Long-haul flights halfway across the globe are making a comeback even with oil prices close to their highest in four years.
About six months after Qantas Airways started a direct service from Perth, Australia, to London, Singapore Airlines is bringing back its 16,700-kilometre jump to New York on Oct. 11. That will take the title of the world’s longest commercial flight from Qatar Airways’ route from Doha, United Arab Emirates to Auckland, New Zealand.
Advances in technology and the advent of aircraft that guzzle less and carry more fuel are helping make the Singapore route viable again, five years after $100-a-barrel oil contributed to the demise of the flight, which will take as long as 18 hours and 45 minutes.
Last month, Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first of seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft that it will use on the route as well as for non-stop services to Los Angeles starting in November. Qantas has asked Boeing and Airbus to design planes that can fly even farther, from Sydney, Australia, to London or New York.
For those wincing at the idea of being cooped up for almost 19 hours in a 220-foot tube at 35,000 feet, here’s what to expect on the flight from Changi Airport to Newark Liberty International.
Forget cattle class. The Airbus jet that will ply the route carries a maximum of 161 passengers, compared with 253 on the airline’s existing A350-900s. That means more space, with 67 flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration for business class and 94 premium economy places in a mostly 2-4-2 arrangement at the rear.
While the premium-economy seats offer an eight-inch recline, the pitch — the distance between yours and the one in front — is a standard 38 inches, 4 inches less than on some of Japan Airlines’ long-haul flights.
Singapore Airlines says it will serve dishes that try to offset the effect of being stuck in a seat for a day.
The airline’s Wellness Set Menu offers prawn ceviche, organic chicken and zucchini pappardelle. A tie-up with Canyon Ranch offers “science-based recommendations and strategies for improved sleep, balanced meal choices and exercises that promote circulation.” Try the braised pork with citrus or the seared chicken and wide zucchini ribbons for dishes with less salt and sugar and more turmeric and fennel that Canyon says promote hydration and nutrition.
As with other Singapore Air long-haul routes, you can eat local favourites such as chicken rice and beef …read more