Singapore Airlines to restart world’s longest flight in November — with a big change

Oct 20, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The world’s longest flight is ready for a comeback.

Singapore Airlines said Tuesday that it will restart its nonstop service between New York and Singapore on Nov. 9, even as restrictions remain on travel to Singapore.

However, there will be a new U.S. home for the route when it returns. The flight – which will resume with a schedule of three weekly flights – will now operate from New York JFK instead of Newark, as it had previously. The service will depart from JFK’s Terminal 4, where Singapore’s business-class passengers have access to the Swiss lounge.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

Singapore will continue to use its 253-seat Airbus A350-900 jet on the route, a departure from the ULR “ultra-long-range” version it had flown from Newark. The aircraft is configured with 42 business class seats, and 24 in premium economy. The remaining 187 seats are economy class.

The switch to the A350-900 is likely to be curious to some given that Singapore Airlines relaunched its New York service from Newark in 2018 with great fanfare for its then new ULR “ultra-long range” version of the A350 it initially deployed on the route. That variant of the jet was designed by Airbus specifically with such routes in mind.

It was not immediately clear if Singapore would have to limit passengers or cargo to fly the route with the A350-900, though the switch does mean fewer premium seats. Singapore’s A350-900ULRs seat  just 161 passengers: 67 in business class and 94 in premium economy. There are no standard economy seats on Singapore’s ULR version of the A350.

The switch to JFK will tack an additional 3 miles on to the route, according to the Great Circle Mapper website, giving it a distance of 9,537 miles. Flight time is scheduled at 18 hours, 40 minutes on the Singapore-bound leg and 18 hours, 5 minutes on the return.

Singapore Airlines said moving the flight to JFK would allow it “to better accommodate a mix of passenger and cargo traffic on its services to New York in the current operating climate.”

Regardless of the airport, the service restores a route Singapore Airlines suspended in March as the coronavirus pandemic upended travel around the globe.

The crisis hit international travel especially, a devastating blow for in Singapore – an island city state with no domestic air travel.

But the resumption of the flight comes as airlines are trying to find a new equilibrium as a tepid recovery in travel begins to take shape.

Only at TPG: 18 thoughts for each hour of flying the world’s longest flight to Singapore

In the United States, for example, the number of passengers screened at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints topped 1 million on Sunday (Oct. 18) for the first time in seven months. It was a welcome psychological milestone for the industry, though the figure was still 60% below levels from a year ago.

It’s against that backdrop that Singapore Airlines will restart its longest flight.

“Despite the challenging times for the airline industry, there are some early signs of optimism about a recovery in air travel,” Lee Lik Hsin, Singapore Airlines’ executive vice president – commercial, said in a statement.

The flight also returns as countries look for ways to testing and other measures as way to ease travel restrictions that had thwarted international travel. In Singapore, the nation also is working on a so-called “travel bubble” with Hong Kong.

Still, the country remains closed for most short-term visitors. Americans are not allowed except for those who are dual citizens or residents of Singapore. Arrivals must quarantine for two weeks, according to the last update from the U.S. Embassy there.

More: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus travel restrictions

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to remove information about award availability, which is extremely limited on the nonstop option.

Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.