When comparing British Airways (BA) vs. Singapore Airlines (SQ), which is the best option when traveling in Premium Economy, Business, and First Class?
For Business and First, always choose Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines has a prestigious reputation, offering great service, delicious food, excellent in-flight entertainment, and the always smiling Singapore air hostess. The only thing lacking is a Business Class amenity kit, possibly a tail camera, a slightly more comfortable Business Class flatbed, and any Premium Economy seats on their planes.
1. Best Deal
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2. Best for Loyalty
In terms of loyalty programs, Singapore Airlines operates Kris Flyer. In contrast, British Airways operate their BA Avios, so it is sensible to choose one brand over the other and stick with it.
3. Best Routing
Singapore routing is brilliant out of Singapore, and British Airways is brilliant out of London, so your decision on which to fly will partially depend on your home airport.
4. Best For Seat Reservation
Singapore Airlines is better than British Airways for its seat reservation policy. They don’t charge for advance seat reservations in business class.
5. Best Flight Attendants
Singapore Airlines is better than British Airways for flight attendants. They have the reputation of being attractive and are kind and helpful. British Airways flight attendants vary from the excellent to the pretty unhelpful right through to the occasional rude air hostess.
6. Best Airport Lounges
Singapore Airlines operates from Singapore Airport (SIN), while the British Airways hub is London Heathrow (LHR). Both airports are excellent in offering decent restaurants, world-class shopping with Haute boutiques, and a wide range of leisure facilities.
Singapore airlines offers better quality lounges and are some of the best lounges at Singapore airport. We have also reviewed British Airways airport lounges but they do not match up on most levels (food, ambience and service)
7. Best Cabin
Singapore Airlines is way ahead of BA, especially in premium cabins. I actually like the style of both British Airways and Singapore Airlines. British Airways is classic, and in blues, Singapore airlines have a more Asian color scheme of warm browns. They are both stylish, but Singapore has the edge, even in Economy, as BA’s planes can occasionally look a little tatty.
The Singapore Airlines First Class cabin is exquisite on the A380 and consists of only 6 suites, with 3 suites on each side of the aisle. That’s a downscale compared to SQ’s A380s with the old layout, which features 12 First Class suites.
Beautifully crafted walls frame the aisle, only interrupted by the sliding doors, which give access to the individual suites. Two stylishly furnished lavatories further accentuate the exclusivity of the First Class cabin in the front, one of which features palatial dimensions, has a sit-down vanity counter, and is stocked with Lalique toiletries (e.g., special citrus-scented facial mist, body lotion, and fragrance).
The new First Class cabin design was inspired by Etihad Airways’ First Class Apartments and is really special.
In Business Class, the cabin on the A350 is designed by James Parker Associated, the company that also created the opulent interiors of the Orient Express and is a mix of bronzy gold, beige, purple, and chocolate-brown, colors with plush throw pillows that contrast with the dark leather seats. It is a pretty special cabin.
On BA, the First and Business cabins don’t look awfully different and are functional rather than inspiring. Both British Airways and Singapore Airlines offer a relatively consistent cabin and Business Class product across most of their long-haul fleet.
8. Best Pilots
As a nervous flyer, I like to fly British Airways as the pilots tend to keep you informed of turbulence and tend to have a rather comforting (for me) British accent. Many have a background in the RAF. I am sure pilots from other airlines are equally competent, but no other airline has the Biggles style British Airways pilots.
9. Best Business Class Seat
Singapore Airlines for so many reasons! The Business Class seat on Singapore Airlines (SQ) Airbus A350-900 is one of the widest in the industry, albeit slightly more narrow than the seats on Singapore Airlines’s A380 and B777 aircraft. It is much, much wider than the equivalent BA seat. The seat features a pitch of 1,53 cm (60 inches) and a width of 71 cm (20 inches). The suite’s walls are quite high, which gives you a decent level of privacy.
British Airways Business Class seats are poor. Thin foam, thin seats, no direct aisle access for many of the seats. They were groundbreaking when they were launched, but other airlines have improved on their model and are now much, much better than the seats on British Airways.
British Airways Club World seats currently lie flat but are thin, which means less privacy when you are trying to sleep to the point that you can feel quite vulnerable to passing traffic on these seats. Of course, if you have a non-aisle seat, you will feel less vulnerable, but you do not currently get aisle access from a non-aisle seat, so you have to climb over neighbors to get out, a real problem for sleeping if you need to get out and climb over or if you are being climbed over!
10. Best First Class Seat
British Airways First Class is poor and cannot be compared to the Singapore Airlines First Class apartments (pictured above). Singapore Airlines First Class Is in a different league! The First suite is separated from the aisle by sliding doors and is surrounded by high walls to ensure privacy. All suites have identical decor, complete with lavish yet stylish furnishings, much like a mini-hotel room.
Each suite comes with a large leather seat, a separate folding bed, so you can lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in the bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. All of the suite’s features (e.g., seat position, lighting, entertainment, etc.) are controlled by a handset in the armrest, an electronic control panel on the side, and a tablet along the windows.
The 53 cm (21 inches) wide armchair is the centerpiece of the suite. The seat itself is upholstered in fine leather from Poltrona Frau, which also produces the seats for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. The super-comfy chair is fully adjustable, swiveled, and reclined up to 45 degrees.
The suite’s folding dining table is located next to the seat. The small table itself is decorated with white flowers and also features a holder for the menu, which is beautifully lit by a reading light. Located to the front of the seat is a large 32 inch high-definition touchscreen. Mounted to the suite’s aisle-side wall, the position of this monitor can be adjusted.
In front of the seat is the bed, folded up when you board the plane and is made up when you requested turn-down service during the flight. The bed is 80.5 inches (205 cm) long and is comfortable but not particularly large and rather too firm, one of my very few gripes during this excellent flight.
Once the bed is folded out, the suite feels smaller, so if you’re not sleeping, it’s better to stow the bed and enjoy the space.
There is plenty of storage space within the suite. A personal wardrobe is located in the seat’s aisle wall, with enough space for smaller bags, shoes, a jacket, and a mirror in the door. Larger items could be stored under a fixed panel along the windows that served as a support for the bed’s head when unfolded. Along the window, there were three storage compartments, one of them featuring a backlit vanity mirror.
For couples, the beds in the first two suites of each aisle could be converted to a double bed by lowering the partition between these suites. The bed could be stowed completely when not in use, creating even more personal space within each suite.
While Singapore Airlines in First Class is something to be experienced, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend paying for a First Class seat on British Airways. You will get better sleep than in their Business Class, but it is not a particularly good First Class compared to other airlines and is not worth paying a high price for. In fact, the Qatar Airways Business Class QSuites are better than British Airways in First Class.
12. Best Premium Economy Seat
When comparing these airlines, British Airways has a World Traveller Plus or Premium Economy offering, and Singapore Airlines doesn’t. So if you like to fly in Premium Economy, BA is the airline to choose from.
13. Best Food
Singapore Airlines enjoys an excellent culinary reputation and collaborates with world-acclaimed chefs who own Michelin-starred restaurants. The airline is famous for its ‘Book the Cook’ service, where you can select your gourmet main course from a premium selection of dishes at least 24 hours before departure.
14. Best Amenity Kit
Singapore Airlines doesn’t have a Business Class amenity kit. BA offers a luxury amenity kit with Elemis skincare products and accessories in Business Class which is not noteworthy. Both kits are similarly good. When comparing the two in Business Class, BA is best.
15. Conclusion: British Airways vs. Singapore Airlines
British Airways and Singapore Airlines both offer solid Business Class products, and the Singapore Airlines First Class is positively inspiring. Singapore Airlines is positioned as one of the best in the skies, with the exception of the Middle Eastern Carriers. British Airways is not as good but is still an enjoyable experience. You do get an amenity kit in BA’s Business Class and not on Singapore Airlines. Otherwise, Singapore Airlines is best in almost every respect.
Crucially, it is easier to sleep on the Singapore Airlines seats. However, if the cost of the Business Class ticket is the most important aspect of travel for you, you may decide to choose to pick whichever is cheapest.
In these trip reports, I review my long-haul Premium Economy, World Traveller Plus experience on my last two flights on their Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Read More.
I have flown with British Airways many times and have reviewed their long-haul Business Class flights in First and Club World as well as Premium Economy. My trip reports in Business Class can be found below. Read More.
I have reviewed a number of my British Airways flights in First Class. You can find my flight reviews on the A380, B787 Dreamliner & B747 below. The question I also answer in this article is whether it is worth… Read More.
I have flown with Singapore Airlines many times and have reviewed their long haul Business Class flights. My trip reports can be found below. Read More.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.