Japan Airlines’ subsidiary Zipair has completed its inaugural flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles. The low-cost carrier completed the Christmas Day service in just under 10 hours using one of its Boeing 787-8s. Let’s take a look at this flight and what we can expect from the airline when it comes to this route.

Zipair has three Boeing 787-8s in its fleet. All come directly from its parent company, Japan Airlines. Photo: Zipair

Three flights per week

On Saturday Zipair completed its inaugural flight to Los Angeles after announcing the service roughly six weeks prior. For now, the service will run thrice-weekly but will eventually ramp up to once daily in February 2022.

A relatively new carrier having started during the global health crisis, the budget airline has only served a handful of destinations in its one year of commercial operations. Zipair has mainly flown to other major cities in the region like Seoul, Singapore, and Bangkok, as well as the major US leisure destination of Honolulu.

The airline’s president offered the following statement at the time of the route’s announcement:

“Ever since the introduction of ZIPAIR, one of our key goals was to establish a flight across the Pacific and I could not be prouder to stand here today to announce the launch of our Los Angeles route. Our mission is to define a new standard in the air travel industry by offering a unique low-cost business model on long-haul international routes,” -Shingo Nishida, President of ZIPAIR Tokyo

Welcome @ZIPAIRTokyo! Today the airline begins its much-anticipated non-stop service between Narita International Airport in Tokyo and #LAX. ZIPAIR will initially offer 3 flights per week to LAX and plans to offer daily service starting in February.

— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) December 25, 2021

Flight details

Using the aircraft registered JA822J, one of the airline’s three 787s, Zipair flew its inaugural service to LAX from Tokyo Narita (NRT) at December 25th at 15:02 local time. Heading over the Pacific Ocean with a flight time of nine hours and 18 minutes, the Dreamliner touched down in Los Angeles at 07:20- 10 minutes ahead of its scheduled arrival time.

JA822J is an 11-year-old Boeing 787-8 which originally flew with parent company Japan Airlines between 2012 and 2019. Originally configured with 30 business and 176 economy class seats, the jet was reconfigured for a denser layout of 290 seats. This consists of 18 premium “ZIP Full-Flat” seats and 272 standard economy class seats.

flight zg24
The service will begin with a frequency of three times per week. Photo:

Joining a small group of airlines

While most budget airlines tend to fly “closer to home” with a fleet of narrowbody jets, Zipair is part of a small club of airlines that have dared to operate low-cost transoceanic and long-haul services. Other budget carriers currently doing the same include LEVEL, Scoot, AirAsia X, and Jetstar. A notable low-cost carrier that recently exited this sector is Norwegian, which ended its transatlantic long-haul services due to the global health crisis.

Zipair only has a fleet of three aircraft at the moment. Photo: Zipair

Despite these airlines focusing on offering low fares, there is still a premium offering in most cases- something that even budget travelers are willing to go for with these lengthy services. In the case of Zipair, the Japanese airline’s business class product features a 180-degree reclining leather seat equipped with reading lights and charging equipment.

Would you fly a budget airline across the Pacific between Tokyo and Los Angeles? Let us know by leaving a comment.