Star Alliance “frenemies” would probably be the best way to describe the relationship between Singapore Airlines and United.
Still bruising from United’s surprise announcement of the San Francisco to Singapore nonstop service with its flagship plane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Singapore Airlines has decided to take the rivalry up a notch by announcing its own nonstop San Francisco service using its newly delivered Airbus A350.
Such a long journey will require reducing the number of passengers on board. The 16hr 55min San Francisco departure features 42 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 187 economy class seats.
SQ31 will depart San Francisco at 10:45 am to reach Singapore at 6:40 pm the next day.
SQ32 will depart Singapore at 8:30 am to reach San Francisco at 9:15 am the same day.
Singapore Airlines currently operates two routes from Singapore to San Francisco, one stopping in Hong Kong and the other in Seoul. The Hong Kong itinerary will be preserved, while the Seoul itinerary will be re-routed to Los Angeles on October 23, adding a new option for travelers in Southern California.
The move comes ahead of Singapore Airlines’ original plan to restart non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York in 2018 using a new ultra-long range version of the Airbus A350. Those ultra-long haul flights will feature a mostly business class cabin of 170 seats. The business class seats are expected to feature the same, newly-fitted version found on the Boeing 777-300ER.
Other Routes and Award Availability
Other Singapore Airlines destinations for the new A350 include Amsterdam (which already launched on May 9th) and Dusseldorf (beginning July 21st). With 66 of the Airbus A350 on order and another 10 to be delivered by the middle of 2017, we can expect more new routes to be announced shortly.
There are three variants on order: the standard version (which will be used on the San Francisco flight and is currently used for Amsterdam), the ultra-long range version with a 170-seat layout (for nonstop travel to New York and Los Angeles), and the regional version that is optimized for mid-haul operations (most likely with fewer business class seats).
Award availability on the new A350 flight between Singapore and San Francisco in business class is currently unavailable, but I did a quick search and found economy class seats available for the 16-hour trip. Singapore’s other flights to Amsterdam and Dusseldorf don’t seem to have much availability either.