These 2 airlines have been rivals since earlier this decade with Qatar Airways CEO, Mr Akbar Al Baker stating that they are better than Singapore Airlines from an article published in the Straits Times Singapore.
He also stated that Qatar Airways would never let the gap to get too close to Singapore Airlines and that SIA will have to play catch up with the Gulf based airline.
Since I have flown with both carriers, to Europe from South East Asia within this year, I think maybe I could have a say or two on this duel.
I flew with SIA from Singapore to London in July 2017 and from Kuala Lumpur to Paris by Qatar Airways, with a stopover in Doha and to Paris in November 2017.
First of all, Changi Airport is the hats-off winner when compared to Doha’s Airport, as Changi Airport is more organised and has a better sense of ‘build’ quality.
Doha Airport seems stressed and crowded especially during their bulk of flights arriving from Asia and going onwards to Europe and vice versa.
The ground staff at both airports are just as nice, friendly and helpful which is the most important thing when you are in an unfamiliar place.
Another point for SIA is that its flights from South East Asia seems less stressful as Changi Airport is a better place for transfers and if you’re like me either based in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, it would simply be a direct flight to Europe (unless if you’re from Kuala Lumpur and you would need a short flight to Changi).
However, on Qatar Airways, the flight attendants are friendlier and less stiff when compared to SIA.
SIA’s crew look like they have a lot on their hands and they also look like they are strict while serving passengers, giving them the thumbs down and praising the charm of the Qatar Airways crew is not out of bound.
That does not mean that SIA’s crew aren’t good, they are but its just that this is an area where Qatar Airways excels.
The food on SIA tastes better than that of Qatar Airways, and the portion is slightly larger on SIA, as the Arab airline seems to be on the conservative side on the dishes.
Qatar Airways serves 1 heavy meal and 1 light meal on each bank of flights (as you need 2 of them if you’re from Asia to Europe) but Singapore Air just serves 2 heavy meals with light snacks in between and this is what most people would like.
The seats on Qatar Air’s newer planes are almost exactly the same as they are on Singapore Airline’s crafts. I flew on Qatar’s A330, A350 and A380. The A350 along with the A380 have a similar seat comfort as with SIA’s A350, A380 and B777-300ER.
Unfortunately, the Qatar A330 is less comfortable when compared to Singapore Airline though it is way better than airlines like Air Mauritius, but for 7 hours and with a major competitor like SIA in its radar, it’s not going to be comfortable flying Qatar Airways for that extra legging space.
End of Year Bonuses?
One bonus you will get on a Qatar Airways flight is that they have (tail and under carriage) flight cameras that allows you to see where you are flying at, however, these sort of ‘dashboard’ cams are only available on their newer aircraft though SIA does not seems ready to offer those. They are pretty awesome!
My verdict is both have their ups and downs, flying with the both of them you won’t be able to see much difference overall with minor pluses here and there on each.
If you’re a traveller from other than Singapore, you would still have to transfer through Changi Airport and no matter how good an airport is, a flight transfer still stays as such.
But the fact that Qatar Airways offloads passengers from an A350 onto an old, decrepit and crammed A330 for the flight from Doha to Kuala Lumpur on the way back from Charles De Gaul airport seems like a ripoff. A total ripoff!