Should I fly to SIN from LAX, SFO, or SEA?

Old Jul 21st, 2021, 04:52 AM
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Should I fly to SIN from LAX, SFO, or SEA?

Hello there. I will be going to a wedding in May 2022 (hopefully covid would be over by then), and I have 3 flights (SQ) to choose from. The first one is nonstop from SEA to SIN, from 10.20 am in Seattle to 5.30 pm in Singapore (SQ27). The second one would be a connecting one from SEA-SFO-SIN with a 7-hour layover(AS1350, SQ33), which would be good for me as I've never been to sf and really wanted to visit that city. The third one would be SEA-LAX-NRT-SIN, with a 1.5 hour in LAX and NRT (SQ1265, SQ11).

SQ27 would be the most convenient one for me, however, I really hate to be stuck in a metal carbon fiber tube for 16+ hours straight. The arrival time is also very inconvenient for me due to personal reasons.

The second flight, although i would still be on the plane for 15+ hours, i would be able to visit sf as i have a 7 hour layover, and arrive early in the morning in Singapore after sleeping on the flight, and the timing is extremely convenient for me.

For the third flight, the good thing is that i would get to stretch my legs midway, and the leg from LAX-SIN (SQ11) is actually a direct flight, which means even if SQ11 departs LAX late, i would not miss my connection at NRT as it is on the same aircraft. The arrival time is also okay for me. However, the second and third flight is more expensive by USD$220, so I'm wondering if the extra cost is worth it or not. Furthermore, the connection at LAX for the third flight is rather tight (1.5 hours), so I'm afraid if my flight gets delayed and i miss the connection, i would have to wait at lax for 9+ hours for the next flight to depart at 11.30pm. Also, SQ1265 is a codeshare flight with Alaska airlines so I'm not that sure which airline should i approach if i miss that flight.

To summarise, i would like to know:

1. which route should i take and why
2. is the extra $220 worth it for the 2 flights
3. what is the connecting process at lax
4. is sf worth visiting

Thank you!
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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 06:48 AM
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I'm sure others will chime in but here's my take:

1) When traveling by air I always opt for a non-stop flight whenever possible. The reasoning is there's less chance for Murphy's Law of Air Travel" to rear his ugly head (and Murphy is very active at Airports): The more flights, take-offs/landings, connections your itinerary has the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong such as unexpected delays due to weather, equipment or maintenance problems, etc., etc.

2) If you choose Option 2 keep in mind that you won't actually have the full 7 hours to visit SF. Figure you'll loose about 1 hour deplaning and getting transportation to downtown SF and at least another 30 minutes transportation time getting back to the airport. Since your connecting flight is an international flight it will begin boarding about 45 minutes prior to departure and, assuming you are already checked in, your bags are checked through to your final destination and have your boarding pass, you'll need to allow a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes to clear TSA and and get to your departure gate. Do the math and you'll see that you'll only have about 3.5 to 4 hours to sightsee. If you need to claim and re-check your bags and get your boarding pass for your connecting flight you'll need anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes to accomplish this thus reducing your "visiting time" even more. By the way, I don't sleep well on any plane - you may be different but it is something to consider.

3) Regarding Option 3, only you can decide if paying $220 more is "worth it". The answer depends on how comfortable your are with spending your money. Some people are very frugal while for others money is no object. Are you willing to spend more for what you feel is a chance to stretch your legs but gives "Murphy" an added chance to mess up your itinerary? It's your decision.

4) As far as making your connection at LAX, if you are checked-in and have your boarding pass for the connecting flight and your bags are checked through to your final destination you can walk from your arrival terminal (which will be in Terminal Complex 4 to 8) to the Tom Brady International Terminal without leaving the secure area. Allow 15 to 30 minutes for the walk depending on which Gate you arrive at.



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Old Jul 21st, 2021, 07:34 AM
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I agree pretty much with what RoamsAround says - the odds of something going wrong increase significantly when stops, carrier and/or terminal changes take place, and since going westbound across the Pacific is always longer than eastbound (due to prevailing winds) the thought of a layover at Narita between two long sectors really doesn't appeal to me. I've done a west coast > NRT > SIN trip, (not on SQ but on JAL) and arrived well and truly knackered. The break at Narita was anything but restful.)

You might think about a multi-flight scenario on the return (assuming you're coming back after the wedding..) Maybe you can force an overnight at LAX or SFO, where it might really count. But given your choices I'd definitely take the SQ nonstop from SEA.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 07:36 AM
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The nonstop flights from SFO (and LAX) are also at least 16 hours, if not more, aren't they?

Can you book a longer layover in SF on your inbound flight? Something where you can spend a night in SF? And then maybe fly home nonstop? I'm not sure how the pricing would work out but it would be worth looking into.

If you try to see SF on a 7-hour layover how would that work? Will you need to store carryon bag? Can you find someone to drive you around for half a day, especially during afternoon traffic? You would want to be back at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight and it is going to take at least an hour to get from the plane to the exit doors. So really you have maybe 3-4 hours.

When I did a transfer at NRT from LAX, we were rushed through the airport in a pack and they held the plane for the transferring passengers. There was barely time to use the restroom before boarding. But it was a really nice toilet. And we did get to stretch our legs.

Yes, that short connection time at LAX would worry me.

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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 08:50 AM
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May '22 is waaaaay too far in the future to have any idea what the schedules will be. Whichever option you choose now is bound to be changed (probably several times) between now and then. Current schedules more that 6-8ish weeks out are really just place holders. Flights are being added/deleted/rescheduled nearly every day.

Just pick the one you 'feel' most comfortable with right now with the understanding it will likely be different by next May. Me personally, I'd pick nonstop because even when the flight time is changed it will likely still be non-stop (though no guarantees on that either)
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 01:54 PM
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The nonstop would arrive 7 hours, at least, before the other options and I would have an extra $220 in my pocket?

I will arrive at 5:40 PM and use that $220 to get a hotel room, nice meal, maybe even a massage. Then I will head back to the airport to meet you on your SQ11 arrival. We can then leave SIN together shortly after your "convenient" arrival time of 1:15 AM.

I would do that or take another airline and make one stop at TYO or SEO.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 02:24 PM
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Ok, I see that the nonstop is not daily. If you were able to leave on the day before the nonstop then you could arrive early morning of the day that the nonstop arrives at 5:30 PM. That would make a good reason to take a connecting flight.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2021, 04:26 PM
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I've flown US to Singapore (and then on to Perth or Indonesia) - usually on SQ - more times than I care to remember and what worked best for me was taking as few flights as possible and just getting it over with.

In your case, I'd fly SEA-SIN - in Premium Economy if possible.

Why?

Direct flights are less problematic. Fewer flights = fewer things that can go wrong.

Breaking up an already long journey is more exhausting than you might think. That seven hours in SFO will most likely be spent sitting on your ass in the airport as you really don't have enough time to leave, do something and then get back to the airport. IME (living in Australia for seven years and in Indonesia for four years and making similar trips 1-2 times a year) the only thing worse than long flights is long layovers between long flights.

I've flown from LAX-NRT-SIN several times - that 'same aircraft' thing is a misnomer - you still have to get off the plane, go through security again, and then wait to re-board the same plane. That stop led to an unexpected seven hour delay for me on one particular trip.. They suddenly decided the plane needed new tires, and then they had to de-ice the plane because it sat so long...it was freaking miserable.

One of my favorite flights of all time? Flying from LAX-SIN non-stop in an all Premium Economy cabin. Those 17 hours flew by.




Last edited by Melnq8; Jul 22nd, 2021 at 04:36 PM.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2021, 11:05 AM
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Even regular Economy is pretty nice on Singapore Airlines. I especially liked the "ice cream anytime you want" feature. And that there was a footrest for my short legs.

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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 04:01 PM
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I fly from NYC to SIN via both those routes. If you're doing Singapore Air, I think that means you are doing Star Alliance. Here are some things to consider.

1) You are going in the summer. Because of the way the winds work, it will only be around 11hrs to fly from LAX to Sin. The way, back you have to double check, I think it might be 2 hours more. I'm not sure if it makes a difference. For some people it does, b/c it becomes the perfect amount of time to fall asleep. Those flights are generally at night (unless Covid has changed things) for a reason.

2) The distance from the domestic terminals to the international can be a bit tricky. If you hit it wrong, you might actually walk outside of the terminal and have to recheck, so don't do that. Check an airport map. I kinda have it memorized at this point and I'm a NYC speed walker. So I can do the walk in about 12min flat. I think most people need maybe 15-20 min. Doesn't give you a ton of time. If the restaurants open back up, there is a decent place to get a nice clam chowder and seafood (likely not as great as Seattle, but not bad for the airport). If you have lounge access, usually there is just enough time to go to the lounge in the international terminal. Get a snack and then go to the flight.

3) I actually love NRT. They will let you try any whiskey you want, no matter how aged it is (so like 18 year, 21 year, all fair game). If you end up choosing that route b/c you love whiskey, you should feel very free to avail yourself of that. Also, if you have lounge access, use the ANA lounge there. Free sushi at 5pm. Yum. Sleep wise, you do kinda have to figure out if that's good for you. Some people aren't deep sleepers so it's good to nap and then get up. Oh, 1 other thing if you do NRT and have lounge access. The ANA showers are fantastic! They have dyson hair dryers, for example. So you can freshen up there before heading out to SIN if you are 1) a quick showerer 2) find the lounge ASAP, 3) there isn't a pile up of people needing to shower.

I agree with the other person that wrote in. It's a little tight to go into SFO, unless there is something very specific you want to see. Happy travels! You can find me on Insta and ping me if you wish.
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