The best business class on Melbourne-Singapore flights

The best business class on Melbourne-Singapore flights

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.

Also read: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 business class review

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.

Also read: Qantas Airbus A330 Business Suite business class review

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.

Also read: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 business class review

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

 

31 Comments

  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    10 Apr, 2017 09:25 am

    Good article. Although I am getting a bit sick of the 'downside' to the Qantas a330 business class. You can't talk to your partner for a while? I am sure people can go a few hours enjoying their own time or with their noise cancelling headphones on.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    10 Apr, 2017 09:55 am

    Actually a bit of a bonus (for my wife that is!)
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Apr, 2017 10:02 am

    CBRQF: It's a matter of personal preference. Some people like the space the divider creates (which is sounds like you do), while others prefer being able to chat. Qantas has received lots of feedback for the latter since the A330 Business Suites were introduced, which is why the Boeing 787s will come delivered with dividers that can be opened or closed between centre Business Suites.
    No member give thanks

  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    10 Apr, 2017 01:17 pm

    Yup - Certainly get that and I can definitely see why it is raised. I have seen some saying that the divider is a deal breaker and I just think that is nit picking for the sake of it.
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    10 Apr, 2017 08:43 pm

    Agree - it is good to have choice.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    10 Apr, 2017 09:58 am

    Apologise if this has been covered elsewhere, but does the EK Singapore flight mean you could get a QF ticket to Europe via Sing (and presumably Dubai)?

    Fast forwarding a couple of years when I head to Germany with the family, the dual stop was something I was looking at anyway (at least one way). 
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    10 Apr, 2017 10:05 am

    Steve: Yes, you can fly Melbourne-Singapore-Dubai-Europe on a QF code. You could also fly Melbourne-Singapore with Qantas and then Singapore-Helsinki with Finnair booked as a Qantas codeshare.
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    10 Apr, 2017 10:11 am

    Fantastic, thanks Chris - that might be the new clubhouse leader!
    No member give thanks

  • Steve987

    Steve987

    10 Apr, 2017 10:17 am

    Re the JQ service, I've used it a couple of times now and I find it more than satisfactory at the price point. The service is actually on par or better at times than the QF business service (and miles ahead of the PE service, which is the more relevant comparison) due to the cabin only holding 15 people. 

    Yes sleep is more difficult on the way back, but I find that trip the hardest to sleep on anyway due to the departure time being early evening in Sing and the flight only lasting 6-7 hours. If I am going to sleep badly either way then I figure I may as well keep the $2-3k difference in my pocket (while still earning the same SC's and points as I would on QF).
    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    10 Apr, 2017 11:04 am

    Its the same with most overnights out of Asia, and the reason I tend to avoid using points to upgrade on those flights. I might as well get no sleep in Y than in J. Jakarta is the worst, early flight time and even shorter flight.
    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    10 Apr, 2017 04:57 pm

    A fixed divider is a deal breaker for my wife and me - nothing to do with nit picking, we enjoy chatting intermittently on a 6-7 hour flight. Clearly, it may also be a deal breaker for other passengers given Chris' comment that the 787 will come with movable dividers, presumably in response to the feedback the Company received on this issue.
    No member give thanks

  • Alex_upgrade

    alex_upgrade77

    10 Apr, 2017 05:31 pm

    It surprises me that Qantas didn't flag the fixed divider issue when first developing this seat. Especially given that the Skybed II has a moveable divider. Did it not occur to Qantas that the fixed divider would be a problem for couples? 
    No member give thanks

  • CBRQF

    CBRQF

    11 Apr, 2017 08:59 am

    Get up and walk around to chat?
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    10 Apr, 2017 08:41 pm

    My complains as usual - what percentage of pax QF (BTW they call it "national flag carrier") jetting between MEL and SIN?
    No member give thanks

  • Tavis Callaghan

    Theresnormissin

    11 Apr, 2017 10:26 am

    Can you elaborate on your complaint Serg? eg are you referring to number of services? I would expect Singapore Airlines and Scoot as Singapore's national carrier and their Low cost offshoot (with a single global Hub) to have at least as many flights to Melbourne as Qantas and Jetstar.
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    11 Apr, 2017 01:39 pm

    This is EXACTLY my point - I like to see QF+JQ doing as many services and shift as many pax as SQ+Scoot. Ditto to MEL-HKG - I expect QF fly as many times as CX. Ditto to MEL-DXB and so on. And now lets discuss ADL-SIN for example.
    No member give thanks

  • Tavis Callaghan

    Theresnormissin

    11 Apr, 2017 02:42 pm

    At the risk of both of us being moderated for going too off topic, I suspect that this route is pretty much at capacity so there may not need to be any more aircraft from any carrier required to meet demand. It features a range of good quality business product's with final selection seemingly coming down to personal preference in the end. 

    Now to go slightly off piste... expanding on my original point, Singapore is their global hub so all of Singapore Airlines flying to onward flights begin in Singapore due to their hub/spoke system, so to me it follows that they would have many more flights daily to Melbourne to service the onwards connections. While Qantas is the national carrier of Australia I don't believe that it then means that it should always have more flights flights to a particular destination than any other airline, especially in this case.

    I am aware that you don't really consider Codeshare on EK to be considered a 'Qantas' flight but technically you have 4 Singapore flights + 1 scoot, on 6 days, vs qantas with up to 2 flights + 1 Jetstar + 1 Codeshare 3 days a week. So it's not that far behind in the scheme of things. I'm from Adelaide so but now live in Sydney, so happy to discuss the merits of the options ex. Adl to singapore in a forum if you want, or Aus BT can Publish an article on the options something along the lines of best business class to Europe ex Adelaide using Cathay, Singapore, Qatar, Malaysian and Emirates (if they haven't covered that)
    No member give thanks

  • Serg

    Serg

    12 Apr, 2017 03:44 pm

    I disagree with your POV. Yes, capacity is reached or almost reached. And it would be OK that QF has less than 50% of pax if QF has as least as many (or close enough) pax as carrier from second (or first) place. However this is not the case - from MEL to SIN SQ has more than or close to 50% of pax, MEL-HKG CX has more than or close to 50% of pax, MEL-DXB EK has more than or close to 50% pax, MEL-BKK Thai has more that or close to 50% of pax and so on. Now lets talk about ADL and see what is QF share. Your saying "It is SIN, so it is expected that SQ has more flights". But go to SIN and ask yourself who should have more flights from SIN to Australia. Why ALSO SQ? It does not sounds strange for you? And your defending speech a bit funny - "up to 2 flights" and "1 codeshare" IMHO definitely not good enough. I like to see QF flying more instead of selling more EK tickets. Of course YMMV
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    12 Apr, 2017 03:49 pm

    Okay, it's time to bring the discussion back to the topic of the article: business class between Melbourne and Singapore. You're welcome to continue this discussion in our Community area, of course. :)
    No member give thanks

  • Tavis Callaghan

    Theresnormissin

    12 Apr, 2017 04:06 pm

    Thanks for indulging us for the moment there chris! Not sure either of us will make much headway.

    The moveable divider is fairly important I think. While it won't ever have the pure aesthetics of a fully moulded seat, I enjoy being able to 'share' a meal with whoever I am traveling with, and conversely being able to maintain some solitude if I so wish.

    Having said that is far from a deal breaker as I tend to choose based on perceived value. Despite having lounge access I attach (probably far too much) weight to the expected quality of the in-flight catering (which seems to vary alarmingly form port to port even when using the same airline)
    No member give thanks

  • jet_setter

    jet_setter

    11 Apr, 2017 12:01 am

    *quality, not qualify

    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    11 Apr, 2017 09:33 am

    I don't want to have to get up and walk around to chat with my spouse and I suspect, without any evidence other than Qantas putting a movable divider in their 787s, that we're not the only couples, friends, other family etc. who feel that way. We enjoy chatting whether we're flying Canberra-Sydney, Melbourne-London or anywhere in between


    No member give thanks

  • highflyer

    highflyer

    11 Apr, 2017 01:35 pm

    Some of us enjoy the peace and quiet and not the yapping of people behind us that won't stop talking loudly... saying that it is not really that hard of a divider to lean forward and chat if you really need to. 
    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    11 Apr, 2017 07:00 pm

    '...saying that it is not really that hard of a divider to lean forward and chat if you really need to.'
    That's why it's a deal breaker for my wife & me - on every(?) other airline out of Melbourne, we don't have to lean forward to chat
    'Some of us enjoy the peace and quiet and not the yapping of people behind us that won't stop talking loudly...'
    You'll be ok sitting in front of us then, we don't talk loudly, so you'll have that going for you - lol
    No member give thanks

  • Richard Wilson

    Richard W

    12 Apr, 2017 04:12 pm

    Can anyone provide an accurate description or review of business class seats on the Emirates A380-800 2 class which flies from Melbourne to Singapore each evening?
    I am travelling with my wife and two young children (5 & 7). It is hard to clearly understand the layout through various sites. I am trying to work out the best seats for the 4 of us. 
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    12 Apr, 2017 04:20 pm

    Hi Richard, Emirates uses the 3-class Airbus A380 on the Melbourne-Singapore route, not the 2-class version (we've just double-checked this via the airline GDS/booking systems: these flights have first class, business class and economy).

    You may find these AusBT articles/reviews helpful with your research:

    The best seats in business class on Emirates' Airbus A380s
    Review: Emirates A380 business class, Sydney-Dubai

    (The plane used on Sydney-Dubai is the same as used on Melbourne-Singapore.)
    No member give thanks

  • Richard Wilson

    Richard W

    12 Apr, 2017 04:54 pm

    Thanks Chris,
    Currently when I manage my booking via the Emirates website it is showing me seats for the 2 class with the weird 2-4-2 layout. (Which may actually be 1-2-1, but not like other airlines 1-2-1 as you have to walk in front of the aisle passenger if on a window seat. It is not easy to assess, but lets hope you are correct and when I fly it is a three class and not with business at the back of economy on the upper deck.  
    No member give thanks

  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    12 Apr, 2017 09:36 pm

    There are no 2-4-2 EK J layouts. You might be confusing the picture which shows staggered window seats with some closest to the aisle and some closest to the window, each with a corresponding ledge and bar unit. There is definitely only a 1-2-1 layout though. See: https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Emirates_Airlines/Emirates_Airlines_Airbus_A380.php
    No member give thanks

  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    12 Apr, 2017 09:59 pm

    All EK A380 J cabins are 1-2-1 but on a seat map this can look a bit strange. The seats all have a cabinet of sorts next to them with a wide ledge and bar which looks like an additional staggered seat. It's not. Some window seats are closer to the aisle, some are closer to the window but they are definitely on their own.
    No member give thanks

  • A V

    BussTraveller

    14 Apr, 2017 09:21 pm

    Great article Chris. We flew Singapore-Melbourne in 2016, Business Class on the Emirates A380; an amazing experience. One clarification though, that might be worth making, as it confused me in the article and might confuse others. The lack of chauffeur drive offered by Emirates on QF coded flights is just between Australia/New Zealand and Asia and not on other routes. Just a thought.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Apr, 2017 11:35 am

    That's correct, although this article is specifically focused on the Melbourne-Singapore route, so whether Emirates offers Chauffeur Drive on other routes isn't relevant when comparing options only between Melbourne and Singapore. :)
    No member give thanks

Guest

21 Aug, 2017 08:18 pm

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×