Internet also available for purchase at an extra cost (US$21.95 for the entire flight).

Downsides: This aren't any fully-flat beds here, nor are there angled-flat beds, either. What you see during the day is what you get at night time: a seat that simply reclines.

Price: From $1,378 return in mid-January

Also read: Your handy guide to catching taxis in Singapore

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2013

Total posts 33

QF fanboy.  Love the new business product. Sometimes having that fixed partition is not a bad thing when travelling with your partner. Separation makes the heart grow fonder

25 Mar 2012

Total posts 3

As I live in Queensland have only tried Singapore Airlines A330 which are sub standard and the A380 out of sydney which is better but not as good as say Etihad when they used to fly Brisbane to Singapore -flying Qantas out of Brisbane in a couple of weeks to Singapore on their upgraded A330 and then back to Melbourne on Emirates A380 so it will be interesting to see if I agree with your assessment

25 Mar 2015

Total posts 31

I would put BA's offering as dead last in any business class comparison; I am off small build but even I find the seats very narrow and uncomfortable. Also, as the window seats are so inaccessible from the aisle, food is served in a tray much like in economy. Aisle seats have zero privacy. And, not to mention having to climb over people to get in and out of one's seat if one is sitting close to window.  Overall, I rate BA's "business" offering as a very good premium economy.

20 May 2015

Total posts 2

Hi Chris

I Noticed you didn't rate Emirates in your list.  I have traveled on both the 777 service to Brisbane from Singapore & the A380 Service out of Melbourne to Singapore  both are very good.

Hi Allan, Emirates doesn't fly between Sydney and Singapore which was the focus of this article, so naturally wasn't mentioned. :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jul 2017

Total posts 1

Interesting. Qantas customer care indicated to the NSW Dept of Fair Trading that Qantas & BA were like for like ie identical in terms of quality and amenity, in what I perceive was an attempt to avoid paying me any compensation for being bumped from the midnight QF flight to the 8pm BA flight on the Singapore Sydney flight. All I want is the $500 difference in airfares that #qantas has pocketed. My wife's and my experience on the QF flight on the way up  certainly felt better than the BA flight home. But if Qantas Customer Care are saying they are like for like with BA then maybe travellers should consider if as a couple the extra $1,000 is worth it.


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