Thursday, September 24, 2009

Malaysia-to-U.S. Non-Stop Flights Closer To Reality


Sherman Oaks, California

Jaunted has published an exclusive -- but curiously quoteless -- interview with Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes, confirming the budget airline's plan to enter the U.S. market. Los Angeles and New York City are the target markets.

To show its commitment, Air Asia has painted an Airbus A340 in Oakland Raiders livery (pictured). The symbolism is important, because the A340 has the range to fly between Southeast Asia and the United States non-stop.

It's always better to have more options. Right now, the principal direct flight from LAX to Kuala Lumpur is a Malaysia Airlines flight (MH94/MH95) that stops in Taipei.

That being said, I'm ambivalent about budget travel across the Pacific. The flight between the West Coast and Southeast Asia is 14 to 17 hours. I'd rather pay more for some comfort, such as the Singapore Airlines flight or the late, lamented Thai Airways non-stop.

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