Long flights can be a drag when you're cooped up in cattle class, so perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that the soon-to-be record-holder for world's longest flight route has forgone economy cabins altogether.
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 NY on October 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.
The move to ditch economy will further cement Singapore Airlines as a premium service provider, as they continue to move away from their budget-friendly past image.
This means more space, with 67 flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration for business class and 94 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. The airline is now using the an Airbus A350-900 aircraft with 161 seats, 92 fewer than the company's usual seat count on the same aircraft. Singapore Airlines' Mumbai-Singapore-Newark was priced at Rs 1.41 lakh for a 28-hour or 40-hour flight, depending on whether you booked the morning or evening arrival into Singapore.
It's likely those who booked from India were looking forward to flying an aircraft with no economy class seats.
The route, combined with the airline's plans to restart non-stop services to Los Angeles and add more non-stop flights to San Francisco next month, will give the premium Asian carrier its biggest-ever US presence. A tie-up with Canyon Ranch offers "science-based recommendations and strategies for improved sleep, balanced meal choices and exercises that promote circulation".
The menu will be created to promote "nutrition and hydration", featuring "science based recommendations" - but don't worry, there're still hearty options including burgers and a particularly fancy rib-eye steak that passengers can pre-order via the airline's "Book the Cook" application. In November 2013, Singapore Airlines had terminated its Singapore-Newark non-stop flights after about five years of operation as the A340-500, four-engine fuel guzzler aircraft with only 100 business class seats on board made it uneconomical.
The Airbus A350-900s have 253 seats.
Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong, said the A350-900 ULR "will bring more convenience and comfort to our customers and will enable us to operate ultra-long-range flights in a commercially viable manner".
"Bookings from India number in hundreds, with Mumbai being the lead market, " said David Lim, general manager (India), Singapore Airlines (SIA).
"With its unrivalled range and step-change in fuel efficiency, the A350 is uniquely placed to meet demand for new ultra long haul services".
"Operating trans-Pacific connecting flights opened Singapore Airlines to a lot more competition from other carriers and resulted in the loss of high-yielding business traffic", she said.