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spoonman1
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:58 am

Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:13 pm

Hi folks,

I'm having to travel for work. My job has me going from either LAX or SFO to Singapore. I'm looking for tips on which is the best airline, who has the best seats (econ or econ premium), aircraft configuration, etc. Whatever information you can share will be helpful. I'm trying to get the most comfortable set-up possible as I know this is an incredibly long flight. Any tips would be appreciated.
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 3387
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:33 pm

Definitely go with SQ. Even in regular economy, a 3-3-3 350-900 would be wider than 3-3-3 787 that UA uses.

And IIRC SQ is going to use their A350-900ULR on LAX-SIN (Beginning Nov. 2018), which is Business Class and Prem. Econ only (in 2-4-2 abreast), so if you can get onto one of those, that's definitely a better ride than even SQ's regular A359.

Not to mention, services would be better on SQ than UA no matter how people spin it.

P.S. General rule of thumb is to go with an non-mainland Chinese (Specifically, no MU or CA; HU is not bad if their fare is low enough, though) Asian airline over an US-based one.
 
spoonman1
Topic Author
Posts: 17
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:12 pm

thanks zakuivcustom.

I'll have to fly sooner than November, but it will most likely be an Economy Premium product. Do you have any feeling on Eva Air?
 
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trpmb6
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:13 pm

Since some of the trip report users don't frequent the other forums I thought I might mention to you to take a look through the trip report forum to see if anyone has posted an SFO/LAX - SIN trip report. Its such a common route I'm sure there is something there. You'll find a lot of information there.
 
bgboiflyer
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:11 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:20 pm

Go for SQ and make sure on that flight you get up often to do the usual and stretch your legs. Important no matter the length of the flight
 
spoonman1
Topic Author
Posts: 17
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:54 pm

Thanks for the tips.

Honestly I have a hard time with 4-5 hour flights across the US (even though I do them all the time). Not sure how I'm going to do ~16 hours. Sleep? Movies? Books? Work? Eat? I guess all of the above.

Pillows, blankets, and headphones, oh my!
 
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fbgdavidson
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:05 pm

spoonman1 wrote:
Honestly I have a hard time with 4-5 hour flights across the US (even though I do them all the time). Not sure how I'm going to do ~16 hours. Sleep? Movies? Books? Work? Eat? I guess all of the above.


I flew HKG-JFK last month, my longest flight to date and was surpised how quickly the 15hrs went by. It was a 4pm departure that landed the same day at 8pm..

I had dinner with the wife and watched a couple of films, that burned up half the flight, then I went to sleep, woke up with about 3.5hrs to go. After some breakfast and a bit more TV it was all over. You'll be surprised how quickly it goes by! My wife had never done anything over about 8hrs before and was confused and apprehensive as how she was to occupy her time, she was amazed how fast it went by!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
spoonman1
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:58 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:42 pm

Thanks for sharing. I'm glad to know the flights go faster than expected. Very good news.

I'm looking at airlines and flights, including Singapore and EVA. It seems that many non-US carriers do not show seat availability until after booking has occurred. Is there any way to find out seat availability (ex: aisle vs center, etc) before I book?
 
TheEuphorian
Posts: 409
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:35 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:07 pm

The rule of thumb is not to book any US/Mainland Chinese carrier, but rather, go for SQ/BR/JL etc.
 
flymia
Posts: 7124
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:32 pm

If you want to go non-stop SQ/UA is your only choice IIRC. UA for now, SQ later this year. The other airlines would involve a stop somewhere, whether it be Hong Kong, Tokyo etc..

Look at the airlines like JAL and Cathay and some other non mainland China choices. Also of course look at Singapore. When looking at those three look at schedules too. A 12-16 hour overnight layover in say Tokyo or Hong Kong will make the flights easier, while a quick 2hr layover there would be it worse over non-stop.

The one's the land in Asia in the morning make it easier to adjust to time, though the ones that arrive in the evening are not bad either as long as you don't sleep much on the plane.

As for what to do. 15+ hours is a long time, but all the planes flying these routes have tons of movies, shows, and a good amount of food. Depending on your departure/arrival times you may also want to focus on sleeping for half the flight.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Austin787
Posts: 422
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:39 pm

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:20 pm

spoonman1 wrote:
Thanks for sharing. I'm glad to know the flights go faster than expected. Very good news.

I'm looking at airlines and flights, including Singapore and EVA. It seems that many non-US carriers do not show seat availability until after booking has occurred. Is there any way to find out seat availability (ex: aisle vs center, etc) before I book?

I've had good experience flying EVA. However, I much prefer to take a non-stop. Singapore premium economy is your best option.

Expedia usually shows seat availability before booking. You can also create an Expert Flyer account to see seat maps for a specific flight.
 
bfitzflyer
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:02 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:22 pm

I also recommend if possible, taking the Midnight flights as you will be tired and get a lot more sleep.
 
spoonman1
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:58 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:56 pm

Thanks for the tips. Overall, I had a couple of goals for the trip...comfort (choice of premium economy), minimum trip duration, and cost. This is probably the same for most people.

Since I'm originating from PHX, I was considering flights from SAN, LAX, SFO, SEA. My focus is more on getting a higher quality seat (prem econ) than a non-stop (as much as I'd like a non-stop). JAL didn't have any available econ premium seats out of SAN/NRT so that was out of the question. SQ was priced very high and still required a stop in Asia (the flights I saw). I almost booked ANA from SFO or SJC to SIN, connecting through NRT. ANA was the only Asian airline that had a seat map available before the paywall. However, they were a bit pricey.

I ended up calling EVA Air's office at LAX and asked about available aisle seats in Prem. Economy. They were very nice and gave me the exact seat numbers available. From there, I booked online and was able to get some very good seats in Econ Premium (aisle for all 4 legs). My flight leaves LAX at 00:50AM and arrives in SIN at Noon, after a 2 hour layover in TPE. Although the layover isn't ideal, TPE doesn't seem very far out of the way, so the additional flight time is minimal overall. Also, as a nervous flier, 13.5 hours sounds a lot more managable than 16.5 hours non-stop, even if I have to stop and catch another 4.5 hour flight. As well, I'll have a larger seat, more private cabin, amenities, alcohol included, separate check-in line(I believe?). These perks seem to justify the stop as I get terribly uncomfortable in airplane seats for long periods of time.

I'm hoping to get sleep on the LAX-TPE flight. If all goes well, some sleep, eating, videos, etc and I will be in TPE. Get off the plane for a bit, then just 4.5 hours to SIN. As was mentioned, I'm arriving at Noon in SIN, so I'm hoping that I will get to have a low-key day, then get a good night's sleep before my meeting the following day.
 
zakuivcustom
Posts: 3387
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:43 pm

EVA is definitely a great choice. Yes, IIRC they do have a separate check-in for Premium Econ. pax (It had been awhile since I flew with them).

(If anything, they definitely deserved that #5 ranking on Skytrax, above CX :duck: ).
 
FlyHappy
Posts: 1105
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 1:06 pm

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:18 pm

spoonman1 wrote:
Thanks for the tips. Overall, I had a couple of goals for the trip...comfort (choice of premium economy), minimum trip duration, and cost. This is probably the same for most people.

Since I'm originating from PHX, I was considering flights from SAN, LAX, SFO, SEA. My focus is more on getting a higher quality seat (prem econ) than a non-stop (as much as I'd like a non-stop). JAL didn't have any available econ premium seats out of SAN/NRT so that was out of the question. SQ was priced very high and still required a stop in Asia (the flights I saw). I almost booked ANA from SFO or SJC to SIN, connecting through NRT. ANA was the only Asian airline that had a seat map available before the paywall. However, they were a bit pricey.

I ended up calling EVA Air's office at LAX and asked about available aisle seats in Prem. Economy. They were very nice and gave me the exact seat numbers available. From there, I booked online and was able to get some very good seats in Econ Premium (aisle for all 4 legs). My flight leaves LAX at 00:50AM and arrives in SIN at Noon, after a 2 hour layover in TPE. Although the layover isn't ideal, TPE doesn't seem very far out of the way, so the additional flight time is minimal overall. Also, as a nervous flier, 13.5 hours sounds a lot more managable than 16.5 hours non-stop, even if I have to stop and catch another 4.5 hour flight. As well, I'll have a larger seat, more private cabin, amenities, alcohol included, separate check-in line(I believe?). These perks seem to justify the stop as I get terribly uncomfortable in airplane seats for long periods of time.

I'm hoping to get sleep on the LAX-TPE flight. If all goes well, some sleep, eating, videos, etc and I will be in TPE. Get off the plane for a bit, then just 4.5 hours to SIN. As was mentioned, I'm arriving at Noon in SIN, so I'm hoping that I will get to have a low-key day, then get a good night's sleep before my meeting the following day.


I think you made a great choice.
Not sure what your layover beef is, though. Can't get better than a mere 2 hours in TPE (time or geography). As you know, you have no current non-stop (from LAX) routing available in PE class, so you get the best time and routing I can really imagine.

Enjoy. file a trip report, we'll all be interested!
 
FCOTSTW
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:27 pm

If you will be on DL, make sure to have WhatsApp installed on your phone. Use of WhatsApp is totally free onboard and you do not have to pay for Wi-Fi subscription.

I used while flying MSP HND MSP on DL 777s and you can do voice and video calls for free.

Not even the flight attendants knew about this: my phone went off halfway between HND and MSP and I had to demonstrate the flight attendant that I was on Airplane mode and that no cellular service was being used... she was soooo surprised!
 
spoonman1
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:58 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:08 pm

Good info on WhatsApp. I'll be flying on EVA Air though but will have to remember that next time I fly Delta.
 
evank516
Posts: 2077
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:15 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:06 pm

I think SQ is rated the top airline in the world. I'm guessing you can't go wrong with an airline that has that type of rating.
 
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foppishbum
Posts: 848
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:20 pm

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:43 pm

spoonman1 wrote:
Good info on WhatsApp. I'll be flying on EVA Air though but will have to remember that next time I fly Delta.


I use EVA's 24-hr WiFi pass which costs around USD 22 and you can use it on LAX-TPE and TPE-SIN as long as it's within the 24-hour period. It's quite a good deal.
TPE X LAX X NYC :airplane:
 
Akiestar
Posts: 970
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 6:51 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:44 am

TheEuphorian wrote:
The rule of thumb is not to book any US/Mainland Chinese carrier, but rather, go for SQ/BR/JL etc.


I'll be a devil's advocate here and say that there is some merit to flying mainland Chinese carriers.

While yes, the service level on mainland Chinese carriers is not as good as that of other airlines, and is definitely nowhere near that of SQ/BR/CX (haven't flown JL so I wouldn't know), I do think that in Y the hard product at least is quite good. MU has become my airline of choice between Asia and the United States, and while the soft product needs work the hard product is actually pretty comfortable, especially on their 77Ws. Plus you get free (and I mean free, albeit censored) Wi-Fi!

That said, YMMV when flying with mainland Chinese carriers. But I wouldn't dismiss them outright.
 
LH707330
Posts: 2306
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:06 pm

FWIW, I flew UA1/2 a few months ago in Y, wasn't too bad. Because people avoid the 789 9Y like the plague, I got free 3-packs both times and slept for most of the way out.
 
MRYapproach
Posts: 96
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:10 am

Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:39 pm

spoonman1 wrote:
Thanks for the tips. Overall, I had a couple of goals for the trip...comfort (choice of premium economy), minimum trip duration, and cost. This is probably the same for most people.

Since I'm originating from PHX, I was considering flights from SAN, LAX, SFO, SEA. My focus is more on getting a higher quality seat (prem econ) than a non-stop (as much as I'd like a non-stop). JAL didn't have any available econ premium seats out of SAN/NRT so that was out of the question. SQ was priced very high and still required a stop in Asia (the flights I saw). I almost booked ANA from SFO or SJC to SIN, connecting through NRT. ANA was the only Asian airline that had a seat map available before the paywall. However, they were a bit pricey.

I ended up calling EVA Air's office at LAX and asked about available aisle seats in Prem. Economy. They were very nice and gave me the exact seat numbers available. From there, I booked online and was able to get some very good seats in Econ Premium (aisle for all 4 legs). My flight leaves LAX at 00:50AM and arrives in SIN at Noon, after a 2 hour layover in TPE. Although the layover isn't ideal, TPE doesn't seem very far out of the way, so the additional flight time is minimal overall. Also, as a nervous flier, 13.5 hours sounds a lot more managable than 16.5 hours non-stop, even if I have to stop and catch another 4.5 hour flight. As well, I'll have a larger seat, more private cabin, amenities, alcohol included, separate check-in line(I believe?). These perks seem to justify the stop as I get terribly uncomfortable in airplane seats for long periods of time.

I'm hoping to get sleep on the LAX-TPE flight. If all goes well, some sleep, eating, videos, etc and I will be in TPE. Get off the plane for a bit, then just 4.5 hours to SIN. As was mentioned, I'm arriving at Noon in SIN, so I'm hoping that I will get to have a low-key day, then get a good night's sleep before my meeting the following day.


Great choice. I have flown SFO-EVA Elite to TPE 19 times, with my 20th coming up in October.

SFO has a dedicated check-in line for Elite (premium economy). LA is probably the same.

Not 100% sure about LA, but in SFO EVA Elite qualifies for the UA lounge (but not Polaris).
 
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christao17
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Re: Trans-Pacific Flight Tips

Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:14 am

While an SQ nonstop is nice, BR is definitely a good premium economy option across the Pacific. I fly them regularly and find the hard product quite decent and the soft product, which was always good, has become even stronger over the past two years. They are putting a lot of effort into it.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...

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