I returned Sunday from two weeks in Singapore and Malaysia. My round-trip was on the world’s longest commercial airline route: Singapore Airlines’ Non-stop flights between Newark and Singapore. Each 15,349-kilometer (9,593-mile) flight takes between 18 and 20 hours, depending upon weather conditions. The airline uses a four-engine Airbus 340-500 with 181 (rather than the standard Airbus 340’s 300) seats.
My flights took 18 and 18 and a half hours each, and used different routes. The flight from Newark headed directly north over the pole and then directly south over Siberia, Mongolia, China, Thailand, and Malaysia. However, my return flight followed a more traditional airline route between Asia and North America: Over the South China Sea, over the Pacific off the coasts of Taiwan, Japan, and Siberia, then over Alaska and diagonally across Canada. I don’t know whether the return took that route to lessen the amount of overflight fees that Singapore Airlines has to pay various countries or else because it takes less time due to prevailing trade winds.
Either way, 18+ hours aboard an airliner didn’t feel much different than 8 hours aboard an airliner (but must for the pilots). It was much better than changing plans in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, or Bangkok. I generally go out of my way (in this case Newark airport) to fly Singapore Airlines. Its service, as usual, was superb.