Singapore's Changi Airport remains a popular hub for Australian travellers, especially for that necessary stop-over on the Kangaroo Route to and from London.
And like many international airports, Changi's offers more than one lounge that's open to passengers on Qantas or oneworld partner airlines such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Finnair.
Here's a rundown to help you find the best place to hang before your flight.
You really have two sets of choices: the Qantas/British Airways First and Business lounges or Cathay Pacific's Skyview lounge.
(In theory, you may also have access to the SATS Premier Lounge that Japan Airlines uses -- but it's a third-party lounge and they don't necessarily have to let you in unless you're flying JAL. I've found them reluctant to do so when flying Qantas, BA and Finnair over the last couple of years, and it's not particularly worth the hassle.)
Qantas/BA joint lounges
Earlier this year we saw the Singapore lounge revamp shakeup where Qantas and BA shifted their first and business class lounges around, as part of a lounge renovation that should be finished later by this year.
Having previously noted that the Singapore lounge access rules have changed during this make-over, due to the relative size of the two lounges, we were really keen to get in there and see what passengers are experiencing.
Compared with when I reviewed it last year (when it was the Business lounge), the interim First lounge is still overcrowded, still has appallingly slow Internet and still has mediocre food -- but the wines are much improved, for what that's worth.
Meanwhile, the interim Business (old First) lounge is still brighter, but feels much more cramped, the food's as mediocre as the interim First lounge, but the wine isn't as good.
The wifi is problematic -- I was barely able to load any webpage, and only after three attempts could I get a speed test to work, which then returned the appalling figures of 0.78Mbps down and 0.05Mbps up, with a problematic ping of 242ms.
Thankfully, Qantas tells us it's working on fixing the wireless Internet at both lounges.
Skyview (Cathay Pacific/dnata) lounge
Cathay and Dubai airport authority dnata jointly operate the Skyview lounge, located down at the end of Changi's T1 terminal.
It's accessible to business/first class passengers, Qantas Gold/Platinum cardholders and oneworld Emerald/Sapphire members (as well as members of Priority Pass and other lounge entry schemes).
Since I last reviewed it, the first class/Qantas Platinum/oneworld Emerald section has been opened up to all passengers, which is great news if you want to spread out at one of the large work desks in the old first class section.
The food is better than Qantas, especially if you like Asian food (there's dim sum, instant noodles, sandwiches, an Asian stew-type dish and a Western stew-type dish, plus your choice of carbs).
Drinks, though, aren't anything to write home about: off-brand wine, cans of relatively decent local beer and a small spirits selection.
Skyview has both an "inside" quiet lounge and an "outside" lounge exposed to the hubbub of the terminal.
Wifi isn't much better than Qantas here: 0.84Mbps down and 0.2Mbps up, with a 154ms ping.
Which lounge is better?
At the end of the day, it depends whether you can get into the Qantas interim First Lounge, which is overall the best of the bunch. If not, skip the Qantas interim Business Lounge and head for Cathay's Skyview lounge.
If you're in business/first class, a Qantas Platinum or oneworld Emerald
For a tasty drop of wine, head for the Qantas First lounge. When I was there this week they were pouring three whites and three reds, plus the firmly low-end business class Joseph Perrier champagne. (Finnair uses that on its business class to Singapore.)
I tried a taste of all three whites, and the best of them for me (a confirmed Anything But Semillon drinker) was the buttery Phil Ryan Chardonnay from Mount Pleasant in the Hunter.
The Skyview lounge should be your destination if you're peckish, although head to the Qantas First lounge if you're not a fan of the mostly Asian cuisine in the Skyview lounge.
At busy times (peak time is in the evening), the two lounges are about the same in terms of noise level. Qantas is enclosed but can't-find-a-seat busy, while Skyview has the choice of quiet "inside" and natural daylight "outside" areas.
If you're in economy/premium economy and a Qantas Gold or oneworld Sapphire
Since you can't get into the Qantas interim business lounge, head for the Skyview lounge.
The Qantas interim business lounge doesn't have the same decent wine as the first lounge, and it's significantly busier. You'll have a much more relaxing time of it in the Skyview.
Other top Australian Business Traveller articles on the Qantas First Lounge
- Behind the scenes: fine dining at the Qantas First Lounge
- Seven expert tips to make the most of your visit to the Qantas First Class Lounge
- Crafting the seasonal First Class lounge menus (with recipes!)
- How to get into the Qantas First Class Lounge on domestic flights
- Qantas: new First Class lounges for Singapore, Hong Kong by year's end