Monday, August 16, 2010

Emirates vs. Singapore Airlines

Emirates Cabin CrewNow that I have travelled multiple times by Emirates, here are my views on this airline compared with my favorite, Singapore Airlines. As frequent flyers from India to the United States would have noticed, Emirates now has a good set of connections to the USA. My observations are based on business-class travel by these airlines.

In the 2010 Skytrax World Airline Awards, Singapore Airlines came at #2 while Emirates was at #8 (Korea's Asiana Airlines was on the top). Singapore Airlines was among the top three in best business class experience and at the top spot in quality of service by its cabin staff, while Emirates was voted the best in in-flight entertainment (Singapore Airlines came a close second).

Singapore Airline Cabin Crew
Singapore Airlines Business Class seatMy own experience closely reflects the rankings. While Singapore Airlines flies a young fleet, Emirates has aircraft that are clearly newer. Singapore Airlines' business class cabin continues to be best-in-class in terms of overall personal space and seat comfort. Emirates has some cool technology such as electrically operated window-blinds, wireless controller for the entertainment system, and external camera feeds that lets you look out in the front and below the aircraft at any time. However, Singapore Airlines has more storage space for my iPad, Bose headset and a padded holder for my glasses - something I find very useful! Both cabins have 110V outlets for powering your laptops.

Emirates provides a 'real' duvet in pristine white, more comfortable than SA's version which is built into the seat. Emirates also has a electric massage system built into its seat. However, like I pointed out earlier, space matters more than these things in a long flight, and SA's four seats in a row configuration affords substantially more room that Emirates' five-in-a-row. Every business class seat in SA is an aisle seat.

Emirates Business Class SeatsThe dining experience in Singapore Airlines is far superior! Their menu is more elaborate, I love their satays and their drinks and dinner service much more efficient and customer-oriented. Their cabin staff is always courteous and responsive. Emirates is a little spotty in all of these counts. My recent flight had a good cabin service team, but the one before that was very indifferent, unprofessional and spent time chatting rather than attend to passengers.

Emirates Business Class Windows
Emirates Airlines Cabin CrewFinally, the airports. Changi was again voted the best airport, and I have to say it has a clear edge over Dubai. The lounge at Changi is well-laid out with shower rooms and a variety of food and drinks at all times. Emirates has a very large lounge but is always too crowded like the rest of the airport. Food is aplenty here too, but there are no amenities in the toilets and neither do they have shower rooms. Both airports provide free WiFi in their lounges. One thing I must point out: Emirates has the best lounge in Mumbai airport! SA doesn't have a lounge here and passengers much use Lufthansa's.

Singapore Girls!Bottomline, Singapore Airlines is still the best and there is no beating the Singapore girl! However, if Emirates gets its act together in terms of customer service, they can be a close second especially given their good routings to multiple cities in the USA.

Update: One thing I forgot to mention are the amenity kits. Singapore Airlines does not provide an amenity kit to Business Class passengers. They only give you a pair of socks and eye-shades. However, the bathrooms are stocked with good quality shaving kits, dental kits, etc. Emirates on the other hand give you a very elaborate amenity kit with Bvlgari lotions, aftershaves, hi-end shaving and dental kits in a very good-looking bag - I haven't seen a better one being handed out by any other airline. They even have different ones for men and women.

Photos courtesy: Jose Fernandes, Sumaya Al Bishari, Flick Wick and Doc Advert.


Nisha said...

Yes, agree with you. Singapore airlines is the best airlines for us as well. My husband is so much smitten by it (or the air-hostesses), he even bought their uniform for me from their in flight sales! :D

Shantanu said...

@Nisha: That's funny! But you are right; the Singapore
Girl is certainly a hit with most travelers. Btw, I had bought one of those kebayas in Singapore Airline colors, but for my little daughter. :)

kyh said...

This is really an interesting insight. Thanks for sharing, though I doubt I'd ever get a business class seat! Haha!

Shantanu said...

@kyh: Thanks.

Anonymous said...

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