New World’s Longest Flight Launching This Year

Singapore Airlines used to fly the world’s longest flight, Newark – Singapore, along with what at the time was the second longest flight Los Angeles – Singapore. They held the title from June 2004 through November 2013, operating these services with flying gas cans Airbus A340-500s.

It’s hard to make ultra long haul flying work. A flight scheduled at over 18 hours is going to require a dedicated aircraft in each direction, and fares are going to have to cover that plane’s full costs. With fuel prices up that’s even more difficult since they burned over 58,000 gallons of fuel in each direction. The flight used 14 cabin crew and six pilots to make the journey.

Singapore initially offered 64 business class and 117 extra legroom coach seats but moved to an all business class configuration with 100 seats in 2008. There were weight restrictions on the number of passengers they could carry, and drawing premium fares was necessary for the economics of the flight. They cancelled the service in 2013 and returned the planes as part of a deal where they agreed to take 5 additional A380s and 20 A350 XWBs.

Finally Singapore is going to return to New York with new Airbus A350ULR aircraft, the ULR stands for Ultra Long Range. That much we’ve known. But now we learn that they’re going to make this happen this year. It’s a much more fuel efficient way to fly long distances.

This will again be the longest flight in the world. Next year they’re going to add Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop with the same aircraft, which will be the fourth longest flight in the world and which United already operates. Singapore competes with United as well on San Francisco – Singapore non-stop, a flight they’re able to run with existing A350s since it’s about 300 miles shorter than Los Angeles.

We don’t know yet whether Singapore will fly non-stop to Newark (like they used to do) or whether the flight will replace or augment their current Airbus A380 New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore service.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 in Houston

The airline has a total of 7 of these planes on order, which would imply another destination. Given the special long distance feature of the aircraft we’d expect it to service North America since they already are able to fly to farther destinations in Europe non-stop. The most likely destinations seem to be Chicago, Toronto, or Vancouver.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I would bet my money on YVR and YYZ. Both would be able to fill a plane, and YVR is expanding to meet all these new planes flying to Asia.

    Thanks for this article, Gary. Enjoyed reading it.

  2. Chicago makes tons of sense; it’s the only *A hub left in the US that they still don’t fly to, especially when competitor-partners NH, OZ and BR are already flying there.

  3. I really want to book this flight on points with my wife for travel to the Maldives or South Pacific for our anniversary. I won’t tell her how long it is as she’d never get on the plane, but she’s never flown in international business class so she doesn’t know it won’t matter!

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