Traveling to Tokyo on a budget?
With the weak yen and the strong buying power of the dollar, this is one of the best times for travelers from the United States to visit Japan. But even if things might be cheaper once you land in Narita, there’s still the whole matter of getting here in the first place. After the borders to Japan FINALLY reopened there’s been an influx of pent up demand and as COVID-19 continues to recede, flight prices can be one of the biggest barriers for folks.
But… did you know there’s a new budget airline that flies daily from Tokyo-Narita to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)?. It’s called Zipair and it could provide a very, very cost-effective way to get to Tokyo. Maybe with the extra cash you save, you could even swing a night at one the swankier hotels in downtown Tokyo. As with all budget airlines, it’s no frills but Zipair provides a potentially compelling way to get to Japan.
Flights During Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Season
For many travelers to Japan, the dream is to come during cherry blossom season. So it comes as no surprise that mainline carriers charge A LOT of money to get to Tokyo during this peak season. Especially if you’re traveling from the East Coast…
Comparing Mainline Flights to Zipair
Of course a direct flight is always a nicer way to get anywhere, but if you’re able to build in a stop at LAX then Zipair could provide significant savings. Look at their schedule from LAX to NRT in April and you’ll see that their one-way prices are still very, very compelling.
In this case, if you can originate your flight on certain days, you could get a one-way budget ticket for ~$360. Of course, if you’re outside of LA, then you still need to position yourself there. But, at ~$720 round trip on Zipair compared to $1400 on other carriers, you still have a lot of room in your budget to work with. Additionally, you may have enough airline award points to cover a domestic trip to LAX but not all the way through to Tokyo.
Downside to Budget Flights
Just like Spirit or Ryanair, there’s not a lot to expect on Zipair. You’ll be paying extra for pretty much anything… yes, including a bottle of water. That said, if you bring your own entertainment and pack a few hearty snacks ahead of time — it’ll give your wallet a break before you hit the streets of Shibuya for Sushi and Ginza for shopping.
Also, for folks looking for an elevated experience, Zipair does have lie-flat business class seats. While these seats are more expensive than their economy offering, it is much, much cheaper than first class on any of the US or Japanese mainline carriers. While Zipair may not offer the same level of luxe service — lying down and getting a few hours of sleep will help stave off the effects of jetlag.
Compare Flight Options
Start your journey by searching on WayAway to see if getting to LAX may be the right way to start your travel journey onward to Japan. Note: if you book with WayAway, we may receive a commission as part of your trip.