I had the chance to experience both BA and SIA business class on two trips I made in January. Flew BA on the route BRU-LHR-IAH-LHR-BRU, and the week after I did SIA on BRU-LHR-SIN-KUL-SIN-LHR-BRU. The aim of my posting is not providing you with a full trip report, but comparing BA and SIA business class service.
The LHR-IAH-LHR legs were on 747-400, I had an upper deck seat twice. Day flight outbound, night flight inbound. The LHR-SIA leg was a 777-300ER night-flight, while the return leg was a day-flight upper deck on the A380.
BOOKING. I made the online bookings and seat selection online. Both BA and SIA websites are fine, but BA let me down by charging an extra amount to select my seat, while I already paid 3000 GBP for the flights. Anyway, I really wanted to be upper-deck on the 747-400 so I obliged... Conclusion : SIA 10/10 and BA 8/10.
LOUNGES The BA lounges at LHR are great, with T5 offering great views on the runways. The LHR SIA lounge is dull and old, feels a bit cramped, and has the big disadvantage of being in T3, a terminal with a cavernous feel, very long walking distances, and extremely crowded on a Friday afternoon. One wouldn't mind spending 4 hours at T5, but T3 is another story. The LHR lounge at IAH is very basic, but okay. The SIA lounges at SIN are of course excellent, but do lack outside views, especially when spending a long time between flights. Conclusion: no clear winner for the lounges criteria, both receive 8/10.
AIRCRAFT. As for aircraft tidiness and general appeal, I must say that the upper-deck feeling on BA's 747-400 is a clear winner, even when compared to SIA's A380. However, I can imagine that being on the main deck of BA's 747-400 doesn't live up to the experience of SIA's 777-300ER or A380, both of which have a 1-2-1 seat configuration in business, with all seats providing aisle access, compared to BA's 747-400 2-4-2 in business on the main deck. Being an aircraft enthusiast, I looked forward to my first flight on the A380, but the experience didn't quite live up to my anticipation. The 747-400 is still a great airplane! Conclusion: BA wins when upper-deck, otherwise it is SIA, but for these travels BA 10/10 and SIA 8/10.
SEAT. Having never flown SIA before, and because of all the 5-stars rankings amassed by the airline, and their advertising for the "new business class seat, the widest ever", I was very curious about SIA set comfort. However, I must say now that BA is much better. The footrest on SIA is awkward, the side is too wide, and just not good enough for spending 10hrs+ on an airplane. You cannot change the seat into a bed without standing and doing some acts for which most passengers need help from the FAs. The seat is good for sleeping, but so is BA's. Conclusion: BA a clear winner with 10/10, SIA 7/10.
IFE. Great quality and choice of AVOD on both carriers. SIA has a bigger screen, broader choice of movies, tv programs, and audio channels, but scattered over more languages and cultural roots. For a European or American citizen, I'd say BA's system offers more choice. SIA's "moving map" looks better at first sight, but shows less detail than BA's. My experience was also that BA's system is easier to stop/pause/restart: one can watch a movie, stop/paused it and switch to moving map/audio, and then go back to the movie and continue when last stopped/pause. Conclusion: BA 9/10, SIA 8/10.
FOOD. The food was excellent on both carriers, but on these BA legs better than what I had experienced before with BA, and better than SIA. SIA was a first experience, so I cannot compare. Nice selection of drinks also. SIA's presentation is a bit better, and so is their breakfast. Conclusion: very slight advantage for SIA because I think I was really lucky with BA this time, but must give them both 9/10 for these specific flights.
FAs. The ratio #passengers/#FAs is lower on SIA than on BA, and I think heir quality/performance was also more constant. But BA flight attendants feel more professional, and more reliable in case of real issues than SIA's nice-to-look-at FAs. SIA's uniforms remain a lust for the eye. Conclusion: SIA 9/10 and BA 8/10.
Before boarding my first SIA flight, expectations were sky-high. But the overall experience with SIA didn't entirely live up to my expectations. SIA's major shortcoming for me turned out to be (surprisingly) their much mediatized seat. And what matters most for me on very long flights are the quality of the IFE but above all... seat comfort! When you add all the above scores, you'll have SIA 59/70 but BA 62/70. So BA 747-400 upper-deck is the very clear winner for me, mainly because of the very private feeling of the upper-deck cabin and their excellent seat (for sitting, lounging, and sleeping). And for those items were SIA scored best, BA was only very slightly behind. I never thought SIA would come in second to BA, but for my next travels to Asia I'll try to fly BA again.