Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New way to get to Vancouver from NYC

Foreign carriers are forbidden from selling flights between two US cities. Before I go on, can you imagine how awesome it would be if Emirates, Cathay, Lufthansa, and ANA could compete with domestics on the JFK-LAX run!? We do, though, permit "5th freedom" flights between the USA and foreign countries by any carrier. (There's some background information about the various freedoms here, and a list of fifth freedom routes here).

I took a fifth freedom flight earlier this year when I went from NYC to Vancouver on Cathay Pacific. Starting in March, Philippine Airlines is adding a competing flight: NYC-Vancouver (YVR)-Manila. According to their press release, it'll be an A340 with 36 lie-flat Business Class seats

While I'm fairly certain that Cathay Pacific has a more refined experience, I'm pretty excited about eating some SkyLumpia :) I don't even know if that's a thing that exists but if it doesn't then it should! In addition to (hopefully?) tasty food, the other big pro of this flight is that the JFK to YVR leg is a daytime flight rather than Cathay's "not quite a redeye" flight that leaves JFK at 10pm and arrives in Vancouver at 1:10am – well past the last SkyTrain from YVR into the city. Given that Philippines' is a daytime flight, it would be really nice if it had Wi-Fi but it doesn't. (Cathay doesn't either, but they really try to get you to sleep onbord).

Sadly Philippine Airlines isn't part of any alliance, and their only partners are ANA and Etihad. View from the Wing has some info about redeeming partner miles for their flights, but the short story here is that you'd need 63,000 ANA miles to book this (versus 50,000 for the Cathay flight). While I'd never pay the $3000+ fare they're both asking for Business Class, the Economy tickets are all competitively priced in the mid-$500 range for a round trip, same as the competing Air Canada service to Newark (which might be moving to JFK in spring).




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