business class

If you know, you know. If you don’t know, fifth freedom flights are when a flight is operated by an airline between places outside of their home turf, usually in between flights involving their home turf.

Like Singapore Airlines flying between Barcelona and Milan, as a short haul flight, or Emirates flying between New York and Athens.

You care, because it’s a really cool opportunity to try some of the world’s best flying experiences relatively inexpensively, on short flights, while adding some jazz to short haul travel.

As you might have hoped, that Singapore Airlines example wasn’t just for illustrative purposes either.

The airline will soon begin 5th freedom flights between Barcelona and Milan, offering travelers a chance to book onto one of the coolest business class cabins or bag a great deal in an incredibly spacious economy cabin.

business class

Singapore Airlines New 5th Freedom Flight In Europe

Singapore Airlines will fly an Airbus A350-900 between Milan and Barcelona, in both directions starting January 17th.

The flights will represent a rare opportunity to try a long haul configured aircraft, with flat beds in business class, truly stellar premium economy and top notch business class on a short haul flight.

Don’t expect much service, or time to catch meaningful zzzz’s, but for novelty, this is as good as it gets. According to Business Traveller, the flights will commence as follows…

  • SQ378 Milan-Barcelona 0715-0850
  • SQ379 Barcelona-Milan 1010-1150

Singapore Airlines is a perennial award winner for cabin comforts across all classes and in comparison to what most airlines fly on short haul, this is a no brainer.

Even for economy, we’re talking about seats designed for the 14 hour journey back to Singapore, which means extra recline, legroom, width and padding. This can bring up to 5” difference in legroom versus most European economy seats flying these routes.

In business class the difference is even greater. Flat beds replace bigger chairs for a sense of seclusion and privacy — if only for an hour or so!

The Airbus A350 flying the route is also noteworthy in itself. The plane is part of the “next generation” of aircraft, which feature better cabin air pressure, less noise and more creature comforts to make people feel at ease.

Duomo at sunrise, Milan, Europe.

Fifth Freedoms Return!

In the “BC” times, before covid-19, airlines aggressively rolled out fifth freedom flights all over the globe to capitalize on downtime between long haul flights. This lead to fun possibilities in Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa and beyond, but in recent times, they’ve been seen as more hassle than value.

For travel geeks (this one included) it’s fun to see a return of unique flights, routes and aircraft that make travel more than just point to point journeys. If you’re eyeing up a trip to Barcelona on Milan in 2022 or beyond, it might be time to consider both!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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    1. Ryanair on every date at those prices? Erm, no. There’s going to be a premium on most dates, but that’s not the point. As the article states like 1500 times, it’s about the novelty and fun of flying a wide body on short haul.

  1. My first ever Business flight was an Emirates 5th freedom between Rio and Buenos Aires. It was a short flight but the whole experience was amazing and definitely worth it. It helped that the Star Alliance lounge at GIG was fantastic (pre-Covid). They had a guy making me caipirinhas and another one making me sushi on demand.
    Question, if you were to take this flight one way only, where would the best lounges be, Milan or Barcelona?

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