KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

A350ULR Non-Stop New York: Cabin Layout, Price, Seats, Redemptions and More

Now tickets are on sale and more information is available, we look at the finer details of flying the world's longest route.

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Yesterday, Singapore Airlines announced in a press release at 11:30 SGT some very big news that we’ve waited a long time to hear. They will officially retake the title of “The World’s Longest Scheduled Commercial Passenger Flight”. Details were thin but they did confirm our suspicions that services would resume to Newark, just as they had done in the past with the A340-500 non-stop flight.

Let’s recap on a bit of history first. The SQ21/22 SIN-EWR route first started in June 2004. Originally configured with executive economy and business class, that was later scrapped in favour of an all business class configuration. The route was finally killed off in November 2014. Singapore Airlines merely says that the “Airbus A340-500s, were returned to Airbus…” but that doesn’t really tell the full story.

A340 Takeoff Dusk

Whilst they didn’t have problems keeping the load factor up, the combination of record fuel prices and the A340-500’s thirsty reputation meant that they were consistently selling the route at a loss. By late 2014 the aircraft was a one trick pony and given that the route was haemorrhaging money, it was time to call it quits.

Singapore Airlines continued to fly to JFK via Frankfurt with their flagship A380s and that seemed to fit the bill for a while.

Now along has come a new breed of aircraft. Ultra long range, extremely efficient, twin-engine wide-body aircraft equipped with the latest engine technology and cutting-edge lightweight materials. Combine that with low fuel prices and the growing unpopularity of the Middle East hubs now seems like the perfect time to give ultra long-haul another shot.

Seat Maps

Now available on the Singapore Airlines website here.

Business Class

Business class is split across the first two aircraft sections on the A350ULR, a forward section with 23 seats and a larger rear section with 44 seats. The 2013 J seat will be fitted as stated in the press release. We’ve comprehensively review the seat here.

The forward cabin section features one less row than on the regular SIA A350-900 and it appears that the forward galley has been extended to occupy most of the (former) front row of seats in this cabin.

11A span
A350 2013 business class product. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There’s one exception – the new ‘seat 10A’. Singapore Airlines usually start their business class row numbering at row 11. It appears that this is the former seat 11A but the galley now occupies the remainder of this row and SIA have decided to make this a special seat with a unique number.

It appears from our searches that this single seat is blocked for PPS members for advance selection, but this no longer appears to be the case for the other bulkhead seats at rows 11 and 19 as currently applies on the A350-900 long-haul flights.

Note that the bassinet positions remain at seats 19A and 19K and are also blocked for advance selection for that reason.

The forward toilet near the flight deck on that exists on the A350-900 is now not shown on the seat map for the ULR. This could mean it’s been removed or is reserved for crew use only. This leaves 4 toilets remaining, a 17:1 ratio, worse than the current A350 configuration (14:1), but on a par with the new A380 (16:1) and the 787-10 (18:1).

Final J seatmap
Business Class Seat map. (Image: SIA)

Premium Economy

Premium economy features 94 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. These will be the same as those currently fitted to the Singapore Airlines A350-900 aircraft, though they now occupy the entire rear cabin section between the third and fourth main aircraft doors.

Towards the rear, there are some single seat options with three rows of 1-4-1 seating, unusual because the A350 fuselage does not narrow towards the back of the passenger seating area so it’s not immediately clear why they have done this.

On the official seat map, 31A and 31K are not shown as chargeable extra legroom seats but a dummy booking confirms that they are on the seat selection page.

There are three toilets for 94 passengers which, comes to a fairly respectable 31:1 ratio.

Final PE seatmap
Premium Economy Seat map. (Image: SIA)

Seat Recommendations

Business Class

If you are lucky enough to be a PPS club member, then we’d definitely pitch for 10A, if for nothing else other than the exclusivity as there are no other ‘row 10’ seats. As it’s a bulkhead you can also expect a full-width footrest instead of the usual foot cubby. The seat pitch in the bulkhead rows is much better too. Row 11 D, F, K and all of row 19 should also benefit from additional legroom we’ve seen on the normal A350-900.

11Avs12A
Bulkhead legroom vs. normal legroom. (Photos: MainlyMiles)

There are some potential downsides to row 10 and 11 though – with the increased size of the forward galley it looks like the majority of the service will be operated from there so expect increased noise levels.

The forward cabin is smaller, further from the engines and has no bassinet seats – so is likely to be quieter. There are some missing windows in the larger second cabin too – we estimate row 22 and 25 will be affected.

Premium Economy

Row 31 A, C, H and K are being sold as extra legroom at a premium of S$161.50 or roughly 7.5% of a full fare ticket. If you are travelling as a couple this is a good option but frankly quite expensive for only a little more space.

Small A350 PE (Singapore Airlines)
A350 Premium Economy. (Photo: SIA)

For solo travellers, we’d definitely opt for the single window seats in rows 40 – 42. As we’ve mentioned above, the fuselage of the A350 does not taper in the passenger cabin so there is likely to be plenty of free space surrounding these seats.

On top of that you have the advantage of sitting next to the window but with free access to the aisle – almost unheard of on a widebody aircraft when not travelling in business class or above.

Ticket Prices

Up until January, these are the lowest available full fare ticket prices.

One Way Return
Premium Economy S$2,961 S$2,219
Business Class S$6,681 S$6,919

The stand out price here is a return ticket in premium economy which actually comes in S$742 cheaper than a one-way fare.

Award Flights and Availability

Here are the KrisFlyer award mileage rates for this route:

KFtrans
Saver Adv.
Business 92,000 135,000
Premium
70,000

Business Class

At the moment there is no instantly confirmable saver availability but given that it’s a new route that’s not a great surprise. After the first week, it’s likely that if you get in early on the waitlist it should clear fairly quickly. 67 seats is a lot to fill on a daily basis.

A healthy amount of award space is immediately available in Advantage if you are willing to cough up an extra 43,000 miles. Generally, weekday availability is good and the weekend is more restrictive.

Date SQ22
SIN-EWR
SQ21
EWR-SIN
Saver Advantage Saver Advantage
11 Oct NA NA
12 Oct NA NA
13 Oct WL WL
14 Oct WL 1
15 Oct WL 1
16 Oct WL 1
18 Oct WL 1
19 Oct WL WL WL NA
20 Oct WL WL WL NA
21 Oct WL WL WL 1
22 Oct WL 1 WL 1
23 Oct WL 1 WL 1
24 Oct WL 1 WL 1
25 Oct WL 1 WL NA
26 Oct WL WL WL NA
27 Oct WL WL WL NA
28 Oct WL WL WL 1
29 Oct WL 1 WL 1
30 Oct WL 1 WL 1
31 Oct WL 1 WL 1
1 Nov  WL 1 WL NA
2 Nov  WL WL WL NA
3 Nov  WL WL WL NA
4 Nov  WL WL WL NA
5 Nov WL 1 WL 1
6 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
7 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
8 Nov  WL 1 WL NA
9 Nov  WL  WL WL NA
10 Nov  WL  WL WL NA
11 Nov  WL  WL WL NA
12 Nov WL 1 WL 1
13 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
14 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
15 Nov  WL 1 WL  NA
16 Nov  WL WL WL NA
17 Nov  WL WL WL NA
18 Nov  WL WL WL NA
19 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
20 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
21 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
22 Nov  WL 1 WL NA
23 Nov  WL WL WL NA
24 Nov  WL WL WL NA
25 Nov  WL WL WL NA
26 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
27 Nov  WL 1 WL 1
28 Nov WL 1 WL 1
29 Nov  WL 1 WL NA
30 Nov  WL WL WL NA

Premium Economy

With the exception of the first few days, there are saver awards available on almost every day we checked.

The 70,000 miles price tag for a premium economy seat does seem quite steep. Especially when business class passengers, feet away are relaxing in flatbed luxury for only 24,000 miles more. Still, if you have to travel and you don’t mind a deeply reclining seat, you won’t have any problems locking your seat in.

Connection Banks

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s likely that the majority of traffic on the SQ21/22 will be O&D (Origin and Destination, implying little or no connecting traffic). However, there are plenty of connecting options available to you if you want to access the east coast of the US, Canada, or other South East Asian destinations in the other direction.

SIN-EWR

Newark is a major hub for United – this means lots of domestic connections and the early arrival time of the aircraft (05:30-06:00) gives a good chance of catching an early morning departure to your final destination.

Departure Time Destination
07:30 Toronto
07:30 Fort Lauderdale
07:30 Austin
07:35 Charleston
07:40 Montréal
07:40 Orlando
07:40 Tampa
07:40 Miami
07:45 Boston
07:45 Raleigh-Durham
07:50 Syracuse
07:51 New Orleans
07:55 Burlington
07:55 Louisville
07:56 Columbus
07:59 Memphis
08:00 Richmond

EWR-SIN

We’ve only considered the Singapore Airlines group flights that make sense in terms of the direction of travel from New York. The flight lands in the early evening (17:15-17:30).

Departure Time Destination
19:00 Medan
19:00 Penang
19:00 Mumbai
19:15 Kuala Lumpur
19:30 Surabaya
19:40 Dhaka
20:00 Kuala Lumpur
20:00 Cochin
20:00 Hyderabad
20:05 Trivandrum
20:05 Bangalore
20:15 Palembang
20:15 Koh Samui
20:15 Coimbatore
20:20 Sydney
20:35 Chennai
20:45 Malé

Lounge Access

By now you will be familiar with the offerings in Singapore. The flight will depart from Terminal 3 so the SilverKris lounge in T3 will likely be your go-to choice.

In Newark, the flight will operate from terminal B. Lufthansa and SAS both have a business class lounge – both of which have been renovated relatively recently and seem like reasonable offerings. However, on the 4th June 2018, United will be opening a brand new Polaris lounge that will be the likely knock the socks off of the competition.

We wrote about the recently opened San Francisco Polaris lounge and we’ll be visiting for a full review in July.

Second floor view at United Polaris lounge at SFO
United Polaris Lounge SFO. (Photo: United)

PPS club members will also have access to the Virgin Clubhouse. We’ve visited some of the others around the world and they are usually quirky, sleek and have excellent service.

Summary

An exciting return to an old route, especially seeing as it regains the crown of “The World’s Longest Scheduled Commercial Passenger Flight”. Reward availability is reasonably good and after the initial hype dies down we expect to see saver rewards opening up.

The A350ULR cabin layout appears broadly similar to the A350-900 with the exception of the ‘row 10’ seat in business class and the individual premium economy window seats. We’ll follow up with more details when the aircraft is delivered but for now, they look the best seats in the house.

Cover Photo: Brandon Jacoby

19 comments

    1. Hi Ken, yes, as mentioned there may well be issues related to 10A’s galley proximity but we’d be willing to chance it for the exclusivity!

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      1. 👌🏻😊

        Personally, I don’t have much (or any) issue w noise pollution cos I’m almost always with my in-ear phones, which I much prefer over even Bose NC headphones (matter of personal pref cos headphones heat my ears to uncomfortable levels).. but I dislike wearing eye covers, so the flashing of light from the galley (or toilets) would annoy me..

        Like

      2. Agree with you on the hot ears aspect! I wear the foam plug ones to sleep. There doesn’t appear to be any forward toilets which should help and hopefully, the crew will be briefed to keep the galley lighting low when possible.

        Like

  1. Thanks for the helpful post. You mention about PPS club members being able to access the Virgin Clubhouse. Does the same apply at JFK even if travelling on SQ in business class? Thanks

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    1. Hi David, thank you. Yes, PPS club members get access to all Virgin Clubhouses (including JFK) as long as you are travelling on SQ or VS (regardless of cabin class). All first (suites) class passengers are also allowed access. A little-known perk and they are excellent lounges!

      Like

      1. I think it’s only for Solitaire not “regular” PPS because I tried recently on my way back from JFK travelling business and couldn’t get in

        Like

  2. Eddie. Great info on the flight connections available on arrival at the respective airports. Possible for you to enhance this with flights connecting from? Looking at the early morning departure from EWR, overnight May be the best options for those ckming from YYZ.

    Thanks again for the great write up.

    Like

    1. Hi Roland, thanks for the feedback!

      I hadn’t even thought of the connections before the flight. I’ve just taken a look at your route. For the days I looked at, the earliest departure from YYZ is 0600L and that doesn’t land in EWR till 1050L which is too late. The last flight on the previous day is 2100L landing in EWR at 2231L – so, unfortunately, that looks like you may need to stay overnight. Hotel choices at the airport seem limited to just the Marriot that is actually on site. Let me know if you find any better options.

      Thanks again.

      Like

  3. Hi Eddie, I think the connecting flight from EWR is not too safe if it’s within 2-2.5 hours of scheduled arrival time of SQ22. One need to factor in the time to clear immigration and customs in EWR (which can take up to 1 hour plus), change terminal (from Terminal B to Terminal C), recheck in (imagine the queue in early morning) and clear TSA security. Thus, in my opinion, to be on the safe side, one should book a flight that leaves after 8 am.

    Different case with connecting flight in Changi where a 60 minutes connection is possible since the baggage can be checked through and minimal time needed to transfer between flights. Thus, SQ 21 should connect to major Southeast Asian cities like Denpasar Bali (18:20), Jakarta and Phuket (18:30), Bangkok (18:35), Kuala Lumpur (18:45); India: Ahmadebad (18:35); and another important connecting market: Perth (18:45).

    Like

  4. Looking like no Business Saver avail for SIN>EWR, therefore 135,000 miles for Advantage..

    Personally, I’d prefer to arrive 4 hours later, SIN>FRA>JFK… in Suites… even if they’re old.. for 120,000 miles… DP beats Charles Heidsieck.. 😋 🥂🍾

    Like

    1. Be patient! Waitlisted myself on a ton of flights in end March and early May (I have very specific travel dates) and in the past month or so I’ve been getting confirmations! They definitely do it in batches because I would get 2-3 at one go.

      Like

      1. Really? I mean, unless I am so strapped for time.. which would be really u likely (for me).. Why ‘waitlist’ on J when I can get confirmed R, even if it means 4hrs later..?

        Yes, screen small.. seats old.. but.. still.. 1 of 12 (if full) vs 1 of XX?

        DP and Krug vs CH? Pichon Lalande vs…?

        19hrs vs 23hrs… me, no contest.. the latter..

        Like

      2. haha of course I would do Suites saver over J advantage (I would never redeem anything advantage, period) but I’m saying wait for the waitlist to come through instead of shelling out for advantage now.

        On J vs Suites, we definitely have different priorities! I really don’t like stopping in JFK (especially on the way back to SIN given the timing) and I wouldn’t shell out extra miles just for Suites I also don’t drink alcohol on flights because it’s so dehydrating, unless I’ve had a terrible day of meetings (don’t judge haha).

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      3. Haha.. I hear you, VS.. even if, you’re right, we’re not seeing eye-to-eye.. and that’s ok.. 😊

        Over a 20ish hour fly-time, I’d take R Saver over even J Saver.. with +4hrs, with +1-2 terrible hours at JFK (to be honest, never tried).. cos it’s still 20ish hours on board.. and even if you take out the DP/Krug factor (I’m biting my tongue, crossing my finger AND toes, AND holding my breath).. still.. but that’s me.. and I’m cool that I’m not you.. 😉

        Like

  5. Thanks for the 10A tip… I’ve been asking the call centre staff to reserve 11A for me out of habit (i’m not ticketing my flights yet so can’t see the seat map)… let me give them a call…

    Like

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