As Singapore Airlines prepares to re-launch its LAX–SIN route, the airline’s regional vice-president, Americas, Sek Eng Lee, discusses working with Canyon Ranch to foster wellness on board ultra-long-haul flights.
When Singapore Airlines (SIA) stopped flying nonstop between Los Angeles and Singapore in 2014, the company knew it would return, sooner or later. It took the delivery of the Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra-long-range aircraft) to bring back those flights, which begin again on November 2, 2018.
SIA became the launch customer for the A350-900ULR when it entered service in October, on what is now the world’s longest nonstop route: New York (Newark) –Singapore. When the LAX-SIN plane takes wing, the flight will be almost 18 hours; but as Sek Eng Lee, the company’s regional vice-president, Americas, told APEX Media at a gala party in Los Angeles on October 25, it won’t feel that long.
“There are a few things that are very special with this new route launch,” Lee explained. “We are using the A350-900ULR aircraft, which features increased humidity and advanced lighting that simulates daylight, nightfall, evening. That makes the passenger feel more comfortable as they travel.”
SIA has also partnered with Canyon Ranch, the American company known for its wellness resorts and spas on both land and at sea, in an innovative initiative to help passengers have a seamless flying experience.
“They have designed a menu, a set of dishes that will promote healthy eating. You’ll feel much better while you are on board,” Lee continued. “They focus on things like the amount of carbohydrates and the sodium in the food, they have made sure that these elements are optimized, so that you feel that your food still tastes good, even after an 18-hour flight.”
“They have also created a set of sleep strategies for our passengers, and stretching exercise videos that our passengers can watch and do the stretches in their seats, within the space that the passenger has. The exercises are tailored for that sort of environment.”
Susan E. Docherty, CEO of Canyon Ranch, elaborated on the company’s goal for the SIA long-haul flights, as the initiatives are in place on the EWR-SIN route and will also be offered on the upcoming SFO-SIN, scheduled to launch later this year:
“Our collaboration with Singapore Airlines focuses on the goal to help passengers arrive more refreshed and rested. The Canyon Ranch Wellness Architects(TM) developed science and experience-based strategies focused on cuisine, sleep and exercise that will help passengers have a sense of well-being in flight.”
Another key aspect of the new Airbus A350-900ULR planes that SIA offers is seat comfort for, as Lee emphasized, these are not flights with hundreds of people crammed into a small space.
“This plane is business and premium economy class only. Premium economy has legroom of 38 inches, so it is very spacious, very comfortable. We have 67 of the full-flat beds on board in business class in the new aircraft and we have 94 premium economy seats at the back. That’s it. We’ve already got passengers that are telling us that they wish that the flight would continue for a few more hours,” he added with a chuckle.