The world's longest flight will be ditching economy class

Irving Hamilton
October 11, 2018

Singapore Airlines is bringing back its longest flight from Singapore to NY on October 11, to regain the title of the world's longest flight from Qatar Airways' Doha-Aukland flight, according to a report by Bloomberg. The distance of 16,700 kilometres and flight time of around 18 hours eclipses the world's previous longest flight, a direct Qatar Airways service from Doha to Auckland. The Singapore to NY leg, which takes off on Oct 11, is expected to take 17 hours and 50 minutes, and the return trip is 18 hours and 30 minutes. Qantas has asked Boeing and Airbus to design planes that can fly even farther, from Sydney, Australia, to London or NY.

"While it's early days, there will be questions whether the latest attempt at U.S. nonstops will be profitable for Singapore Airlines given the very intense competition in the Singapore-U.S. market, rising fuel prices and the large number of premium seats Singapore Airlines has to fill on the seven newly delivered A350-900ULRs", he said.

The time passengers spend on board will be mitigated by the fact that they will be travelling in relative comfort - only business class or premium economy seats are available.

Singapore Airlines says it will serve dishes that try to offset the effect of being stuck in a seat for a day. A tie-up with Canyon Ranch offers "science-based recommendations and strategies for improved sleep, balanced meal choices and exercises that promote circulation".

An Airbus A350-900 sits on the tarmac during a media preview at Changi International Airport ahead of the Singapore Airshow on February 10, 2014.

The menu will be created to promote "nutrition and hydration", featuring "science based recommendations" - but don't worry, there're still hearty options including burgers and a particularly fancy rib-eye steak that passengers can pre-order via the airline's "Book the Cook" application.

For the Internet-addicted traveler anxious about being incommunicado for nearly a whole day, the flight offers Wi-Fi, for a price. A business-class ticket gets 30 megabytes of data for free. An additional 20 MB will cost $6, while 200 MB will cost $28.

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The airline has said that the four pilots - two captains and two first officers - need to have at least 8 hours of rest. "We always thought in India we would be able to sell flights to the US West Coast, but the interest for NY surprised us".

The 13 cabin crew will get at least four hours rest during the flight and two days to enjoy NY before the return leg.

The route, combined with the airline's plans to restart non-stop services to Los Angeles and add more non-stop flights to San Francisco next month, will give the premium Asian carrier its biggest-ever US presence.

That means keeping the plane as light as possible.

According to Airbus, lightweight composites including carbon fiber make up bulk of the A350-900ULR aircraft, while new wingtips reduce drag. This model consumes 25 percent less fuel than another aircraft of similar size. On Tuesday, for instance, for travel between Mumbai and Newark in January 2019, AirFrance offered the cheapest premium economy seat at Rs 1.12 lakh, for a 19-hour flight that transits through Paris.

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