Singapore Airlines Resuming World’s Longest Flight On October 11, 2018

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Singapore Airlines is the launch customer for the Airbus A350-900ULR (with the “ULR” standing for “ultra long range), of which they have seven on order. The airplane is already undergoing test flights, and is expected to be delivered to Singapore Airlines in the coming months.

These planes will help Singapore Airlines relaunch the world’s longest flight, which they discontinued back in 2013, when they got rid of their A340-500 aircraft. Specifically, Singapore Airlines had used the A340-500 to fly from Singapore to New York and Los Angeles. The new A350 will allow them to operate these routes once again, and more efficiently than ever before (the airline also flies nonstop from Singapore to San Francisco, which they’re able to operate with one of the non-ULR versions of the A350).

We’ve known that Singapore Airlines plans to resume their nonstop flight to New York later this year, and their nonstop flight to Los Angeles early next year (and also a mysterious third route), but up until now exact details haven’t been revealed beyond that. We now know all the details of the first route.

Singapore Airlines resuming nonstop Newark flights in October

Singapore Airlines will be resuming nonstop flights between Singapore and Newark as of October 11, 2018. The flights will operate with the following schedule:

SQ22 Singapore to Newark departing 11:35PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
SQ21 Newark to Singapore departing 10:45AM arriving 5:30PM (+1 day)

The schedule will change just slightly as of October 28, 2018, due to the Northern Winter:

SQ22 Singapore to Newark departing 12:40AM arriving 5:30AM
SQ21 Newark to Singapore departing 9:45AM arriving 5:15PM (+1 day)

For the first week the flight will only operate 3x weekly, but starting October 18, 2018, the airline will operate the flight daily, as they take delivery of their second A350-900ULR.

This new flight will cover a distance of over 9,500 miles, and the flight time is blocked at up to 18hr45min, so this will be a really long flight. This will beat out the world’s current longest route, between Auckland and Doha, by about 500 miles.

Configuration for Singapore Airlines’ new A350-900ULR

Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR will be in a very sparse configuration, as it will feature a total of just 161 seats, including 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats. This is for a couple of reasons, including to keep the overall weight of the plane down, and also because the only way to make money with a route like this is with high yield passengers who are paying high fares, and you’ll get the most of those with big business class and premium economy cabins. This won’t be a flight for those looking for the lowest fares.

Other random details

I think this new flight is exactly what we expected, given all the clues we were given up until this point. I was still wondering if they’d fly to New York JFK or Newark, and they chose Newark, which is the airport they used for the old nonstop flight. I figured they might finally consolidate their Singapore Airlines flights at JFK (since that’s where the New York to Frankfurt to Singapore flight departs from), but I guess they decided against that.

The other good news is that this flight represents a net capacity increase, as Singapore Airlines hasn’t announced plans to cut other routes to/from the US. They’ll continue to operate their New York to Frankfurt to Singapore flight with the current schedule, and that journey will just take a few hours more in each direction (and will be good for anyone who wants to stretch their legs).

Redeeming miles for the world’s longest flight?

We should know more about what award availability on this flight will look like tomorrow, as the new Singapore to Newark flight should be bookable starting tomorrow, Thursday, May 31, 2018.

I certainly hope to be able to redeem miles for this flight once it becomes bookable, even if it’s not at the “saver” level. If they do make award seats available, expect it to cost the following number of miles one-way (this will only be bookable through Singapore’s own KrisFlyer program, and not with miles of other airlines):

  • Business Class: 92,000 miles (Saver), 135,000 miles (Standard)
  • Premium Economy: 70,000 miles (Saver)

I’ll be brave and will try to review one direction in business class and one direction in premium economy. 😉

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are lots of easy ways to earn miles with them.

Earn KrisFlyer miles with:

Anyone plan to take Singapore Airlines’ new nonstop flight between Singapore and Newark? Do you like the concept of a nonstop flight this long, or would you rather make a stop somewhere?

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Comments

  1. Lucky,

    I think it’s only fair that you book a mixed cabin fare (one way in biz, one in PE) and give us a review.

    Warm Regards,
    Ben

  2. What happened to the Seychelles review??? It’s been over a week and no new reviews.

  3. I think I would rather have a stop in the middle. Unless you live in the NY area you have to connect anyway, so why not connect in Tokyo, HKG, or even ICN.

  4. I flew IAD-EWR-SIN-ICN when they previously operated the route. I had an economy RTW ticket, but I could still use it to book Premium economy on the EWR-SIN leg.

  5. Raksiam,

    I flew this route back when they offered it. Excellent flight as you can get a full 8 hours of sleep, watch several moves, get real work done. I avoid connecting as much as possible. Would much prefer this flight over the stop in Frankfurt or Hong Kong.

    Honestly, 135,000 miles for a standard award isn’t that bad for this route.

  6. Thanks Ben. Can’t wait for this report. Why not hop down to PER and pick up the LHR route on way back – what a way to clock up some serious ultra long haul mileage and some back to back reviews

  7. This is great news. I’m eagerly awaiting their non-stop SIN-LAX service to begin. Any possibility SQ begins operating this route before December 2018?

  8. Definitely gonna do it!

    Suites on SQ26 was great, but I’d definitely like to try their business class on a long haul.

  9. Ben – will the EWR-bound flight be in darkness the whole way? I’ve done HKG-JFK a bunch seem to remember that being the case on the late departure, but I may have just been sleeping during what little daylight there was

  10. As Ben (the first commenter) said, it would be nice to have a review of that loooooong trip !

    Two things i’d be curious about:

    – The trip in the EWR-SIN direction, since the schedules seems to be better adapted to a review
    – This seat, namely how it compares to the 777 seat, and if it really deserves the complaints we see all over the internet (I unfortunately trust your reviews more than anyone else’s now… 🙂 )

    Plus I get the sense that you’ll give us your unbiased thought after a 19h trip 😉

  11. How come so many of these airlines that are still “dedicated to maintaining first class” are not adding first class to their new 787/a350s? A route like this would seem ideal for a few suites.

  12. Lucky:

    Why would this only be bookable through SQ miles and not others?

    Asiana/Lufthansa should have for 67.5k and Air Canada/Avianca should be 77.5k. Does SQ not release ANY J availability to partners at all?

  13. @ Izz — They don’t generally release any longhaul premium cabin award availability to partner airlines, correct.

  14. Thanks for the update, Lucky! Will definitely check out the award availability tomorrow.

    Have been wondering what your thoughts are on booking standard awards vs. saver awards. Singapore seems to have plenty of standard award seats on their US flights. Do you think standard awards are worth the additional miles when saver awards aren’t showing up?

  15. @Lucky — Glad that you’re willing to “slum it” for us and try Premium Economy (which I myself am more likely to travel in).

  16. The schedule is surprising. When they used to operate this route the “redeye” was on the EWR->SIN direction and the “daytime” flight was on the SIN->EWR direction. I guess maybe this way is better for connections from SIN, but business travelers probably aren’t going to love losing two full work days on the EWR->SIN flight, and having to spend either an extra last night in New York or an extra first night in Singapore. (Of course, you lose a lot of time making that trip no matter how you go, but with the current JFK flight you in theory only lose one work day.)

  17. @Steve : since the flight is a freaking 18+ hours, I’m guessing out of SIN, it’ll involve first maybe 4-5 hours in darkness, then sunrise ….. then sunset …. then finally arriving into NYC just in time for your 2nd sunrise

  18. @Bgriff : the current JFK flight also lands at JFK much later, so by the time you arrive into midtown it’ll be essentially noon, so it’s not like you can have a “full business day” either

    if i were a biz pax commuting on that route to maximize productivity, i’d do JFK-FRA-SIN southbound and SIN-EWR northbound (ya can’t use the term “eastbound” here cuz both flies east)

  19. If I were the guys are Singapore I would move all of their flight to EWR as they would have more connection options with UA and would allow them to maybe even build a central lounge for both of their flights to NYC.

    I would assume they would add ORD or even IAD both seem like logical moves

    Why are they operating LAX with the ULR if the range is fine for a normal a350?

  20. Could you explain why the northern hemisphere winter requires tweaking the schedule? Are the winds that different?

  21. @Roberto – As far as I know, SQ and UA don’t generally sell tickets connecting to one another, except for I believe with SQ’s IAH-MAN route.

    It’s a shame there are no Suites on this plane! Or at the very least a row of 4 F seats like on some of the 77Ws.

  22. If I remember correctly, we’re supposed to see new seats for the A359ULR too, right? I imagine it’s going to be more oriented to business travelers and lighter to reduce weight, as well

  23. Do you think UA’s LAX-SIN route will have an impact on Singapore starting this route? With two airlines, it might be a lot of capacity on such a long route.

  24. I wish SQ would connect SIN to a West Coast airport vis LHR or FRA. LAX LHR SIN would likely get a fair bit of traction as virtually all the competition would be domestic airlines and BA

  25. @John the polar jet stream is substantially stronger in the winter, because the temperature differences are greatest. This is why, depending on weather, east-bound flights (north hemisphere) during the winter often deviate substantially from the “great circle” in order to fly with the jet stream tail wind.

  26. Any idea why it’s cheaper for an award ticket on Singapore in conjunction with a partner than just Singapore flights? Also, does it make any difference if you fly an award flight via Frankfurt, besides the stop?

  27. Living in Connecticut means either JFK or Newark would have worked for me. I understand that they want Business and Premium Economy to make it worth it for them. Glad it’s not just First and Business.
    As far as non-stop versus a layover, I’m okay with the non-stop. It’s a nice option to have. And the NY to Frankfort to Singapore route is also still available.
    If they feed me enough, I can do the nearly 19 hrs.

  28. @John: daylight saving time is most likely the reason for schedule change

    this schedule works great for travel to/from Sydney with one 2/3 hr connection in SIN in both directions (to/from SQ 221/222) – perfect timing to stretch your legs and enjoy the airport.

  29. There is a lot of talk about the old A345 aircraft being in an all J configuration, but before SQ went with all J, they had what I figure to be the first International Premium Economy cabin on these planes. They called it Executive Economy. I traveled the AMD-SIN-EWR sector about 6 times during those times. The return flight had a stop in SIN for 13 hours, and SQ even attached Silver Kris Lounge access with these EE tickets. I was 12 years old when I flew it last in 2006. Traveling with my mom to go see the grandparents in NYC every few months. Even in the EE cabin they had excellent hard product, wide seats with footrests, amazing food ( I distinctly remember the unlimited Ice Cream). Legroom was also pretty good, but hey I was less than 5 feet tall, so what would I know. Mom found the flights comfortable too.

    I remember the last flight we faced pretty strong headwinds, and were in the air for close to 20 hours. In my mind as a little boy, I thought all airlines have seats that are this comfortable. When I was 15 I had a chance to sit in MHs 3-4-3 777. Yeah, my bubble had finally burst. Nobody does economy as well as SQ.

  30. Why no 1st class? Simple,the seats are much heavier there. In order to operate this route cost effectively as well, they had to compromise somewhere…

  31. Looks like this flight was made for us avgeeks, SFO-SIN arrives at 7 pm and SIN-EWR leaves 11:35, perfect timing if I do say so myself ;P

  32. I honestly don’t expect much from this new SQ service. SQ has been trying the new sort of “on demand” service on its current SFO nonstop flights. It did not quite work out on my experience, but we will see if they are able to do a full “on demand” flight.

    I have been debating if I want to fly this inaugural but decide to save $$$ for the still unknown third North American destinations.

    Carfield

  33. “I’ll be brave and will try to review one direction in business class and one direction in premium economy.”

    If this happens it will be considered a MIRACLE 😉

  34. I don’t understand how/why if this flight is /SO/ profitable as a non-stop (such that people will pay a significant premium to avoid the A380 flying via FRA) they wouldn’t have already been flying it with a 77L the past half decade. They already have a massive 777 fleet so it wouldn’t have even been the one-off type subfleet that the 340-500 was. And Boeing was/is basically giving away 777’s to keep production lines moving through the 777X transition.

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