ZIPAIR Tokyo, JAL’s low-cost subsidiary has just announced its new cabins that will feature on the carrier’s 787-8s. While the airline will start flying two Seoul and Bangkok as of May next year, little was known about the product it was going to offer. In comparison in the other fledgling carrier in the region – Starlux – the carrier has stripped the cabin configuration to the bare bones, representing a distinct decision that users of the product will bring their own entertainment, and have little expectation of the hard product.


There are a few pleasant amenities though, including Japan’s signature ToTo ‘washlets’ – basically toilets with a bidet function. The press release states “Aiming for a ‘safe and comfortable cabin space even for long flights’, the design is simple, centring on the corporate colour grey, but does not impair the quality.


The grey certainly gives a monochromatic appearance but the clever use of black seats with light grey seat backs gives a dark appearance on entrance, but a lighter cabin feel when sat.


The clearest difference in the passenger experience can be seen in the lack of a personal monitor screen. The airline has purposefully designed the passenger experience to allow customers to enjoy Internet, video, and shopping freely on their own smartphones and tablets.

In total there are 272 economy seats spread across a 3 x 3 x 3 configuration, tighter than the 2 x 4 x 2 configuration found in it’s full-fare sister carrier. But that leaves a lot of space for a low cost carrier. That’s why the airline has decided to opt for a fully-flat business class product.

This is at odds to other low cost carriers with a premium product in the area, including Scoot, JetStar and AirAsiaX who have opted for mid-level business class products, mainly akin to a standard Premium Economy product.

Yet ZIPAIR Tokyo hasn’t fully embraced the product, opting to exclude TV screens. But in contrast they added a proper business class hard product much like WestJet did with their 787 fleet. Making the product a pseudo hybrid, which may appeal to those looking for a comfortable bed, yet the flight lengths (so far) don’t seem to warrant such excess. Could these 18 Jamco Business Class seats indicate that the carrier aims to deliver true long-haul routes. If that is the case, will passengers be prepared to sacrifice hard-wired IFE screens? We guess time will tell.



Posted by:Jonny Clark

2 replies on “Zip Air Tokyo launches a … well… confusing product, fulfilling its low cost roots – to some extent

  1. Totally agree with Esteban. Looks like the private jet of the “Zurich Insurance Group”.
    To me it is the triumph of complete and utter lack of creativity and phantasy. It is the equivalent to the Japanese “salaryman” whose outer appearance is the epitome of stuffiness, tedium and blandness.

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