Surprising news coming from Singapore Airlines as the carrier will resume the popular fifth freedom route between Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and Los Angeles, starting June 16, 2021.
The route will be operated with a B777-300ER aircraft in 4 class configuration and is available on five days per week (no flights on Saturday & Tuesday ex Tokyo / Sunday & Wednesday ex Los Angeles).
These flights have been a Singapore Airlines staple for years but were discontinued some time ago, let alone Singapore Airlines has reduced capacity overall during the pandemic but now we’re seeing the NRT-LAX-NRT flight back and with First Class to boot.
I’ve used these flights very frequently in the past, there was a time when I took SQ11/SQ12 twice a month and I remember back when it was operated by a Boeing 747-400 United Mileage Plus always had First Class award seats available on short notice. Then the aircraft was swapped to an Airbus A380 and the only way to book First (Suites) was through SQ Krisflyer.
I’ve looked up the routing and pricing on Singapore Airlines website:
The pricing is rather reasonable and the timing is exactly how it used to be back in the day. I would say these are pretty ideal times to go from Singapore or Tokyo to the West Coast of the U.S.:
- SQ12 Singapore – Tokyo 09:25 – 17:30 – 1:10h stopover –
- SQ12 Tokyo – Los Angeles 18:40 – 12:50
- SQ11 Los Angeles – Tokyo 14:20 – 17:50 – 1:10h stopover –
- SQ11 Tokyo – Singapore 19:00 – 01:15
These flights are available five days a week with no flights going on Saturday & Tuesday ex Singapore/Tokyo to LAX as well as Sunday & Wednesday ex Los Angeles/Tokyo to SIN.
Of course for travelers that are exclusively moving between Singapore and Los Angeles there is also the nonstop flight on SQ available:
- SQ38 Singapore – Los Angeles 19:55 – 20:50
- SQ37 Los Angeles – Singapore 23:20 – 07:30
The choice is purely down to personal preference. Some might also consider if a certain flight is worth it when you need a hotel at your origin / destination.
For example a departure time of 11:20pm from LAX when taking SQ38 means you really have a LONG day before finally getting on the plane.
Likewise a 1:15am arrival in Singapore when arriving on SQ11. That time isn’t too bad when you have a home in Singapore but booking a hotel and being able to check in around 2am at the earliest… it always pained me a bit doing that but sometimes you gotta pick your battles.
After a hiatus Singapore Airlines has finally returned their fifth freedom route Tokyo-Los Angeles-Tokyo with a continuation from/to Singapore on the same aircraft which is now a Boeing 777-300.
It’s also a very positive thing that First Class is back as Singapore-Los Angeles vv especially via Tokyo is a very long flight. Hopefully this sticks and borders reopen sometime soon to make use of this connection once again. Although it’s possible to transit in both Singapore and Tokyo.