Singapore Airlines used to operate the longest flights in the world, Singapore – Los Angeles and Singapore – Newark non-stops, operated with
a flying gas can an Airbus A340-500. Flights operated between 2004 and 2013, originally with extra legroom economy seating and business class and from 2008 onward all business class seating.
Singapore no longer operates non-stop service to the US, instead flying:
- San Francisco – Hong Kong – Singapore
- San Francisco – Seoul – Singapore
- Los Angeles – Tokyo – Singapore
- Houston – Moscow – Singapore
- New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore
Non-stop flights, though, can now make sense thanks to both more fuel efficient aircraft capable of flying long distances and lower fuel costs. Flying great distances is especially costly when oil prices are high, since they have to carry extra fuel just to fly all the fuel needed for such a long journey.
United has announced San Francisco – Singapore non-stop service for this year operated by a Boeing 787.
Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A350 on Tuesday — an aircraft similarly capable of making the flight in a more economic fashion, configured with 253 seats offering business class, premium economy, and economy.
— Singapore Airlines (@SingaporeAir) March 2, 2016
And that means the return of US flying on the horizon. That much was reported in October. However we now know more about what that means. According to spokesman James Bradbury-Boyd,
Missing the Singapore Airlines nonstop flight from LAX and NYC? It’ll be back soon and better than ever..
As it stands Singapore Airlines is at a severe disadvantage in the US market. That’s because it takes a stop to get to Singapore, and then from Singapore to elsewhere in Southeast Asia. In contrast, competitor Cathay Pacific – which serves more US cities than Singapore as well — can get US passengers to their destinations in Asia in a minimum of one fewer stop. From cities like Chicago and Boston (which Cathay serves but Singapore does not) it’s two fewer stops. A non-stop from the US to their Singapore hub erases the airline’s geographic disadvantage for Southeast Asia traffic. And who wouldn’t rather connect in Singapore’s Changi airport, anyway?
Singapore – New York would be the longest flight in the world, besting Emirates’ new Dubai – Auckland service.
If Qantas launches Sydney – Chicago that would be longer than Singapore’s Los Angeles flight, but the world record distance flight would unquestionably still be Singapore – New York (at about 300 miles further still).
It will be 2018 before Singapore Airlines returns to the U.S. In the meantime, the plane will operate to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta until May and the inaugural long haul destination is Amsterdam starting May 9 with Dusseldorf to follow in July.
Sixty seven aircraft are on order, with eleven scheduled for delivery this year and seven next year.
I consider Singapore Airlines to have the world’s best business class. Business class on the A350 is configured 1-2-1, something I’d go out of my way for compared to United’s 2-2-2 offering their on the 787s they’ll be using for non-stop Singapore service. And Singapore Airlines seats are both incredible wide and relatively private.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Business Class
Seriously, this seat is marketed as business class and not first class.
Singapore does a really spectacular job with onboard meals as well. They offer ‘book the cook’ which allows you to pick from an extensive menu and they’ll have your selection onboard for you.
If there’s a knock on Singapore it’s that they don’t provide amenity kits (though there are amenities in the lavatories), or pajamas. And their midflight snacks lag competitors in my opinion.
I love Singapore and better US connectivity is fantastic.