The flights that most airlines offer are straight forward: they will transport passengers from one country to another. In most cases, these flights origin or end in the state that the airline has its legal headquarters in. So, for example, United Airlines will typically only offer flights from or to the US. And not, let’s say, within Spain.
In some cases, airlines decide to extend their route and add another segment to it. So, if the original flight was from country A to country B and the airlines add a flight to country C, this is called a 5th freedom flight. And in case you’ve been wondering: yes, there are freedoms one to five. And there are even more. Nine altogether.
The 5th freedom flight is something special because it goes against the rule that an airline’s flight has to originate or end in its home country. And technically the airline is transporting passengers between two countries that are not the carriers home country.
All this is pretty complicated. And maybe you’re interested in more than just the tip of the iceberg. Then have a look at this video. They’re probably doing a better job in explaining than us:
And why should we even care about those 5th freedom flights? Because they offer us the chance to fly products on exceptional routes or for less money. Let’s take LATAM’s flight between Madrid and Frankfurt. This flight is part of the Santiago de Chile – Frankfurt route. The airline operates a Boeing 787 with long-haul Business Class configuration (lie-flat seats!). And is selling those tickets for prices around €150 for return flights. Not bad for 6 hours of international Business Class, right?
Some interesting 5th freedom flights:
- LATAM 5th Freedom flight: Frankfurt – Madrid
- Emirates 5th Freedom flight: Milan – New York
- Singapore Airlines 5th Freedom flight: Manchester – Houston
- Singapore Airlines 5th Freedom flight: Stockholm – Moskow
- Air New Zealand 5th Freedom flight: London – Los Angeles
- Emirates 5th Freedom flight: Bangkok – Hong Kong
- Cathay Pacific 5th Freedom flight: New York – Vancouver
- Qatar Airways 5th Freedom flight: Sao Paulo – Buenos Aires