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AirAsia X is offering $129 one way and $291 roundtrip flights from Honolulu to Osaka, Japan. From Honolulu to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the same plane is $179 one way or $377 roundtrip. Angled lie flat beds start at $699 one way.

These are not mistake fares. These are advertised fares for AirAsia X’s first US route which launches four days a week on June 28, 2017.

AirAsia is a low cost carrier, based in Malaysia. AirAsia X is its longhaul brand. There are also a number of other AirAsia brands like Thai AirAsia.

Its $129 fare, and all of its tickets, just include a seat and up to 7 kg (15 pounds) in one carry on and one personal item. Checked bags, seat selection, and onboard food or drink increase the price.

  1. When are the cheap fares? What is the baggage allowance?
  2. Would it be miserable to fly a low cost carrier across the Pacific Ocean?
  3. Why Osaka and Kuala Lumpur?
  4. How to get to Hawaii, from Osaka, or around SE Asia
  5. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

Cheapest Fares

The route launches June 28, 2017 and will fly Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturdays from Honolulu. The cheapest fares I see, on tons of dates from the inaugural through February 2018, are $129 from Honolulu to Osaka. That’s outrageously cheap for a 9.5 hour flight.

The cheapest one ways all the way to Kuala Lumpur, which include a 1.5 hour stop in Osaka cost only $179–an even lower rate per mile flown.

The cheapest roundtrips are $291 to Osaka or $377 to Kuala Lumpur.

Baggage Allowance

These fares only offer you a space on the plane and 7 kg (15 lbs) of weight spread across a carry on and personal item. (In my experience, AirAsia doesn’t actually weigh your carry on or personal item. YMMV.)

A checked bag costs $30 from Honolulu to Osaka or $50 all the way to Kuala Lumpur.
Onboard meals start at $15 from Honolulu to Osaka. (The intra-Asia leg, though, they start at $4.)

Picking a seat is $15+ to Osaka or $25+ to Kuala Lumpur.

Can You Survive 9.5+ Hours on a Low Cost Carrier?

Easily. The seat pitch on Air Asia X is 31″ according to the company, which is the same as you’d get on United, for instance, in economy. If you can’t handle a middle seat for that long, assure yourself an aisle for $15+.

Or you can even upgrade to one of the 12 flat beds on each plane.

Unfortunately, these beds are not parallel to the ground (they’re angled), so I generally find them uncomfortable to fully flat beds like the world’s best Business and First Classes have. They are quite a bit more comfortable than a seat, though, and underpriced at $699+.

Why Osaka and Kuala Lumpur?

Osaka-Kansai Airport is less than an hour and a half by train from Kyoto, which was the highlight of my December 2015 trip to Japan. Overall I found Japan interesting, inscrutable, and delightful. It’s the only rich country I’ve been to that feels culturally alien to an American. And Kyoto, the former imperial capital for 1,000 years, is the crown jewel.

Kuala Lumpur contrasts the modern and ultra-wealth with the traditional and street food. It’s also a great jumping off point for Southeast Asia as there are flights from Kuala Lumpur to everywhere in the region on Air Asia and other low cost carriers. In Malaysia itself, I found Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi all worthy of a visit.

Getting to Hawaii, from Osaka, around SE Asia

These fares are useful to all Americans, not just those in Hawaii, and not just those who want to go to Japan. Use them as part of a big trip.

To get from your home airport to Hawaii, use 25,000 Korean miles roundtrip, 17,500 Singapore miles one way, or 12,500 Avios one way depending on where you live.

Osaka-Kansai is a major airport with flights to dozens of countries around the world. You could fly out of there on a low-cost carrier to somewhere else in Asia.

A few of the many low cost carrier options out of Osaka-Kansai

Or you could use bullet trains to explore some of Japan before flying out of somewhere else like Tokyo, which has even more options.

The one time I flew out of Japan, it was in Business Class on the Thai Dreamliner (trip report) that I booked for 40,000 miles.

If you make it down to Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in SE Asia, you should find low cost carriers to be insanely cheap and convenient for getting everywhere from the beaches to the mountains to the jungles.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

You should buy this ticket with he Barclaycard Arrival Plus. The card comes with 50,000 Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Arrival miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each toward any travel expense. Here is How to Redeem Arrival Miles.

With the Arrival Plus, you don’t even have to wait to meet the minimum spending requirement before you spend the miles. Open an Arrival Plus, put whatever revenue tickets on the card you want now to help you meet the minimum spending requirement, and then redeem Arrival miles within 120 days to offset the charges.

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