Singapore Airlines has launched the World's longest commercial flight between Singapore and New York (Newark) using their brand new Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range).
This is a pictorial report on-board the World's Longest Flight by Singapore Airlines from Newark to Singapore on October 12, 2018.
As my travel schedule is often hectic, I have only managed to secure a seat on this flight two weeks prior. Business Class was already sold out but I was genuinely interested to see how a traveler fares up to 19 hours of long haul travel at the back of the plane. We all know there are flat beds in the front, so trying out the Economy (Premium) product is the most practical and applicable way to stress test the flight and its product.
My Flight Video on Singapore Airlines Newark to Singapore
I was part of the media group invited by Singapore Airlines to pre-board the aircraft for a tour. 9V-SGB was the aircraft operating the flight, which arrived at 5:29am after 17 hours 52 minutes from Singapore.
There are total of 67 Business Class seats which split into 2 cabins. They are the same Business Class seats on the current A350 and B777-300/ERs.
The best Business Class seats are the first row and the bulkhead row as these seats have extra leg space.
There are total of 94 Premium Economy Class seats, with no standard economy seats on the A350-900ULR. The seating is in a 2-4-2 configuration.
Perhaps the most interesting seats are the solo seats towards the back due to the plane's curvature. There are additional storage bins next to the seat. The seats are 40/41/42 C and H.
Singapore Airlines Business Class and elite frequent flyers are invited to use the Virgin Atlantic Club House at Newark.
Instead of buffet, you can order a la carte breakfast and served by waiter/waitress similar to restaurant dining style.
There were activities at the boarding gate to commemorate the launch of the World's longest flight. There were performers from "America's Sweetheart", speeches from Singapore Airlines executive Campbell Wilson and Newark Airport representative and a ribbon cutting ceremony.
In full celebration mode, travelers walked past the balloon arch and were handed a decorative flower in Singapore Kebaya colour as a gift on their way to board the aircraft. There were many travelers from all over the world to join this flight at Newark.My seat is 42D, which is the third row from the rear. When I got to my seat, a gift bag was already placed on it.
Inside the gift bag, there was a first flight certificate, a 1:200 scale Singapore Airlines A350 model and a tube of CanyonRanch branded skin moisturizer.
Singapore Airlines also gave out a complimentary internet voucher on this flight, which provided me with 30MB of data.
The Wi-Fi was fairly slow during the flight due to congestion and bandwidth constraints despite the availability of Ku-band internet. You can buy additional Wi-Fi for $28 which gives you 200MB.
A specially designed A350ULR economy amenity kit was handed out to every Premium Economy passenger. Inside the pouch you will find socks and eye shades.
We received a grand water cannon salute before departure from Newark Airport. (See it in the video!)
My Flight Video on Singapore Airlines Newark to Singapore
The images below show the features of the Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Class seat. It has a USB port, coat hook and large touch screen at the back.The seat also come with a deep pocket where you can store your laptop and other things. There is also a footrest. And space for a bottle or other small personal belongings.
Here is the menu of today's flight. There were two full meals and two snacks on offer.
The scenery en-route over Arctic as we flew 87 degrees North on a Polar Route:
The sun gradually faded after about 5 hours into the flight over the Arctic circle. We cruised over at 39,000 ft.
About 6 hours into the flight, the captain made an announcement which said we were at a point nearest the North Pole. We were flying at 87 degrees North. It was getting dark outside at the time of the announcement, which made for an amazing horizon.
The darkness was short. After one hour the sun gradually rose over horizon again.
About 8 hours into the flight, dinner was served (around 8pm New York time). I opted for chicken with fried rice and the tiramisu dessert. Both were amazing!
I then shut my eyes and slept straight for five hours without any interruption. When i woke up, we were over Thailand with just 2 hours before landing into Singapore.
The captain kindly filled out my log book and provided some flight data.
The light snack prior to arrival was a pizza with a packaged cake.
We landed at 4:40pm, 1 hour and 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled time thanks to the optimized route selection. There were rounds of applause as we touched down on Runway 02L of Changi Airport.
There was a cake made by the caterer in Newark to celebrate the event. I was invited to stay on-board for the last group photo of this momentous flight.
It was just amazing that I've flown nearly 18 hours in Premium Economy without showing any signs of fatigue after landing. (I am typing up this report with excitement!)
The extra legroom and width in Premium Economy was really helping on this ultra long flight. Together with excellent meals, entertainment, amenities and the Singapore Airlines legendary service, it was such a great way to fly!
Thanks to Singapore Airlines once again for delivering a perfect flying memory!
The Route we traveled (From Great Circle mapper)
SQ 22 departed Singapore just before midnight Thursday and rode tailwinds to the east, gradually tracking somewhat north but never crossing into the Arctic region. In contrast, yesterday's return from Newark as SQ 21 followed the great circle route quite closely, flying nearly due north and within 125 nm of the north pole before continuing south to Singapore.
Q&AHow did I feel after 17.5 hours flight?
I rested fairly well during the flight including 5 hours straight sleep without any interruption. The leg room in Premium Economy really helped for better rest. The timing of the flight was great, arriving in Singapore in late afternoon, so you can rest again to reset your body clock after a long flight. I didn't drink much alcohol and kept my body hydrated throughout the flight. Surprisingly, there wasn't too many passengers walking around the cabin during the flight. Perhaps their seat was comfortable enough.How different was the service on this flight compared to others?
Singapore Airlines teamed up with Canyon Ranch for the on-board well beings. This included special amenity kit items such as moisturizer. The flight also served special well being meals designed by Canyon Ranch such as the chicken breast with lentils. There are a total of 2 full meals and 2 snacks. The first meal was served 1 hour after take-off, then a snack is available at the galley. The second meal was served approximately 8 hours into the flight. There was another snack (pizza) served 1.5 hours before landing. Service is always consistent, polite and courteous on Singapore Airlines as we all know. The speed of the service was really fast, as there are just 94 seats in the premium economy cabin.