Fifth Freedom flights are a great way for passengers to try international standard cabins on shorter duration flights. They are not particularly common but if you know about them they can be an excellent way to get where you want to go in far more comfort than usual.
The simplest way to describe these are an airline from one country being able to sell tickets on flights between two other unrelated countries. You’ll see what I mean as we go on.
Some Fifth Freedom Routes
There are three examples that spring to mind in the oneworld alliance, as I have tried them. You can buy tickets on Chile’s LATAM between Auckland and Sydney as part of their service originating in Santiago. They also fly between Madrid and Frankfurt in Europe.
Over in North America, Cathay Pacific operate between Vancouver and New York as part of their service originating in Hong Kong. They also operate routes like Dubai to Bahrain and Bangkok to Singapore.
Emirates fly from Sydney to Christchurch, Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires and Larnaca to Malta, among others. Hainan Airlines fly from Edinburgh to Dublin as part of their services from Beijing.
Royal Jordanian fly from Bangkok to Hong Kong and Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur as part of their service from Amman. KLM fly from Bahrain to Kuwait, Singapore to Denpasar, Buenos Aires to Santiago and more. You get the picture!
Fifth Freedom Advantages
Long haul business class flights cost a lot of money. Even using frequent flyer points on these long routes requires a pretty hefty balance.
Using a Fifth Freedom flight means you can take advantage of a full international configuration on a short journey. Why squeeze into an Airbus A320 flying from Madrid to Frankfurt when you can use LATAM’s Boeing 787? Why take that cramped Boeing 737 from New York to Vancouver when you can fly on Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777?
Besides economy class cabins that are spacious, you also get the option of Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class. Since these are airlines not commonly thought of on these routes, often the prices can be very competitive.
Personally, I think they’re a great way to use your frequent flyer miles. You get to use less points to experience the full international business class service on world class carriers, so it’s a win for me.
Having flown on Fifth Freedom routes on several occasions, I highly recommend them. Any time you can take advantage of more comfortable seats and enhanced service for a decent price is okay in my book.
A pretty comprehensive list of the world’s Fifth Freedom routes is here at Australian Frequent Flyer. They seem to keep it updated, so refer to this if you want to know who is flying where.
What do you think of these routes? Have you experienced any personally and was it good value? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image via Cathay Pacific.