Most United States travelers are no stranger to the inconvenience of being located an ocean away from many of the world’s most interesting vacation spots. While, for example, European citizens have access to many countries that are more often than not serviced by inexpensive, budget regional carriers, Americans must depend on long and more expensive flights to reach anywhere further than a few neighboring states. In the spirit of this, one U.S. carrier has added a new route that not only breaks records for duration, but may also break some frequent flyers’ patience.
Since the 1980’s, Singapore has grown tremendously as a tourist destination. The island city-state is renowned among travelers for its tropic climate, diverse culture, and cosmopolitan cuisine. That said, the island nation’s position on the Indian Ocean has historically made it a stretch for hopeful travelers from the United States, with most journeys requiring several extended layovers. Recently, Chicago-based carrier United Airlines took advantage of this poorly serviced travel market and announced a record-breaking 18-hour nonstop flight from California to Singapore. While not the longest recorded flight globally, the continuous route has set a record among United States carriers. United is also the only American carrier currently offering direct service. Qatar Airways continues to hold the global record for the longest direct flight with its 9,032-mile service from Doha to Auckland, New Zealand.
While 18 hours may stretch the absolute limit for the patience of even the most seasoned adventurers, it is actually shorter than previous offerings out of the U.S. to Singapore. In the past, travelers would be forced to make at least one changeover in Asia, so the direct line actually takes a few hours off historical travel times. The 8,700-mile journey to Singapore’s primary hub, Changi Airport, departs from two U.S. locations: San Francisco and Los Angeles. This gives passengers at least some degree of choice when tackling the record-breaking journey.
While it is the Los Angeles flight that breaks records, the departure from San Francisco isn’t far behind at 8,466 miles, still far longer than any other nonstop flights from America. Thankfully, the return flights are somewhat shorter, clocking in at about 15 hours. Originally introduced at a discounted rate of $177 but now costing roughly $600, the price is somewhat lower than what many would expect for such an extended journey. Overall, the flight is a significant upgrade from past offerings and should serve as a healthy economic boost for Singapore.