A few years ago, my family flew from DFW to Sydney, Australia, on what was (at that time) the longest flight in the world. Now, with newer airplanes, there are actually even longer flights!
This is a guest post from travel blogger and travel agent Harmony Skillman, who writes about her adventures on Momma To Go. When I saw her posting on social media during her flight from NYC to Singapore, I couldn’t wait to hear her thoughts on flying on the current longest flight in the world!
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900 ULR (Ultra Long Range)
Class: Premium Economy (this aircraft has no Economy class)
Seat Pitch: 38 inches
Seat Width: 19.5 inches
Last week, I headed to Southeast Asia for a Mekong River Cruise on AmaWaterways AmaDara ship. The sailing began in Siem Reap, Cambodia and ended in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get to Siem Reap, Cambodia, from New York City, we booked a one-way ticket on Singapore Airlines, and our first leg was on the world’s longest flight from NY-JFK to Singapore.
The World’s Longest Flight
Currently (as of September 2023) the nonstop, daily flight from New York’s JFK airport to Singapore is known as the world’s longest flight. This is the longest nonstop by distance, covering 9,537 miles (15,348 km).
For time, that means this flight takes just under 19 hours, about 18 hours and 50 minutes. That’s a long time on a plane!
So what was it like to fly on this epic flight?
The flight departs New York – JFK at 10:30PM and arrives in Singapore at 5:20AM two days later. We left New York on a Friday night, and arrived in Singapore on Sunday morning. Singapore is 12 hours ahead of New York and the East Coast of the United Statess, so talk about jet lag!
For my mom and I, our journey did not end in Singapore. Upon completing the world’s longest flight, we then had a three hour layover in Singapore, and then a two hour flight to Cambodia, so it was a very long travel day! Well, two days!
JFK Airport Arrival and Check-in
We arrived around 7:00PM to JFK to check in and check our bags. We could not complete online check in, maybe because we had booked two one-way flights (we flew home from Vietnam on Qatar airlines via Doha) or maybe because you need visas for entry to Cambodia. PS You can get your Cambodian visas on arrival, which the Singapore Airlines rep did not know, so our check-in did take a while as the desk rep had to confirm that with a supervisor.
Prior to our flight, I had planned on hanging in one of the airport lounges at JFK Terminal 4. We first went to the Amex Centurion lounge, but heard there was a Priority Pass lounge closer to our gate. Since I get a free guests with my Priority Pass membership, we opted for that. However when we arrived, the line was so long, we decided to just head to the gate. I pretty much wanted to walk around as much as possible before getting on the plane.
Our Seats and Entertainment
The baseline seat for this flight is “premium economy.” So we did have more legroom and a bit more of a recline on our seat. There was a foot rest, although that seemed to take up some of the storage space in front of you, which I did not like. There was a reading light near your head. The seat set up was a 2 -4-2 and my mom and I had aisle-aisle seats. I was lucky, no one sat next to me in the row of four.
Pillows, blankets and headphones were given out, although no other amenity kit, which was surprising.
On the flight, I did try to sleep, although I really didn’t slumber as much as I had hoped. I watched the entire first season of And Just Like That and about four full movies. They did have a great entertainment selection.
As for WIFI, it was free for KrisFlyer members. I had read that in advance of my trip, so I joined the program and swapped out my United number for this KrisFlyer number on my reservation.
I think I ended up leaving United miles on the table, and I didn’t even work much on the flight! I was honestly pretty uncomfortable, and felt in a half-awake fog for much of the flight. It was hard to concentrate! I think because we were in 19 hours of darkness, which really messed with my circadian rhythm.
But the WIFI was fast, and I could sign in with my email on both my phone and computer. So it was fun to update my family at home as were flying along!
On the flight, we were served three meals. The meals corresponded to the time in New York, which since I changed my clocks upon boarding the plane, was a little strange.
I did pre-order a lacto-ovo vegetarian meal, since I am vegetarian (although I often suggest pre-ordering a special meal, since your meal will be prepared in a smaller batch AND you are served first).
Upon boarding, around midnight we were served dinner. The next meal was breakfast, even though it was night time in our destination.
Lastly, a lunch/snack of pizza was served with a few hours to go. What I was offered was definitely some of the best airline food I have had!
As for drinks, I had two glasses of white wine at the first meal, then tried to stick to drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. The flight crew did often come around with water, which I appreciated.
I think the only thing I would have done different on this 19-hour journey was to take a melatonin or Tylenol PM during the last 6 or 7 hours of the flight. I hardly slept on the flight and arrived in Asia extremely tired and it took me a few days to recuperate.
If you are heading to Asia from the east coast, this is a great option to get you to the continent, and then connect on. My best advice is to book this flight as far in advance as possible. Looking at fares on this flight for the next two months, some of the dates are selling for over $10,000! But 3+ months out, you can get this one-way ticket for around $1100. I paid around $1400 for my one-way from JFK to Cambodia, worth it to get to SE Asia for the trip of a lifetime, and for bragging rights that I survived the world’s longest flight!
Thank you, Harmony, for sharing your experience! Readers, check out this article to see more photos of the special seats on this long-haul airplane. Note: JFK to Singapore in Premium Economy costs 80,500 KrisFlyer miles each way. You can get Singapore KrisFlyer miles by transferring points from Amex, Citi, Capital One, Chase and Marriott.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.