Flying Singapore Airlines Premium Economy on the longest nonstop flight in the world

“It’s a pretty long flight to Singapore, isn’t it?”

“Actually, it’s the longest flight in the world!”

When it came time to book my one-way flight to Singapore, I wanted to make sure I had as comfortable of a flight as I could get away with. I was given permission to book Premium Economy, so I started looking at direct flight routes from hub cities outside Chicago. In general, I’ve found the experience on transcontinental routes served by Asian airlines like EVA Air, to be far superior to American airlines like United in service, food, and comfort. I had never flown Singapore Airlines before but had heard very good things, so this was an easy decision. 

Coming from Chicago, I had to connect in either New York (Newark), Los Angeles, or San Francisco. The total flight time including the initial leg from Chicago was actually faster via New York, not to mention my previous bad luck with delays flying to SF. I decided to fly to New York the night before my 10:25am flight so that I could break up my travel. Side note: Singapore Airlines will also start flying nonstop to Seattle beginning September 3rd!

As for the long flight time, I wasn’t bothered by the idea of it. I’ve flown nonstop to Asia a few times, most recently Chicago to Shanghai (14 hours). Does a 17 hour flight really feel that different from a 14 hour flight?

Airport Check-In

Singapore Airlines offers a special check-in lane for Premium Economy. Since there were no regular Economy seats on the plane, this didn’t really matter but for other flight routes it might. There was no one in line when I arrived at the airport 1 hr 40 min before my flight. 

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy check-in lane

Terminal B was surprisingly small, only 10 gates. No water bottle fill stations, unfortunately. While charging my phone at the gate, I befriended an expat couple who were also making the one-way trip to Singapore – what are the chances? We exchanged WhatsApp numbers and have since met up a few times.

In-Flight Experience

I forgot which seat I had selected at check-in, aside from the fact that it was an aisle seat. I was delighted to see I got a front row seat which meant plenty of extra leg room. I put both my backpack and carry-on up in the cabin and got settled.

Singapore Airlines premium economy front-row seats

The flight attendants brought us hot towels – so nice! – and an amenity kit with socks and a toothbrush.

Singapore Airlines premium economy amenity kit

The entertainment on board included the standard movies, TV shows, and even podcasts. We also had noise-cancelling headphones, which were a nice touch. I ended up listening to an NPR podcast about travel tips, one of which was to always carry a deck of cards because you never know when or where you’re going to be stuck and everyone knows how to play a few games.

Ashley in-flight selfie
Work travel is so glamorous!


Eating is one of my greatest joys and while airplane food usually leaves a lot to be desired, I was hoping premium economy would have somewhat decent options. I read through the menu booklet and was pleasantly surprised to see some healthy options from Singapore Airlines’ partnership with Canyon Ranch. I tried their Baked Pistachio Crusted Tofu, which was pretty tasty albeit a little soggy.

Singapore Airlines Baked Pistachio Crusted Tofu in-flight meal

Later I had an apple and eggplant hummus wrap as a snack. My last meal was chicken with Chinese pork sausage in mushroom sauce. Pro tip: always choose the Asian option over the Western option – which in this case was beef hamburger steak with pasta.

Singapore Airlines Asian chicken in-flight meal

Overall, the flight was pretty comfortable and I didn’t feel all that different by the end of it compared to previous shorter flights to Asia. I even managed to take a 3 hour nap, which was a nice surprise because I can usually never sleep on planes.

Even if you don’t want to splurge on premium economy, I highly recommend flying Singapore Airlines if you’re looking for a nicer in-flight experience on your way to SE Asia!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *