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Singapore Airlines: First Vs Business Class


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When flying on Singapore Airlines, is it worth paying to upgrade to First Class from Business Class on long-haul flights?

The Singapore Airlines First Class cabin is exquisite. The A380 consists of only 6 suites, with 3 on each side of the aisle. That’s a downscale compared to SQ’s A380s with the old layout, featuring 12 First Class suites.

Beautifully crafted walls frame the aisle, only interrupted by the sliding doors, which gives 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).

Etihad Airways’ First Class Apartments inspired the new First Class cabin design 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 also a pretty special cabin. Singapore Airlines offers a relatively consistent cabin and Business Class product across most of its long-haul fleet.

While Singapore Airlines has a prestigious reputation, offering great service, delicious food, excellent in-flight entertainment, and the always smiling Singapore air hostess. Do the additional extra choices and exclusive privileges make Singapore Airlines First Class worth the extra cost over Business Class ?Is it worth the extra cost to upgrade?

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1. First vs. Business Class: Price

If the price is your biggest factor when making the decision on which class to fly in, you should probably choose to fly Business Class. After all, the entire plane will get to its destination, whichever class you are sitting in.

Having said that, the privacy offered by First Class may make the difference if you want a good night’s sleep. Even if the price IS your biggest factor, if you get a good night’s sleep in First Class, this can save you from wasting a day of your holiday because you are overly tired, which may ultimately be worth more than the price difference.

How much extra is First Class than Business Class on Singapore Airlines? First Class is typically 50%-100% more expensive than flying in Business Class. Expect to pay up to double the price to fly in First Class.

As an example, London to Singapore return in Business Class costs around £4,500 – £5,000 GBP, and the same route in First costs around £8,000 to £9,000 GBP. You may find cheaper rates in flash sales.

2. First vs. Business Class: Loyalty Program

In terms of loyalty programs, Singapore Airlines operates Kris Flyer, so if you are able to use these miles, this is a fairly good frequent flyer scheme. Obviously, you get more miles if you fly in First Class because you are spending more money.

With the recent devaluations of several frequent flyer programs, the sweet spot for redemptions is quickly becoming Business Class rather than First Class. Usually, the extra miles required to fly in First Class are significant.

3. First vs. Business Class: Check-in & Hold Baggage

For many airlines, the First Class, Business Class, and often Premium Economy experience starts the moment you check in. That’s especially true if you’re visiting one of the world’s best First or Business Class lounges.

Enjoy priority treatment throughout your journey from check-in to boarding and baggage handling if you are flying in First and in Business Class. First comes at the top, but you still get most of the benefits (if coming in second is OK with you) in Business Class.

You get a 50kg luggage allowance when flying in First (more if you are an elite member of their frequent flyer scheme), and this compares to 40kg in Business Class, which is a big bonus.

4. First vs. Business Class: Lounges

Singapore Airlines offers excellent lounges and are some of the best lounges at Singapore airport. When flying in Business or First, you can access the excellent Singapore Airlines Business and First Class airport lounges. While the First Class lounges ARE better, the Business Class lounges are good enough for most travelers and are still excellent.

5. First vs. Business Class: Toilets

Singapore Airlines is way ahead of most other airlines with a stylish Asian color scheme in the cabin of warm browns. First Class passengers get their own toilets. On the A380, there are two stylishly furnished lavatories 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).

Business Class lavatories are good and exclusive to Business Class but are not as large or as special as the First Class bathrooms.

6. First vs. Business Class: Amenity Kit

Singapore Airlines offers the following amenity kit to First Class passengers:

Male and female amenity kits are from the renowned French brand Lalique when traveling out of Singapore. A male-female combined amenity kit is given out on Singapore-bound flights. I received the latter on my last flight; a black pouch containing a scented candle, lip balm, body lotion, and soap.

You also get a Lalique branded sleeper suit pajamas, a pair of Lalique branded slippers, and Bose noise-canceling headphones (which you can’t keep).

During my flight, I also received a present containing a special edition SQ A380 glass, but I am not sure whether this is standard.

It is worth noting that Singapore Airlines does not provide amenity kits to its Business Class passengers. Instead, they provide some items in their bathrooms. The only things waiting for Business Class passengers on their seats are a pair of slippers, compression socks, noise-canceling headphones, and a large pillow.

7. First vs. Business Class: Seat

Singapore Airlines offers one of the most luxurious First Class products of any airline on their double-decker A380. This product is known as suites, and it is famed for offering a double bed along with the Etihad Residence, as the only two double beds on a commercial airliner.

Singapore Airlines First Class Is in a different league to Business Class! 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 and 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 on the armrest, an electronic control panel on the side, and a tablet by 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. A large 32-inch touchscreen monitor in high-definition is attached to the suite’s aisle-side wall, located in front of the seat; this TV could also be swiveled.

In front of the seat is the bed, which is folded up when you board the plane and is made up when you request 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, and a jacket, and with a mirror in the door. Larger items could be stored under a fixed panel next to the windows that served as support for the bed’s head when unfolded. By 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 form a double bed by lowering the partition between these suites. When not in use, the bed could be stowed completely, creating even more personal space within each suite.

The Business Class seat on Singapore Airlines (SQ)is one of the widest in the industry and is the widest on Singapore Airlines’ A380 and B777 aircraft. The seat features a pitch of around 1,53 cm (60 inches) and a width of around 71 cm (20 inches). The suite’s walls are quite high, which gives you a decent level of privacy. While this seat is great, it is not nearly as good as the First Class Seat.

8. First vs. Business Class: KrisWorld inflight entertainment

With contents thoughtfully curated, the KrisWorld inflight entertainment offers an impressive selection of 1,800 entertainment options with an impressive selection of 1,000 entertainment options, with tons and tons of movies, television programs, music, games, and apps.

In First Class, the 32-inch, high-resolution TV screen in the suite is the most impressive screen on the plane and is larger than the screen in Business Class. The Business Class screen is an 18-inch (45 cm) LCD screen in front of each seat.

On selected flights, you can also stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues with Internet connectivity and text and multimedia messaging, whichever class you are flying in.

9. First vs. Business Class: Flight Attendants

Singapore Airlines flight attendants have the reputation of being attractive and kind, and helpful. They have certainly been trained better than many competitor airline flight attendants.

Those serving in the First Class cabin have more time for you than those serving in the Singapore Airlines Business Class cabin, so First Class wins. Service is generally much more attentive. You feel like you’re being served in a restaurant, and you can have what you want when you want. Business Class feels a little more like you are being served food from an assembly line.

10. First vs. Business Class: 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.

First Class airline food is usually of restaurant quality. Business Class food is very good but is not the experience you will get in First Class.

The food is excellent on Singapore Airlines in First Class (see the photos in the scroller above!). The food on offer during my last 13-hour flight from London to Singapore was some of the best we have experienced in all our years of traveling.

Lunch was served shortly after takeoff, ninety minutes prior to landing, and above the Gulf of Bengal, breakfast was served.

  • Canapes
  • Singapore chicken and beef satay with onion, cucumber, and spicy peanut sauce
  • Appetiser
  • Marinated lobster with radish and saffron yogurt, served with chickpeas, orange, and frisee
  • Soup
  • Pea cream soup with mussels and squid ink
  • Main
  • Seared Aberdeen Angus beef Rossini style, served with foie gras, Anna potatoes-spinach, mesclun salad, and Marsala wine sauce
  • Dessert
  • Vanilla meringue on chestnut mousse with vanilla ice cream and mango sauce
  • Tarte Tatin or warmed classic caramelized apple turnover tart served with milk ice cream and fresh berries
  • A variety of fresh fruits
  • Charbonnel and Walker chocolates
  • Breakfast
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Selection of sliced fresh fruits
  • Bircher muesli, rolled oat soaked in milk and natural yogurt with fresh berries
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Pancake with Kaya mascarpone cheese, mixed berry, and apple compote

Mid-flight, there was a snack, Kway Teow noodles with chicken, black mushroom, and Oriental chicken stock, which tasted excellent.

The food was First Class, as you can see from the extensive photos above, and served in fine dining style with white tablecloths.

By comparison, the food offered on my last Singapore Airlines Business Class flight was good but was delivered assembly-line style, and the meal was not an event. My choice on the 6-hour 15-minute flight was from an eat anytime throughout the menu. You could order your meal shortly after takeoff or before landing.

The ‘Sleeper Service’ overnight menu read as follows:

  • Angus Beef Burger
  • Selection of Shanghainese Dim Sum
  • Fish Noodles Soup
  • American Breakfast
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Fresh Fruit of the Season
  • Assorted Bread Rolls & Breakfast Pastries
  • Coffee & Tea


I would say that the Singapore Airlines First Class is a brilliant product, one of the best in the skies, and worth paying the extra if you can afford it. Most of us can’t and will fly Economy, Premium Economy, and Business Class, but do we miss flying in First Class? Probably not. Business Class is still great. Business Class products, which feature direct aisle access, are arguably better than First Class 10 years ago. Yes, First Class is amazing, but Business Class is excellent, too on Singapore Airlines.

For those of us with more meager wallets, Premium Economy beats Economy and is still a treat.

Below you will find my most recent flight reviews on Singapore Airlines in Business and First Class:

Singapore Airlines Business & First Class Reviews

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class, KUL to SIN

In "Reviews"

In November, I was booked into Singapore Airlines for a very short flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. For this 50-minute flight, I was lucky enough to be placed on Singapore Airlines’ A330 Business Class. Read More.

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review my flight on Singapore Airlines (SQ) A330 in Business Class from Singapore Changi International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City, which I flew in April 2017. Read More.

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Boeing 777 From Beijing

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review my flight on Singapore Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300ER, Beijing to Singapore. On a recent work trip, I found out that I had to get from Beijing to Singapore at the last minute. As… Read More.

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Dusseldorf to Singapore

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review Business Class on a new Singapore Airlines (SQ) Airbus A350-900 from Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) in Germany to Changi International Airport (SIN) in April 2017. This was followed by a flight on Singapore Airlines A330… Read More.

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class

In "Reviews"

In this trip report, I review my flight on Singapore Airlines (SQ) A330 in Business Class from Singapore Changi International Airport to Ho Chi Minh City, which I flew in April 2017. Read More.

Review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 Business Class

In "Reviews"

I am always keen to review Business Class seating on the latest planes, and the new Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 is no exception. This new aircraft features a three-class configuration, with 42 seats in business, 24 in Premium Economy, and… Read More.

Flight Review: Singapore Airlines A380 First Class Suite

In "Reviews"

We reviewed the First Class Suite on Singapore Airlines on their A380 plane from London Heathrow to Singapore. This trip was flown in their brand new suite, and the flight was a brilliant experience in almost all aspects. Read More.

Image © uladzimirzuyeu / Adobe Stock.

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