Singapore Airlines brings back direct flights to New York: how does that affect us in Australia?

A guide to redeeming points for travel in Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: May 31, 2018
UPDATED: June 2, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Velocity Frequent Flyer

The world’s longest commercial flight is returning after a five-year hiatus.

In this guide, we look at the A350’s current and future routes, the onboard product, points pricing and how to book an award flight using KrisFlyer miles.

New route: Singapore – New York

This service will return on 11 October 2018 three times a week, going daily by the end of that month.

Travel time will be a lengthy 16 hours 55 minutes on the way to New York and 18 hours 45 minutes on the way back to Singapore.

With quicker options to the US available from most other cities in Australia, this flight may interest those in Western Australia most. That is because it will become the fastest way to travel from Perth to New York, in 24 hours 25 minutes.

For comparison purposes, the current quickest route is via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific, at 35 minutes more. Taking Qantas’ nonstop to London and then connecting onto British Airways or American Airlines to New York takes four hours more than this new service.

Travellers based in other parts of Australia may choose this flight if taking advantage of KrisFlyer’s free/cheap stopover policy to spend time in Singapore on their way to/from the US.

As the launch customer of the ultra-long-range version of the Airbus A350, there will be no Economy Class but rather a premium-heavy configuration of just Business and Premium Economy seats, which are pictured in the next section.

Singapore Airlines currently flies to New York JFK via Frankfurt and will keep this service (taking 30 hours from Perth). In choosing to fly into and out of Newark (New York’s second-biggest airport), passengers on this service will have access to United’s new Polaris lounge, which opens on 4 June.

Paid tickets and awards are now available on this flight. For Business Class, I am not seeing any awards at the Saver level but if you are keen on locking in a seat, then you may consider paying more for an Advantage Award. You can choose to waitlist at the Saver level. For Premium Economy, there is plenty of award availability.

Direct Singapore – Los Angeles flights are to follow, with a third North American city in the works.

Singapore already services Los Angeles via Seoul/Tokyo, San Francisco nonstop and via Hong Kong, and Houston via Manchester.

The cabin and seat

Singapore Airlines’ A350-900 has 42 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with fully-flat beds and is 25% more fuel-efficient than aircraft on similar routes.

The ultra-long-range version (A350-900ULR) has 67 Business Class seats and 94 Premium Economy Class seats.

Premium Economy

Due to the fact it does not have overhead lockers, the cabin is much more spacious but it is recommended not to travel with large carry-on items.

Here is a 360-degree virtual tour of the A350:

Current and future routes

The A350 flies between Singapore and:

  • Amsterdam
  • Barcelona
  • Brisbane
  • Christchurch
  • Dusseldorf
  • Hong Kong
  • Jakarta
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Johannesburg and onto Cape Town
  • Los Angeles (launch date unknown)
  • Manchester and onto Houston
  • Melbourne
  • Milan and onto Barcelona
  • Moscow and onto Stockholm
  • Mumbai
  • Munich
  • New York Newark (from 11 October 2018)
  • Rome
  • San Francisco
  • Tokyo Haneda

Perth and some Asian cities now enjoy a new regional Business Class product on Singapore’s Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft.

Some other A350 flights servicing Australia include:

  • Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific
  • Adelaide to Doha with Qatar Airways
  • Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Taipei with China Airlines
  • Melbourne to Bangkok with THAI

Qatar Airways A350 Business Class

Points pricing

The following redemptions are for one-way travel using KrisFlyer miles:

DestinationBusiness Class (most of Australia)Premium Economy Class (most of Australia)Business Class (Perth/Darwin)Premium Economy Class (Perth/Darwin)
US West Coast110,00090,000102,00085,000
US East Coast118,00095,000110,00090,000

Given that Business and Premium Economy redemptions are so closely priced, it makes much more sense to redeem your miles for a Business Class ticket (subject to availability, of course).

Taxes on the New York flight are ~$80 SGD departing Singapore and only ~$24 USD on the way back in Business Class.

KrisFlyer does not apply fuel surcharges to flights on Singapore Airlines.

How to book a seat on one of these flights

The two main currencies travellers based in Australia can use on Singapore Airlines flights are KrisFlyer miles and Velocity points.

It is worth comparing pricing between KrisFlyer and Velocity as points can be transferred between the two programs.

You can easily book an award redemption through the KrisFlyer and Velocity websites.

Summing up

Flying on one of the world’s newest commercial jets on an airline with a reputation for great customer service represents a great opportunity and a good-value use of points.

Supplementary images courtesy Singapore Airlines and United.

Singapore Airlines brings back direct flights to New York: how does that affect us in Australia? was last modified: June 2nd, 2018 by Matt Moffitt