Would I Take The World’s Longest Flight Again?

A couple of days ago I took the world’s longest flight from Singapore to Newark, which covers a distance of over 9,500 miles, and where you spend over 18 hours in your seat. I find the concept of this flight to be fascinating, and even as someone who has flown millions of miles, this flight felt different to me in many ways.

So far I’ve written posts about why I find the meal service on this flight to be illogical, and I’ve also written about my 10 takeaways from taking this flight.

All of this begs the question — would I fly nonstop between Newark and Singapore again?

I’m happy I took the flight for the novelty

As an aviation geek there’s something really cool about taking the world’s longest nonstop flight. There aren’t many flights that are so long that the flight map can barely display your entire route on the same screen.


Now that’s a long flight!

Singapore Airlines has been making some saver level award space available on these flights, and in my case I found a great paid business class fare out of Ahmedabad, so I got an excellent deal.

So I’m happy I took the flight for the novelty.

If Singapore were my final destination…

This is where it gets interesting. If my origin were New York (or even Los Angeles) and my final destination were Singapore, I don’t think I’d avoid these ultra longhaul flights to Singapore. There is a convenience to flying nonstop and not having to worry about connections, even if it’s a really long flight.

I’d be more inclined to take this flight from the US to Singapore than from Singapore to the US, though. Why? Let’s say the alternative is flying from New York to Singapore via Hong Kong (or vice versa):

  • I don’t mind the shorter flight between Singapore and Hong Kong prior to the long flight to New York
  • The flight from Hong Kong to Singapore is less fun after having just gotten off a really long flight

Now, the thing is, Singapore is rarely my final destination when I travel. I’ve been to Singapore many times, but almost always as a stopover. So I don’t envision too many instances where this scenario would play out.


This flight is valuable if Singapore is your final destination

If I need to connect anyway…

For me a much more realistic scenario is that if I were to consider this flight again, it would be as part of a routing where I’d need to connect:

  • In some cases I’d have the option of a one stop routing on a number of airlines, like if flying New York to Bali, where I could fly Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, EVA Air, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, etc.
  • In some cases this flight does present new one-stop routings where there aren’t many other one-stop options, like New York to Luang Prabang, New York to Siem Reap, etc. (in some cases there are one or two other one-stop options, but not many)

My general inclination is that if there were other one-stop options with a shorter transpacific flight, I’d prefer those. However, in situations where Singapore Airlines offers one of the only one-stop options, I’d probably consider this flight again. While I don’t mind connecting once on other airlines, a double connection is a nice thing to be able to avoid.

I think the last consideration is what the alternative flights are. For example:

  • If I could redeem for Cathay Pacific first class with 70,000 Alaska miles and a connection, I’d almost always choose that
  • I love Japan Airlines, and I’d probably choose a connection in Tokyo in first or business class, but only if the connection to Southeast Asia features an aircraft with a fully flat bed, given that these are often 6-8 hour flights


Cathay Pacific’s first class is a great use of Alaska miles

Bottom line

I’m happy to have taken Singapore Airlines’ nonstop flight from Newark to Singapore, and have mixed feelings about it. No, I’m not putting this flight on my list of flights to avoid at all expenses, but I’m also not rushing to take it again.

It’s just so long, and I don’t love Singapore Airlines’ business class hard product.

For situations where Singapore Airlines offers a one-stop routing to some of the smaller markets in Southeast Asia that don’t otherwise have much one-stop service, I think it could be worth taking this flight again. For situations where there are other good one-stop routings, I think I’d consider those ahead of this flight.

How about you guys — based on what you know, is this a flight you’d love to take for the convenience, or avoid for the long flight time?

Comments

  1. Since I don’t live in the NY area it would require a short connecting flight anyway to take this flight. I’d rather fly IAD to HKG on CX, ICN on KE or NRT on NH and then connect from there since it breaks the journey into more reasonably sized pieces. Granted the long leg is only a couple of hours shorter but there are F options on KE and NH anyway and I find those last couple of hours are usually the toughest.

  2. @ Ben — Yeah, we took this once, and the flight seemed like it would never end. It would still take it in a heartbeat to avoid an extra connection. I actually think SQ will offer a very compelling option to many parts of Asia once they ditch the POS A330’s.

  3. I have done this one probably about a 20 times when they still did it with the A340.
    Yes it is a long flight, but transiting makes it even longer. On the other hand agree with Lucky the SQ BC seats are uncomfortable, both for sitting and sleeping.
    So I guess for me the decision would depend on the alternatives.

  4. Since there’s so many variables mentioned (whether your final destination/departure is Singapore or somewhere else in S.E. asia like Bali) I think it’d be nice to give a ranking of the transpacific routes in Business.

    Assuming 1 stop to SE Asia, If scheduling and availability are non factors and you were flying out of any US hub, what are your all around top three business products out of JAL, ANA, KAL, OZ, CX, SQ, EVA, and the US/China carriers. Put aside the Euro/ME carriers.

  5. I would avoid it not just for the length of flight time but also because often these nonstops cost significantly more than a routes with a connecting flight. And for that distance, if Singapore were my final destination I might look for an interim stopover at a place where I’d like to spend a night or two.

  6. I like connections. I care a LOT about the hard product. Lucky, your articulate description of the seats and the lack of opportunity to stretch, mingle are the clinchers for me. For me as a Torontonian, a J trip to Asia starts with EVA nonstop to TPE and I’m very, very okay with that. For a treat, I’ll position to NYC/ORD and do CX F or JL F. Longest flight stuck in a meh seat? Yuck

  7. I personally have about a 15 hour limit. Last year DFW HKG ended up being 17 with holding on AA. There is no way I am flying 17+ again ever. I’m generally going crazy at the 14 hour mark.

  8. Lucky – This is actually perfect timing and I hope you are checking these comments and can weigh in with your quick thoughts. I am currently booked on this flight in March as a connection from Australia to the US East Coast (BNE-SIN-EWR) that would require a cheap flight down to Florida to get home. I just noticed an Air New Zealand fare deal in Business on one of their AKL-LAX flights so now I could actually do a cheap BNE-AKL on China Airways fifth freedom route in J on their A350 (or just a cheap economy flight any various carriers), ANZ from AKL-LAX on their 772, then JetBlue Mint home to Florida for a bit cheaper than my current booking. I have been wanting to visit Singapore so I was originally ok with routing on SQ with a 9 hour layover to see the city. But, hearing your reviews (and not recalling the last time you reviewed ANZ), do you think you would prefer doing to ANZ/JetBlue combo over this ultra long haul knowing what you know now about that flight? Thanks!!

  9. All 14+ hour flights in my world need to be on a 787, otherwise I feel like crap afterwards. Exception is Qantas SYD-JNB over the blue Southern Ocean because the remaining 747’s are such novelty these days.

  10. Big whiff on the seats in the Singapore A350. Unusual for an airline like Singapore which focuses so much on the customer experience.

  11. Ben: General feedback: I love that you have your video link on these posts (in this case, to amex plat review, although the af would absolutely not make any sense for my travel patterns, not to mention that they stole 100k points from me) I’ve never seen this in a blog, great feature. There’s just something wonderful about you communicating your extensive and unique experience in video form. Thanks, very enjoyable.

    Great posts on this flight, including, as always, your enthusiasm and kindness are totally palpable

    Always: more posts from Tiffany! 🙂

  12. @ Steven M
    … or, even better, an A350. Quieter, more spacious. Beats the 787 for me.

    ULH?
    I did LHR-PER, a tad shorter than this flight, but still way too long. I had business in Perth (and elsewhere in Australia) so the route made sense. In a couple of months I go back to Sydney, and will almost certainly take QR (with Qsuites on both legs), not Qantas via Perth. If I have to change anyway, two longish flights are better than one ULH and a connector.

  13. I know this flight is not that much longer than some other ULH routes, but I was really looking forward to taking it this spring for the novelty/conversation value and because I actually enjoy the ULH experience under the right circumstances (such as having the endpoint (SIN) as my final destination rather than connecting after getting off a 15+ hour flight). I assumed that SQ would go out of their way to make it “special” but from everything I’ve read (here, TPG, and even Sam Chui who somehow found a way to be enthusiastic about premium economy), it’s meh at best and downright uncomfortable at worst, particularly the footwell and the difficulty of making and unmaking the bed mode (I’m one Anglo-European who loves a very hard bed, so that aspect doesn’t concern me). At 6’3 not being able to full stretch out in the seat OR have anywhere to stretch in the cabin other than the aisles is a serious, serious drawback. Overall it seems like a missed opportunity on SQ’s part. Canyon Ranch mid-flight doesn’t come close to making up for it…

  14. Just flew Ewr-sin in premium Y for the novelty. Echoing Ben’s review, crew was attentive and hardworking – I dropped my sim card tray ejector pin and it fell into one of the seat crevices, and three flight attendants came by to help. The second meal service halfway through the flight didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.. And honestly, the flight didn’t feel any longer thank JFK to HKG or TPE. That said, the hard product left much to be desired. SQ will need to step up their game to make this flight competitive.

  15. I live in New Jersey and fly to Singapore once a year and I still probably won’t take this flight. Simply put, it costs sufficiently more than one-stop connecting routes to not make it worthwhile for me. When China Eastern and China Southern are selling JFK-SIN flights in business class for $3,000 and Etihad and Emirates are selling them for $4,500, there’s no way I can justify paying SQ $6,000 even if it is more convenient and saves me a few hours.

  16. The flight was too long to enjoy since the A340 days. Timing was never that great going to SIN or BKK. The cabin lights were the issue then and seems like so now. If you have a fully enclosed suit like the new First on EK and you can adjust lighting as you wish, that would make the experience much better.

    Still miss the TG route as they have a very good Y class at a very reasonable price. Makes JFK-BKK very affordable back then. Hard to imagine its been 10 years since TG cut that route (and still can’t sell their A340s yet)

  17. Echo @Steven M’s sentiments that it must be on a 787. Specifically the 787-9/10 with the turbulence dampening system. Having flown on the 787 and the A350 multiple times now, I prefer the 787 with the GenX engines. Quieter, smoother and more comfortable after a long flight.

  18. Remember that Eastbound flights across the Pacific are significantly shorter than Westbound Flights. Officially 40 minutes extra for EWR-SIN and 3 Hours extra for SFO-SIN. Air India uses Transpacific for DEL-SFO and transatlantic for the return SFO-DEL.

  19. No thanks, seems like a half-hearted effort on SQ’s part. What SHOULD be the world’s best flight (in both classes) is far from it.

  20. A better question may be, would you fly SIngapore if SIN wasn’t your final destination. I know some people who wouldn’t simply because Singapore is so far south that for many Asian destinations you end up backtracking (Indonesia being the exception). Connecting through HKG and Seoul make more sense. This nonstop flight doesn’t change that.

    As a connecting hub, I would say SIN isn’t ideally positioned on the globe (except for the Kangaroo Route). But, to Singapore Airline’s credit, it is one.

  21. You should consider yourself thankful that you got to participate on a SQ flight. SQcrews are highly trained and the best at everything. There is no second place at SQ. Only FIRST!

  22. One thing to consider about non-nonstop flights to the US is how everyone will still need to deplane at the layover stop to be subject AGAIN to security checks before the onward flight. I’ve encountered this at both Frankfurt and Hong Kong. The trip back is less stringent. Flying nonstop erases the hassles at the layover.

    I don’t think I’d like the nonstop to Newark, but I’m ok with the West Coast ones. It’s a bummer SQ is removing onward flights from Seoul to California, so that leaves us with either Hong Kong or Tokyo… and even then the air traffic at Hong Kong is not improving at all.

  23. @Asian Miler

    You can still fly SIN-SFO, and the upcoming SIN-SEA for west coast.
    If you like transit, you still have so many partners to choose, CA LX LH BR OZ just to name a few.

  24. Would it change things if they had a bar and some other more fun amenities on the plane? That seems like the big miss. A long flight and nothing to do.

  25. Lucky/Fellow readers, need your help here!

    If flying to Bali from Miami…

    Would you rather spend 88k SQ to fly Biz LAX – SIN – DPS or 110k AA to fly Biz MIA – DOH – DPS?

    Key considerations:
    – I already transferred Points to SQ and issued tickets for 2 Pax so would have to cancel and keep those miles with SQ for future use (not worried about being able to use them).
    – I have the QR flights on HOLD and the miles readily available.
    – If flying SQ, would be staying in LA for a couple days before starting the journey.
    – Positioning flight to LAX is virtually free due to a voucher/travel credit.
    – Connection times are short and very similar 1-2hrs respectively.
    – Both options incurr minimal
    and very similar surcharges.
    – SQ Metal:
    LAX-SIN: A350-ULR (obviously!)
    SIN-DPS: New 787-10
    – QR Metal:
    MIA-DOH: A350 (non-suite).
    DOH-DPS: 787-8

    I haven’t flown any of these products so I’m really interested to hear your thoughts. I’m torn since my wife thinks it would be “easier” to take an ultra long-haul flight and then a short connection rather than take an ultra long-haul flight and then another long-haul flight, but the QR option would save us the trip to LAX. ‍♂️

    Happy wife – happy life, so I need to make sure I’m making the right decision.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

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