Singapore Airlines Will Resume World’s Longest Flight This Year

Filed Under: Singapore

Recently Airbus completed their first test flight for the A350-900ULR, for which Singapore Airlines is the launch customer. The airline has seven of these on order, in addition to the 60 A350-900s they have on order.

We’re seeing more and more ultra longhaul flights nowadays, thanks to smaller and more fuel efficient longhaul aircraft. All five of the world’s longest flights have been added within the past couple of years. I expect that trend to continue, and the A350-900ULR is the latest “weapon” in the ultra longhaul battle, as it’s the longest range plane yet.

There’s no airline that needs these more than Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines used to fly nonstop to Los Angeles and New York, but they were forced to discontinue the flights in 2013, when they got rid of their A340-500 aircraft.

The whole reason they ordered these planes is so that they can restart these routes. In our community, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to book this flight and experience a 19 hour nonstop.

The Straits Times had a story today about the future of these routes. They note that Singapore Airlines is scheduled to restart their Singapore to New York nonstop flight by the end of 2018, and restart their Singapore to Los Angeles nonstop flight in early 2019. That means these new flights are right around the corner.

Singapore to New York will be the world’s longest flight, while Singapore to Los Angeles will be the fourth longest flight, though it’s a route that United also operates, using a Boeing 787-9.

Singapore’s A350-900ULRs will feature just 162 seats, including 68 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats. This is both to keep the weight of the plane down, and also because the only way to make money on these ultra longhaul flights is with premium passengers.

The real wild card here is that Singapore Airlines has seven of these on order, and they’re rumored to be considering a third destination for these planes, given that they have the capacity. My speculation is that they’re considering either Chicago or Toronto, though this hasn’t been confirmed one way or another.

Anyway, there are just over eight months remaining in the year, so I suspect that Singapore Airlines will reveal the details of their New York flight within the next few weeks, and tickets should be on sale shortly after that. I can’t wait to (hopefully) redeem miles for this flight.

The other big question remaining is whether Singapore Airlines uses New York JFK or Newark for this route. On one hand, Newark is the logical choice since it’s a United hub, though on the other hand their existing flight to New York (via Frankfurt) is to JFK.

Anyone else excited to try Singapore Airlines’ new routes to Los Angeles and New York?

(Tip of the hat to SINJim)

  1. Just making sure the numbers are right. If there’s 68 biz seats and 94 premium economy where are the economy seats out of the 162? Or are there none?

  2. I flew on SQ 21/22 in 2011, all business-class configuration.
    Though I love flying, 18 hours/19hours in a plane was really loooonnnnng

  3. Since I’d have to make a connection anyway I’d rather do it closer to the middle…i.e. fly via NRT or a similar East Asian hub (like ICN) than spend a full 19 hours on one plane.

    I flew JFK-BKK a million years ago on the TG non-stop and it wasn’t much fun

  4. @ Moleebs – I’m sure you don’t want to spend ~19 Hours in Economy. Even in Premium Economy I would not do it. When they used the A345 on that Route they had only Business Class, wich seems to me the only way I book that Flight.

  5. I have a Suites award booked on the JFK flight for January so I’m hoping they don’t downgauge that route before then, but it’s not looking good … I could imagine likely outcomes including either cutting the stopping flight entirely and running only the nonstop from JFK, or bringing the nonstop back to EWR like when they ran it before but downgauging JFK to a 777.

  6. Someone better with understanding awards charts…specifically Singapore’s…than I am – How many miles would this run for a business class award NYC to either Aus or NZ? Would they look at this as a single redemption or covering separate zones and essentially charge two awards in one (like AA does if you wanted to fly to Asia heading east through Europe of the ME from the US rather than west)? If award space ends up being decent on this flight, this could be a great opportunity for me in March to get to Oceania one-stop from the east coast that seems to be a better product and slightly more direct than some other east coast — asia — oceania options out there that have decent award space.

  7. According to my sources, I am told that the current SQ non-stop between SIN-SFO would not survive if it weren’t for connecting passengers from the subcontinent, a lot of them travel economy and it doesn’t attract a premium heavy crowd.

    So I don’t think the “third destination” will be putting the ULR on SIN-SFO for this reason as premium heavy might be “too much” for this route.

    My money is on Chicago. SQ doesn’t seem to have any interest in returning to Canada.

  8. Newark actually makes very little sense, as SQ doesn’t actively codeshare with UA for US flights. They used VX mostly, and now a mix of AS and B6.

  9. while this is awesome, i’m not sure if i’d choose direct flights over JFK-FRA-SIN. A flight that long is exhausting, and saves only a marginal amount of time compared to stopover at FRA, where the layover was a lifesaver for me w/ 2 hours relaxing in the lounge and a shower

  10. @ Bgriff – I am pretty sure your suite is safe. Before the direct SIN-EWR terminated in 2013, Singapore Airlines ran both SIN-EWR and SIN-FRA-JFK daily. Even during that time SIN-FRA-JFK was almost always operated by A380s (and 747s before that), w/ only occasional 777s for operational reasons. Therefore i don’t see any reason why SIN-FRA-JFK would be affected in anyway w/ the new direct flight

  11. I flew the old flight back in the day and it was horrible. The hard and soft product were fine, but it was just a really, really long flight.

    Of course, my flight was made worse because my entire routing was EWR-SIN-PER/PER-SIN-LAX-ORD/ORD-EWR.

    The A350 experience might be better, given its enhanced cabin pressure, but there’s no avoiding that this is a very long flight.

  12. Does this mean that they’ll have premium economy seats for economy, or that they’ll be selling them as a Premium Economy cabin ? If the latter, then they’re essentially getting rid of Economy entirely.

  13. I hope they are getting a new more comfortable business class seat for this route. I find there current seat lovely to lounge in buy not at all good for sleeping – hard and oddly cramped – if stylish

  14. They already fly SIn -Sfo mom stop on 350 and their new business class is awful. No redeeming values whatsoever. Why would anyone on their right minds choose them? One stop CX ( or EVA) are far better and the time loss is not all that much. SQ is overrated ( mostly by the bloggers?)

  15. I would certainly prefer if this flight were to EWR, as it’s infinitely easier to get to both from other cities (amtrak) and midtown (NJT). I don’t know how much more expensive it would make operations for SG to contract staff for a second airport, though. I doubt connecting traffic through UA would even be a consideration for an all-premium configuration.

  16. I’m sure this plane will have to carry a lot more fuel which also may account for why they chose to cut down the passenger load. I hope the lavatories are up to the task of 20 hours. I might be the in the minority but I’d opt for a stopover rather than this super long nonstop. They must have figured out the demand is strong for an all premium flight but I’m not convinced this is a slam dunk. Anxiously awaiting the review!

  17. I’m sure this plane will have to carry a lot more fuel which also may account for why they chose to cut down the passenger load. I might be the in the minority but I’d opt for a stopover rather than this super long nonstop. They must have figured out the demand is strong for an all premium flight but I’m not convinced this is a slam dunk. Anxiously awaiting the review!

  18. The 19-hr flight would suit me just fine as I can easily sleep the entire time. However, I will take this nonstop SQ flight only if it would get me ~20K PQM and ~$3K PQD that I estimate needing at the end of the year to requalify my UA 1K status. Otherwise, I’ll just do the LGA-ORD-NRT-SIN mileage run in UA Polaris Business like last year.

  19. Not a good idea already tried it and even the premium rev pax found the flight too long! Even with a huge comfotable seat, great food, attentive service and less pax count meaning exclusivity and less people to share their air on such a long is a money loosing concept..tried the LAX and NYC flights in the past..just felt terrible after such a flight even when in C cabin and full flst bed..

  20. I live in NY and travel to Singapore once a year in business class. A non-stop route like this usually charges a premium and SQ usually charges a premium over ME-3 carriers too. I don’t like SQ enough and don’t mind transferring so wouldn’t pay the extra to fly this route. We did BR last year, LH the year before and doing EY this year…

  21. I remember after SQ cancelled the nonstop SIN-EWR flight, it was a lot harder to find J award seats on the SIN-FRA-JFK route. Hopefully the addition of this flight will mean it’ll be easier to find J awards!

    Also, note that one of the reasons SQ cancelled the nonstop flight was because of fuel prices being so high back in 2011-2014 (plus the A340s required a lot of fuel.) Hopefully the a350 with its fuel efficiency and overall lower fuel prices will make this route work for SQ.

  22. Why no first class? If the demand for premium seats on these routes is high enough to fill these planes, I’d imagine they could also fill a small First cabin (four seats, for example)

  23. @Mark F. — YVR can be reached without the need for the ULR version. And it isn’t high-yield enough to justify the premium config.

  24. I flew SQ21 from Singapore to Newark one time. Back then it was a Pacific routing. It was my favorite flight of all time. Two good sleeps, numerous meals, a decent chunk of work and several movies – what’s not to like 🙂

  25. Singapore Airlines isn’t even a really good airline. Honestly overrated. Just because the FAs are made forced to smile doesn’t mean they’re a great airline. The seat is atroiciuous. It’s impossible to sleep on really. And you can’t even sleep on it at all unless you get up, flip it into bed mode (prison hard bench).
    There are no amenities whatsoever. The Singapore lounge are a disaster. No amenity kit for travelers. There’s nothing on board this flight that would break up the monotony for 19hours (no bar like on emirates/Qatar a380). It’s just 19 hours in an uncomfortable seat.

  26. No need for SQ to add LAX when they already fly nonstop to/from SFO… New York, yes.

    “Singapore Airlines used to fly nonstop to Los Angeles and New York, but they were forced to discontinue the flights in 2013, when they got rid of their A340-500 aircraft.”

    They weren’t forced to, it was their own decision.

  27. They do fly to JFK, but that’s probably just because they want to use the a380 and Newark can’t receive the a380.

  28. I wish they’d choose Newark so they’d have more options for NYC destination and take advantage of the United hub connectivity. But to be honest there’s few incentives to connect with UA there when you’re already on the East Coast and flying from over the Pacific.

    As for the other possible future destination, Chicago would make lots of sense. It’s the only major SA hub in the US left they still don’t have a presence for, and OZ, NH and BR are already flying to that major city.

  29. I seldom want to deplane an SQ biz class flight….bring on the 19 hours..I intend to enjoy every single minute..

  30. SQ’s J seat is very polarizing, some like it some don’t. For the current J seat, I personally wouldn’t enjoy a 19 hour flight unless I got the bulkhead on the 77W with the full ottoman.

    They will most likely have a different J product than the current long-haul ones; but the question is how different? Will it be the new A380 ones, or more like the 787s but more spacious. I hope it’s something that you don’t have to flip to turn into a bed, and personally I don’t see why SQ is so allergic to putting in a reverse herringbone seat since that’s what theirs basically is given the position of the foot well.

    Also for PEY, I hope that all seats have a full leg rest similar to CX, and not just a foot rest.

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