Ranked: My favourite Singapore Airlines Business Class seats

Singapore Airlines has five different Business Class seats, and they're not made equal. Here's the ones I'd pick (and avoid).

Singapore Airlines has five different Business Class seats across its fleet, and not all are made equal. 

Some are better for working and lounging, others for sleeping. Some offer all-aisle access, others make you step over a seatmate. And since they all cost the same number of miles to redeem, the last thing you want is to draw the short straw!

Recliner seats on SQ934 or full-flat beds on SQ936? Choose carefully

I’ve flown dozens (dozens!) of Singapore Airlines flights, but don’t think I’ve actually shared my overall ranking of which ones I like the best.

That changes now.

Overview: Singapore Airlines Business Class seats

Here’s a brief overview of the five types of Business Class seats you’ll find across the Singapore Airlines fleet.

SeatAircraft
(no. in service)
Current Age*
2013JA350-900ULR (7)
A350-900LH (30)
B777-300ER (23)
10 years
2014RJB737-800 (7)9 years
2017JA380-800 (12)6 years
2018RJA350-900MH (24)
B787-10 (15)
5 years
2021RJB737-8 (16)2 years
*Age refers to when the product was first introduced, not necessarily the physical age of the seat you’ll encounter

For convenience, we use abbreviations like “2018RJ” when referring to products, where 2018 = the year the seat debuted, RJ= regional Business Class. 

There used to be even more variety, but during the pandemic we said goodbye to the oversized 2006J and angled-flat 2009RJ seats, which were found on the since-retired A330-300s, older A380-800s, and B777-200/300 aircraft. I had a soft spot for the 2006J seat (which critics said was “too wide”, can you believe that), but I’m glad the 2009RJ is gone forever!

For anyone nostalgic, you can read reviews of the two seats below:

#1: 2018 Regional Business Class

✈️ Singapore Airlines 2018RJ
👍 Pros👎 Cons
  • All aisle access
  • Seat reclines to flat without needing flipping
  • Very comfortable sleeping surface that’s suitable for back-sleepers
  • Not very couple-friendly
  • May be too narrow for certain passengers
  • Three-point seatbelt

It may sound surprising that my favourite Singapore Airlines Business Class seat is an off-the-shelf product (Stelia Aerospace Symphony) deployed on regional routes, but hear me out. 

The 2018 Regional Business Class seats can be found on A350-900 Medium Haul and B787-10 aircraft, which generally fly routes of up to seven hours. They’re laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration giving every passenger direct aisle access, a big improvement over the 2-2-2 configuration found on the now-retired A330-300s and B777-200/300 jets.

The cabin feels very private, thanks to the high walls and dividers, and you shouldn’t be too disturbed even if you end up with one of the seats closer to the aisle side thanks to the privacy wings.

Singapore Airlines B787-10 Business Class
Singapore Airlines B787-10 Business Class

A storage cubby provides plenty of space for loose items, and I particularly appreciate this seat has 2x USB ports. I carry two phones with me (my Blackberry and Pixel 7 Pro), and being able to charge both at the same time is always an added convenience. 

Storage cabinet

But my favourite feature of this seat by far is the sleep experience.

2018RJ seat in bed mode

First, there’s no need to stand up and flip it over, which means that on a red-eye flight, you can recline and sleep from the moment the plane takes-off (and I have seen passengers doing it during taxiing, which is somewhat unadvisable). If you were on an aircraft with the 2013J seat, you’d need to wait till the seatbelt sign went off at cruising altitude before you could get up and flip the bed

Second, this design allows you to recline the seat to any angle you wish, which (surprisingly) makes the 2018RJ the first lie-flat Singapore Airlines seat with this capability. Call me weird, but I don’t actually like to sleep on a 180° surface. I much prefer 160-170°, which I find to be less stressful on my lower back. Even if you’re not sleeping, the ability to take a wide range of lounging positions makes the 2018RJ a better option for working or relaxing. 

Third, you sleep straight instead of diagonally. Diagonal sleeping, required on the 2013J and 2017J, is a huge bugbear for some.

Footwell

Fourth, despite the seat’s narrow dimensions, the footwell is actually slightly larger than what you’ll find on the 2013J seats. This means it’s much more comfortable for back sleepers, of whom I’m one. 

Some drawbacks exist.

First, these aren’t the most couple-friendly seats; even if you pick the “honeymoon” pair in the middle, it’ll be difficult to interact with your travel companion due to the privacy wings. 

These “honeymoon seats” don’t actually let you see much of your partner

Second, at 20″ wide, these seats will be very narrow for anyone used to Singapore Airlines’ long-haul Business Class (which starts from 25″). You can lower the armrests to get an additional 6″ or so of width, but passengers of size may not find it comfortable. 

Third, the three-point seatbelt design is inherently more restrictive than a lap band, but you’ll only need to fasten the shoulder strap during taxi, take-off and landing. 

None of these are deal-breakers for me, which is why I’d call this my favourite Business Class seat in the whole fleet. 

Full review

A full review of the 2018RJ seat can be found below.

Review: Singapore Airlines B787-10 Business Class Seoul to Singapore

#2: 2017 Business Class

✈️ Singapore Airlines 2017J
👍 Pros👎 Cons
  • All-aisle access
  • The most couple-friendly seat in the fleet
  • Seat reclines to flat without needing flipping
  • Extremely private
  • Double bed more gimmick than gamechanger
  • Sleeping surface is uncomfortably firm

Singapore Airlines’ 2017 Business Class seat is confusing, to say the least. Despite the substantial development costs, it will only ever be deployed on the airline’s 12 A380-800s. Given the very specific routes these aircraft ply, many SIA flyers may never cross paths with one of these for their entire service duration. 

Singapore Airlines A380-800 Business Class seat

It’s a shame, because there are a lot of good ideas here. This 1-2-1 configured long-haul product offers excellent privacy and noise isolation thanks to its walls and sound-dampening materials. And yet, it’s also the most couple-friendly seat in the whole fleet, because of the lack of wraparound privacy wings between centre seats. When the divider is lowered, you can have a conversation and share food without having to lean forward, the only Singapore Airlines Business Class seat that allows this. 

Note the absence of privacy wings between the seats when the divider is lowered

It gets even better if you manage to get the 11D/F, 91D/F or 96D/F seats, where the divider goes all the way to the bottom. These seats can also be converted into a double bed, though I find the concept a bit gimmicky since it’s more like two beds pushed together. The firm and unforgiving central divider is painful to lie on, even with blankets, and it’s only a double bed for the top half of your body; your feet will be separated. Still a fun experience, but perhaps not a must-do.

Seats 96D/F
“Double bed”

The 2017J is one of the few seats that doesn’t hold you captive whenever the tray table is deployed. You can slide it forward to enter and exit the seat, useful during mealtimes or when you’re doing work and need a quick comfort break.

Tray table

Like the 2018RJ seat, the 2017J seat can be converted into a bed without standing up. That has the added benefit of letting you sleep at any angle, but my main gripe with this seat is that the cushioning is very, very firm. I mean, I’m used to a firm mattress at home, and I found this uncomfortable.

Also, I’m not sure if it’s just my bad luck, but the seat I tried had a noticeable joint where the seat cushion joins the seat back. This created an annoying bump near my lower back, and I didn’t sleep very well. 

Seat joint

Moreover, you’ll need to sleep diagonally unless you’re in a bulkhead row. The cubby is on the narrow side, and not particularly friendly towards back sleepers. 

Diagonal sleeping

If you’re taking a daytime flight or are lucky enough to be able to sleep anywhere, it’s unlikely these factors will come into play. And I still reckon the overall sleep experience is better than the 2013J seat, for what it’s worth. 

Full review

A full review of the 2017J seat can be found below.

Review: Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class (SIN-JFK)

#3: 2021 Regional Business Class

Singapore Airlines B737-8 Business Class
✈️ Singapore Airlines 2021RJ
👍 Pros👎 Cons
  • A full-flat bed on even the shortest of flights
  • Throne seats offer excellent personal space
  • Seat reclines to flat without need for flipping
  • No aisle access for 40% of passengers
  • Undersized tray table 
  • Seat may be too narrow for some
  • Three-point seatbelt

Singapore Airlines’ latest regional Business Class product is found exclusively on the B737 MAX 8 (internally designated as the B737-8, the MAX being removed for obvious reasons), and like the 2017J seat, reclines into a full flat bed with no need to flip it over.

Singapore Airlines 2021 Regional Business Class seat

This means a wide ranger range of seating positions, useful on a short flight where you might do work and catch a quick nap before landing, without going flat at all. 

Singapore Airlines 2021 Regional Business Class seat

Of course, full flat is an option.  Some people argue that a flatbed seat is overkill for short flights. Some people have no joy in their lives. Moreover, if you’re a jetlagged passenger stepping off a long-haul flight onto a regional connection, I’m sure you’d appreciate the opportunity to catch a quick nap en route to your final destination. 

Full flat mode

The 10 Business Class seats are laid out in a 2-2, 1-1, 2-2 configuration. The layout creates a pair of throne seats, which enjoy additional storage space thanks to their dual armrests and personal storage cabinet. 

Throne seat
Throne seat storage cabinet

I would have thought the throne seats would be the first to get snapped up, but on most of my flights so far they’ve been the leftovers.  That’s probably because I’ve flown the B737-8 mostly to leisure destinations like Da Nang and Phuket, where holidaying couples pick the twin seats. 

Of course, the layout also means that 40% of passengers don’t have direct aisle access, and 40% will have to be “cowboy stepped” over by their seatmate at some point during the flight. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker on a narrowbody jet, since all-aisle access is hardly the market standard (some commenters complained that JetBlue offers it, conveniently forgetting that the Mint Suite is only deployed on high-yield routes like New York to London, while SIA’s B737-8s need to serve all its regional destinations).

While the 2021RJ seat is snug at 19-21″ wide, I find the sleeping experience to be superior to the 2013J seat because you can recline to any angle, and also sleep facing forward. Regardless of which row you pick, all the footwells are friendly towards back sleeping, with the bulkhead row 11 having the most room.

Row 11 footwell
Row 12 footwell
Row 14 footwell

While I suppose it’s an inevitable compromise on a narrowbody jet, the tray table was smaller than what I’m used to. A 14-inch laptop just about fit, but with minimal space to rest your wrists, much less a beverage. 

Tray table

And finally, do note that like the 2018RJ seat, the 2021RJ seat uses a three point seatbelt.

Three point seatbelt

Full review

A full review of the 2021J seat can be found below.

Review: Singapore Airlines B737-8 Business Class (SIN-DAD)

#4: 2013 Business Class

✈️ Singapore Airlines 2013J
👍 Pros👎 Cons
  • All-aisle access
  • Still one of the more private Business Class seats out there, despite the lack of a door
  • Very tight footwell, especially on the A350s
  • Limited range of lounging positions
  • Seat must be flipped over to convert into bed
  • Sleeping surface may be uneven, depending on your luck

Installed on all 60 A350-900LH/ULRs and B777-300ERs, the 2013J is the de facto long-haul seat for the Singapore Airlines fleet (the 2017J seat, remember, appears on just one dozen aircraft) until the long-delayed B777X and its new Business Class seats show up in 2025 (we hope).

In terms of style, it’s a modest evolution of the now-retired 2006J seat. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, given how the 2006J seat was already ahead of its time when it first debuted. But having turned a decade old this year, there is visible wear and tear, and some of the competition (most notably ANA and Qatar Airways) have started to pull ahead.

Singapore Airlines 2013 Business Class seat
Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class
Singapore Airlines 2013 Business Class seat

The seat definitely has some things going for it. Despite the lack of sliding doors, I find it to be very private because of the oversized shell and movable central divider. Moreover, it’s reasonably well designed, with various storage nooks and power outlets within easy reach. 

Seat storage
Seat storage

Where it stumbles is the sleep experience. It must be flipped over into a bed, which means you can’t do anything until the seat belt sign is off and limits the range of lounging positions you can take. In theory, a flip-over design provides a uniform sleeping surface because it avoids the crevices created by the joints of a regular recliner. However, years of wear have caused some seats to pop up in weird spots, most notably the part near the feet. 

Singapore Airlines 2013 Business Class seat (bed mode)

The 2013J seat is also infamous for its narrow footwell. Unless you’re fortunate enough to score one of the eight bulkhead seats, you’ll need to sleep diagonally, with your feet crammed into a small cubby. Side sleepers will largely be fine; back sleepers may be in for a rough night. This is more acutely felt on the A350-900s than the B777-300ERs, since their narrower fuselage makes it that much more snug. 

Foot cubby on A350-900

Personally, I’ve never had a great night’s sleep in one of these seats, and together with the restricted lounging positions, makes this one of my less-preferred Business Class products. I should emphasise that this doesn’t make it a bad seat by any means—I’d still pick it over Business Class on many other airlines — just that it doesn’t perform as well as the rest of what SIA has to offer.

Full review

A full review of the 2013J seat can be found below.

Review: Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class Munich to Singapore (inaugural VTL)

#5: 2014 Regional Business Class

✈️ Singapore Airlines 2014RJ
👍 Pros👎 Cons
  • With every month that goes by, the chances of encountering one of these declines
  • Non-powered recliner seat with end-of-life mechanicals
  • I mean, just look at it

Singapore Airlines inherited nine B737-800s from its merger with SilkAir, of which seven are still operating. These aircraft were delivered to SilkAir from 2014 onwards, and even though they’re not the oldest seats in the fleet, still manage to look ancient. 

The only changes Singapore Airlines made upon acquisition was to give them some new upholstery, but that still can’t hide how retro they are. I flew one of these six years ago when it was operated by SilkAir, and even then it was rather dire. Seat recline and leg rests rely on manual operation; some were so loose they rattled around disconcertingly, others so tight you needed superhuman strength to force them into position. The lumbar support was saggy, there’s no privacy to speak of, and forget about Wi-Fi or seatback IFE (wireless entertainment streaming is possible, to be fair).

Oh, and at the risk of stating the obvious, the 2-2 configuration means 50% of passengers can’t access the aisle directly (and the remaining 50% will get bothered every time they do). 

What else is there to say about this seat? There’s really no reason you’d consciously choose it, assuming better alternatives exist. If it’s any consolation, you’ll only find the B737-800s flying on the shortest of routes, such as: 

  • Kuala Lumpur (45m)
  • Medan (1h)
  • Penang (1h)
  • Phuket (1h 30m)
  • Surabaya (2h)
  • Bali (2h 10m)
  • Yangon (2h 40m)
  • Kathmandu (4h 30m)

Kathmandu is the lone outlier, probably deployed there because of the lack of premium demand. 

It should be no surprise that this is easily my least favourite seat in the fleet.

Full review

A full review of the 2014RJ seat can be found below.

Singapore Airlines B737-800 Business Class Review: The worst seats in the fleet

Conclusion

So that’s my ranking of Singapore Airlines’ Business Class seats, and I want to emphasise again that I like and dislike certain things because of my travel habits, the way I sleep, the way I work etc. It could very well be different for you.

I mean, I hated the angled-flat 2009 Regional Business Class seats, but know of some parents who loved it because it made it easy to keep track of their kids. It’s really a case of different strokes for different folks. 

Which Singapore Airlines Business Class seat is your favourite?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Gideon S

Surprised the 2013J comes in so low. Personally don’t mind flipping the seat over as I find that design allowed SQ to create an overall larger sleeping space (at least for the upper body). Also, less mechanical parts also prevents some of the stuck seats issues I encountered with some other airlines’ seats. Can’t relate to the small footspace since I was always fortunate enough to snag row 11 or 19. Can see how that could be an issue for many.

Anthony

Your ranking is quite interesting – I must say I think you’re the only person I know who likes the 2018 regional seat. To me it’s the worst (ahead of only the 737 Regional) because it’s like sleeping in a ridiculously narrow coffin in the bulkhead, the privacy partitions block the windows and in non-bulkhead seats, the footwell is way too short for taller passengers. It’s just such a cramped product for anyone who is tall and has broad shoulders. The actual seat is comfortable though and I like the touch screen. I rate the 2013 product as my favourite… Read more »

Thor

Have to agree with Aaron on 2018J. Much more conducive for sleeping. Excluding the bulkhead seats, the diagonal sleep layout makes 2013J and 2017J impossible to sleep in

Lifshitz

If you don’t know how to flip the 2013 during taxiing without anyone noticing then you simply lack practice 🙂

Lifshitz

Why do you think privacy shields matter??

Disgruntled.

You should be thankful you can afford to do this rather than constantly picking holes in everything. The vast majority of us can only ever dream of taking at least 1 business class flight/go to Singapore, never mind doing all this.

Dave

You do understand the purpose of this blog, right?

Disgruntled.

In this current financial crisis we are all going through, it is in exceptionally poor taste and just seems to be a way to flex privilege.

Wye Kay

C’mon now. The question asked of you is very pertinent. Do you or do you NOT understand the purpose of this blog? It is a travel/miles hack blog. ie. How to travel nearer the pointy end of the plane with little to no actual cash outlay. How is a knowledge share bringing luxury closer to the mass in poor taste? Secondly. Even IF we only ever take 1 business flight through Singapore EVER in our lifetime, wouldn’t you appreciate the knowledge to maximise your enjoyment of that experience? I actually do know of people who “scored” business class seats who… Read more »

Spoon

Who is we? You mean yourself? Sorry to be harsh dude, but this is not the WokeLion. It’s Milelion for a reason.

JW19

What financial crisis are we talking about? everything is inflated and overpriced and yet records seems to be broken every day. Last I recall everything is doom and gloom in a financial crisis.

Zzzzzz

It’s so hilarious that someone could be triggered by such a well-explained review. If you could not afford a business class ticket for even once, you are simply a loser.

Disgruntled.

No need to be so rude “Zzzzz”. I am as entitled to express my opinion without resorting to direct insults as anyone else here.

Guess that makes the vast majority of us “losers” according to your logic, which says a lot about yourself really.

Zzzzzz

Yes, I intended to be rude on purpose, to you and you ONLY.

To other fellow readers, my apology for being rude here.

Disgruntled.

You shouldn’t be doing so to anyone anyway. Especially if it’s merely because someone disagrees with the general consensus. Have some respect.

You say I’m so triggered by the article but you seem to be triggered by one less than complimentary remark which is arguably worse.

James

Why are you even following Milelion page then? It’s going to be a misery for you, seriously.

Lol

This is the same dude who complained in the comments section of the article about Sia removing dom “first world problem, not newsworthy”

Bro, I think you’re on the wrong site…

Legal Latino Immigrant

You read the title, you read the article . Then why are you talking about the financial crisis and all. Just skip and find an economy seat comparison blog.

Gabriel T

The 2013J is personally my favorite despite it’s age, especially if you managed to bag the bulkhead which is simply huge! The perceived sense of space is what wins it for me when compare to the defacto reverse herringbone seating.

Flew on the 2017J seat a few weeks ago, the seat was nice but gotta say those A380 windows are tiny compare to those on the Dreamliners and A350s.

Jack

Same here! Fan of 2013J. Definitely my fave!

Spoon

Disagree that #1 is the regional J seats. They were clearly designed for the average Asian height individual. Very little leg space and manoevre room, and that’s not even when fully flat. 2013/2017 J much better in this regard even with the angled lie flat because not as much of the legs are stuffed into a cubby hole. The Milelion needs to put himself in the (larger) shoes of those who are fortunately or unfortunately stuck with greater height.

Amos

I’m Asian, 5ft 7, and I flew on Asiana’s business class seats which are similar to the regional J.

Good lord. No fun on a flight from SIN-ICN-SFO. Didn’t help that these motorised seats will creak once they advance in age, and the airline doesn’t maintain them regularly.

Quite a few airlines have the 20-22inch seat width for long-haul, but flat is flat no matter what I guess.

Wye Kay

My 2c … The line that it’s a very personal thing and hugely depends on your sleeping preferences should be the first para, in UPPER CASE and bolded Eg … I recently had the opportunity to travel in Qatar’s new Adient Ascent (AA) J product as well as their CX leased 777 F product. I must say that after nearly 2 decades of mainly flying SQ J+F, I can’t quite recommend QR’s (and that’s considering they are supposed to be THE class leading product) For starters, one of the things you don’t realise is that SQs seats are considerably roomier.… Read more »

Balaji

As a person who is quite big and tall (over 190cm), i really like the 2013J seat, though even at the bulkhead my legs cant go fully flat unless i stretch them diagonally.

2018J is good for sleeping, yes but again width is too narrow, does not feel like Biz at all without lowering the armrests.

the old regional J is fine as well, no frills seat though very outdated but prefer that to the 737 max seats, again cos 737 max seats are too narrow.

Will be trying the A380 ones next week.

Richard Koh

I’m a TPP23. Have tried everything from those 2 decades+ old Ultimo or Spacebeds to all other versions. 2018RJ To me is the absolute worse Business Class seats in the current fleet to the extend I avoid them whenever I can when doing the SIN-NRT route but can’t avoid it on the SIN-FUK or the SIN-BNE. The 2 main complaints has been the way the footwell is designed for a 6 footer. In the fully flat sleeping position in a backsleeper orientation, my knees kept hitting the horizontal edge of the opening of the footwell whenever I “bend my knees”… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Koh
Spoon

YES. i have exactly the same issue with the footwell. It is clear as day that during testing of the seat SQ never once got any 6-footer to try out the footwell. Or they did, and they simply didn’t give two hoots.I love the 2013J bulkheads too for the exact same reason.

Last edited 1 year ago by Spoon
bob the builder

ULTIMOOOOO AND SPACEBEDDDDDDD?

Malcolm

But for us normal mortals, the bulkheads are not available. Which means if you’re a side sleeper, you can only sleep on one side. I’ve had a shoulder reconstruction and a hip operation on the other side, so I need to be able to switch sides regularly. So the 2013 J just doesn’t cut the mustard, as it locks you into only sleeping on one side.

Chris

The biggest hot take from this article is that you’ve still got the blackberry!

170 degrees

Not only does sleeping at a 160-170 degree angle provide a more body-shaped surface for side sleepers, but it prevents the head from being the lowest part of the body.

The slight angle of attack planes have on cruise would angle your body accordingly, and it would be nice to see more airlines have business class products facing backwards to prevent this for full lie flat configurations.

AssQ

I wish the TV screens are better aligned with the seat. Because of the footwell, the TV screen is placed slightly to the side. Neck problems. First world complains I know. LOL

Wee Lin

I actually tend to agree. Love the 2018RJ seat despite arguably being narrower. Having said that the privacy shield on the right side of the seat (as seen on picture “2018RJ seat in bed mode”) seems like poor design as it indeed blocks the window. Happy to take this one even on a long haul, e.g. on a TG 787 to Europe (even better when it’s for 45k TK miles). 2013RJ would be a better if the storage portion of the window seats was actually facing the aisle for additional space between seat and aisle plus window access. Like this… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Wee Lin
Michael Schade

Thanks for the in depth review. Interesting to note that the regional C class product is a lot better for sleeping than their outdated 10 years long haul product. I am having 2 14h flights on the 773 next month and not looking forward to that dreaded tiny foot hole, which makes sleeping very difficult. SQ should have, like many other carrier, used the Covid time to upgrade their long haul A350 and 777 fleet.

Andy

Big fan of the 2006J product here! I am warming to the 2018RJ, and am even getting used to how narrow it is (and I’m not a particularly wide-bodied person myself). Now I find its worst feature is the light and seat control panel, which is easily triggered accidentally by reaching for a drink or other movements. I like the 2013 seat but it’s let down by the lack of touch screen on the IFE system.

Rob

I’m 6ft and have broad shoulders so find the regional seat narrow. That being said i don’t mind it, I just wish they would keep it on the regional routes. It’s got no business being used on SYD SIN route, esp a 6pm dep out of Sydney.

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