Travel

I’m a travel expert — here’s how to score cheaper airfare, better amenities

He’s no longer pleading the fifth.

A travel expert is sharing his hack for cheaper airfares, saying fifth freedom flights can often offer more bang for your buck.

Kyle Potter, who serves as executive editor of Thrifty Traveler, spilled the secret in an interview with Travel + Leisure, saying: “Fifth freedom routes open up the airline world just a little bit more to all of us.”

A fifth freedom flight is a route in which a carrier from a specific country flies passengers between two other nations not linked to their home base.

For instance, Emirates is based out of United Arab Emirates, but offers fifth freedom flights between the US and Italy, as well as Spain and Mexico.

In another example, Qantas, based out of Australia, operates a fifth freedom flight from New Zealand to the US.

One frequent flyer website offers a full list of airlines and available fifth freedom flights.

 Emirates is based out of United Arab Emirates, but offers fifth freedom flights between the US and Italy,
Emirates is based out of United Arab Emirates, but offers fifth freedom flights between the US and Italy, AFP via Getty Images

According to Condé Nast Traveler, fifth freedom flights are often cheaper because they’re connecting flights, meaning there may be more empty seats on one of the legs for the carrier to fill.

Additionally, the planes are often “much nicer” than the ones flown by local airlines.

“These routes can sometimes be flown by much nicer (and bigger) planes than local airlines might offer since these routes are usually extensions of another long-haul flight,” the publication explained, saying there may also be “better food and more comfortable seats.”

Qantas, based out of Australia, operates a fifth freedom flight from New Zealand to the US.
Qantas, based out of Australia, operates a fifth freedom flight from New Zealand to the US. REUTERS

Additionally, fifth freedom flights sometimes offer extra points and upgrades.

“To help fill seats on shorter sectors with less demand, airlines release more award availability — which helps them cover the operating cost of adding these additional fifth freedom stops,” Condé Nast Traveler declared.

Potter agrees, saying: “For travelers with credit card points and airline miles, the upside is even bigger.”