SQ24 - Spending 18+ Hours in Business Class (SIN-JFK)

Charlie Mortling

Los Angeles, CA

Last updated on Feb 12, 2024

Posted on Feb 12, 2024

Another one checked off my bucket list! After my trip to Auckland, I decided to come back home the long way around and ended up in a Singapore Airlines business class seat for more than 18 hours!

Last year I had the chance to fly on the current longest flight in the world from Singapore to JFK. The flight normally clocks in less than 18 hours, but on this particular day due to a volcano erupting in Eastern Russia we had to take a longer route and the flight ended up being over 18 hours from takeoff to touch down. Insanity!

Booking

This flight was booked with Alaska Airlines miles, in total to book business class from Auckland to New York with a stop in Singapore was 145,000. While not the absolute best redemption, it was a splurge of my miles and one of the best ways to get back from New Zealand in comfort.

Availability was sporadic in the 8 months ahead of this trip that I booked, and these flights were not available separately. I just so happened to stumble over this redemption while exploring options to get home from New Zealand.

Check-In

The check-in process was very straight forward. I ended up checking into my flight in Auckland and never left the secure area of the airport until I got to New York. My frustration with Singapore's check-in process was their hard limits on when you could check in for the flight. In most flights, you can't use online check-in and need them to check your passport and documents at the airport. This didn't work out well for me because my connecting flight from Queenstown got in 4 hours before I check-in for my flight and had to wait inside the Auckland airport bar for the desks to open.

Lounge

The SilverKris Lounge at the Singapore airport was large and beautiful. The expansive lounge had lots of seating and even more food options, including western and local cuisine. Thankfully there were also showers, after my previous 10-hour flight, I could freshen up before my even longer 18+ hour flight that I was looking forward to. My connection time in Singapore was not that long, in total I had a 4-hour layover after a delay from Auckland while they got some seats worked out. It was just enough time to find the lounge, reserve a shower spot, and grab some breakfast.

In total, it was quite a nice experience. Singapore knows how to make a great all around lounge to please both Western and Asian diets. I would happily enjoy this lounge again on another layover, there was certainly a lot more to explore.

Boarding

Having been through the Singapore airport multiple times, I still am not sure how I like the security screening at the airport. While in the US and multiple other countries you clear immigration and security at the same time, in Singapore you clear immigration, and then you are let into the terminal and only when you arrive at your gate do you clear security. Every gate has a security checkpoint into the holding area that opens up a set amount of time before your flight departs.

If you do happen to get to the airport early or just want to go sit at your gate and wait, you can't. Instead, you'll have to find somewhere else to sit and then wait for the security to open to gain access. I'm still not so sure if I like this, what do you think?

The Seat

I have to give it to Singapore Airlines, they make a pretty comfy seat, I so enjoy the fact that the seat is extra wide, this meant that I could really spread out during this long trip. I was fortunate enough to grab a bulkhead seat on both flights, which is the seat that you want. The only downside to these seats is the foot well. If you get a bulkhead seat like I had the foot room is enormous, however for any other seat there's a tiny foot well at an angle that you have to stick your feet into which is quite uncomfortable if you're tall. Being over 6 feet, this was a lifesaver for such a long flight.

Unlike most business class seats, the bed does not convert into a lie flat bed traditionally. Instead of motorizing into a flat position, the entire back of the seat flips forward to make it into a bed. It's inconvenient if you're someone who likes going back and forth between seat and bed frequently, however it makes for one of the best beds I've ever slept in on an airplane. The seat is generously padded and the seat belt is long enough you can twist and turn in your sleep without being restricted.

Along with the bed, you get a very warm duvet and large pillow. I ended up getting an uninterrupted 7 hours of sleep during the flight and woke up the most well rested that I've ever felt. It was quite shocking after taking off, having dinner, sleeping for a full 7 hours and still realizing I had 9 hours left in the flight.

Service

Singapore Airlines is known for having some of the most friendly and best cabin crew around, and it showed on this flight. Every bit of the over 18 hours we were on this flight, the cabin crew was extremely friendly, responsive to requests, and proactive to take care of all the business class passengers. It was so lovely that they greeted you by name as you sat down and continued to offer a warm smile every time they came around with service or to check on you. While Delta Air Lines is known for having some of the most friendly flight attendants in the US, think of that but 10 times better. That was just the quality of service that I got from this cabin crew.

All the meals were perfectly plated and presented perfectly. It was impressive that with so many business class passengers, they were able to get a full multiple course meal together and served to everyone onboard in a reasonable amount of time.

With this being an 18-hour-long flight, there were two full meal services and then an optional service before landing that you had to request. For both of my meals, I ended up choosing the Book The Cook option, which allowed me to pre-select my meal from a larger menu and have it ready for my onboard.

My first meal was the Lobster Thermidor, it was elegant and perfect even at 35,000 feet. It was cooked perfectly, and the lobster wasn't overcooked or rubbery.

My second meal, I ended up picking a steak. I usually order my steaks about medium, however this steak came more well-done. However, the steak was still moist and juicy and had a lot of flavor, so I give it a pass.

In-Fight Entertainment

For the world's longest flight, Singapore has quite a robust IFE selection. There were many movies and TV shows to pick from, both foreign and Western. I settled into the flight, watching a few TV series back to back while I had dinner and got ready for bed. It was nice to see that not only did the IFE have TV shows and moves, but there was also live TV and radio stations available.

For an 18-hour flight, it's quite a long time to stay disconnected from the world, so being able to watch live TV to stay up to date on the headlines was impressive. Sometimes you do just want to be disconnected from the world, and that's what I did, spending most of my time catching up on movies and relaxing for the flight.

Singapore Airlines also offers free Wi-Fi in business class, while not the fastest in the world it was certainly useable to check some emails and do some light website browsing. By no means will you be able to stream YouTube, but it was decently fast at loading even some more media heavy web pages.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was quite the trip, certainly the longest flight that I've ever been on. The flight culminated in more than 24 hours sitting in a Singapore business class seat. Clocking in with about 10 hours from Auckland to Singapore and 18 hours from Singapore to New York. I applaud the airline for making quite the comfortable seat and even in bed mode I felt the bed was extremely comfortable. I'd venture to call it the most comfortable bed in the skies. The service was fantastic, and the crew was exceptional. The food was some of the best that I've had in the skies, and it makes me want to go on another ultra long haul flight with the airline.

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