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Whether you consider it a convenience or pure agony, a seat on an 18-hour flight won't cost you much more than a one-night hotel stay. Just don't expect to earn too many miles if you're flying coach.
United Airlines is selling seats on its new nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Singapore for $177 for travel next month, when purchased as part of a round-trip ticket, according to fares listed on the airline's website.
United made history this month when it launched the flight: The 8,700-mile trip is the longest scheduled nonstop flight from the United States. It's a trip that the airline lists as 17 hours and 55 minutes. Travelers depart Los Angeles International Airport on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner at 8:55 p.m. and arrive in Singapore two days later, in local time, at 6:50 a.m.
The eastbound flight, thanks to tail winds, is shorter: 15 hours and 15 minutes, according to United.
A round-trip ticket on the route is listed at about $384 with taxes, but United, like other airlines, is offering a number of add-ons to the regular economy seats that could drive up the price, but also make the flight a bit more bearable. An economy seat with more legroom costs at least $159 more, and access to special security lanes and earlier boarding costs $78.
United isn't the only airline offering marathon flights. Qatar Airways operates a flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Doha which it lists at 18 hours and 20 minutes. Singapore Airlines is also planning to start a nearly 19-hour flight from the New York area to Singapore as well as a Los Angeles-Singapore route.
Travelers paying the low fare may find that after enduring the 18-hour flight, their frequent flyer mileage balances are light. That's because United, like other airlines, rewards travelers for how much they spend on their ticket.
While an 18-hour flight might seem torturous, some travelers prefer the nonstop route because it doesn't subject them the domino effect that delays on one leg of the trip can have. Historically low oil prices in recent years have made the ultra long hauls cheaper to operate.
Passengers aboard United's flight would have ample time to catch up on their favorite shows, or even finish a novel, perhaps their own. Jet lag permitting, travelers could spend their first moments in the butterfly garden of Singapore's Changi Airport.