Ultra-long air routes have been in the news over the past year, with claims for longest distance and time shifting constantly, and new routes such as the first non-stops from Australia to London in the works.
Behind the scenes, airlines need to do a lot of preparation and rethinking for this kind of flying, made possible only by the introduction of a number of planes that have the capacity, such as the 787 Dreamliner's longest-range variants, and the A350ULR ultra-long-range model.
And even then, there are adjustments to make; in Singapore's case, the daily service that will link Los Angeles and Singapore starting Nov. 2 using the A350 will have no standard economy seats. To keep the weight down while keeping per-seat profits high enough to fly the service, the plane will have only 161 seats, 67 in business and 94 in premium economy. Normal A350 passenger loads are in the 250-300 seat range.
Singapore's service will return service on the route to Los Angeles, which is losing its present non-stop Singapore route operated by United Airlines with a 787. United is shifting the route to San Francisco to allow daily service with a morning and an afternoon service each way. United already operates a Singapore-SF route.