Book Your Flight To Asia—Asia Has An Insane Number of Airline Options


A few years ago, I wrote a blog about some of the best airlines to fly in Asia. I thought it would be fun to revisit that list and write about what’s changed, what hasn’t and what new players have entered the market.

Old favorites

I wrote my first blog about flying in Asia more than 5 years ago. At that time, the biggest change since I first started traveling to Asia 11 years before was the entry of budget carriers into the market. They made flying more accessible for everyone (no matter how broke you were), but also came at a cost—reduced service and amenities.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m still happily flying with these low-cost carriers when it makes sense. Nok Air is one of my favorites, especially because they’re based in Bangkok and have great domestic routes throughout Thailand. I was also pleasantly surprised with AirAsia on a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur; they have good food options (which you have to pay for) and their staff is always friendly.

Newbies

I’ve had great experiences with both VietJetAir and Spring Airlines, which are two Asian companies that weren’t around when I wrote my original blog post. VietJetAir is a low-cost carrier based in Vietnam that offers domestic flights

With so many different airlines to choose from, it can be a daunting task trying to determine which airline you should be flying with.

The airline industry in Asia is booming, and with competition comes better prices for the consumer. In certain parts of Asia, the options are endless. For example, in Thailand alone there are eight domestic carriers competing for your business. While price is important, there’s a lot more to consider when selecting an airline. There are plenty of great airlines to fly in Asia that may not be the cheapest but deliver a great customer experience. These are the airlines you want to fly with.

AirAsia has been around since 2001 and is now the largest budget carrier in Asia. The airline has come a long way since its humble beginning (it was struggling financially just a few years ago) and has turned into one of the most efficient budget carriers around. AirAsia currently flies to over 165 destinations across 25 countries and operates from hubs in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Thailand (Bangkok), Indonesia (Jakarta), India (Chennai) and Japan (Tokyo Narita).

What I love about Asia, is that you have so many choices. If you’re flying to China, for example, it seems like every airline flies there. And there are some airlines you haven’t even heard about that fly there too.

But which airline is the best? What are your options? Let’s find out!

China Airlines EVA Air Cathay Pacific Airlines

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There are dozens of airlines flying in Asia, and how do you choose which one to fly? What are the best airlines in Asia?

I have a few criteria that I look at when choosing an Asian airline:

– safety record

– price

– amenities on the plane (food and entertainment)

– flight times

– customer service (including flight delays)

Air Asia is a great airline to try. I’ve flown them both domestically and internationally to places like Bangkok, Phuket, Bali, Hong Kong and China. They are a budget airline so you get what you pay for with them.

If you can afford it—fly Cathay Pacific or Dragonair domestically in China. They have the best seats, best meals and best service for domestic flights in Asia.

I don’t recommend flying China Eastern or Air China because they are not service oriented airlines. You will be lucky if your flight leaves on time, let alone if they give you a snack on a two hour flight!

There are a mind-blowing number of airlines in Asia. When I retired, my wife and I decided to travel for six months through Asia. We wanted to fly on as many airlines as possible. It was a little challenging, but we did it—and all of it was with miles and points. Here are some of the highlights:

Travel Date Airlines Routes
February 23rd, 2018 Hong Kong Airlines (HX) HKG-TPE-NGO
February 23rd, 2018 JAL (JL) NGO-KIX
February 25th, 2018 Air Busan (BX) PUS-TAE

When going to Asia I usually fly Singapore Airlines. Their service is world class, and the airline itself has a great reputation. However, on my latest trip to Asia I decided to fly Korean Air, based on a recommendation from a friend of mine. While I know Korean isn’t for everyone, the airline provided an excellent experience and here’s why.

Korean’s “Prestige” class is similar to business class in most airlines. I was very impressed with the seat/bed combo they had in this section as well as the entertainment options and food.

Korean also provides free hotel accommodations (if you’re flying overnight) as well as airport transportation (bus or limo) to their valued customers.


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