A first-timer’s guide to Singapore Airlines Business Class

Excited about your first-ever Singapore Airlines Business Class experience? Here's what to look forward to, and how to make the most of it.

If you’ve just booked your first-ever Singapore Airlines Business Class flight, congratulations!

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a deep-discount Spontaneous Escapes ticket to Bangkok, or a full-priced Advantage award to New York. Earning those miles wouldn’t have been easy, and any redemption is a cause for celebration.

Victory!

The question before us then, is: how can I get the most out of my experience?

In this post, I’ll explain what lies in store from the time the booking confirmation arrives in your inbox, to the time you step off the plane, your life hopefully forever changed. I’ll also be publishing a similar post for First Class, so look out for that soon!

And if you’re wondering whether you should cash out your hard-earned miles for Business Class, or continue saving for First Class or Suites, here’s a detailed post that walks you through the key differences in terms of experience.

Singapore Airlines First Class vs Business Class: Which should you redeem?

Singapore Airlines Business Class seats

First of all, what seat can you expect onboard? 

Singapore Airlines has five types of Business Class seats, and not all are made equal.

SeatAircraft
Review
2013 Business Class

A350-900LH
A350-900ULR
B777-300ER

Review
2014 Regional Business ClassB737-800Review
2017 Business ClassA380-800Review
2018 Regional Business ClassA350-900MH
B787-10
Review
2021  Regional Business ClassB737-8 MAXReview
  • The 2013 Business Class seat (2013J), found on the A350-900ULR, A350-900LH and B777-300ER
  • The 2014 Regional Business Class seat (2014RJ), found on the B737-800
  • The 2017 Business Class seat (2017J), found on the A380-800
  • The 2018 Regional Business Class seat (2018RJ), found on the A350-900MH and B787-10
  • The 2021 Regional Business Class seat (2021RJ), found on the B737-8 MAX

I’ve ranked all five Business Class seats in the post below. 

Ranked: My favourite Singapore Airlines Business Class seats

To identify which aircraft is rostered for your flight, go to Manage Booking and look at the flight details (you can also check this before booking by using the Flight Schedule function).

Do note that there’s some potential ambiguity with the Airbus A350-900, because Singapore Airlines operates three variants:

  • A350-900 Medium Haul (MH, used for medium-haul flights)
  • A350-900 Long Haul (LH, used for long-haul flights)
  • A350-900 Ultra Long Range (ULR, used for non-stop flights to the USA)

However, all three are simply labelled as A350-900.

Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to identify which one you’re on, based on the seat map. 

A350-900MHA350-900LHA350-900ULR

The A350-900MH seats appear as squares with distinctive privacy “wings”.

The A350-900LH/ULR both use rectangles to represent seats, but the ULR has a much bigger Business Class cabin (with the first row labelled 10, as opposed to 11 on the LH).

You can also check the seat map without booking. Simply do a search for a commercial flight; you’ll have the option to select seats before making payment. 

After you’ve booked

Pick your seats

If you didn’t already do so during the booking process, be sure to select your seats ASAP.

While there’s no such thing as a “bad” Business Class seat, some are inherently more suited to families, couples or solo travellers.

A350-900MH

A350-900MH

💺 Seatmap: A350-900MH
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 12A/K
  • 15A/K
  • 17A/K
  • 20A/K
  • Forward cabin (11-18) has no bassinet seats
  • These seats have a storage console and side table between the seat and the aisle, improving privacy
Couples
  • 11D/F
  • 14D/F
  • 16D/F
  • 19D/F
  • 21D/F
  • These seats do not have a pair of side tables separating them, making it easier to communicate
  • You will still need to lean forward to talk, however, due to the eye-level privacy wing
  • Row 18 may encounter disturbance from the nearby toilets
Families
  • 19A/K
  • 19 A/K are bassinet seats
A350-900LH

A350-900LH

💺 Seatmap: A350-900LH
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 11-16 A/K
  • 19-21 A/K
  • Forward cabin (11-18) has no bassinet seats
  • As bulkheads, Rows 11 and 19 offer more foot space, and allow passengers to sleep parallel to the fuselage (as opposed to an angle in other rows) 
  • However, Row 11 is blocked for selection by PPS Club members, and is only opened for general selection when online check-in opens (48h prior to departure)
  • Row 19 is a bassinet row, so you risk being relocated if someone else requires the seat
  • Row 17 and 18 are proximate to the galley and toilets, which means more foot traffic and flushing noise
  • Row 22 is separated from Premium Economy by a thin partition wall, and there may be an infant in the bassinet position just behind
Couples
  • 11-16 D/F
  • 19-21 D/F
Families
  • 19 A/K
  • 19 D/F
  • Row 19 are bassinet seats
A350-900ULR

A350-900ULR

💺 Seatmap: A350-900ULR
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 11-16 D/F
  • 19-28 D/F
  • Forward cabin (10-17) has no bassinet seats
  • As bulkheads, 10A, 11 D/F/K and 19 A/D/F/K offer more foot space, and allow passengers to sleep parallel to the fuselage (as opposed to an angle in other rows) 
  • However, 10A, 11 D/F/K is blocked for selection by PPS Club members, and is only opened for general selection when online check-in opens (48h prior to departure)
  • Row 19A/K are bassinet seats, so you risk being relocated if someone else requires the seat
  • Row 16, 17, and 29 are proximate to the galley and toilets, which means more foot traffic and flushing noise
  • Row 29 is separated from Premium Economy by a thin partition wall, and there may be an infant in the bassinet position just behind
Couples
  • 10A
  • 11-16 A/K
  • 19-28 A/K
Families
  • 19 A/K
  • Bassinet seats at 19A/K
A380-800

A380-800

💺 Seatmap: A380-800
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 11-24 A/K
  • No bassinet seats in forward cabin (11-24), less chance of being disturbed by infant noise
  • A/K seats are located by the window, giving more privacy
Couples
  • 11-24 D/F
  • 91 D/F
  • 96 D/F
  • No bassinet seats in forward cabin (11-24), less chance of being disturbed by infant noise
  • D/F seat divider can be lowered all the way to see your companion
  • Seats 11 D/F, 91 D/F, 96 D/F can be converted into a double bed
  • Row 23, 24 may encounter disturbance from the nearby toilets
  • Row 96, 97 may encounter disturbance from the nearby toilets and galley
Families
  • 91 D/F
  • 96 A/K
  • Any D/F pairing
  • D/F seat divider can be lowered all the way to see your child
  • Bassinet seats at 91 D/F and 96 A/K
B737-8 MAX
💺 Seatmap: B737-8 MAX
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 12 B/J
  • 12 B/J are throne seats that enjoy two side tables, a storage locker, and additional privacy. They’re also the widest at 21 inches
Couples
  • 11 A/C
  • 11 H/K
  • 14 A/C
  • 14 H/K
  • Row 11 seats are 19 inches wide, but have wider foot cubbies
  • Row 14 seats are 20 inches wide
Families
  • 11 C/H
  • 11 C/H are bassinet seats
B737-800
💺 Seatmap: B737-800
TravellerSeatsNotes

Not a whole lot to say here, really! The B737-800 has the worst Business Class seats in the SIA fleet, and there isn’t much strategy here other than to pick an aisle seat (C/H) if you’re a solo passenger, and 11 C/H if you have an infant. Row 11 enjoys a little more legroom, but has no underseat storage.

Or better yet- don’t pick a Business Class flight on this aircraft!

B787-10
💺 Seatmap: B787-10
TravellerSeatsNotes
Singles
  • 12A/K
  • 15A/K
  • 17A/K
  • 19A/K
  • Row 11 is a basinet row, so if an infant is situated here then Row 12 may be exposed to noise
  • These seats have a storage console and side table between the seat and the aisle, improving privacy
  • Row 16 lacks a window
Couples
  • 11D/F
  • 14D/F
  • 16D/F
  • 18D/F
  • These seats do not have a pair of side tables separating them, making it easier to communicate
  • You will still need to lean forward to talk, however, due to the eye-level privacy wing
  • Row 20 may encounter disturbance from the nearby toilets and galley
Families
  • 11A/K
  • 11 A/K are bassinet seats

Browse the inflight menu

If there’s more than 15 days to departure, the Inflight Menu box will show “view only”

Ahead of the flight, whet your appetite by checking out the meals served onboard. This can be done via the Manage Booking function, or you can visit this page within eight days of departure. 

In terms of what you should expect:

Breakfast service is a three-course service with:

  • Sliced fruits
  • Starter (cornflakes, Bircher muesli or yoghurt)
  • Main course

Lunch, dinner and supper service is a five-course service with:

  • Satay (not offered for supper)
  • Appetiser
  • Main course
  • Dessert
  • Cheese

Sleeper service is only for flights departing after 10 p.m to Asia or Australia. This is a mash up of supper and breakfast items, to allow passengers to eat after boarding then sleep till landing, or sleep after boarding then eat before landing (or both, really).

Here’s a sample sleeper service menu. 

While course-by-course dining should be expected on medium and long-haul flights, meals may be served on a single tray on shorter flights. 

Single-tray Business Class meal from Phuket to Singapore

Business Class passengers can browse the Inflight Menu in advance of their flight, and pre-select their main course within 15 days of departure. This guarantees you’ll get your first-choice option (and also be among the first in the cabin to receive your meal); while Business Class flights are catered with some buffer, popular options may occasionally run out. 

You can browse the options by going to Manage Booking, then scrolling down to Meals > Inflight Menu.

Book the Cook

But why limit yourself to the Inflight Menu when Book the Cook offers dozens of options?

If you’re departing from Singapore and selected medium/long-haul destinations, you can pre-order your Book the Cook meal all the way up till 24 hours before departure time (except for flights departing from Auckland and Newark, where the cut-off is 48 hours).

Do note that certain menu items are only available on flights over 3.5/4 hours.

As for what you should pick, most people will tell you that the quintessential choice for your first-ever Business Class flight is lobster thermidor, and to a certain extent I agree. It might be a bit cliched, but I think it’s the kind of thing you have to try at least once.

Lobster thermidor

However, I’m personally not the biggest fan of this dish- even after reformulation, its still a bit too rich for me. My favourite items, in no particular order of merit:

  • Aromatic Barramundi
  • Steamed Cod Fish Thai Style
  • Beach Road Prawn Noodle Soup
  • Kok Kee Wonton Noodle
  • Soon Heng Bak Chor Mee Soup

Some people may find it silly that you fly Business Class and order hawker food (although that sounds an awful lot like culinary AMDK to me), but from where I sit it’s all about what I like to eat, not about what I feel I should eat. 

I find that airplane steak and lamb comes out way too dry, not to mention that airlines have a penchant for serving tasteless tenderloin over flavourful ribeye. Remember: the flavours that perform best at altitude are robust ones.

For more real-world photos of Book the Cook items, refer to this post.

Pack extra

 EconomyBusiness
Weight Concept25-30kg40kg
Piece Concept2 pieces, up to 23kg each2 pieces, up to 32kg each

Not a light traveller? No worries. When you fly Business Class, luggage allowance should be the least of your concerns.

If you’re flying to the USA or Canada where the piece concept is used, you’ll be able to check up to 2 pieces of luggage, each of which can be a maximum of 32kg (versus 23kg for Economy).

If you’re flying to all other destinations where the weight concept is used, you’ll be able to check as many pieces of luggage as you wish, provided the combined weight is no more than 40kg (versus 25-30kg for Economy).

All Business Class luggage receives priority tags, which theoretically ensures they’re among the first to come off the belt. In reality your experience may vary, depending on factors like when you checked in or whether you were on a connecting flight. 

Order a complimentary cake

Anniversary cake

If you happen to be marking a special occasion like a birthday, honeymoon or anniversary, you can request for a complimentary cake to be served onboard. This works on the honour system; no supporting documentation is required (though obviously if you’re born in July and ask for a cake in December, I can imagine a few eyebrows will be raised).

Orders cannot be placed online, so you’ll need to call up customer service. Don’t overthink it, just say something like “hi we will be celebrating a birthday/anniversary/honeymoon/joining the mile high club onboard, could you please help request a cake”.

Once onboard, the cabin crew should usually confirm with you that the cake has been loaded (and if they don’t, remind them ASAP- sometimes screw ups happen, but they can try to rectify it quickly if given enough time), and ask when you would like for it to be served. 

The standard setup is to serve the cake along with two glasses of champagne, a pair of bears, some lights and dry ice. 

At the airport

Check-in (Singapore)

Priority check-in at Changi Airport Terminal 3

Singapore Airlines flights currently depart from Terminals 2 and 3 at Changi Airport:

✈️ SIA Departures from Changi Airport
Terminal 2Terminal 3
  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei 
  • Cambodia 
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Philippines
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
All other destinations
⚠️ Check-in at whichever terminal you wish!

SIA passengers are free to check-in at either Terminal 2 or 3.

However, if you want to check-in at the “wrong” terminal and are checking a bag, you must do so at least 90 minutes before departure. Otherwise, you’ll be sent to the “correct” terminal (for fear that your bags won’t make it to the plane in time).

That said, if this is your very first Business Class experience, I’m hoping you’ll show up at the airport way more than 90 minutes in advance!

Business Class passengers will enjoy priority check-in whether they’re departing from Singapore or overseas. It usually means a shorter wait, though I have seen cases overseas where the Economy line moves faster purely because more positions are assigned. 

Check-in (Overseas)

SIA Business Class travellers can take advantage of Gold Track lanes, where available

When departing from overseas, Business Class passengers can make use of priority check-in counters and immigration, where available. 

This includes Gold Track access at airports where the service is available. 

Lounge (Singapore)

Why would you bother checking in at the “wrong” terminal? Because of the lounge. 

SIA has SilverKris Lounges in both Terminals 2 and 3, but the facilities in Terminal 3 are much superior. I’m well aware there are some who say they still pale in comparison to what other airlines offer, but you know what? If you’re a first-timer, you’re still going to have a good time nonetheless. 

The Terminal 3 lounge completed a major renovation in 2021, and now boasts facilities such as an oversized food hall with live cooking stations, a tended bar with barista and barkeeper service, slumber areas, private shower suites with attached toilets, and productivity pods- all of which the Terminal 2 lounge lacks.

For reviews of the Terminal 2 and 3 lounges, refer to the articles below. 

Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge Changi Terminal 2

Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge, Changi Terminal 3

The good news is that Business Class passengers may use whichever lounge they wish, regardless of the terminal their flight is departing from. The lounge dragons may gently remind you that your flight is departing from a different terminal, but all you need to do is nod and say “thank you”.

The only drawback I can think of with the Terminal 3 facility is that it’s much more crowded than Terminal 2, especially during the peak early morning and late night departure slots. But hey, I assume you’ll be arriving early enough to snag a seat, right?

Speaking of which, how much time should you budget for the lounge?

Singapore Airlines check-in opens 48 hours before departure, but if your plan is to head to the airport early so you have more time at the lounge, do note that you’ll only be allowed into the departures area within 24 hours of your flight. 

This effectively caps your lounge time at 24 hours. I leave it to you to decide how long you want to be there, but I’d reckon for most people 3-4 hours would be a good duration.

Lounge (Overseas)

SilverKris Lounge Sydney

Singapore Airlines has SilverKris Lounges at 10 overseas airports, and these are generally pleasant enough (my favourite outstation SilverKris lounges would be Bangkok, London and Seoul).

If you intend to arrive early to enjoy the lounge, check the opening hours, and be aware that ground staff may not allow you to check-in earlier than three hours before departure, even if there’s an earlier SQ flight departing that day.

🍸 Overseas SilverKris Lounges
 First Class SectionBusiness Class Section
Bangkok
Brisbane
Hong Kong
London
Manila
Melbourne
Perth 
Seoul
Sydney
Taipei

If no SilverKris Lounge is available, SIA will offer access to an alternative facility. The quality can be very variable- some partner lounges are completely forgettable, others may be even better than SIA’s flagship in Changi.

My personal favourites are the Polaris Lounges, available to Business Class passengers departing from Houston and San Francisco (you can also visit the Polaris Lounges when departing from Los Angeles and Newark, but it takes a lot more effort to get there because they’re in another terminal).

Polaris Lounge San Francisco
Polaris Lounge San Francisco

The best thing about the Polaris Lounges are their sit-down dining rooms, which serve made-to-order meals. This is something that Singapore Airlines does not offer its Business Class passengers, though to be fair, Business Class is United’s highest level of international service. 

Polaris Lounge dining
Polaris Lounge dining

I’d certainly come early to the airport to enjoy a Polaris lounge!

Onboard

Boarding

Pre-departure beverages in Business Class | Photo: KN Aviation

As Business Class passengers, you’ll be among the first to board the plane. Since it’s not quite as intimate as First Class, you can still expect a bit of a queue, so some may prefer staying a little longer in the lounge and boarding a bit later.

But don’t leave it too late, or you’ll miss the pageantry of welcome drinks (still and sparkling water, champagne and orange juice are the usual offerings) and hot towels (which made a return from September 2023).

Get your amenities kit

Singapore Airlines Business Class amenities kit

On flights six hours and longer, Singapore Airlines offers Penhaligon’s amenities kits which contain:

  • Quercus hand lotion (30ml)
  • Quercus facial mist (7ml)
  • Quercus lip balm (4g)
  • a clear ziplock bag 
  • a gift card that invites you to visit a Penhaligon’s store for a “fragrance profiling experience”

Sometimes the amenity kit is already waiting at your seat, and other times you’ll need to request for one.

Additional amenities like toothbrush kits and shavers can be found in the lavatories, and sleep masks, earplugs and compression socks are available on request from the crew.

Amenities cupboard in lavatory

If your flight is less than six hours, it doesn’t hurt to ask anyway. The aircraft you’re flying on may have just finished a rotation from a long-haul route, and it’s possible there may be some leftover kits onboard (e.g. the A350-900LH aircraft perform regional hops to Bangkok and Jakarta between long-haul flights). 

Ask for the bears

New SIA teddy bears

SIA stocks teddy bears on its flights for its younger passengers, but they’re available on request to Business Class customers of any age and subject to availability. 

As a brief search on Carousell will show you, these can be quite the collectible. Special versions are created to commemorate special events, like the launch of a new route or aircraft. The latest collection features a pair of bears in chef’s whites, though that may have changed by the time you read this post.

Oh, and the bear does have a name: “Beary”. Still a better name than Budget Terminal, though.

Dine when you want

Singapore Airlines doesn’t officially advertise this, but Business Class passengers on long-haul flights can usually request to have their meal served outside the cabin-wide service time. 

For instance, you might have stuffed yourself silly in the lounge, and can’t bear the thought of eating again so soon. Or perhaps you want to take a nap right after take-off. Either way, when the cabin crew come around to confirm your meal order, just ask whether they can serve your meal at a different time. You might run into the odd crew member who demurs, but most of the time it’ll be fine.

Peruse the snack menu

Business Class snack basket

If you’re peckish between meals, Business Class passengers have access to an expanded snack menu on medium and long-haul fights.

Temper your expectations, however, because the quality isn’t great. In fact, there’s a big overlap with the Economy Class snack menu, just that the plating is nicer. If you order instant noodles, for example, they’ll come on fine china…but they’ll still be instant noodles.

Fancy instant noodles

That said, the airline has recently expanded its Business Class snack menu to add Hokkien mee and/or carrot cake on long-haul flights.

Singapore Airlines adds hawker items to snack menu

Alternatively, you might try asking if there’s any leftover items from the previous meal service. If there are, the crew can help to heat and serve them (all food leftover at the end of the flight is disposed of anyway, so waste not want not).

After the flight

Priority immigration

Maldives fast track immigration cards

Certain SIA destinations offer expedited immigration processing for arriving Business Class passengers:

  • Bangkok (BKK)
  • Brunei (BWN)
  • Delhi (DEL)
  • Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
  • Istanbul (IST)
  • Jakarta (CGK)
  • Male (MLE)
  • Mumbai (BOM)
  • Paris (CDG)

For Male, the cabin crew will pass through the cabin to distribute fast track cards before landing. For all other airports, hold on to your boarding pass to access the fast track queue.

Lounge access

To pre-empt a commonly asked question, Singapore Airlines does not offer lounge access on arrival to Business Class passengers, regardless of airport.

If you need to freshen up with a shower, some airports may have arrival lounge facilities you can access via Dragon Pass, Priority Pass or LoungeKey. Refer to the respective websites for more details.

Conclusion

If this is your first-ever Singapore Airlines Business Class experience, you’re certainly in for a treat. Some may complain that the standards have dropped, but you know what? SIA standards at 70% can still beat many other airlines at 100% (even if the seats are starting to show their age)

Don’t worry about appearing swaku. The crew don’t judge, and even if your cabin mates give you strange looks for photographing everything, who cares? It’s a proud milestone in any miles chaser’s career, and one to be relished.

Stay tuned for my separate article on the first-timer’s guide to First and Suites!

Any other tips for first-time SIA Business Class passengers?

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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Candy

Re cake, I tried using the online enquiry to request for a birthday cake (we were flying biz to Bali), only to be told that they serve cakes only +1/-1 of the actual date. We were 2 days before the birthday. So, I guess, YMMV? We were probably just unlucky, and I didn’t want to push the issue anyway.

thomas

can ask for cake for my first business class ride? is it special for me too.. heheehhe

Cake Lover

I just tried to ask for the same thing and was told the birthday needs to be within +/- 3 days of the flight. Apparently the policy came into effect in October 2023. I asked what about anniversaries, same thing. I then asked about generic special occasion like job promotion, and they said the request will be denied.

Jarnytha

Don’t forget to order 1 of each bar drink to try em all or “catch em all”

CSS

I love to order hawker food too instead of AMDK food lol…
And i always ordered Soon Heng Bak Chor Mee Soup or my TPY Kok Kee.. whenever they are available to choose.

C M

How do we check if the lounge is viable for arrival use? I tried checking PP site and it didn’t state.. Also, anyone has any idea if I am departing from Christchurch, which lounge will be eligible to use? Thank you for any replies in advance!

alien

You would be using the Air New Zealand international lounge (if taking biz), which is… sad. It’s worse than some contract lounges so just go in with low expectations. The Manaia lounge under PP is not too good either.

Susanne

Thanks for all this valuable information

Hanzel

Do the 2018 business class seats have the same footprint as the 2017 business class? If so, wondering why SQ chose to introduce so many variants like Qatar? The 2018 regional business class seat is horrible. The 3 point seat belt, unnecessary seat ears for aisle seats (to block the windows and view) and the awful milk chocolate colour scheme. The 2017 seat is much nicer and sleek. Adelaide and Osaka are classified as ‘regional’ and they use the fugly 2018 seats. 😂

thomas

It’s a proud milestone in any miles chaser’s career, and one to be relished. <– love this..
gonna have my virgin experience in SQ next Jan,..

Acdc

Data point on birthday cake request. It was rejected when I called. The policy says it has to be 3 days before or after birthday. Maybe a generic celebration request will be accepted.

tim

Just read this and requested a cake for our honeymoon via the app’s live chat. Worked like a charm! We’ll be taking the ULR this week to Singapore. Can’t wait!

Ken

Unfortunately, you’re SOL lounge wise if departing from New York JFK.
Both lounges you have access to are horrible!
The Air India Maharaja Lounge is a dump…as is the Prime Class Lounge which is very slightly better…

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