Emirates Cancels Bangkok To Sydney Fifth Freedom Route

Filed Under: Emirates

Emirates has a number of fifth freedom routes around the world, such as Milan to New York and Athens to Newark.

They also have a number of these special flights to and from Australia (in addition to their nonstop service between Australia and Dubai). At the moment these include:

  • Brisbane to Singapore
  • Melbourne to Singapore
  • Sydney to Bangkok
  • Sydney to Christchurch

The Bangkok and Singapore services continue on to Dubai, while the Christchurch service terminates there but is a continuation of a direct Dubai to Sydney service, if that makes sense (see image below).

Emirates has rights to sell tickets on each of these fifth freedom sectors.

It’s now being reported by @airlineroute that Emirates is canceling the Dubai to Bangkok to Sydney service (EK418/419) as of June 1, 2019.

Emirates has operated this route since 2005. Up until now the route has been operated using an Airbus A380, though as of January 15, 2019, the route is being downgraded to a Boeing 777-300ER.

Emirates will continue to offer direct services from Dubai to both Bangkok (5 daily) and Sydney (3 daily), but it represents an overall reduction in capacity to both cities.

While Emirates’ partner Qantas also operates flights from Sydney to Bangkok, Qantas does not have first class on the route, so Emirates was a good alternative, and I know of some people who preferred that the Emirates flight left in the evenings.

This was convenient for them as they could work all day, and then fly that evening, versus the Qantas flight that left each morning.

Emirates’ first class

Emirates withdrawing from the route leaves Thai Airways as the only airline offering nonstop first class between Australia and Thailand.

While Sydney usually gets their ‘new’ 747 first class, which has amazing award availability (I’ve flown it several times myself on this route!), their business class is a horribly outdated angled flat 2-2-2 configuration, which should have been upgraded years ago.

Thai’s 747 first class

So it’s sad to see Emirates withdraw from the route, given they have a 1-2-1 business class and onboard bar on their A380s, while the 777-300ERs have a less comfortable 2-3-2 configuration, and slightly angled seats.

Emirates’ A380 business class

Emirates is also reducing Perth services to once daily from June 1, 2019. I imagine Qantas’ Perth to London route has had a negative impact on the Gulf carrier service to Perth, as Etihad recently canceled flights to Perth.

Bottom line

Emirates used to have even more fifth freedom routes from Australia across to New Zealand, with Auckland almost being a mini hub for them. They dramatically scaled this back in 2017.

I do know of some friends who have booked a flight from Sydney to Dubai not even realising there was a Bangkok stop, and being very confused when the plane landed in Bangkok!

Emirates continues to adjust their fifth freedom network to Australia — it is interesting this route has survived for 14 years, yet is now not continuing. I hope they maintain other fifth freedom routes to and from Australia, as I always thought it was a cool way to travel to Asia and New Zealand.

If you are booked on the Sydney to Bangkok (or the reverse) sector on Emirates after June 1, check your booking — I would expect you’ll be moved to the Qantas operated service.

Have you flown an Emirates fifth freedom route?

  1. Been on this flight, but on the continuation BKK to DXB. Felt rather terrible as a first class experience as all the good stuff was already done on the SYD to BKK leg. I couldn’t have dinner (just the breakfast before landing) and service was almost nonexistent due to the nightly departure. The only good thing was the shower.
    The next time I flew out of Bangkok with Emirates I made sure it wasn’t on EK419. I really won’t miss this flight.

  2. @Lucky — I’m confused. You seem to be almost downplaying the Christchurch angle in this: “Emirates is canceling the Dubai to Bangkok to Sydney service (EK418/419) as of June 1, 2019.” Shouldn’t that read “…Dubai to Bangkok to Sydney to Christchurch…”? I’ve flown into Christchurch on this route and I’m pretty sure Mainlanders (as people from the South Island of New Zealand are known) will be sad to see this option go.

  3. @ Malc – Lucky didn’t write this article ; )

    No changes to EK412/413, which is the SYD-CHC fifth freedom route.

  4. Aren’t they supposed to be doing works on runways at Dubai later this year? Could be temporary reduction because of this!

  5. World Airline News just posted Emirates cutting schedules due to runway works at Dubai during April and May

  6. @Aniljak, yes there are runway works with some route cutbacks, but this is unrelated. BKK-SYD has got the permanent chop.

    EK fifth-freedoms involving Australia are down to:

  7. @James — Sorry! I should have known cos you write so many of the posts that affect me.

    Thanks for that. I couldn’t quite understand from the article if the ChCh leg was cancelled or not. Kiwis will be relieved.

  8. Have done the SYD/BKK flights on Emirates 4 times on points through Qantas and found the flights on the A380 in business to be fantastic with limo service at both ends and the bar on the A380. The Sydney to Bangkok flights on Emirates was a great way to leave Australia on a FF redemption ticket as it is so hard to get a seat on a Qantas plane with plenty of award space from Bangkok to Dubai and onto Europe. Much harder to get an award seat on the non-stop SYD/DXB flights.

  9. Years ago, rather than fly non stop SYD-MEL, I flew EK/SYD-AKL-MEL economy. Bought the paper tkt at the EK New York city office. Upon landing at AKL, my flight made the 5th EK aircraft on the ground. Upon leaving the EK/SYD-AKL aircraft, and even though I had the EK/AKL-MEL boarding pass, I couldn’t transit to my connection. The authorities were so confused, they made me leave security/customs, pay a departure tax! and check in (again) for AKL-MEL. When on board, even though in an economy seat, I was treated royally… champagne and a First Class amenity kit. Weeks later, got a call… the AKL gate agent forgot to collect tkt/boarding pass and asked me to mail it to CHC so they could close out the flight properly. Fifth freedom flights! I’d do it again.

  10. I regularly fly between Sydney and Bangkok business class and usually booked via Qantas flying out of Sydney on QF23 and back on the Emirates code share. Loved the Emirates A380 Business Class and was surprised to hear they reverted to 777’s earlier this year. I’ve never flown on this route when the flights went pretty full so I am very surprised to hear Emirates is abandoning the route. Obviously current Thai International and Qantas scheduling will be short of capacity, but I do hear that an un named airline is looking at taking up the route?
    If not the two remaining operators will have open slather to charge higher fares which is not acceptable!
    I just don’t understand Emirates thinking in dropping this service with its extension to NZ. The Emirates Business Lounge in Bangkok was always full of Aussies and Kiwis, along with the odd Arab, heading back home!

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