Trip Preview: AirAsia X Inaugural to the US & Hawaiian Island Hopping

Trip Preview: AirAsia X Inaugural to the US & Hawaiian Island Hopping

My next trip is now less than two weeks out, so I thought I would post a quick overview of what I am planning to do and also about what I am still struggling to finalize. If you have any input on that part, I’d appreciate if you could let me know.

D7 1: AirAsia X’s Inaugural to Hawaii

AirAsia X Hawaii LaunchWhile AirAsia X operates plenty of medium to long-haul routes from Southeast Asia to the rest of Asia, to Middle East, and to Australia & New Zealand, at this point it has no routes to the United States. That is about to change on June 28 when AirAsia X will launch a route to Honolulu which will be operated as an extension of its route from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka.

Interestingly, later on, Scoot announced that it will be starting flights from Singapore to Honolulu, via Osaka as well.

Anyways, back to AirAsia X.

Being based in Japan, I thought it would be worth doing a quick trip to Hawaii where I’ve never been before and which seems to offer some nice island hopping opportunities among other things. As such, I booked the inaugural flight between Osaka and Honolulu for the introductory fare of about 115USD one-way.

Plus seat selection and luggage, of course, which made it about 160USD in total – still reasonable.

I considered a couple of options for the flight back – incl. JAL, etc. In the end, though, I settled with “D7 2” – the return flight of the same route.

AirAsia X A330

Getting to and From Osaka

The next thing I had to plan was getting down from the Tokyo area to Kansai airport. There are countless ways to do so – from buses and bullet trains all the way to countless flights between the two Tokyo area and three Osaka area airports.

In the end, on my way there, I decided to fly from Tokyo Haneda to Kobe with Skymark Airlines. While I have flown with the airline a number of times, I never flew to Kobe. Plus, it would give me a chance to try the ferry that connects Kobe and Osaka Kansai airports – which are located across from each other in the Osaka Bay.

Skymark Airlines 737

On the way back, I will fly from Osaka Kansai to Tokyo Haneda with Starflyer. I have only flown the airline once before, and was longing to fly it again. It’s, in my opinion, the coolest airline in Japan – at least when it comes to their “all black” design.

Starflyer A320

Figuring Out What to Do in Hawaii

While the above was relatively easy to plan, I am struggling right now to finalize my plan in Hawaii.

I booked a hotel near Waikiki, so that is good for throwing in some “touristy” things into the plan. However, on the aviation-side, there are so many options that I am finding it hard to decide.

Hawaiian Air A330

Island Hopping

First, there are five airlines that operate scheduled passenger flights within the archipelago:

  • Hawaiian Airlines – operating a fleet of Boeing 717s
  • ‘Ohana by Hawaiian – Hawaiian Airlines’ brand for shorter flights, using a fleet of ATR 42s operated by Empire Airlines
  • Island Air – operating a fleet of ATR 72s and Bombardier Q400s
  • Mokulele Airlines – operating a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravans
  • Makani Kai Air – operating a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravans and Piper Chieftains

I am sure I want to do some island hopping, but still cannot decide which airlines to take and where to go. Right now, I am leaning towards Molokai and Kahului with Hawaiian Airlines, ‘Ohana, and Makani Kai Air.

Makani Kai Air is the one of the bunch that intrigues me the most, as unlike a “regular” airline, the flight departs from their FBO rather than the main terminal, there is no TSA involved, etc.

Helicopter Tours

Then, there are helicopter tours which seem to be quite popular in Hawaii. There is even one that takes the passengers near an active volcano. But that one is on the Big Island where I will likely not be going so perhaps that one will be saved for the next time.

Spotting & Museum

Finally, I would also like to do a bit of spotting, although I am not sure how feasible that will be without a car. Still, might try using Uber like I did back in March in Miami. While that experience wasn’t exactly smooth, in the end it worked out well.

There is also an aviation museum near Pearl Harbor which – although seems to be focused on military aircraft – might still be worth a visit.


As you can see above, there are so many possible things to do, and I only have a bit more than two days there. Time is running out, though, so I will have to start making decisions soon.

If you have been to Hawaii before and have any suggestions, I’d greatly appreciate if you left a comment below.

List of Articles Related to This Trip

As with my Miami and Golden Week 2017 trips, I will use this overview post to also link to all the articles related to this trip once I start publishing them.

So, stay tuned!

8 thoughts on “Trip Preview: AirAsia X Inaugural to the US & Hawaiian Island Hopping”

  1. Hi Keishi.
    During my past visit of Hawaii, I used Mokulele without any issue. Cheap fares, friendly staff and definitely, Cessna was a no brainer (compared to ordinary ATRs or CRJs).
    I would prefer Kauai instead of Molokai. (rent a car there and visit Waimea Canyon and beaches on the north)
    In regards of helicopter tour, we took BlueHawaiian on the Big Island – quite expensive (approx $200), but definitely – good money spent. We saw volcanoes, hot lava falling to the sea and at the very end, great opportunity to spot some planes landing @ Hilo airport from above 🙂 (you can slightly feel like “Sam Chui”)

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for the detailed tips!

      Mokulele definitely seems like a great little airline. Also glad to hear you had good experience with Blue Hawaiian as in case I will take a helicopter tour, they are the ones I’m considering. So many possible things to do that it’s hard to decide! 🙂

  2. I flew Mokulele too and the routing was from Honolulu to Kahului (Maui) via Kapalua. I was even the only passenger on the last leg. It was definitely worthwhile for a try. But if you plan to do Island hopping, you really need to pad your schedule. While the weather in Hawaii is always good, they sometimes will cancel flights if there is a mechanical. Many flights run in hourly or even half hour interval, so if you are just going point to point, it is no issue. But if you are doing aviation hopping, it makes a big deal.

    Here is the link to my photo album:

    1. Hi Adrian,

      Thank you for you comment and tips! I am hoping to do like three flights over the course of one full day, so hopefully there will be no significant delays – but should be fine as I will have several hours between the flights.

      Also, thanks for the link, great photos! Now, I have some visuals to give me a better idea of what to expect. 🙂

  3. Hi keishi,

    Iam booked on D7 1 KUL to HNL via KIX the same flight you travelled in. It will helpful if you could recollect did all passengers disembark & reembark in Kansai airport, will be helpful if you could tell me, do I need a Japanese transit visa for this journey. Thanks

    1. Hi Kamlesh,

      All passengers have to disembark in Kansai and go through security. However, you should not need transit visa given that you do not have to enter Japan – only transit in the secure area.

      Hope this helps. Wish you a safe trip!

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