Americans are about to enjoy the price competition that results when a new challenger enters a market. Starlux Airlines is coming to Los Angeles, and its arrival on the scene should mean better prices than we've seen in some time to Asia.
For the past three years, Starlux Airlines has been gradually building routes from its hub in Taipei, to 15 cities in Asia. From that HQ in Taiwan, it now flies to places like Japan (Tokyo, Osaka), Singapore, Thailand (Bangkok, Penang), Malaysia, Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh), Macau, and the Philippines (Manila, Cebu), among other destinations.
Now Starlux Airlines is about to add Los Angeles, California, to that lineup, which will give North Americans access to a wide range of destinations across East Asia without changing airlines.
On April 26, service will begin five times a week between LAX International Airport and Taipei, Taiwan, on newly purchased A350-900 jets. Come June, the service will bump up to daily.
As often happens when new carriers try to break into the U.S. market, the introductory prices are fantastic. If you're able to book many months ahead, it's currently easy to find one-way prices that range from $464 to about $575, which easily gives Starlux a competitive price edge for flights to the region. In this look at availability next winter, every single Economy seat starts at just $464.20:
You can see a month's worth of airfares at Starlux Airlines yourself by selecting travel dates and on the resulting page, clicking "see a month fare." (The English translations at this Asia-based airline are still a little wobbly.)
Most Americans wouldn't be familiar with Starlux, which perhaps is a good thing. When Starlux first arrived in 2020, it came limping out of the gate—we can all agree that a pandemic is a lousy time to kick off a new airline.
Now that the business is on steadier footing, though, Starlux Airlines is augmenting its local Asian coverage with a long-distance feeder route that can bring Americans to connect with the rest of its route map.
Starlux configures its cabin into four seats in First Class, 26 in Business, 36 in Premium Economy, and 240 in Economy—a setup that provides lots of opportunity for the most affordable seats.
Whenever a little-known international airline shows up at American airports to seek new business, quality is always a concern. The airline graveyards are full of stripped-down, bony-feeling airplane cabins once used by ultra-cheapie airlines that arrived, put passengers through Purgatory, and went.
But despite its low book-ahead prices, Starlux isn't a no-frills upstart. And although it bills itself as a "luxury" airline, the truth is that for most passengers, especially ones sitting in Economy and Premium Economy sections, Starlux compares similarly and favorably to a standard carrier. Maybe better, if you're comparing it to American Airlines.
In-flight amenities for even the most basic seat include a personal screen, free in-flight texting, and at least one free checked bag. Meals are also served, and on Starlux, the signature dish is yakiniku donburi, a Japanese staple of meat and vegetables served with sauce over rice. (Click here to see how perks for all Starlux fare classes shake out.)
Here's a rendering provided by Starlux of its Economy section:
Early reviews for Starlux's intra-Asian service have been good—here's a writeup about a 4.5-hour flight in its Business Class on a different aircraft model plus a few other video reviews of its Asian flights—but once the carrier begins shuttling across the Pacific Ocean to California, we'd love to hear reader feedback about their experiences in long-haul Economy.
If you ride Starlux's new Los Angeles service, please drop a review in our popular Frommer's Roamers Travel Chat information sharing group on Facebook.
You can find Starlux Airlines at Starlux-Airlines.com and at 833/971-0012.