Many years ago Singapore Airlines used to fly an all-business class A340 service between Singapore and Newark. This was a rather prestigious route for the 100 passengers that got to fly on the route daily. However, as you’d expect for a quad-engine, 100-seat aircraft flying on a 19-hour route, the route wasn’t the most profitable ever.
A couple of days ago Singapore Airlines announced that they’d finally be resuming the Singapore-Newark routes (as promised when they initially canceled it in 2013), with their new A350-900ULR, which is the ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350. I’ve flown the A350 on a couple of occasions before and love the plane, so I’m excited about the route.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 Hong Kong Airport
There are a couple more reasons why I’m excited for the new Singapore to Newark route, which excites me in ways normal new route launches don’t. I thought I’d write a post to outline them below.
Singapore Airlines’ A350ULR will be awesome
Singapore Airlines has long had a pretty good business class product. I know there are some flaws, though their new-ish product is a decent product for sleeping, to say the least. I haven’t had the chance to test the seat out myself, though I know it’s one of the widest in the industry, and there’s direct aisle access – two things I value on a longhaul flight, especially one that spans the course of 19 hours, where I’ll want to have the chance to sleep and work.
Furthermore, there’s even a chance that Singapore Airlines will use their updated seat that they’re retrofitting their A380s with, which feature additional privacy, and take up less real estate (which seems like a bad thing, though I’ve heard that the seats aren’t any less spacious, and the extra density may help drive down seat prices as well).
Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Business Class
However, the really exciting part about this A350 is that you won’t be stuck in economy either way, as there isn’t an economy cabin. The rearmost cabin will consist of premium economy seats, and while not industry leading (at least legroom wise), I can testify that Singapore Airlines’ premium economy product is pretty comfortable.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Premium Economy Cabin
Additionally, there’s WiFi, and I’ve heard good things about Singapore’s latest WiFi provider. So all in all, the hard product on this flight will be exceptional.
19 hours of time to spare…!
The new Singapore to Newark flights will be scheduled as follows between October 11 and October 28, 2018:
Singapore Airlines 22 Singapore to Newark dep. 23:35 arr. 06:00 (+1)
Singapore Airlines 21 Newark to Singapore dep. 10:45 arr. 17:30 (+1)
After October 28, the schedule will be adjusted as follows to adhere to the northern winter schedule:
Singapore Airlines 22 Singapore to Newark dep. 00:40 arr. 05:30
Singapore Airlines 21 Newark to Singapore dep. 09:45 arr. 17:15 (+1)
One thing that bugs me about transit flights of six hours is that there’s no time to get any “real” sleep. While transiting through the Middle East from Asia to the U.S. gets you in some great cabin products (especially when you’re traveling to New York, where there’s a high chance you’ll end up on one of the ME3’s A380s, or QSuites in the case of Qatar Airways), nine-hour flight times between Southeast Asia and the Middle East can be irritating, as there’s not enough time to get some rest and enjoy the product at the same time. Here there’s time on the outbound to get some sleep and have time to work and have a great meal, and on the inbound there’s time to work for a while, have lunch, and nap on the way back to Singapore.
More connection opportunities within Asia
While flying direct to the U.S. from Hong Kong has always been pretty easy, the same can’t be said about other cities within Southeast Asia. The easiest way to fly to the U.S. from cities such as Bangkok has always been through a short layover in North Asia. It goes without saying that the new route will connect passengers between Singapore and Newark point-to-point, but it also provides another option for passengers traveling from neighboring cities.
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
The schedule also supports this. Instead of taking a 4-5 hour flight, most likely intra-Asia with no WiFi, and connecting onto a 12-hour flight where you’ll most likely be at your destination by the time you’re well-rested, Southeast Asian travelers can take a short late-night positioning flight to Singapore, have some rest due to the late departure time, and still have time to work onboard with the onboard WiFi. Assuming a similar price point, the latter option sounds much more appealing to me.
The morning flight back also is placed well for connecting since you’ll be able to touch up some work on the flight, sleep for the latter half, and catch a late night connection back to a proximate Southeast Asian city, though I’d argue there’s not much more of a selling point to the timing of the return flight, since other airlines also operate morning flights with WiFi between the East Coast and Southeast Asia.
Onboard WiFi makes me happy! (disclaimer: photo not taken on a Singapore Airlines flight)
Now, you’d be thinking, “Singapore Airlines charges insane prices which are not worth a few extra hours of work”. Singapore Airlines charges insane prices between Hong Kong and New York as of now. However, by positioning to Bangkok (or for travelers originating their travels in Bangkok, since Hong Kong travelers are better off flying direct, in my opinion), the price lowers to ~HK$37,000, which honestly is on par with the rest of the market for travel between Southeast Asia and the U.S. East Coast. Factor in the fact that the A350 is much more fuel-efficient than the A380 (which currently operates the most direct route between Singapore and the East Coast), and positioning to Bangkok to get to Newark may be the most reasonable way for business travelers to get between Southeast Asia and the East Coast.
While this route will be hard to get on (unless prices do go down and you’re willing to position to Bangkok, since I suspect award space will be stingy), you’re in for a treat if you do get one of the prized seats between Singapore and Newark, especially in business class. I hope this route helps drive down prices for premium travel between Southeast Asia and the U.S., and will make a point to try and get myself on the route in the future.
Do you have plans to try Singapore Airlines’ A350 between Singapore and Newark?
The best thing about this route between Newark and Singapore is that the price that I checked round-trip during the off-peak season (like November) is quite low considering it’s premium economy, like around US$1,500-1,600. For comparison, the Toronto to Hong Kong flight I too on Cathay back in 2014 on economy costs slightly less than that (around $1,400) while receiving much worse service on a very uncomfortable plane (777), while Cathay regularly sells premium economy around the $2,500 range. I think the SQ pricing is a very good deal as we get much better service and of course the A350 makes the experience a whole lot better.