As of October 2017, United Airlines will set the new record for the longest distance flight operating from the U.S. at 8,700 miles.
Their June 1 announcement reports United will begin offering daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Changi Airport in Singapore (SIN) beginning October 27, 2017, subject to government approval.
Both routes will be operated with the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Current flight times are estimated at 17:55 (westbound) and 15:15 (eastbound).
Current Long Flight Leaderboard (as of 6/1/17 ):
- The longest distance flight operated worldwide is Qatar’s DOH>AUK route, which comes in at a hefty 9,032 miles (17:40).
- The longest distance flight operated from the U.S. is Qantas’ DFW>SYD route at 8,578 miles (16:55).
- The longest distance flight operated from the U.S. by a U.S.-based carrier is United’s SFO>SIN route, coming in at 8,446 miles (17:15).
LAX>SIN Flight Schedule:
The flight schedule for the new LAX>SIN route is planned as follows (in local times):
- Westbound: UA 37, departing Los Angeles International (LAX) at 8:55 pm, arriving at 6:50 am +2 days in Singapore (SIN)
- Eastbound: UA 38, departing Singapore (SIN) at 11:00 am, arriving at 10:15 am the same day in Los Angeles (LAX)
United reports the eastbound flight schedule was specifically chosen to allow for optimal flight connections out of LAX.
What to Expect Onboard
The 787-9 Dreamliner is the same plane currently used for United’s SFO>SIN service and features a total of 252 seats: 48 Polaris business class, 88 economy plus, and 116 standard economy.
Current specs for each seating arrangement are:
- Business: 22″ seat width, 78″ pitch/bed length and lie flat seats with 180-degree recline
- Economy plus: 17.3″ width, 35″ pitch, and 4″ recline
- Standard economy: 17.3″ width, 32″ pitch, and 3″ recline
On this flight, business class will include the Polaris Business “experience” (Saks 5th Ave bedding, SoHo House & Cowshed products, updated menu, etc.) but will NOT include the new Polaris luxury seating. Due to a manufacturing/labor issue, the new Polaris business seating is limited to United’s 777-300ER planes at this time.
Economy tickets will include complimentary food and beverages plus in-flight entertainment.
If you’re interested in a seat map or advice on prime seating, SeatGuru does a great job of outlining your options in their United 787-9 review.
Past Routes & Future Plans
United isn’t the first airline to provide this LAX>SIN service. In fact, Singapore Airlines operated the same nonstop route from February 2004 through October 2013 on an Airbus340. They ultimately discontinued this route citing that the flight was no longer cost-effective. (Also discontinued at this time was Singapore Airline’s service from Newark, EWR>SIN.)
In terms of fuel efficiency, Boeing claims its 787-9 planes have 20% better fuel and lower emissions than replacement models. Combined with an increased cargo capacity, 30% lower cost for maintenance, and a 15% lower operating cost, it’s no wonder we’re starting to see more and more record-setting routes on the 787-9 aircraft.
Considering this fleet, the success of United’s current SFO>SIN route, and the long-standing relationship between United and LAX (having invested over $570 million in renovations in the last 2 years), the opening of this new route isn’t actually all that shocking.
In fact, Singapore Airlines has announced they will re-open their LAX>SIN service sometime next year in conjunction with the arrival of the new A350LR, an aircraft specially designed for long-range flights. Plans for a Singapore A350LR service from JFK>SIN are also in the works.
As it stands, United’s LAX>SIN route will be the longest by any Dreamliner plane in service at its inaugural flight later this year. That being said, this milestone could be quickly overshadowed by Qantas’ March 2018 launch of a nonstop service from Perth>London—a mindblowing 8,997 miles (as calculated by Great Circle Mapper) on the 787-9.
Leading the U.S. to Asia Market
Regardless of the new routes opening by other airlines, Dave Hilfman, United’s Senior Vice President has stated: “Our commitment to our Los Angeles hub is more than 50 years strong and with today’s new Singapore service announcement, we continue to strengthen our position as the leading U.S. carrier to Asia.”