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The world’s longest flight is operated by Singapore Airlines and flies its longest nonstop between Singapore and New York (both Newark and JFK). When I first heard about this inaugural nearly 19-hour flight in 2004, I could not help but be ecstatic at the thought of connecting directly from the East Coast of North America to Southeast Asia on one of my favourite airlines! Plus, I wanted to experience what a journey this long would feel like.
SQ 21 (Singapore Airlines)
Airbus A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range)
Newark- Singapore (EWR – SIN)
Duration: 18h 37m
Seats: 11D and 11F
Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to fly the flight, which was operated by a fuel costly quad engine Airbus A340-500 then. The flights stopped in 2013 and did not resume until 2018 after Singapore Airlines acquired a more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, the A350-900ULR. There are only 7 Ultra Long Range (ULR) aircraft made by Airbus, all operated by Singapore Airlines and featuring business and premium economy class only cabins; there is no economy class seating.
It was not until March 2023 that I finally got the opportunity to fly this amazing journey in the coveted business class bulkhead seat, which I deem worthy of a Business+ title.
This flight review is the 2nd part of a series covering my recent trip to Singapore, Thailand, India, and UAE:
Luxury Hotels, 2 First Class Flights, The Million+ Award Redemption
Singapore Airlines 19-Hour Non-Stop Experience
The Singapore Suites Sweet Spot
An Epic Stay at Four Seasons Bangkok
Treated like Royalty at the Taj Palace Hotel Udaipur
Luxury Retreat at The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra
An Oasis in UAE: Qasr Al Sarab
Qatar Qsuites is home in the Sky
Route & Positioning
The Singapore Airlines Longest Nonstop Flight from Newark to Singapore would be the first leg of my journey as part of 4 Luxury Hotels, 2 First Class Flights, The Million+ Award Redemption.
I opted for Newark vs JFK as the departure time was preferred to marry with my positioning flight from Ottawa, Canada. When connecting two flights on separate tickets, especially international, I always try to leave more than ample time necessary between flights, especially in the winter. I chose to fly into Newark the night before for the 10:00 AM flight the following day.
There are 3 ways to book the Singapore/NY nonstop flight in business class using points:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Alaska Airlines
Although the cost is relatively similar across the programs, availability varies. For example, I have often seen availability only through Alaska Mileage Plan but not through Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer reward program. Here is a chart comparing the cost between the 3 programs, their cancellation policy, and how far in advance the bookings can be made.
For Canadians, booking with Aeroplan makes the most given the ease of earning these points in Canada. American Express Canada has stunning offers on their Aeroplan Reserve cards, offering up to 115,000 sign-up bonus points.
For those readers with US cards, the transferrable reward currencies to Aeroplan and KrisFlyer are numerous, including Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Capital One Reward, Chase Ultimate Rewards, etc. All offer a minimum 1:1 transfer ratio (higher during promotion periods).
I booked two seats using both KrisFlyer and Alaska, with one seat reserved through each program. Additionally, I secured the bulkhead seats (11D and 11F ) that offered more space than the standard business class seat. Keep reading to learn how I booked these special seats.
Airline outstations are rarely exciting, and Newark was no exception. Check-in formalities were through a dedicated business class lane; it was quick and efficient. Boarding commenced on time, and boarding procedures by zone/class were respected.
Door Score: 🚪🚪
Singapore Airlines provides business class passengers access to the Virgin Atlantic lounge at Newark Airport Terminal B. The lounge itself was average, with the usual Virgin Atlantic vibe. Dining was a la carte, but unfortunately it was nothing special.
The Cabin & Seat
Whenever I board a Singapore Airlines flight, regardless of the class I’m travelling in, I always feel like I’ve been transported to another world. Their level of hospitality obliterates that of any North American airline.
I booked seats 11D and 11F in the middle for my daughter and me for this Singapore Airlines’ longest nonstop flight. These bulkhead seats, like all bulkhead business class seats on the A350-900ULR, provide amazing legroom, much more than the non-bulkhead business class seats. I consider them Business+ because they are that good. A special thanks to a certain cat from MPC For providing a few of these pictures.
Now, compare to the non-bulkhead seat, the difference in space is night and day!
The only feature lacking is the presence of a door; if it had one, it would rival Qatar Qsuites, which I also consider to be a Business+ product and remains my favourite business-class product. However, the Singapore Airlines suite is wider, a lot wider. The width measures a whopping 28 inches! This is wider than an Emirates or Lufthansa First Class Seat, which measures a measly 22 inches in width.
Booking Strategy – Singapore Airlines Bulkhead Seat
I often get asked how to book these bulkhead seats. The answer is to select the seat 36 hours before departure through the Singapore Airlines website. Before 36 hours, the seat is blocked but will become available if it is not reserved by passengers who require a bassinet or for accessibility.
The seat itself is fantastic! Much better than I expected. It can be adjusted in a multitude of ways for comfort. The tray table can also be adjusted vertically, which I appreciated. I could set it low for typing and high for slurping down noodles when working.
When it came time to sleep, the seat must be converted to a fully flat bed by flipping down the backrest, which the crew will do for you anytime. A common complaint it hears is that the seat/bed is quite hard. I did not experience this, but I prefer my bed harder than most. Yes, it’s certainly harder than other products out there, but nowhere hard enough to cause grief. A mattress topper is provided that provides extra cushioning, along with plush pillows and a blanket. I had a fantastic 8-hour sleep, and it felt no different than being in a first-class bed (minus the door).
Normally after a long sleep on a long-haul flight, it’s almost arrival time. However, on this flight, I was surprised that we had just passed the halfway mark. Still, a long way to go!
Pyjamas & Amenity Kit
Door Score: 🚪
Singapore Airlines does not offer pyjamas or proactively offer an amenity kit to business class passengers. Only socks, slippers and an eyeshade were present on the seat. An amenity kit must be requested, which is very basic—certainly a letdown for an airline of this calibre.
Food and Drinks
I always look forward to the dining experience on Singapore Airlines as most dishes are catered and quite delicious. Departing from Singapore, meals are almost guaranteed to be good. However, I’ve heard the opposite for flights out of North America. I took advantage of the Book the Cook feature on this Singapore Airlines Longest Nonstop Flight by pre-selecting a few meals. The Book the Cook selection is more limited out of Newark, but at least it would guarantee certain meals I wanted to try.
I heard stories of people complaining about the timings of meal service on this flight, but I had no concerns. The first meal service came out a few hours after take-off and the last before landing. During the rest of the flight, I could order any items off the menu whenever I wanted.
As I mentioned in my The Singapore Airlines Suites Experience article, KrisFlyer is a top-notch inflight entertainment product offering many shows, movies, and games to keep anyone entertained for hours, especially on this Singapore Airlines Longest Nonstop Flight.
A feature I always look for is an HDMI input. I always bring my shows and connect to the IFE, so I appreciate any product that offers this, which, luckily, Singapore Airlines provided on this A350-900ULR.
The screen is not touch-enabled, so you must use the handset for scrolling and making selections the in the IFE.
Singapore Airlines Service
As mentioned in my The Singapore Airlines Suites Experience article, Singapore Airlines’ service was fantastic. The flight attendants went above and beyond for my daughter and made sure she felt at home in the air. The little touches, such as adjusting the blankets that had shifted off my daughter while she was asleep. Plus, who doesn’t love the adorable Singapore Airlines bears? Fantastic crew on this flight, and truly memorable experience!
The world’s longest flight is now checked off my bucket list, and what can I say other than it was fantastic and far exceeded my expectations. I will consider flying this route again in the future. The Airbus A350 is a technological marvel. The aircraft can connect the furthest points across the globe, allowing passengers to arrive feeling rested by benefiting from the lower cabin pressure and higher humidity that the A350 provides.
For anyone who loves to fly, the length of this Singapore Airlines nonstop flight won’t be a burden but rather an experience to savour. For those who don’t like to fly, this flight will just be a vehicle to get from point A to B the fastest way possible. I didn’t find the flight too long, and I highly recommend this flight to anyone seeking the fastest way to Southeast Asia, especially in the bulkhead business class seats that provide the utmost comfort compared to the regular business class seats. Happy Flying!