Singapore Airlines—Business vs Economy

Jess

There’s no denying that Singapore Airlines offers a fantastic flight experience no matter which class of service you’re in. But is business class worth the extra miles required? On a recent trip to Europe, my family of three flew business class on the way to Europe and economy class on the way home. Here are my thoughts…

 

The Airport Experience

Business class

  • Dedicated (much shorter) check-in line for passengers
  • Bags tagged “Priority”; are some of the first to come out on the belt at baggage claim
  • Access to premium lounges like the United Polaris lounge if you’re flying internationally (because Singapore and United are both Star Alliance members).
  • Priority boarding.

Economy class

When we flew economy home, we did have to wait in a bit of a line to check in (there is no dedicated check-in line). It was slightly annoying but not too bad. Our bags weren’t tagged priority, so we had to wait for them longer at baggage claim, and we didn’t have access to any airport lounges before departure.

 

 

The Redemptions

We flew one of Singapore Airlines’ fifth freedom routes from Houston to Manchester. They also have a route from New York City to Frankfurt that will cost the same number of miles.

 

Business class

  • Saver awards: 81,000 Singapore miles one way per person (this is what we paid)
  • Advantage awards: 87,500 Singapore miles one way per person

Economy class

  • Saver awards: 25,000 Singapore miles one way per person (this is what we paid)
  • Advantage awards: 40,000 Singapore miles one way per person

 

The main difference between saver and advantage awards is that saver awards are cheaper, but there is less availability. I’ve always booked pretty far in advance (at least 6 months) and have never had an issue securing saver awards.

Taxes from the U.S. to Europe will cost you $5.60 per person (regardless of which class you’re in). Taxes in economy from Manchester to Houston were £121.70 per person for adults and £37.70 for our daughter (this applies to children under 12). Taxes in business class from Manchester to Houston would have been quite a bit higher at £222.70 per person for both adults and children under 12.

 

The Seats

Obviously, one of the biggest differences between business class and economy is the seats. The business class seats are spacious, come with an amenity kit and over-the-ear headphones, and can turn into lie-flat beds when it’s time to get some shut-eye. All flights we’ve taken have been on the Airbus 350-900 with business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. I usually sit by the window with my daughter and husband in the middle two seats.

 

 

While definitely nowhere near as luxurious as the business class seats, the economy class seats are still nice. They come with a moveable headrest and pillow/blanket for each passenger. On the Airbus 350-900, economy class seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration. We usually claim one row for our family, and it works well.

 

 

The Food

Business class passengers are welcomed on board with a pre-departure beverage of water, juice, or champagne. Business class passengers can also select meals ahead of time and even “Book the Cook.” This means passengers are offered a choice of several meal options that aren’t included on the inflight menu. I “Booked the Cook” on our most recent flight and ordered some delicious short ribs!

Meals in business class are also served on actual dinnerware instead of disposable trays.

 

 

When we flew in economy, we couldn’t pre-select any meals but were given the choice of two options while on board. I still think the food in economy is pretty darn good, even though the presentation isn’t as nice.

 

 

Whether you’re in business or economy, you do have the option to pre-select “special meals,” and this includes child meals. We typically do this for my daughter as she’s picky, so the foods are more tailored to her preferences.

 

The Service

We’ve never had a bad experience with the service on Singapore Airlines. The flight attendants are great and are especially kind and patient with children. We do receive more attention when we fly business class (on our most recent flight, the flight attendants brought our daughter special treats, an activity book with stickers and crayons, etc.). But we’ve always had good service in the economy as well.

 

The Verdict

So, which should you choose? I hate to say it, but “it depends.” Would you rather spend fewer miles and take more trips? Then, economy is probably best. Would you prefer to get more sleep on a lie-flat bed? Maybe business is for you!

I personally think our method of flying business class on the overnight flight and economy on the way home is a great compromise. I am a light sleeper, and sleeping in economy just doesn’t happen. Being able to get several hours of solid sleep in a lie-flat bed makes a world of a difference for me upon arrival to Europe. Our daughter got 6 hours of sleep on our most recent flight and had no issues adjusting to the new time zone. Dare I say she was even pleasant upon arrival? That’s totally worth using the extra miles to book for our family.

It also helps that Singapore miles are easy to come by as all four major banks have cards with flexible points that you can transfer 1:1 to Singapore. So points from cards like the Capital One Venture or Venture X, Chase Sapphire Preferred, or Reserve, Citi Premier, and American Express Gold or Platinum can all be transferred to Singapore. That means racking up enough miles for business-class flights isn’t as difficult as it seems.

 

Bottom Line

Are you team business class or team economy (or both)? It’s nice to know that with Singapore Airlines – business vs. economy is good! What are your experiences with Singapore?

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