AirAsia is bringing low fares to Hawaii with new service between Osaka and Honolulu this summer. Promotional fares start as low as $99 one-way, but are extremely limited. AirAsia X is making a splash in Hawaii with the lowest fares ever seen between Hawaii, Japan, and Southeast Asia. The second largest low-cost carrier in Asia, after the fast growing Tiger group, is determined to bring low fares to transpacific travel. Hawaii is AirAsia’s first stop in the US, but if Hawaii is success, it may only be a matter of time before AirAsia finally takes on Oakland.
Low Fares From Hawaii to Japan and Beyond
AirAsia X is already bringing low fares to the Japanese-Hawaii market. Osaka-Honolulu is a popular route for Japanese tourist. Delta, Hawaiian, and Japan Airlines currently fly daily between Osaka and Honolulu. Tickets on AirAsia on select days are less than $400 round-trip after taxes! This is half the price of the competition! Google Flights is showing select days for $232 round trip, but I could not find any flights for less than $350 once redirected to AirAsia’s website. Either way, $350 round-trip is a steal!
AirAsia X serves Osaka daily from Kuala Lumpur and the flight to Honolulu is a continuation service four days a week. For connecting passengers, ground time is approximately 2 hours. This allows time to clear security, stretch ones legs, and grab a bite to eat.
|Flight No||From||To||Departure||Arrival||Flight Frequency|
|D7 001||Kuala Lumpur||Osaka||1400 hrs||2125 hrs||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat|
|D7 001||Osaka||Honolulu||2325 hrs||1230 hrs||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat|
|D7 002||Honolulu||Osaka||1600 hrs||2025 hrs||Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat|
|D7 002||Osaka||Kuala Lumpur||2200 hrs||0400 hrs||Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun|
The low fare frenzy continues beyond Japan. Promotional fares all the way to Kuala Lumpur are as little as $115 one-way. There are very few of these promotional fares left. I was able to find days with round-trip tickets to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Singapore, and other AirAsia destinations for less than $550 round-trip! The only downside, if flying beyond KUL it will require three flight segments. The Honolulu flight does not permit connections on AirAsia X’s Osaka-Bangkok service.
Thai AirAsia X does serve Osaka – Bangkok with a flight that departs just after midnight. Sadly, it is not possible to book Honolulu-Bangkok as a single ticket via Osaka. Hopefully, AirAsia will allow more thorough bookings in the near future as it would reduce travel time to Bangkok and other destinations. If traveling to Bangkok now, AirAsia requires passengers to route via Osaka and Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia X Transpacific Expansion
AirAsia X has been talking about serving the United States for several years and finally has approval. The airline is also looking at serving other routes in the United States. First, Hawaii and future plans include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. The only problem is the airline currently does not have aircraft that have the ability to fly between Japan and the West Coast or nonstop from South East Asia.
AirAsia X is looking to expand and will be able to once they receive their A330-900s in 2019 or A350s. The current A330-300s do not have the range required to reach the West Coast without payload restrictions. AirAsia X’s A330 have a dense 377 seats configuration with 12 business class seats and 365 standard economy seats.
Accords between Malaysia and East Asia nations limit what routes AirAsia can serve, as AirAsia depends on beyond flying rights. Currently, Malaysia-Japan air services agreement allows for 8 weekly fifth freedom services between Tokyo Narita and either Los Angeles and San Francisco. Malaysia Airlines formally used some of these rights to serve Los Angeles, but discontinued service in 2014. AirAsia could potentially start service to Los Angeles or San Francisco using these current rights. There are no restrictions on fifth freedom services for Malaysian carriers from other cities in Japan. Any Malaysian Airline is permitted to fly the Osaka-Honolulu route or to other West Coast destinations from Osaka or any other city, except from Tokyo.
AirAsia X Flight Expectations
AirAsia X is part of the AirAsia family. To keep prices low, AirAsia crams more passengers on to their planes and unbundles their fares. AirAsia economy class is 3x3x3 with a seat pitch of 31 inches. The AirAsia seat pitch is the same as Hawaiian and Delta’s A330s. However Delta and Hawaiian seats are 16.5-18 inches in width, whereas all of AirAsia’s seats are smaller at 16.5 inches. In addition, AirAsia has a much smaller business class cabin. AirAsia business cabin is only two rows of seats in a 2x2x2 configuration. Despite being marketed as lay-flat, the seats only reclines ~160 degrees.
Focusing on transportation and not service, AirAsia does not provide freebies in flight. There are no free meals, drinks, or free luggage for economy class passengers, and even business class passengers do not receive many extras.
Unlike many ultra-low cost airlines, AirAsia fees are not exorbitant. Meals cost are around $4. Drinks are often sold for less than$5 and alcohol is available for purchase too. To see what is for sale on flights to and from Hawaii, check out AirAsia X entire menu. Also know, outside food and drinks are not permitted.
Prices are in Malaysia Ringgit and the current exchange rate is 1 USD = 4.41 MYR. Checked Luggage starts at $30 per bag and it’s always cheaper to pre-pay for luggage. Paying for luggage at the airport will cost $100 per bag!
To save money, consider purchasing a premium flex fare package for just $100 more. Premium Flex packages includes a free bag, free meal, a better seat, express boarding, express baggage and no change fees. Of course, depending on what you need while traveling, the premium flex package may not be right.
Low Fares, no thrill travel is taking the world by storm. AirAsia has built a tremendous brand following in Asia and now the airlines hopes to expand their wings in the United States. Hawaii is a perfect stepping stone for AirAsia. With Hawaii’s large Asian population and ties to Japan, Honolulu draws millions of tourists each year. AirAsia X may struggle at first, but with fare so low, everyone can fly, AirAsia can be successful!
If you are curious what it is like to fly AirAsia X in either Premium/Business or Economy, check out Go Travel Your Way’s AirAsia X review.