Travel News

The Perks of Flying Secret Flights: Comfort, Cost and Convenience

Locations in this article:  Brussels, Belgium Houston, TX London, England Los Angeles, CA Moscow, Russia Paris, France Toronto, Canada

A long-haul international flight often becomes a connecting flight, especially when flying on an uncommon route. But, that doesn’t have to be the case.

When traveling overseas, your options are more plentiful than you might expect. The key is not to limit yourself to U.S. carriers or the national airline of the country you’re visiting.

Instead, thinking globally is key to unlocking the world of secret flights. Secret flights are unusual routes flown by carriers you’d never guess would fly them. They aren’t secret in the sense that are published, scheduled flights with fares you can book. They fly in and out of the common airports, but they are flown by airlines on routes you’d never expect.

These secret flights exist because the airline flying them use the routes as “fifth freedom” flights, meaning that individual countries give these airlines the right to stop in their country en route to the airline’s base country. Specifically, under international agreements, it means this: It is the right of an airline from one country to land in a second country, to then pick up passengers and fly on to a third country where the passengers then deplane. And that means they can carry passengers on a point-to-point basis as well.

It’s no secret that foreign carriers often provide better customer service, more comfortable seating, and better food than U.S. carriers on the same route.  On a recent, secret flight on Air New Zealand going from Los Angeles (LAX) to London (LHR), the services offered perks in business and economy that outpaced some U.S. airlines.

On the 777-200, in addition to the famous Sky Couch, all seats in economy and up had a personal entertainment systems with free access to days worth of television and movies, including all the recent Academy Award nominated films.  In Business Premier, there are lay flat beds (that are 6/7), and even an ottoman where a second guest can visit and chat.

It’s not just about the perks of international airlines. With a secret flight, you’re on a flight that many others are not aware of, meaning fewer crowds and often lower prices.

Here are a few of Peter’s favorite secret flights:

  • Indian airline Jet Airways flies from Toronto (YYZ), New York (JFK) or New Jersey (EWR) to Brussels (BRU).
  • Singapore Air flies from Houston (IAH) to Moscow (DME); as well as from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA)
  • Korean Airlines flies from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sao Paolo, Brazil (GRU)
  • Cathay Pacific flies from Vancouver (YVR) to New York (JFK)
  • Air Tahiti Nui flies from Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris (CDG)

Watch Peter’s Secret Flights video for more of his favorite routes.

By Lily J. Kosner to