AirAsia X Gets Approval to Launch US Flights
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
In May 2013, Norwegian Air Shuttle, an unknown low-cost carrier at the time, began flights between the US and Europe. Before Norwegian’s entry, flights to Europe were cheap when they dipped under $800, and you needed an “amazing” error fare to get flights in the mid-$300s. The airline has helped usher in much cheaper transatlantic travel for people based both in the US and Europe. Not only does Norwegian continue to offer jaw-dropping fares, but it’s also put pressure on the legacy carriers to drastically drop their prices to compete.
While the transpacific market has its share of low-price mainland Chinese airlines, there isn’t a true low-cost carrier competing in the transpacific market. However, we may be closer to seeing that change, as AirAsia X announced that it’s received the green light to start flying routes to the US.
For now, the initial route chatter is only about flights from AirAsia X’s hub in Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Honolulu (HNL). While this route won’t help most of us get to Asia for cheap, this approval opens the door for AirAsia X to launch routes anywhere in the US.
That is, any city that AirAsia X will be able to reach. There’s a reason that Honolulu is the only city mentioned for now. AirAsia X’s fleet solely consists of Airbus A330-300s, for which Airbus lists 6,350 nautical miles as the operating range. So, Hawaii and Alaska are the only current route options to the US from the airline’s KUL hub.
If you’re looking for cheap mostly-lie-flats to Asia, start getting excited about AirAsia X’s launch. Just like Norwegian’s Premium class, AirAsia X’s “Premium Flatbed” product currently offers long-haul intra-Asia flyers a chance to get out of the tight squeeze in the back for a modest cost. We’re optimistic that the airline will offer the same product on flights to/from the US. If you want to get an idea what you could expect, TPG Contributor Richard Kerr had a pleasant experience flying this product in 2015 from Tokyo (NRT) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL).
There’s still plenty of work to come before AirAsia X will start flying routes in the US. But, today’s approval is a huge step in the right direction in bringing an Asian low-cost carrier to the US market. Hopefully this will spark further competition among legacy airlines, leading to a similar price war we’ve seen with transatlantic flights recently.
H/T: Routes Online
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.