The Complete List of U.S. Fifth Freedom Flights

The Complete List of U.S. Fifth Freedom Flights

You might think that international airlines only fly to and from their home country, but that’s not always true. Many fly “Fifth Freedom” routes as a result of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation. According to the ICAO, the fifth of the nine freedoms guarantees the right of an airline to fly between two foreign countries en route to or originating from their home country.

In short, Airline A from Country A can operate a flight between Countries B and C as long as the direct flight starts or ends in Country A. One popular example is the Fifth Freedom leg offered by Cathay Pacific from Vancouver to New York on their New York-Hong Kong route. While Cathay also offers a nonstop flight between JFK and HKG, this second option allows customers to fly just between Hong Kong and Vancouver or just between Vancouver and New York. I flew the YVR-JFK leg in business class a couple years back and enjoyed it immensely.

Worldwide, there are over 150 such routes, but this post will focus on the ones that touch American soil. Some of these flights may be on unexciting carriers or feature outdated cabins, but we wanted to provide a comprehensive list. Each entry lists the airline, route, equipment, and the cheapest way to book using miles. The mileage figures are for one-way awards and formatted as Economy/Premium Economy/Business/First. Note that not all flights offer all cabins.

oneworld

The biggest carrier in the oneworld alliance is American Airlines; however, they may not offer the cheapest award. And while Alaska Airlines isn’t part of any alliance, they do partner with several great carriers that in many cases offer the best deal.

oneworld

Airline: Cathay Pacific
Route: New York (JFK) – Vancouver
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Alaska (17.5/20/25/35)
Note: This is a great way to experience Cathay Pacific’s best premium cabins without spending a lot of miles.Airline: LATAM
Route: Miami – Punta Cana
Equipment: B787
Cheapest way to book: British Airways (7.5/11.25/15)
Note: This flight is just over 900 miles, so that’s why British Airways distance-based chart offers the cheapest option. With such a short flight, you won’t experience much of LATAM, but it is an option nonetheless.

SkyTeam

The major SkyTeam carrier is Delta. Although their SkyMiles program gets a bad rap, they do occasionally offer good deals, but they do not allow any first class partner awards.

Airline: Air France
Route: Los Angeles – Papeete
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Korean Air (30/45)
Note: A unique way to get to Tahiti, but award space can be hard to come by.

skyteam
SkyTeam offers Fifth Freedom flights

Airline: China Airlines
Route: Honolulu – Tokyo
Equipment: A330
Cheapest way to book: Delta (30/60)
Note: Although technically the cheapest partner, it’s often difficult to find saver availability with Delta.Airline: Korean Air
Route: Honolulu – Tokyo
Equipment: A330
Cheapest way to book: Delta (30/60)
Note: See above caution regarding Delta saver availability.

Star Alliance

Star Alliance offers a large number of Fifth Freedom routes. United is the most well-known carrier in this alliance, but other airlines typically offer better value. For flights on Singapore Airline’s own metal, they offer a 15% discount for booking online using their own miles which translates into some amazing deals.

Airline: Air India
Route: Newark – London
Equipment: B787
Cheapest way to book: ANA (27.5/44)
Note: If you can make this routing work, these are great prices to Europe.

Airline: Air New Zealand
Route: Los Angeles – Rarotonga (Cook Islands)
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: United (35/65) or ANA (37.5/60)

Airline: Air New Zealand
Route: Los Angeles – London
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: ANA (27.5/44) or Singapore (27.5/65)

Airline: Ethiopian
Route: Los Angeles – Dublin
Equipment: B787
Cheapest way to book: ANA (27.5/44) or Singapore (27.5/65)

Airline: Ethiopian
Route: Newark – Lomé
Equipment: B787
Cheapest way to book: ANA (32.5/52)
Note: One of the few nonstop between the northeast and Africa.

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: Houston – Manchester (UK)
Equipment: A350
Cheapest way to book: Singapore (17/38.25/48.875, economy/premium econ/business)
Note: This is the only Fifth Freedom route in the U.S. that features the Airbus A350.

star alliance
Star Alliance offers Fifth Freedom Flights

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: Los Angeles – Tokyo
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Singapore (27.625/53.55/65.875/74.375)Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: Los Angeles – Seoul
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Singapore (27.625/53.55/65.875/74.375)

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: New York – Frankfurt
Equipment: A380
Cheapest way to book: Singapore (17/38.25/48.875/57.375)
Note: This is the sole flight on this list featuring Singapore’s famous Suites class.

Airline: Singapore Airlines
Route: San Francisco – Hong Kong
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Singapore (25.5/51/63.75/70.125)

Airline: South African Airways
Route: Washington, DC – Accra
Equipment: A340
Cheapest way to book: ANA (32.5/52)

Airline: South African Airways
Route: Washington, DC – Dakar
Equipment: A330
Cheapest way to book: ANA (32.5/52)

Airline: United
Route: Honolulu-Majuro-Kwajalein Atoll-Kosrae-Pohnpei-Truk-Guam
Equipment: B737
Cheapest way to book: United (25/50)
Note: This route is called the “Island Hopper” as you only stop at each island for a very short time before heading to the next destination. You can build in stopovers, but bear in mind each leg isn’t operated every day.

Non-Alliance Carriers

The following flights are offered by carriers not a part of any alliance but still award-eligible due to their partnerships with select airlines.

Airline: Air Tahiti Nui
Route: Los Angeles – Paris (CDG)
Equipment: A340
Cheapest way to book: American Airlines (30/57.5) or Delta (30/67.5)

Airline: Emirates
Route: New York (JFK) – Milan
Equipment: A380
Cheapest way to book: Japan Airlines (21/31.5/42/65)

Airline: Emirates
Route: Newark – Athens
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: Japan Airlines (21/31.5/42/65)
Note: This is a new route starting March 26!

Airline: Fiji
Route: Honolulu – Apia
Equipment: B737
Cheapest way to book: Alaska Air (37.5/45)

Airline: Pakistan International Airlines
Route: New York (JFK) – Manchester
Equipment: B777
Cheapest way to book: You can only book an award flight using PIA’s own miles. To be honest, I can’t tell how many you’ll need because their award chart on their outdated website is very unclear. You’re only flying between two zones according to their chart, but 16k miles for economy and 32k miles for business seems too cheap.

The above lists only the Fifth Freedom routes that fly from a U.S. city, yet many more of these routes exist around the world. If you find yourself planning a trip to one of these destinations, consider one of these routes to experience a new airline.