San Francisco-Tokyo Route Getting Its First Low-Cost Option

by SharonKurheg

The goal for some travelers is to use miles to pay for their flights, and get a business or first class seat in the process. For international travel, they may look forward to lie flat seats, gourmet meals and unlimited free alcohol.

However, the vast majority of people on planes are not “those” kinds of travelers. Frequently paying cash, they’re willing to get economy seats for their flights, simply because they’re cheaper. The expansion of low-cost carriers around the world has also been a boon for millions of travelers because it allows them to cut some corners and pay less to get from Point A to Point B.

Low-cost carriers tend to fly to fewer international destinations than their full priced counterparts. For example, United Airlines is able to provide service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines of Star Alliance, whereas JetBlue only provides service to 27 countries. American Airlines flies to over 150 countries, while Southwest only flies to 11.

This means a significant amount of international routes are flown by “the big guys,” rather than low cost carriers.

Case in point, the segment between Narita (NRT) and San Francisco (SFO) is served only by legacy carriers: United Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. Well, there’s happy news for this San Francisco to Tokyo route, because ZIPAIR, a Japanese low-cost airline will be offering nonstop service between the two cities, beginning in June of this year.

Officially Zipair Tokyo Inc., ZIPAIR is headquartered on the grounds of Tokyo Narita Airport. Initially founded in 2018, the airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan Airlines.

The ZIPAIR flight schedule will include:

  • Tokyo/Narita – San Francisco Flight ZG 26 NRT 21:35 – 15:00 SFO Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
  • San Francisco – Tokyo/Narita Flight ZG 25 SFO 17:00 – 20:05+1 NRT Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The route will be operated on Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft with 290 seats in two classes (18 ZIP Full-Flat/272 Economy), with Wi-Fi service available throughout the cabin. Promotional one-way fares are available from $885 for ZIP Full-Flat and $325 for Economy.

ZIPAIR’s transpacific offering already includes flights from Tokyo to Honolulu (HNL), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Jose (SJC).

“We are really excited to welcome ZIPAIR service between SFO and Tokyo this summer. With this move, travelers can enjoy the fantastic value of ZIPAIR along with SFO’s award-winning world-class airport experience“, said Ivar C. Satero, San Francisco Airport Director.

Tickets for the route are on sale now.

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