Do you like a 15 hour flight? Did I? Today I share my Singapore Airlines Ultra Long Haul experience from Singapore to Los Angeles.
As a former manager of people, I’ve learned people are always changing. One of my favorite sayings is “people are weird.” I include myself in that category, because once upon a time, I would have done nearly anything to avoid flying. Hard to believe if you read my blog, I’ll bet. I’ve recently even embraced the idea of ultra long haul flying! Fifteen hours on an airplane? Once I would have said, “Never”!
I’ve completely changed my mind on that score, based on my last two Singapore Airlines flights. Ultra long haul can be really good if done properly.
Singapore Airlines Premium Economy
Step one in making ultra long haul acceptable, at least for me, begins with selection of Premium Economy seating, no less. I’ve sat in normal economy for 14+ hours with Singapore Airlines between Singapore and San Francisco, and it was horrible. Having a premium economy seat and the room it provides makes a huge improvement on the travel experience.
On this Airbus A350-ULR aircraft flow between Los Angles and Singapore, passengers select business class or premium economy. No regular economy seating on this flight! I’m sitting on the aisle, near the back. Normally I would have selected a window, but on a flight of this duration, I didn’t wan’t to be crawling over my single serving friend. I’m my limited experience, Singapore Airlines flight attendants aggressively encourage passengers to close the shades, and keep them closed at all times, making a window seat pretty much the same as ever other seat.
You’ll notice that rows 40-42 have only a single seat in the outer sections. Given the long duration of these flights, an extended crew rest compartment is placed above the passenger section in the back. As a result, there are fewer overhead lockers for the inevitable abundance of carry on bags. To accommodate this lack of overheads, these single seats have a locker installed between the seat and window to replace the overhead locker.
Premium Economy In-Flight Experience
Singapore Airlines premium economy seats have a width of 19.5 inches and a pitch (essentially the space from you to the seat in front) of 38 inches. For comparison, the American Airlines Airbus A321 First Class I flew in the other day sported a 21 inch seat width and a pitch of 38 inches. Almost identical! My personal preference is for more pitch than width.
Beyond the seat width and pitch, Singapore Airlines premium economy seating has some nice conveniences. Two of my favorites are the location of the headphone jacks and USB power, both between the seats. This placement allows you to get up and move around without disconnecting anything, a common occurrence with the headphone and USB location on the seat-back screen.
Beyond the power, each seat comes with a 13.3-inch HD enabled touchscreen monitor, one of the largest I’ve used. The screen fills the seat-back. Singapore Airlines has an amazing selection of entertainment. If you really wanted to, you could probably fill the 15 hour flight with selections from the in-flight entertainment system, Kris World.
I’ve shown my two gluten free meals below, slow cooked beef and barbecued chicken. Both were bland to my palate but good nonetheless. I included the menu with the selections for those without food allergies in the YouTube Video.
Wrapping it UP
For reasons that escape me, these last two Singapore Airlines Ultra Long Haul flights were the first flights that I was able to sleep! Maybe I finally found a neck pillow that I like. Or I finally partook in wine with dinner. Whatever the contributor to my sleep, I have no doubt that sleeping on these flights contributed to my overall good feelings about them.
In addition to sleep, the premium economy seating and in-flight entertainment provide good fun or at least distractions. Singapore Airlines Premium Economy is close to a US carrier’s domestic first class seat.
Top tip: avoid watching the clock! It will just make the flight seem longer!
Regardless, if you are looking to book a flight and faced with a couple of medium length flights or one really long one, try to figure out what will provide you the best comfort on the flight and leave you the most refreshed at your destination. Maybe the long one will be better for you, maybe the two shorter. For me, I’ll take the longer one from now on, as long as it’s in Premium Economy!