Flight Review: AirAsia X A330-300 Economy Class from Honolulu to Osaka KIX

AirAsia X A330-300 Economy Class Honolulu to Osaka Kansai Flight Review

Flight Information
Date
: June 30, 2017
Flight No.: D72
Route: Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye to Osaka Kansai
Airline: AirAsia X
Type: Airbus A330-300
Registration: 9M-XBB

Not even two days after my arrival in Hawaii, it was time to head back to Japan. While I considered a variety of options for this flight, eventually, I ended up booking a flight to Osaka Kansai on an AirAsia X A330.

Checking-In for AirAsia X Flight 2

As I managed to extend my check-out time from Pacific Marina Inn until 11:30AM, I left the room around 11:20AM in order to catch the 11:30AM shuttle. I got to the airport ten minutes later, and settled myself in an open-air Starbucks as I had more than 4 hours left until the 4PM departure.

Since the check-in desk was just across from the Starbucks, I checked it for activity every now and then. As some initial passengers started to gather around 12:30PM, I decided to join them.

The check-in was opened several minutes later at 12:45PM. First, a welcome announcement was made, and then the staff bowed in unison. While I am used to that in Japan, it was great seeing such a nice touch in the United States as well!

Honolulu AirAsia X Check-in Area

AirAsia X check-in counters.
Honolulu Airport Check-in Counter AirAsia X Closed

In the end, it opened a bit before 1PM.
AirAsia X Staff at Honolulu Airport

The very kind AirAsia X staff.

Since this was the second ever Honolulu-Osaka flight by AirAsia X, the staff was still in “learning mode.” After about five minutes of being checked-in by a very friendly lady, who in turn was assisted by a helpful notepad with instructions, I was handed my boarding pass.

Unlike on my flight from Osaka to Honolulu, no upgrades were offered at check-in. However, as it turned out later, an upgrade would not have been necessary or beneficial due to the light load anyways.

With the boarding pass in my hand, I joined the security check line. For some reason, the TSA agent had troubles scanning my, as well as some other AirAsia X passengers’, boarding passes. Nonetheless, we were all let through without any troubles in the end.

Honolulu Airport Hawaiian Airlines

Honolulu airport offers some nice “Hawaiian” views once airside.
Japan Airlines 777-200 Pushing Back at Honolulu

JAL 777-200ER being pushed back.
Honolulu Airport Airside

The (a bit too) simple airside of HNL.

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Boarding AirAsia X Honolulu-Osaka Flight

As I still had plenty of time, I visited two Priority Pass lounges – the Plumeria Lounge and IASS Hawaii Lounge – before heading to gate 30 where the flight was scheduled to depart from.

Honolulu Airport Airside

Even though this looks like a landside passenger drop-off area, it’s airside.
Honolulu Gates 26 Thru 34

Gates 26 thru 34.
Airport Screen Error

Something’s wrong with this FIDS.

I got to the gate around 3PM – one hour before departure – and the crew boarded the aircraft very shortly after that.

Honolulu Airport Gate 30

Gate 30.
AirAsia X A330-300 at Honolulu Airport

AirAsia X A330 ready to take us to Osaka.

At 3:27PM, pre-boarding started, and just a couple of minutes later, the rest of the passengers were called to board.

When scanning the boarding pass of the passengers in front of me, the gate agent tried to scan one with another one under it. Given that they were printed on the “see-through” thin paper, he wasn’t able to do so successfully.

“One at a time. It’s sensitive,” said his supervisor.

“Like me,” replied the gate agent while trying it one at a time.

A couple of beeps and “green lights” later, I was good to walk down the jetway into the AirAsia X A330.

AirAsia X Boarding in Progress at Honolulu

Boarding in progress.

A 20-Minute Delay Before Departure from Honolulu

Once onboard, I was welcomed by the crew – the same one as on my flight flight from Osaka to Honolulu. Saying “Hi, again,” to the flight attendant that kindly posed for photos on the inaugural flight for me, I headed down the aisle and settled in my seat.

The legroom was decent – and the aisle was rather wide in my row in the very back of the plane, providing for some additional comfort.

AirAsia X Wingview at Honolulu

A view out of the window with downtown Honolulu in the background.
AirAsia X A330 Legroom

The AirAsia X A330 offers decent legroom.

Just for reference, I suggest getting a seat in row 45 or further where, due to the narrowing of the fuselage, the layout becomes “2-3-2” rather than the quite cramped “3-3-3.”

At 4:06PM – six minutes after the scheduled departure time – the Captain announced that we’d be delayed about 20 minutes as they were still finalizing paperwork. By this time, the aircraft was about 60-70% full, and there was no one else in my row of three seats.

While in this case, I was lucky, for selected fares, it seems like AirAsia X also let’s its passengers bid for an “ESO” (Empty Seat Option). In that case, for a fairly affordable extra charge, you can get a guaranteed row of three seats.

AirAsia X Economy Class Cabin

Economy class cabin – notice the aisle that becomes wider from row 45.

Departing Onboard an AirAsia X A330-300

The aircraft doors were finally armed at 4:19PM, followed by a welcome announcement.

Push back followed at 4:23PM. As we were being pushed back, the crew made an announcement that it was not allowed for passengers to congregate near toilets or anywhere in the aircraft throughout the flight.

Then, the purser went on to introduce the crew – after which all the crew members bowed to the passengers, and started getting ready for the manual safety demonstration.

We started taxiing at 4:28PM, and twelve minutes later, we took off from the “Reef Runway.” While some excellent views of Waikiki and Diamond Head were offered, I was unfortunately unable to get any pictures as I was sitting in the center section rather than in a window seat. Lesson learnt!

AirAsia X Economy Class In-Flight Service

The seatbelt signs were switched off a bit more than 15 minutes after take-off, and the crew announced that the meal service (buy-on-board, of course) would follow, and that consumption of meals and drinks brought onboard was not allowed.

AirAsia X No Outside Food Allowed On Board

No outside food allowed on board.

First, snacks and drinks were offered.

Then, the crew distributed pre-ordered meals.

Finally, the meals were also offered to the rest of the passengers. There was a special menu just for the Hawaii flights, as well as a more general one which (I suppose) they offer on all AirAsia X flights.

AirAsia X Meal Menu

Meals available in both directions.
AirAsia X Meal Menu Kansai Honolulu

Meals only available on the Kansai to Honolulu segment.
AirAsia X Meal Menu Honolulu Kansai

Meals only available on the Honolulu to Kansai segment.

All of the meals were priced at 16 USD – a fairly bad cost-performance compared with snacks and cup noodles in the 2~5 USD range. However, I decided to try the “Kung Pao Shrimp with Japanese Rice” for the sake of this review. And also as it looked fairly tasty on the picture.

AirAsia X Kung Pao Shrimp

“Kung Pao Shrimp with Japanese Rice” for 16 USD.

After opening the meal, I was surprised (or not so surprised) to see something that looked nothing like the meal on the picture. In spite of that, however, it was fairly tasty. The only complaint I’d have (besides the presentation and price) would be the portion size. The next time, I will just go for cup noodles for 3 USD. Or two cup noodles for… Well, 6 USD – still 10 USD less than the “real” meals.

AirAsia X Kung Pao Shrimp

Not exactly looking like the picture…

Uneventfully Cruising Towards Japan

The rest of the flight was completely uneventful.

Every once in a while, the crew passed the aisles to sell drinks and collect garbage – and to offer IFE devices for rental. To learn more about the device (which is provided for free to business class passengers), see my report of the flight to Honolulu.

Personally, I spent most of the time working on some articles and reading a book – Invisible Influence – that I grabbed at Honolulu airport. If business, behavioral economics, and things like that interest you, I can only recommend it!

On the other hand, if you would prefer to get some sleep, you might want to look into bringing a travel pillow with you.

Going back to the flight, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, I also took a closer look at the seat pocket contents.

AirAsia X In-Flight Magazine

Contents of the seat pocket.

At 6:24PM Japan tim, the crew announced that we had two hours left until landing in Osaka, and that they still had some meals left – which they would start offering again soon.

Having learned my lesson from the first meal service, this time, I decided to go for spicy cup noodles and a bottle of ice tea – for 5 USD, or one third of the shrimp meal I mentioned above.

AirAsia X Cup Noodles

Second round – cup noodles and tea – 5 USD total.

Arriving at Osaka Kansai Airport

After the second meal service, the crew went around offering duty free items.

At 7:12PM, more than an hour before landing, the cabin lights were dimmed, and ten minutes later, the local time in Osaka was announced together with the fact that the inflight sales would be closing within minutes.

Half an hour later, the cockpit crew came on the PA, mentioning that we would be touching down in Osaka at 8:25PM. This was followed by an announcement by the cabin crew instructing the passengers continuing to Kuala Lumpur to get off board with all belongings and proceed to the departure gate as shown on the airport screens.

Soon after, we started descending, and at 8:04PM, the seatbelt signs were switched on. A minute later, the crew thanked the passengers, and bowed.

Gear was lowered at 8:23PM, and just four minutes later – at 8:27PM, we landed at Kansai airport’s runway 6R. The taxi took another ten minutes, and at 8:36PM, we parked at our arrival gate.

I got off the AirAsia X A330, proceeded onto the (freezing) automated mover that took me into the main terminal, cleared the immigration and customs, and found myself a spot in the terminal to spend the night at before taking a Starflyer flight back to Tokyo the next morning.

AirAsia X A330-300 Economy Class Honolulu – Osaka Summary

Overall, AirAsia X provided a perfectly fine experience for the low price that I paid. While I cannot judge the comfort on a regular flight, with the aircraft half-empty and having a full row to myself, the flight I took couldn’t have been more comfortable.

Also, the buy-on-board items that AirAsia X offers are reasonable, and the meal that I had was tasty. Although personally I believe the cup noodles present much better value than the actual meals.

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