17 Hours in a Singaporean Aluminum Tube

Singapore Airlines operates one of the world’s longer non-stop flights between San Francisco and Singapore, departing bright and early at 09:25 and scheduled to arrive 18:40 the following day. I’ve flown for longer, but with stops in between, so wasn’t sure if being trapped in a metal tube for 8 hours and knowing the same is yet to come would result in me needing a polite tasering from the crew or whether it would just roll along in a kind of haze.

Hour zero. New A350, very nice. Large video/gaming screen, power ports, fold down cupholder. Seat pitch quite good for economy – there were about 3 free inches for my knees and I’m on the tall side, so this definitely works.

I was in Row 46 which was in a 5-row cabin just behind the Premium Economy section. Check where you are on seatguru.com or similar – having a smaller cabin is preferable.

For some reason Singapore Air persist in providing fold down foot rests. If your resting position is both feet placed close together then good luck to you, otherwise all these tend to do when folded up is hit your shin.

Hour +1. Oh, this is nice. Plenty of entertainment options – 295 movies in all languages – who doesn’t like a Gujurati detective flick – and the large screen pivots enough for when the seat in front swings back.

The catering standard is usually high at Singapore Air – depends on the airport oftentimes and SFO doesn’t in my experience have the best economy level caterers. The Asian option breakfast (dim sum) at about hour 1 was however quite good and plentiful. The evening meal (at about Hour 10) was ok – I had the Asian main, which was a bit dry.

I’m not sure if moving maps are good or bad but you certainly know what you’re in for. In this case, a long flight. Here is the little plane heading out over the Pacific after Vancouver.

Moving around to lovely Kamchatka and over the Shershov Ridge, on the seabed where aircraft shouldn’t need to go.


Almost there.

Almost there.

We arrived about 40 minutes early at around 18:00. Changi’s one of the best airports to arrive at – really well run and with enough distractions.

I wasn’t in need of Tiger Balm but this should be in everyone’s travel kit.

Terminal 3 has a good food court up the set of escalators from the main departures area – I recommend the Malay food stall which does pretty genuine satay.

Overall for almost 17 hours it went ok – good entertainment system, solid catering, good cabin ergonomics.

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