Singapore Airlines Plans Fifth Freedom Tokyo – Los Angeles Restart

Changi Airport (SIN)-based Singapore Airlines plans to restart its fifth freedom Tokyo to Los Angeles flights for summer 2021. The Singapore national flag carrier is currently preparing for the restart of the service in June.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
Singapore Airlines will use a Boeing 777-300ER on the route. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Since November, Singapore Airlines has slowly but steadily been reintroducing its routes to the United States. Singapore is currently closed to American’s but residents and long-term pass holders can enter but must quarantine for 21 days. This, however, could soon change following the success the US had had in getting people vaccinated.

According to data from the Atlanta-headquartered Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 45% of all Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with nearly one-third of the population fully vaccinated.

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Five flights per week SIN-NRT-LAX

With this in mind, Singapore Airlines plans to reintroduce its fifth freedom flight to Tokyo and Los Angeles starting from June 16, 2021. The route is designated as a “fifth freedom” flight because it lands in a country that is neither Singapore nor the United States. This means that the airline can fly passengers solely between Singapore and Japan and then Japan and the United States.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
Singapore Airlines may increase frequencies if the demand is there. Photo: Singapore Airlines

Initially, Singapore Airlines plans to fly the route five times per week during the summer but may increase this to daily once borders open up and more people start to fly. The 18 hours 25-minute flight makes a one-hour ten-minute stopover at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport (NRT) to refuel.

During the stopover, passengers are allowed to get off the aircraft and stretch their legs. This short stopover allows passengers to get a peek at Japanese culture and perhaps indulge in some of the many culinary delights that the airport bars and restaurants have to offer.

Flight number SQ 12 departs from Changi Airport Terminal 3 at 09:25 and arrives at Narita International Airport at 17:30. After a one-hour ten-minute stopover, the flight departs Narita and arrives at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal B at 12:50.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

On the route, Singapore Airlines plans to deploy one of its 27 long-range Boeing 777-300ERs. The aircraft is configured with four classes of service, a four suite first class, 48 lie-flat business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 184 standard economy class seats. Powered by two General Electric GE90 engines, Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ERs have a range of 7,370 nautical miles (13,649 kilometers).

For American’s traveling overseas

The CDC says that after your second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson or Janssen vaccine, you are considered as being fully vaccinated.

Before traveling overseas, make sure you understand airline and destination requirements regarding COVID-19 and travel. If you do not follow destination requirements, you could be denied entry into a country and put on the next flight back to the United States. Singapore requires a negative PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before departure. On arrival, passengers entering Singapore must take a COVID-19 PCR test. Also, depending on which country you are arriving from, you may have to quarantine for 21 days.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER
Singapore Airlines hopes that fully vaccinated passengers will be allowed to enter Japan and Singapore. Photo: Singapore Airlines

At the moment, Japan is still closed to Americans, but Singapore Airlines is no doubt hoping that restrictions for people who are fully vaccinated with be eased before they resume the SIN-NRT-LAX flights in June. Japan is hosting the Summer Olympics, which is perhaps another reason Singapore Airlines thinks that restrictions will be lifted.

Have you ever flown on a Singapore Airlines SIN-NRT-LAX flight? If so, please tell us what it was like in the comments.