Our family embarked on a truly fabulous trip for the Christmas holiday this year. We decided to head to Singapore, Cambodia, and Thailand. After much rumination regarding routes and connections, my travel agent called me in the Fall to let me know Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com) was reinstating their direct flight from Newark to Singapore. It would become the longest commercial non-stop flight currently in service. They had had this flight several years ago, but it was discontinued due to the fact that they weren’t able to make enough money on it. Fast forward to today, they have redesigned the plane, and it now uses less fuel to make the trip, and being that is is primarily business class seats, it is now more economically viable.
The flight clocks in at 18.5 hours, but truth be told, it really didn’t seem such a hardship. Flight 21 leaves Newark airport mid morning, around 9:50 am, and arrives in Singapore the following day mid-afternoon, around 4:30 pm. During that time, there are many opportunities to eat, sleep, and watch a very wide selection of movies. The A350 is designed with only two classes- business and premium economy. The business class seats are very comfortable- featuring a lie flat bed which seemed particularly roomy. The premium economy section did not feature lie- flat beds- rather a slightly wider seat with a larger recline than normal. My husband and I sat in business, while our hearty young adult sons tested out the premium economy section.
Before the flight we tried to strategize as to when to sleep, and when to try and stay awake in order to minimize jet lag. Singapore Air attempted to dictate that for the cabin- serving meals and dimming the lights at predetermined times. Of course, if you wanted to dine continuously throughout the flight- you could do that as well. We had never flown Singapore Air, but had heard raves regarding the service as well as the food. This turned out to be accurate on both counts.
When we arrived at Newark, we checked out the Singapore Air lounge. It is a shared lounge with Virgin Atlantic, and not overly impressive.
We had a quick cup of coffee, and then headed to our gate.
We were able to board about 45 minutes before the flight, so we were able to get settled in for our adventure.
For the flight to Singapore we opted for window seats, one behind the other. The crew was anxious to help us get comfortable.
I ordered a cappuccino to enjoy while I checked out the movie offerings and menu selection.
The menu was extensive. We did not choose to participate in the Book the Cook program, which would have presented even more choices- but we will if we fly Singapore Air again.
Here is what the Airline suggests as far as meal spacing. We went with their advice figuring they might have the secret to a jet lag free trip.
Once the flight was boarded, the doors were shut and the plane taxied for a very on- time departure. Lets get this show on the road! Although I wasn’t ready for a big meal, I knew I had to do something to pass the time.
The menu was many pages long. This is what I chose from for the first meal of the journey.
I went with the prawns, which were passable
and then the chicken noodle soup, which was very hot and satisfying.I finished up with the ice cream, which was rock hard, for a very long time.
The only thing that was unsatisfactory about the meal service was the fact that they included a salt and pepper shaker that had most definitely come from someone else’s tray. Seriously gross.
After this meal service, I settled in for three movies. the cabin lights were dimmed, even though it was the afternoon in our time zone. I had the flight attendant make up the bed to get cozy and try to rest.
Because we were flying a few days before Christmas, the cabin was decorated accordingly. A very nice touch.
While the cabin lights were dimmed, the flight attendants went off to rest. They were unfailingly polite, pleasant and accommodating, which I imagine is somewhat trying during an 18 hour shift.
After about 10 hours, it was time for meal number 2!
The Gaeng Prik Moo seemed like a good idea, but I didn’t anticipate just how spicy and garlicky it was going to be. No Vampires were paying a visit to my seat, that’s for sure.
After this meal, I managed to sleep again for a few hours. I had lost track of what time zone I was in, or was supposed to be in.
Amazingly, before long it was nearing the end of the flight. 5 movies, several newspapers, part of a book, and some good sleeping- and we were approaching Singapore.
I did pay a visit to my boys in the back of the plane, and they were doing fine. They had some school work to do, so purchased Internet packages- which were expensive- but did provide service throughout the flight. While I felt no guilt putting them in the back, I don’t think I would have been comfortable there myself for the long flight.
We ended up flying into a pretty dramatic storm in Singapore- the lightening was very violent, and the downpour was intense, so much so that they were unable to unload the baggage for over an hour due to the fear of lightening striking the workers on the tarmac.
When we disembarked at Changi Airport (changiairport.com/) , we were happy to be off the plane, and impressed with the cleanliness, and truly, the beauty, of the Airport.
We finally got our bags, passed though immigration,
and walked to the other side of the airport to check into the “World’s Best Airport Hotel” the Changi Crowne Plaza (changiairport.crowneplaza.com/)
We decided to spend the night here because we had an early flight to Siem Reap the next morning. We quickly checked in, dumped our bags and hailed a cab to experience Singapore’s famous Hawker stands. More detail will come in my next post!