Emirates Or Singapore Business Class — Which Is Better?

Reader tobymeritt asked the following in the “Ask Lucky” forum:

Hi I’m flying from London to Singapore (return) in business class and my options are either going Emirates through Dubai which would require a stop, or going direct on Singapore Airlines, however they have the A380 and apparently a new business class, which is better? Finally I also have the option to try Qantas A380 business class. Which would be the best choice?

Singapore business class vs. Emirates business class

That’s a real toughie. Emirates and Singapore both offer among the better business class products out there, so I’d be hard pressed to suggest one. It really does depend on the particular flight.

In general, my experiences in Singapore business class have been phenomenal:

  • The seats are incredible, especially if you can get a “bulkhead” seat, where you have virtually unlimited room for your legs
  • The food is generally very good, though does vary depending on whether you’re on a proper “dinner” flight, or a dreaded “supper” flight
  • Singapore service nowadays can be inconsistent, though generally ranges from above average to the best in the industry

Singapore-Business-Class

Singapore-Business-Class

Emirates-Food

Emirates business class is excellent as well. Emirates has:

  • An excellent dine on demand menu, and the food is generally top notch
  • A good fully flat scattered business class seat (though I do slightly prefer the Singapore seat)
  • An amazing entertainment selection and wifi, along with a fun onboard bar (all three areas where Emirates beats Singapore by a long shot)
  • Service which can sometimes be inconsistent, given how international the crews are; sometimes they work great together, other times they don’t

Emirates-Business-Class

Emirates-business-bar

I guess it depends what you’re looking to do. If you want to sleep, I’d probably fly Singapore. If you want to party/entertain yourself/watch movies, then I’d say Emirates offers an all around better product.

The real deciding factor here

I’d say to some degree the relative advantages of the two (excellent) products are sort of a moot point. That’s not what I’d be making my decision based on. Instead I’d be making it based on flight length and the ability to fly nonstop.

Singapore-A380

Why? While I’m not usually opposed to making connections (in many cases I even prefer them), this isn’t one of those cases. If you fly London to Singapore, you’ll get a nice 12+ hour flight where you can eat, sleep, relax, etc. I’d argue it’s the perfect flight length, actually.

However, if you connect in Dubai, your flight lengths will be cut in half. You’ll be left with two flights of about six to seven hours each. I don’t think there’s a more useless flight length than six hours. It’s not enough time to get any real sleep, and by the time you actually fall asleep it’s almost time to land.

LHRSIN

Bottom line

Ultimately Emirates and Singapore both offer great business class products, though in this case I think the choice is simple. On Singapore you’ll get a “real” longhaul flight, while on Emirates you’ll get two medium haul flights, which won’t really allow you to get much rest.

The only other thing I’d note is that if the fare difference is huge (as it often is — Emirates has very good prices sometimes, while Singapore is usually pricey), it could be worth forgoing some sleep in favor of a fun flight and a lot of saved money.

Which option would you take between London and Singapore — Emirates or Singapore Airlines?

Comments

  1. As rightly put cant choose between EK&SQ business as both are at the top of their game. It would probably boil down to the price. I guess a 1 stop flight is considerably cheaper than a non stop. If the difference is substantial I’d take EK on a heartbeat!The added benefit being to enjoy the lounge at DXB A Concourse.

  2. Ben, Thanks for dealing with business class. For many of your readers like me, business class on EK or SQ is aspirational and the miles saved by not going First Class permits us to travel more.

  3. No.. I am wrong, there is an A380 daily service between SIN and DXB. But it’s really pricey, maybe give Vietnam a try? Only US$2000 RT reverse herringbone J 13h+

  4. “A good fully flat scattered business class seat”

    Don’t you mean staggered?

    When did you try EK’s business class? And if you have, why no TR? Also, that is one route you are comparing, Lucky. What if the flight was LHR-SYD? Would you recommend EK or SQ in that case?

  5. SQ’s more expensive because it’s nonstop, EK as you point out requires a transit at DBX as with all its long haul flights, the reason it can charge less. Don’t particularly like SQ’s bench style seats in either F or J. These only come into their own as beds…otherwise very uncomfortable seats that are just too wide, even with the cushion. And of course, SQ still doesn’t do business class amenity kits!

  6. I love EK business class on the A380, especially if I’m travelling with a group of friends. The bar is a great place to network or meet other tourists/travellers. If time is not a factor and you’re an extrovert, I’d say go with EK. For more introvert folks who wish peace and quiet, then go with SQ.

  7. One of the few posts where I agree completely with what everything lucky has said.

    But all of the above notwithstanding, it’s still SQ hands down for me. Bit of a no-brainer, really.

  8. Interestingly, no-one commented (not even Lucky) on the QF choice also mentioned within the question. To QF, I’d say no. Their A380 Business Skybed Mk II is sub-par to the others on offer (no all direct aisle access here), service can be very hit and miss, and there is not much to get excited about (it’s only if the fare was substantially cheaper there would be much merit).

    Provided EK is offering the newer A380s all the way, I’d be tempted to say EK. I think Lucky puts too much on the shorter flight segments, because you would pretty much sleep through on one flight, and dine and socialise on the other, not try to do both on each.

    It’s all very well saying you could get a bulkhead seat on SQ for a decent sleep (because otherwise you end up with a pretty unnatural sleeping position, slewed across your seat, due to the restrictive foot box), but these seats are the first to go. Odds are, you won’t get one. SQ also has a bad habit of being quite annoying at times – on a recent flight, I had practically every crew member (quite a few of them doing so twice) stop by to give me exactly the same bit of information (regarding transfer) on that flight to the point I felt like shouting “I heard you the first time!!!”. There is a reason people tend to mock them as being robotic in service delivery, as sometimes they are a bit OCD and don’t pay attention to the cues people give them.

    I find the Emirates A380 business seat better for sleeping, everyone gets a decent foot box, food is typically decent, and their latest ICE system is great. The bar is a nice touch. EK crew might not always be excellent, but they generally don’t annoy you as much as SQ crew sometimes can. The premium lounges at Dubai can be a good plus too, worth a transit.

    The only thing that I really don’t like about the EK A380 is that they put all the Business Class toilets right down the back of the plane by the bar, rather than spreading them out across the cabin like most other carriers.

  9. ??QF Would only take you to Dubai then it would be Emirates at least you would get pj’s on the Qantas leg! I have a bucket load of SIA amenity kits from SIA in J include ring last week maybe not on the regional J? What about QATAR A380 then 787 if you want a stop over and their J lounge is much better the Emirates. Though me too DG irect flights any day!

  10. > Just to mention that SIN-DXB is served with a B777. That means an angle-flat.

    What Ivan said. And on top of the angle-flat seat, the configuration is 2-3-2. Eww.

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