Singapore Airlines To Fly A Major New 5th Freedom Route

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A fifth freedom route/flight is one where an airline from one country flys between two other countries to which it is not related – these are usually add-on flights to complement a flight originating from the airline’s home base. Examples of fifth freedom routes include Cathay Pacific’s Vancouver to New York route (an add-on to the airline’s Hong Kong – Vancouver route) and LAN’s Madrid to Frankfurt route which adds-on to the airlines Santiago – Madrid flight.

These routes are often a great way to try out airlines and products that you may not otherwise get to try and, in some cases (like LAN’s Madrid – Frankfurt route) can be a cheap way to try out a good premium cabin product.

Singapore Airlines’ already flys a very well-known fifth freedom route between Frankfurt and New York route (an add-on to the airline’s Singapore – Frankfurt flights) but the airline has just announced a new fifth freedom flight that has me excited and planning how to rack up some Singapore KrisFlyer miles so that I can try it out.

Singapore Airlines’ New Fifth Freedom Flight

From 30 October 2016 Singapore Airlines will commence flights between Singapore and Manchester (UK) and, after a short lay-over, the aircraft will then continue on to Houston before reversing the journey later that day.

Note: Singapore Airlines is cancelling its Moscow – Houston route effective from the same day so this will be one fifth freedom flight replacing another.

As things stand the schedule is as follows (subject to change):

SQ52 SIN 02:35 – 09:00 MAN
SQ52 MAN 10:15 – 14:35 IAH

SQ51 IAH 19:15 – 10:05 +1 day MAN
SQ51 11:35 +1 day – 08:20 +2 days SIN

The route will be operated 5 days/week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun) by a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER aircraft.

Singapore Airlines 777-300ER

The fact that the new route will be served by a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER is excellent news for premium cabin flyers as the aircraft should come with the airline’s brand new First Class and new Business Class product (the roll-out is still ongoing so you’re not guaranteed a new product).

singapore-airlines-new-first-classSingapore Airlines New First Class – Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

singapore-airlines-new-business-classSingapore Airlines New Business Class – Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

In reality the new First Class offering doesn’t look that exciting and is still overshadowed by the First Class Suites the airline offers on its Airbus A380 aircraft….but the new Business Class looks great and should be a noticeable step up from the current product.

The Singapore Airlines 777-300ER comes in a 3-class configuration (no Premium Economy cabin) and, according to the seat maps currently loaded, offers 8 First Class seats, 42 Business Class seats and 228 Economy Class seats.

singapore-airlines-777-300-seat-mapSingapore Airlines 3-class 777-300ER Seat Map – Screenshot from SeatGuru

KrisFlyer Awards

At the time of writing I can’t find any Business Class awards at the saver level…but we can tell how much awards will cost from the Singapore Airlines award chart.

Saver Awards Europe – USA

  • First Class – 67,500 KrisFlyer Miles one-way
  • Business Class – 57,500 KrisFlyer Miles one-way
  • Economy Class – 20,000 KrisFlyer Miles one-way

Those are all excellent value…yes, even Economy Class.

It’s important to remember that Singapore Airlines still flys its 777-300s with 9-across seating so Economy Class passengers have almost 19″ of seat width to work with….and that’s more than you get on any other airline across the Atlantic.

Bottom Line

This is another fantastic trans-Atlantic option for US and Europe-based flyers (especially UK flyers). Singapore Airlines is one of the few remaining true premium airlines around and having this option between the US and UK is a big bonus…especially if you’re laden down with KrisFlyer miles!

Featured image courtesy of Singapore Airlines