New World’s Longest Flight: Newark – Singapore Launches October 12

Singapore Airlines used to fly the world’s longest flight, Newark – Singapore, along with what at the time was the second longest flight Los Angeles – Singapore. They held the title from June 2004 through November 2013, operating these services with flying gas cans Airbus A340-500s.

It’s hard to make ultra long haul flying work. A flight scheduled at over 18 hours is going to require a dedicated aircraft in each direction, and fares are going to have to cover that plane’s full costs. With fuel prices up that’s even more difficult since they burned over 58,000 gallons of fuel in each direction. The flight used 14 cabin crew and six pilots to make the journey.

Singapore initially offered 64 business class and 117 extra legroom coach seats but moved to an all business class configuration with 100 seats in 2008. There were weight restrictions on the number of passengers they could carry, and drawing premium fares was necessary for the economics of the flight. They cancelled the service in 2013 and returned the planes as part of a deal where they agreed to take 5 additional A380s and 20 A350 XWBs.

Finally Singapore is going to return to New York with new Airbus A350ULR aircraft, the ULR stands for Ultra Long Range. The new flight starts October 12, three times a week for the first week (departing Newark Tuesday, Friday and Sunday).

It goes daily October 19 when the airline’s second A350-900ULR is expected to enter service. That’s because the flight takes two planes to operate every day — nearly a full day in each direction. Tickets go on sale today.

Here’s the schedule:

This will again be the longest flight in the world. Next year they’re going to add Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop with the same aircraft, which will be the fourth longest flight in the world and which United already operates.

Singapore competes with United as well on San Francisco – Singapore non-stop, a flight they’re able to run with existing A350s (no ULR needed) since it’s about 300 miles shorter than Los Angeles.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 in Houston

Singapore has 7 A350-900ULRs coming, each with 67 business and 94 premium economy seats – no coach. They’ll be able to serve another destination with the aircraft, and given the special long distance feature of the aircraft we’d expect it to service North America since they already are able to fly to farther destinations in Europe non-stop. The most likely destinations seem to be Chicago, Toronto, or Vancouver.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m curious if the all business/premium economy configuration is due to passenger comfort concerns, the limited payload, this is how they determined they could maximize revenue on this premium route, or a little of all of the above.

  2. It is curious that on such a long flight between premium business cities, they didn’t elect to put even 4 first-class or suites on these planes.

  3. Very glad to have this back, but I have to say that the schedule for the EWR-SIN leg is horrible. The old flight left EWR at night, but this flight is perfectly timed to require a commute to EWR during rush hour (against the flow once you get to NJ, so not that bad, but getting cross-town at this hour will be a nightmare and I can imagine taking a CX evening non-stop in that direction and trading a stop in HKG to avoid it and as a bonus get a full day in NYC).

  4. @WR the configuration certainly has nothing to do with passenger comfort, but everything to do with the fact that they think they can sell premium seats on the route and can pick up the weight savings at the same time.

  5. if you want the evening departure, what’s wrong with the existing SQ JFK-FRA-HKG then ? that leaves at 2055, which leaves plenty of time to have a full business day in NYC.

    If anything, the CX evening departures are worse – leave at 10pm for a double stopover JFK-YVR-HKG-SIN (including getting awaken at like 3am eastern time to clean the cabin), or have to staying awake until 0135, which isn’t fun at all after a full day.

  6. I just looked at the Singapore award charts, and it strikes me as a little odd that they charge fewer miles to fly SIN-FRA on SQ, then FRA-ORD on LH than they charge for SIN-FRA-JFK on Singapore only. Isn’t it more expensive to pay partners for space than to offer your own space?

  7. #henry LAX I avoid the SQ flight via FRA because I absolutely hate FRA (both as the airport is horrible and because it disturbs my sleep at an inopportune time, while CX gets me to SIN in about the same time (and gets me much more quickly to almost any other Asian destination) but with a much nicer stop in HKG which allows a far longer period of undisturbed sleep, far more options for timing, and usually offers better fares than SQ.

  8. I agree the SQ flight via FRA is terrible because of the way it splits the trip making a good night’s sleep essentially impossible in either direction. Non-stop aside, I would gladly fly CX via HKG.

  9. I doubt a nonstop SQ flight is coming to Toronto, there just isn’t enough Premium traffic to support a daily flight.

  10. You posted quite a few times about the new, non-stop SIA flight between EWR and SIN. Unfortunately, it seems that saver rate business class award redemptions are unavailable on this route (outbound and return) through the end of schedule. I’d love to hear SIA’s explanation for this, as there are certainly plenty of empty business class seats on these flights (like all of them).

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