It’s probably just as well there are no economy seats on Singapore Airlines’ newest international service.
Why? Because at almost 19 hours, the flight between Singapore and New York will be the longest in the world.
Such a lengthy flight would surely leave your body pleading for mercy if you had to endure it in a cattle-class seat, so the airline has opted to fit the plane with luxurious business seats as well as a number of still-not-that-comfortable-sounding premium economy seats.
Taking 18 hours and 45 minutes between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Newark Liberty Airport just a short drive from New York City, the service, which starts on October 11, is actually a relaunch after the Asian carrier scrapped the route in 2013 due to running costs.
Having deemed it viable again, the carrier is using Airbus A350-900 ULR (ultra-long range) aircraft with 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats for the colossal 10,377-mile (16,700 km) flight. The airline’s other A350-900 aircraft are configured to carry a total 253 passengers instead of the 161 we see here.
In a bid to increase comfort for what sounds like a grueling journey — it does, after all, last just five hours short of an entire day — the aircraft has been designed with special lighting to reduce jet lag (there’s a 12-hour time difference), larger windows, and higher ceilings.
Perhaps wisely, Singapore Airlines also teamed up with health spa resort Canyon Ranch, which has knocked together a wellness plan to ease passengers through a flight that spans half the globe. It includes specially designed menus that focus on hydration, nutrition, and bold flavors; “subtle sleep strategies” to improve rest quality; and guided stretching exercises to ensure that your body doesn’t completely seize up halfway across the Pacific.
For in-flight entertainment, the airline has added 200 hours worth of movies and TV shows to the 1,000 already available as part of its regular services, and for anyone who needs to stay connected even at 38,000 feet, there’s Wi-Fi, though it’s not free.
Seat prices vary according to demand and date, but some passengers have been paying around $4,000 for a premium economy return ticket.
“Singapore Airlines has always taken pride in pushing the boundaries to provide the best possible travel convenience for our customers, and we are pleased to be leading the way with these new non-stop flights using the latest-technology, ultra-long-range [aircraft],” Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a release.
Singapore Airlines’ new service takes the place of Qatar Airways Doha-to-Auckland, New Zealand route as the world’s longest flight. That one launched in February 2017 and takes 17 hours and 30 minutes to reach its destination.