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ZIPAIR increases Singapore – Tokyo flights from December 2022

The low-cost carrier with a difference is ramping up its Singapore - Tokyo flights this winter, including flat-bed Business Class seats from S$500 one-way.

If you haven’t heard of ZIPAIR you’d probably be forgiven, since the JAL-owned long-haul low-cost airline first launched operations from its Tokyo base right in the midst of the pandemic with cargo-only operations in June 2020 – not exactly the exciting start it had planned for.

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With Japan’s border restrictions gradually easing for returning citizens and residents since then, the airline has managed to start a range of passenger services using its four Boeing 787 aircraft, including to and from Singapore.

Indeed ZIPAIR was the first low-cost carrier to launch non-stop flights between Singapore and Tokyo, back in September 2021, and now with Japan’s borders opening fully to vaccinated tourists the airline is increasing its operation on the route.

ZIPAIR offers competitive fares for its flat-bed seats on the Singapore – Tokyo route. (Photo: ZIPAIR)

That’s good news for travellers on a budget, and even includes a flat-bed option at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay flying Business Class with full-service carriers.

The schedule

ZIPAIR currently flies three times per week between Singapore and Tokyo Narita Airport using Boeing 787-8 aircraft, but this week the airline has announced that its schedule will increase to four times weekly from mid-December 2022.

Here’s how the full ZIPAIR schedule including flight timings looks for the upcoming northern winter season from 30th October 2022, with the additional flights loaded from 12th December 2022 highlighted.

ZIPAIR Singapore Schedule
(30th October 2022 – 25th March 2023)

New flight from 12th December 2022 highlighted

  Days
M T W T F S S
ZG54
787-8
     
SIN
00:10
NRT
07:55
ZG53
787-8
     
NRT
16:05
SIN
22:40

ZIPAIR will also launch non-stop services from Tokyo to San Jose, California on the same day the Singapore route gets a frequency boost, suggesting the carrier will likely be picking up the keys to its fifth Boeing 787-8 by then.

ZIPAIR currently operates four Boeing 787-8 aircraft. (Photo: Keiichiro Asahara)

The airline currently offers the only low-cost carrier service between Japan and the USA, already linking Tokyo with both Los Angeles and Honolulu.

ZIPAIR Boeing 787 cabins

ZIPAIR isn’t your average low-cost airline, with the carrier taking the rare decision to equip its Boeing 787-8 aircraft with 18 fully flat-bed seats in the forward section, using a reverse herringbone product in a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access for all passengers.

ZIPAIR’s Boeing 787-8s have a five-row forward cabin with flat-bed seats. (Photo: ZIPAIR)

The airline calls these seats “ZIP Full-Flat”.

The product itself is the JAMCO Venture seat, also used by KLM on its Boeing 787-10s.

This would certainly normally be regarded as a Business Class seat on a full-service airline, but ZIPAIR isn’t streaming the latest Hollywood movies, pouring free-flow Champagne or serving up Lobster Thermidor here – it’s literally just the seat that’s swanky!

“ZIP Full-Flat” fares represent a completely unbundled Business Class offering, with the following package pricing options:

  • Basic (seat-only), with up to 7kg of carry-on baggage, but no other extras
  • Biz, which includes advance seat selection and a heavier 12kg carry-on bag
  • Value, which includes advance seat selection, a 23kg checked bag, 7 kg carry-on bag, and an in-flight meal
  • Premium, which includes advance seat selection, a 23kg checked bag, a heavier 12kg carry-on bag, an in-flight meal, and an amenity set

Alternatively, you can select the ancillary add-ons you prefer individually.

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The leather seats feature personal reading lights and individual power sockets, but there is no in-flight entertainment system.

However, unlimited free Wi-Fi is provided, as it it in all of the carrier’s 272 Economy Class “Standard Seats”, which have a 3-3-3- layout and 31 inches of seat pitch.

These also benefit from in-seat power sockets and an integrated tablet device holder.

ZIPAIR Boeing 787-8 Economy Class. (Photo: ZIPAIR)

For couples, there are four seat pair options right at the back of the cabin in Economy Class:

  • 56 A/C
  • 57 A/C
  • 56 H/K
  • 57 H/K

Passengers in both cabins can also stream onboard entertainment options including films to their personal devices.

ZIPAIR Singapore – Tokyo fares

ZIPAIR is advertising its Singapore flights with one-way fares ex-Tokyo starting from:

  • Business Class (ZIP Full-Flat): JPY 50,000 (S$493)
  • Economy Class (Standard Seat): JPY 15,000 (S$148)

However, looking at the Singapore – Tokyo direction for January 2023, we found the following lowest fares available:

  • Business Class (ZIP Full-Flat): JPY 74,492 (S$734)
  • Economy Class (Standard Seat): JPY 26,268 (S$259)

These are still quite competitive rates, compared to those being charged by full-service carriers and even the alternative low-cost option – SIA’s budget arm Scoot.

That’s especially the case when you consider the ScootPlus product is priced upwards of S$830 one-way on this route in January, for what’s effectively a Premium Economy seat, not a flat-bed Business Class product like ZIPAIR is offering!

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Overall, ZIPAIR is a great option to have even at these rates, while securing award space using KrisFlyer miles, Asia Miles, Alaska miles and Avios between Singapore and Japan remains close to impossible for most dates in the coming months.

ZIPAIR’s Singapore flights are now on sale until the end of the northern winter timetable season, which this year falls on 25th March 2023.

ZIPAIR enforces mask-wearing

Japan does not legally impose mask-wearing in most settings, provided you maintain social distancing.

Mask-wearing is therefore already optional on Singapore Airlines and Scoot flights to and from Japan, however do note that ZIPAIR, in common with ANA and Japan Airlines, is still maintaining its own mandatory mask mandate for all passengers at the time of writing.

“Please wear a mask when in the airport and onboard the aircraft. If travelers do not agree with face covering, they may be denied boarding.”

ZIPAIR
(Image: ZIPAIR)

Japan tourism reopening

In case you missed the news, Japan is reopening to tourists from Singapore and 67 other countries this month, without the need to apply for a visa or make travel agency bookings.

That means from 11th October 2022 Japan will:

  • scrap its requirement for most travellers to obtain an entry visa
  • ditch the idea that you must enter under a North-Korea-style guided tour format, or with a pre-arranged travel agent booking, and
  • do away with its 50,000 person daily limit on overseas entries.

In most cases, that means you will be able to visit just like you could during pre-pandemic times, organising your own flights (like these ZIPAIR ones) and hotel accommodation independently.

Here’s the latest process, once the border relaxations take effect.

Eligibility & Process
Singapore Japan

  • Hold one of 68 nationalities for visa-free entry
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any WHO-approved vaccine, including a booster dose
  • If you don’t meet the fully vaccinated and boosted criteria, you must have a negative pre-departure PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Children aged 17 or under travelling with fully vaccinated and boosted parents are considered fully vaccinated and boosted, regardless of their actual vaccination status, and do not require any pre-departure testing
  • Download the MySOS app and register your details between two weeks and six hours prior to arrival in Japan (optional)
  • No further on-arrival or post-arrival testing or restrictions

All Singapore – Tokyo flight options

Once this additional ZIPAIR service starts in mid-December, there will be a total of 88 weekly flights between Singapore and Tokyo’s two airports – Haneda and Narita.

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Here’s a summary of your options.

Singapore – Tokyo Flights
Winter 2022/23

Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
SQ11/12 Narita 777-300ER Daily
SQ637/638 Narita 787-10 Daily
SQ634/635 Haneda A350 MH Daily
SQ631/636 Haneda A350 MH Daily
JL35/38 Haneda 767-300ER Daily
JL36/37 Haneda 787-9 Daily
JL711/712 Narita 767-300ER Daily
NH801/802 Narita 787-9 Daily
NH841/844 Haneda 787-9 Daily
NH842/843 Haneda 787-9 Daily
TR808/809 Narita 787-9 Daily
TR898/899 Narita
(via TPE)
787-9 Daily
ZG53/54 Narita 787-8 Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat
(4/wk)

Summary

JAL’s low-cost long-haul carrier ZIPAIR bucks the trend in the industry with its flat-bed Business Class seats, and the Singapore route benefits further from mid-December with the addition of a fourth weekly service.

As Japan’s borders finally reopen quarantine-free for tourists, these flights could prove a good option for those who want to travel in more comfort, and don’t mind the ‘unbundled’ nature of this product.

That’s especially the case in the Singapore – Tokyo direction, where this service operates overnight and lands long before your hotel room is likely to be available.

Will you be considering ZIPAIR’s flat-bed product between Singapore and Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

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