Last month Singapore Airlines brought back its New York – Singapore non-stop, the longest flight in the world three days a week.
Throughout the pandemic Singapore has flown non-stop from Los Angeles. Now they’ve announced, effective January 18, 2021:
- New York JFK – Singapore goes daily
- San Francisco – Singapore is added daily
- And Los Angeles – Singapore will be daily as well
Furthermore, New York JFK and San Francisco non-stops will be operated by the airline’s Airbus A350 ULR (“Ultra-long range”). They’ve been flying the world’s longest flight with a standard A350 due to light loads. The ULR aircraft has only premium seating: 67 Business Class and 94 Premium Economy seats. The standard A350, which will run on the Los Angeles non-stop, has 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy and 187 Economy seats.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350
Currently Americans can transit Singapore but not visit the city state. Hopefully that ends soon as the pandemic runs its course and as more people become vaccinated. I’m looking forward to returning for laksa and chili crab.
I’ve been writing for some time that I expect a big surplus of premium cabin seats flying for some time.
- Business travel (which is more likely to buy business class) won’t be back for awhile, even as travel returns. Leisure travelers are more likely to buy coach.
- More flights will come back before more passengers. Even now U.S. airlines are operating around 60% of last year’s capacity compared to carrying just 40% of passengers. That will become more pronounced as international airlines return to flying U.S. routes.
More flights and more people buying coach means a lot of additional premium seats for airlines to unload at a discount, whether via fare sales, upgrades, or awards. And they’ll likely incentivize travel (to bring back passengers and to win market share) with generous mileage promotions. That’s why the next couple of years should be a generous time for flyers though once travel recovers expect that dynamic to snap back.
Meanwhile though these premium-heavy non-stop Singapore Airlines flights will likely have many empty seats up front, you can’t yet book business class awards. You can get plenty of business class award space for two passengers each direction on Singapore’s New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore flight, which doesn’t yet have a firm date of return.
These were the 10 longest flights in the world before the pandemic:
|New York JFK||Manila||Philippine Airlines||8520|
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Business Class
Singapore Airlines used to operate its New York area non-stop from Newark, where there was potential connectivity with United. There’s less connectivity now. New York passenger flying is down not just because of Covid-19 but down more than other areas because of mandatory 14 day quarantine for arrivals (but not connections) from most of the country. And Singapore’s relationship with United has been strained for many years. Covid accelerates decisions and causes a re-think of strategies. Hence the move for this flight from Newark to New York JFK.
It’s exciting to see the world’s longest flight back to daily and back with its premium-configured aircraft.