Having recently increased its flight schedule from three times a week to daily flights on three major US routes, Singapore Airlines has made another change. Its flagship Airbus A350-900ULR has returned to serve routes from Singapore to New York and San Francisco.
Since the route relaunched in November, the airline was operating the A350-900, which has slightly larger cargo space. The increased frequency meant the airline said it simply did not have enough A350-900 to operate all routes.
The longest route
Any passengers traveling with Singapore Airlines between Singapore and New York have the right to be excited. The airline’s stunning A350-900ULR has returned to serve the route to JFK daily.
The longest route in the world was originally between New York’s Newark airport and Singapore. However, the route was temporarily suspended during the pandemic last year. When the route relaunched in November alongside routes to San Francisco and Los Angeles, it looked a little different.
Not only did Singapore Airlines change to operating in and out of JFK instead of Newark, but it also starting using its standard A350-900, which offers slightly more cargo space. Of course, this made sense considering cargo was a major reason the airline initially restarted the flights, but it was a bit less exciting for passengers.
However, the premium, flagship A350-900ULR is back. The sought-after aircraft will, for the moment, operate flights to New York and San Francisco. Eventually, it will return to the Newark route when demand returns to normal.
Why the changes?
When Singapore Airlines relaunched the route in November after months of temporary suspension, it began using several of its standard A350-900s on the route. The A350-900ULR has modified fuel tanks, which give less cargo space. This means that although demand for passengers was still low, the increase in cargo demand could still be met.
Increased cargo demand was also the reason behind the move to JFK, away from Newark. Reportedly, the airline has a strong cargo base at JFK and wanted to utilize this while passengers were few and far between.
However, the switch back to the ULR variant suggests that passenger numbers may be increasing again. The ULR offers a nice balance between cargo and passengers. Because it is lighter, with fewer seats, it can still carry plenty of cargo while catering to the needs of more passengers.
Not to mention, the airline’s A350-900ULR does not offer an economy class. The aircraft is split between premium economy and business class. This allows the airline to charge more per seat to help cover the flight costs.
If you are planning a flight to San Francisco or New York over the coming weeks, you won’t find yourself sat in a bad seat because the A350-900ULR simply doesn’t have any. If you are concerned about sitting too near people, the premium economy cabin has six seats situated at the rear that don’t have any neighbors at all.
The rest of the cabin is laid out in the usual 2-4-2 configuration. If you choose to travel in the business-class cabin, the seats are laid out in the 1-2-1 layout.
Have you ever flown on one of Singapore Airlines’ A350-900ULR? We’d love to hear about your experience if you have. Let us know in the comments.