Here is why the world's longest flight doesn't have a lounge or a bar

Here is why the world's longest flight doesn't have a lounge or a bar

Singapore Airlines is now running the world’s longest flights – around 18 hours between Singapore and New York – but many people, including this writer, have questioned the lack of any lounge or social space where travellers can escape their seat during the marathon flight.

However, Singapore Airlines has admitted it never considered adding such a facility to these long-range Airbus A350 jets, due in part fo the need to have enough seats to make the economics of the non-stop flight work.

‘It’s a very long flight, obviously, and there’s a limited amount of payload, and we wanted to make the best use of that payload possible in a revenue-generating sense,” explains Campbell Wilson, Singapore Airlines’ Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing. 

”We felt that giving passengers a good seat with sufficient space to lie in and lounge in, and the usual opportunity to walk down the aisle, was the most appropriate use (of the space) both from an economic perspective and a customer perspective.”

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller on board the inaugural flight of SQ22 from Singapore to New York, Wilson reflects that the decision was pretty much made by the A350’s predecessor, the Airbus A340-500, which used to fly the same route between 2004 and 2013.

“In our previous iteration of the nonstop flights we had a gathering area where there was a self-service bar with snacks and drinks, but actually it wasn’t very well used, so we took some learnings from that when designing this aircraft.”

Peripheral to the decision was Singapore Airlines’ concern of the impact on passengers of noise from a bar or lounge.

“This is largely a corporate-focussed flight, connecting two very strong corporate centres, and the ability for people to rest and sleep without being disturbed is particularly important,” Wilson rationalises. “There’s also a disruption factor that comes from people gathering and socialising.”

“People spend most of their time in the seat so we wanted to ensure that is the absolute best seat it can be. The (aircraft) can’t be everything to everyone, we have to focus on what is is most important, and for us and we feel for our passengers, the seat and the bed are the most important things.”

Also read: We review Singapore Airlines' SQ22 Airbus A350 business class (Singapore-New York)

Singapore Airlines could find itself alone in its approach, with Qantas considering lounges, stretching rooms and bunk beds for the belly of its Project Sunrise jets which are expected to begin non-stop flights from Sydney and Melbourne to New York and London in 2022.

"One of the concepts that we have is maybe if we're not carrying freight you do something lower where cargo is on the aircraft, do you have an area where people can walk? Do you have berths like on a train?” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce revealed in London earlier this year, following the airline's launch of a non-stop Boeing 787 flight connecting Perth and the UK capital.

“Could some of the freight areas we may not use be used as an exercise area? Could they be used for berths for people to sleep in? Is there a new class that’s needed on the aircraft?”

Joyce admitted these were “out there” ideas but said "there's a lot of 'out there' thinking that's going on" in relation to the ambitious Project Sunrise.

Read more: These photos reveal how Airbus plans to put passengers in the cargo hold

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • guy


    14 Oct, 2018 01:10 pm

    ‘the ability for people to rest and sleep without being disturbed is particularly important‘

    So why wake everyone up in the middle of the flight with a second service!
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  • Alex_upgrade


    15 Oct, 2018 04:49 pm

    you read my mind!
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  • wayne anstey

    john wayne

    14 Oct, 2018 01:47 pm

    haha. Ad Nauseum with the Qantas "lounge areas" "exercise areas"!! What a load of rubbish. Just because it keeps getting repeated doesn't make it any less ridiculous.
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  • johnnypc67


    14 Oct, 2018 04:19 pm

    This is why QANTAS will ultimately go for the lager 777 than the A350
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  • StudiodeKadent


    15 Oct, 2018 12:59 am

    Ehhh... if the A350-1000 can be made into a ULR jet, it may be lighter and thus cheaper to run than the 777-8 (or Boeing's tweaked variant). Would have better comfort in Economy, too, and the business class product would fit more efficiently within the A350's fuselage.

    However the 777-8 has the advantage of commonality with the 777-9, and the 777-9 is probably going to have an advantage as an A380/747 replacement for high-density pacific rim routes (Haneda, Hongkong, LAX, SFO).

    I'm sure Qantas are crunching the numbers and looking very very closely at both alternatives.
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  • Eli


    15 Oct, 2018 08:06 pm

    Nonsense. If you think QF is going to add anything into the passenger cabin but more seats and less toilets, you are either in fantasy land or the QF A.I. Same goes for the cargo hold... its going to hold more fuel tanks or cargo. Sane people no longer believe the lies they love to tell us HUMANS!!
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  • maabbot


    14 Oct, 2018 05:22 pm

    Payload is a major constraint...I did the SFO - Singapore flight recently and there was no duty free on the plane due to payload. Hostie said in the old days of the A340-600 to NYC they even used plastic cutlery....
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  • Eli


    15 Oct, 2018 08:07 pm

    Are people really still buying Duty Free on the plane? Is it 1975? :-).
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  • Geoff Aire


    15 Oct, 2018 03:10 am

    Marginal for both A350 and B777x since freight will take priority if there's space and payload available.
    QF and others should go for a longer range A389 and really make a worthwhile trip for pax. Costly 'though they can get a good deal from Airbus?
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  • Yvan J Drake


    15 Oct, 2018 08:56 am

    A Quad Jet wouldn't be good for the route: Same amount of fuel capacity, and four engines to burn it instead of two - Literally pouring money down the drain.

    And with the death of the 380 production line looming, the concept of a 389 is all but off the table at this point.
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  • Stm Aus


    15 Oct, 2018 03:36 pm

    Compare the pair: SQ has an actual great product out there, and QF has more marketing spin.
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  • Alex_upgrade


    15 Oct, 2018 04:52 pm

    C'mon, the new premium economy seat is a revolution
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  • Stm Aus


    15 Oct, 2018 05:25 pm

    Haha, yes! Quite the Enhancement (TM).
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  • Johnny9


    15 Oct, 2018 08:38 pm

    Does the new A350ULR have a coffin as the A345 had?
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18 Jul, 2019 02:59 am


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