Our United 787-9 being made ready for the inaugural long-haul LAX-SIN flight
Superlatives abounded on this, the inaugural non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Singapore. It’s billed as the third-longest direct flight in the world and the longest to originate from the United States.
There was even a ribbon-cutting ceremony – the presence of a trade delegation highlighted the fact that economic ties are strong between Singapore and the U.S.
The flight takes 17 hours, five minutes to cover the 8,772 miles between Los Angeles and Singapore. Favorable headwinds shaved an hour off our flight time, but, still. It’s an awfully long time to be in the air.
Singapore Airlines’ ultra-long-haul route from Newark to Singapore — discontinued a few years ago — was truly a legendary flight. On the wings of an Airbus A340-500, it clocked in just shy of 19 hours westbound, making it the longest regularly scheduled flight in the world. But when fuel prices rose, Singapore Airlines was forced to get rid of the inefficient A340-500s, and the ultra-long routes with them.
Then came a new generation of aircraft that offered enough fuel efficiency to make lengthy routes more profitable. Singapore Airlines’ Star Alliance partner United got the jump on launching a direct flight between the U.S. and Singapore, flying a Boeing 787-9 from San Francisco. Singapore Airlines (SQ) struck back with an Airbus A350-900 on the same route a few months later, but it wasn’t done there. SQ has its sights set on the return of the ultra-long-haul direct flights to Newark and Los Angeles. And very soon, it will have just the plane to do it: the Airbus A350-900ULR (for “ultra long range”).
Read on for more on what this very special aircraft means for Singapore Airlines, and what it could mean for you.