Are you looking to fly into Japan on a budget this year? Zipair is a new budget airline that is taking the travel world by storm. This Zipair review article will tell you everything you need to know about flying your family to Tokyo on a budget in 2024.

We Discuss

What is Zipair?

Zipair is a budget airline that was founded in 2018 and is wholly owned by Japan Airlines. It is based out of the Narita International Airport in Chiba and began its first flights in June 2020. The first Zipair flights were cargo flights with no passengers due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zipair’s first flight with passengers did not take place until October 2020.

This low-cost airline is similar to other well-known companies like Ryan Air and Allegiant. For a lower ticket price, you get a no-frills flight direct to Tokyo from select locations worldwide. As of July 2024, Zipair flies to ten destinations from Tokyo. These cities include San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Bangkok, Seoul, Singapore, Manila, and most recently, Vancouver. Zipair uses Boeing 787-8 airplanes that it leases from Japan Airlines.

Zipair Review: Booking Flights with Zipair

Booking flights with Zipair is simple and stress-free thanks to its intuitive website. We did come across some awkward pain points when booking our flights that we hope Zipair will remedy in the future!

We have a long list of alerts set in Google Flights that tell us when certain tickets are on sale or cheaper than usual. Now that Vancouver (YVR) services Zipair, we receive alerts from Google Flights about flights to Japan. What we have found is that going through the Zipair website directly is cheaper than the prices listed on Google Flights.

It’s also difficult to find last-minute deals right now as there is only one flight per day from Vancouver to Tokyo. If you want a good deal, you’ll need to book a few months in advance!

Zipair Website Review

Our first piece of advice for booking flights with Zipair is to sign up for a Zipair account. Why? To see the final prices and book tickets with Zipair, you will need to enter your personal information including your passport number each time. You can avoid this by entering these details into your account so that you do not have to provide them with each search.

Why is Zipair great for travelling with kids? Zipair has a U6 policy which means that all children six years of age and younger pay a cheaper fare. You are also guaranteed a seat next to your child and when reserving seats, both you and your child’s seat selection is free. As a result, you will notice that Zipair has a ton of families on board.

Booking with Zipair is an incredibly easy process and we were very impressed with the website. Other airlines, like JAL and ANA, have websites that are not as easy to use and can even be frustrating when booking flights. The website has a very smooth interface and aside from needing to enter your passport information to see the final cost, we thought it was a very enjoyable process.

Zipair Review: Zipair Points Club

Zipair does have an annual membership called the Zipair Points Club and a premium annual membership called Zipair Points Club Plus. Signing up for a Zipair account puts you into the Zipair Points Club. This club is free and you can still earn and spend Zipair Points when booking flights through the Zipair website. All you need is a valid email address to sign up for a Zipair Points Club account.

If you think you will take multiple Zipair flights in a calendar year, you can sign up for the Zipair Points Club Plus. This is a premium membership that costs 5,000 Yen or about $42.00 CAD or $31.00 USD at the current rates. What do you get with the Zipair Points Club Plus membership? You can still earn and spend Zipair points like with the normal membership. But on top of that, with the Zipair Points Club Plus, you get a 30% discount on checked baggage.

A couple of things to note about the Zipair Points Club Plus Membership:

  • Membership fees are due upfront and are eligible for 365 days
  • The baggage discount does not include sports equipment
  • You need to register a credit card with Zipair as membership fees are automatically charged each year

Is the Zipair Points Club Plus Membership Worth It?

As with most premium memberships, the more you use it the more it will be of value to you. We recommend that you only sign up for the Zipair Points Club Plus if you are taking multiple Zipair flights during the year. Another reason to sign up for the membership is if you plan on bringing a lot of luggage on your Zipair flight. With Zipair, you can check-in a maximum of five pieces of baggage per person with a maximum weight of 30 kg each. From North America, each piece of check-in luggage costs about 5,000 Yen.

Zipair Review: Zipair Fees and Costs

Zipair flights are a dream come true for deal-seeking travellers. Tickets are a fraction of the cost of major airlines like JAL and ANA. But do you really save on the cost of flying with Zipair? Let’s take a look at some of the costs and fees associated with flying Zipair to Japan.

Baggage and Luggage Fees

As with most discount airlines, Zipair charges for every piece of luggage you want to check in for your flight. The checked baggage has a maximum weight capacity of 30 kg which is larger than airlines like JAL and ANA. You are allowed to check in up to five bags per person and each can weigh up to 30 kg.

Here is a table that displays the fees associated with checked baggage for each Zipair flight. These prices are in effect as of July 2024:

Zipair RoutePrice in Currency
Narita to Seoul3,500 Yen as of March 31, 2024
Seoul to Narita33,300 Won as of March 31, 2024
Narita to Manila 5,000 Yen
Manila to Narita $38.00 US Dollars
Narita to Bangkok5,000 Yen
Bangkok to Narita1,270 Baht
Narita to Singapore5,000 Yen
Singapore to Narita$51.00 Singapore Dollars
Narita to Honolulu6,000 Yen
Honolulu to Narita$46.00 US Dollars
Narita to Vancouver7,000 Yen
Vancouver to Narita$73.00 Canadian Dollars
Narita to San Francisco 7,000 Yen
San Francisco to Narita$54.00 US Dollars
Narita to San Jose7,000 Yen
San Jose to Narita$54.00 US Dollars
Narita to Los Angeles7,000 Yen
Los Angeles to Narita$54.00 US Dollars

Checked baggage should be added to the cost of your ticket when booking your flights. If you want to add extra baggage at the airport, you will need to pay a small administrative fee as well. Payment by cash at the airport is also not accepted so you will need a credit card handy.

There are different fees for oversized baggage such as sports equipment and bicycles for Zipair. You can read about these fees more on Zipair’s baggage page here.

Zipair Review: Our Thoughts on Baggage and Luggage Fees

A family of four can bring up to twenty checked pieces of luggage on a trip to Japan. That’s a lot of luggage and more than most families can handle. When we travel to Japan we take as many empty suitcases as possible. So we booked one checked piece of luggage on the way to Japan and four on the way back. We had one suitcase inside the larger suitcase with two duffle bags for clothes. This still costs us approximately 35,000 Yen or about $300.00 Canadian dollars at the current exchange rates. So, you can expect to pay about $75.00 to $100.00 per person for checked luggage on a standard trip.

Zipair Inflight Meals Review

Passengers on Zipair do not get any refreshments or food during the flight. No pretzels, no meals, not even any water or beverages. For a long-haul flight to Japan, you will need to bring plenty of snacks and water, especially if you are flying with kids.

You can buy water, drinks, or food on board the plane and Zipair offers an extensive inflight menu. The meal options vary depending on the flight route you are on. Prices range from about 1,300 Yen to more than 3,000 Yen depending on what you order. Soft drinks are about 300 Yen each and you can even order instant noodles for about 700 Yen. Note that you cannot bring your own instant noodles or cup noodles and ask for hot water. The staff will insist that you purchase the noodles from Zipair and will only offer hot water after your purchase.

Zipair Review: Our Thoughts On Inflight Meals

For us, this was the easiest part of the flight to avoid. None of us are particularly fond of airplane food so we packed our own sandwiches and snacks for the kids. We brought our own water and beverages and were very happy not to be bothered by constant meal service or being burdened with empty trays and containers.

We were surprised at how many people did order meals or drinks throughout the flight. Some families ended up ordering multiple meals during the flight which definitely added up. The meals looked like typical airline food and we were glad we didn’t need to order any on either leg of our trip. Definitely bring a lot of water though as we underestimated how thirsty we would be with the dry air on the plane. For the full Zipair menu, check out the inflight meals page here.

Zipair Seat Selection Fees

You do need to pay for each seat you select on Zipair which should come as no surprise. Even the larger airlines will charge these days and Zipair needs to recover as much revenue as possible. One great thing about flying with kids on Zipair is the previously mentioned U6 Fares. For children under the age of six, seat fares are cheaper and seat selection next to a guardian is free. The best part is that the seat selection fee for parents is also waived when they sit next to their child.

Infants are free and Zipair will provide a baby seat for children under the age of two years old.

There are standard fees for all seats on a Zipair flight. Each type of seat has its own fees depending on if it is a Zip Full-Flat seat, a limited reclining seat, or even a window or aisle seat. All of Zipair’s seat selection fees can be found here.

Zipair Onboard Services

Zipair offers a long list of onboard shopping options for everything from Japanese snacks to clothing. You can browse Zipair’s onboard shopping options through the Zipair mobile site and make payments with a credit card.

The onboard entertainment is limited to a free WiFi network that passengers can connect their personal devices to. We saw people doing everything from playing Nintendo Switch to even gaming online on a laptop. Zipair offers some free films, magazines, and music connections through Spotify once connected to the onboard WiFi.

Zipair Review: Our Thoughts on Onboard Services

We didn’t bother doing any onboard shopping so we can’t give much of a review for that. We didn’t notice anyone doing any shopping on either of our flights.

Everybody wants to know about the quality of the Zipair WiFi network. To be honest, it’s not that great. Think about hundreds of devices connecting to one network in a small space and you get the idea. The Zipair WiFi network was nearly impossible to join on the way to Japan. We were able to connect a couple of hours into the flight but we recommend pre-downloading some content on your devices in case you have trouble connecting to the WiFi.

On the flight home, the WiFi was better and we were able to connect early and stay connected for the whole flight. It was strong enough to stream YouTube and play online mobile games but the network does disconnect intermittently. Overall, it is nice to have the WiFi and we didn’t miss the in-seat screens as much as we thought we would. We hope that Zipair will work to improve the WiFi network in the future.

Zipair Review: Flying on Zipair With Kids

As we already mentioned, both Zipair flights were full of young children. If you are the type of person who does not like to hear crying or screaming, then Zipair flights might not be for you.

Flying Zipair with our kids was a breeze and not at all stressful. The space felt a little cramped and we wondered if the legroom was less than on other flights we have been on. Still, there was enough room for us to comfortably sit without needing to recline our seats.

As for entertainment, you’ll want to know what your kids can handle for a long-haul flight. We brought a couple of iPads and our Nintendo Switch, but our kids were also content to colour and even sleep. If your kids are the type to watch movies the whole flight, then you will want to download some before you board.

The most difficult thing about flying Zipair with two kids was the seating arrangements. Zipair planes have three rows of three seats, so for families of four, the second parent has to sit across the aisle. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but planes with the two-four-two arrangement work better for families. That is one thing we prefer about flying on airlines like ANA and Delta.

Overall, flying Zipair with kids was a pleasant experience. Sure, the flight was loud and there were a lot of restless kids but most people were wearing headphones or earbuds to block out any noise. If you’re flying to Japan with kids, we definitely recommend considering Zipair as an option.

Zipair Review: Our Overall Thoughts on Zipair

Overall thoughts on a flight can be tricky. Not everyone is going to have the same experience as we did. Heck, our second experience could be completely different from our first. After flying to Japan more than a dozen times in the past few years, we believe we have some authority and enough experience to give insight into Zipair’s flight.

First of all, we’ve said in previous articles how much more we like flying into Haneda airport than Narita. Haneda is minutes from central Tokyo and you can save time and money when commuting back and forth. Zipair flies to Narita, so you can expect about an hour train ride into Tokyo following your flight. You can take the Narita Express or NEX train which stops at major hubs like Chiba, Tokyo Station, Shinagawa, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. This will cost you between 3,070 Yen and 4,700 Yen depending on how far you wish to ride. You can also purchase a return fare NEX ticket which is valid for fourteen days for about 5,000 Yen. Travellers can also use the Japan Rail Pass for the NEX if they choose to activate it as soon as they land.

Zipair is a discount airline that offers a clean and respectable direct flight to Tokyo. Booking the flight through Zipair’s website was easy and intuitive. All additional fees and charges are clearly stated and there are no surprises with the final price of your order.

The flight itself is fine albeit a little on the loud side due to the higher number of kids on board. If you can get passed the noise, then Zipair is a fine way to travel to Japan on a budget. The flight is the same length and is more peaceful because there are no interruptions from flight attendants. Here is our Zipair review score on a scale of 1 to 5:

Zipair Review Score

Booking Zipair Flight4.5
Zipair Cleanliness and Comfort4.0
Zipair Costs and Fees3.5
Zipair Onboard Services4.0
Zipair Flight Experience4.0
Flying Zipair With Kids4.0
Zipair Staff and Support4.5

Zipair Review: Would We Fly Zipair Again?

Yes, we would fly Zipair again to travel to Japan. The overall experience was solid and far from the worst flight we have ever been on. As can be expected from an airline owned by JAL, the service is second to none.

For those who are travelling to Japan on a budget, Zipair offers everything you need on a discounted flight. It is also an excellent alternative to the major airlines when travelling to Japan with kids.

In our opinion, Zipair offers exactly what you expect from a budget airline. It is a clean and direct way to fly to Japan at a fraction of the price. Would Zipair be our first choice? Probably not. All things being equal, we are willing to pay a slight premium to fly on ANA or JAL. But at the right price point, Zipair will always be on our radar and we would not shy away from flying on it again.

We appreciate you stopping by today and we hope that our Zipair review article helped! Stay tuned for more guides and reviews about travelling the world with your loved ones!


Is Zipair a Budget Airline?

Yes, Zipair is a budget airline. It is owned by Japan Airlines and offers a no-frills flight experience directly to Japan from various locations around the world. On Zipair, you pay for meals, seat selection, and each piece of luggage you check-in.

Do You Get a Free Carry-On With Zipair?

Yes, you can bring up to two personal items into the aircraft cabin. These items must have a combined weight of less than 7.0 kg and fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Up to 24 hours before your flight, you can pay an additional fee to bring on an item that weighs up to 15 kg.

Does Zipair Have Screens?

No, Zipair does not provide any in-flight entertainment. There are no screens available so passengers must bring their own entertainment devices. Zipair does offer a free WiFi network on board each flight for passengers to connect their devices to.

Can You Add Baggage Later on Zipair?

Yes, you can log in to your Zipair account and add additional pieces of baggage before you arrive at the airport. You can also pay for an additional bag at the Zipair desk at the airport but an additional handling fee will apply. Zipair does not accept cash payments at the airport.

Is Water Free on Zipair?

No, water and all snacks and meals are not free on Zipair flights. There is an onboard menu that you can order from and you must pay for each item you order during your flight. We recommend packing your own snacks and food and bringing enough water to stay hydrated for the journey.