October 15 2018  |  Catering

Singapore Airlines launches world's longest flight

By Rick Lundstrom

The cabin on the SIA A350-900URL has 67 seats in Business Class and 94 seats in Premium Economy

Food and beverage service was front and center on the ground and in the air on Singapore Airlines as it launched the world’s longest commercial flight between Singapore and New York/Newark last week.

The non-stop flight between Singapore and New York departed Changi International Airport October 11 at 23:37 Singapore time and arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport a day later at 05:29. The flight duration was 17 hours 52 minutes.

To commemorate the inaugural flight, passengers departing from Singapore were treated to an evening of performances and an assortment of food and beverage at a special boarding gate event. The received a bag of souvenirs including a commemorative certificate and a pair of airline-branded glasses made by Bodum. There was also wellness cuisine by chefs from Canyon Ranch, a fitness and wellness resort with several locations in the United States, in addition to SIA’s own meal slections by its International Culinary Panel of Chefs.

The A350-900ULR that took the passengers was outfitted with cabin light settings for ambience and relaxation. The cabin has two classes with 67 seats in Business Class and 94 seats in Premium Economy.

It is also equipped for personalized entertainment and connectivity. With its myKrisWorld feature, KrisFlyer members are able to save and resume content, create playlists and customize their preferences. Members of KrisFlyer also have an additional 200 hours of inflight entertainment content on top of the more than 1,000 hours available. The A350-900ULR is equipped with Panasonic Avionic’s third-generation satellite modem offering higher-speed connectivity.

Premium Economy Class on the A350-900ULR

“Singapore Airlines is proud to introduct the world’s longest commercial flight with the new A350-900ULR and we are even more excited to be proving customers with improved connectivity between Singapore and the United States. This demonstrates our commitment to putting our customers’ needs at the forefront of all that we do,” said Singapore Airlines’ CEO, Goh Choon Phong.

Starting this week, Singapore Airlines will operate the route daily as an additional A350-900ULR will enter service. Next month, the same aircraft type will be used to increase service between Singapore and San Francisco.

While such routes in the future are sure to make headlines, the growth of ultra-long-haul travel will like still take some time, said one travel industry observer.

“The past year has seen a wave of ultra-long-haul flights opening up, transporting passengers across the globe in record time and comfort,” said Sara Grady, Head of Tourism at GlobalData,a data and analytics company in an analysis of the new flight, released today.This is driven by greater technological efficiencies, which have made it possible to travel such long distances without fuel stops, and advances that have helped lessen the physiological impacts on the human body.”

Grady says it is telling that because Singapore Airlines will be outfitting aircraft the A350-900URL with only Business Class and Premium Economy seating. She said the airline knows that journeys will, in the short to mid-term at least, be reserved for the wealthiest of travelers.

‘‘It is currently around a third cheaper to travel from London to Perth with a stopover than it is to fly direct. With a time saving of only a couple of hours in some cases, the benefits of a direct connection will only be justifiable to the business traveler or the elite holidaymaker," she said.

PAX International wrote about the new ultra-long-haul service between London and Perth, Australia in its summer issue. See page 10

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