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Japanese Low-Cost Carrier ZIPAIR Lands in San Jose

The Japanese airline launched its first flight from Tokyo-Narita to San Jose Airport

by Enrique Perrella

December 12, 2022

Full-flat seat on ZIPAIR 787-8 / Photo: Courtesy of ZIPAIR

ZIPAIR has launched its inaugural flight from Tokyo-Narita to San Jose International Airport in California today, marking the beginning of the airline’s ambitious long-haul, low-cost adventure on transpacific flights.

The budget carrier, wholly owned by Japan Airlines (JAL), operates an exclusive fleet of four Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, equipped with a mix of 18 full-flat seats and 272 economy class seats. These eleven-year-old aircraft, previously operated by JAL, come equipped with complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi and an array of low-cost offerings that have yet to be seen on routes between Asia and America.

The airline claims that its product mix is capable of “fulfilling all your various needs like a full-service carrier or sacrificing quality like a low-cost carrier,” striving to provide quality service and the ultimate value.

As part of this product mix, ZIPAIR has recently introduced an upgrade scheme, allowing its customers to purchase a more spacious seat through the airline’s in-flight self-ordering system. The airline advertises that an upgrade from economy to its business class from Tokyo to San Jose runs $510 (70,000 yen).

The Japanese carrier’s new link into the Bay Area connects two important markets historically served by other airlines. All Nippon Airways—Japan’s second-largest carrier—operated nonstop to San Jose until the pandemic hit. Since then, the Bay Area airport’s connectivity to Japan was discontinued until ZIPAIR confirmed its intentions to link Tokyo and San Jose with its inaugural flight in mid-December.

As reported by, however, All Nippon Airways is mulling its return to San Jose just in time for summer next year. Reportedly, ANA will operate the transpacific route to Tokyo-Haneda, which is much closer to the city center and, therefore, a bigger challenge to ZIPAIR’s proposed service.

Photo: Courtesy of ZIPAIR

“Since the introduction of ZIPAIR in 2018, we have continued to expand our network,” said ZIPAIR Director and Chief Marketing Officer Yasuhiro Fukada. “This service from San José will become our sixth international route, which we hope provides customers a new convenient choice when traveling to Japan, not only once a year, but on multiple occasions.”

ZIPAIR currently flies from its hub in Tokyo to Singapore, Seoul, and Bangkok in Asia, and Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Jose in North America.

“It’s an exciting day as we officially welcome ZIPAIR to the San José community,” said SJC Director of Aviation John Aitken at the ceremony. “ZIPAIR isn’t just any airline; it’s an entirely new kind of airline that leverages technology to provide an efficient, more accessible travel experience – a pretty great fit for Silicon Valley.”

The airline’s new flight to San Jose will run three times every week during the holiday season, increasing to five weekly flights in January and daily flights in late 2023. Each flight is expected to last between eight and 10 hours, depending on routing and weather conditions.