First low-cost Asian airline cleared for flights to the U.S.
Get ready to squeeze on board for low-cost flights between the U.S. and Asia, CNN reports.
Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia says it's gotten the all clear from U.S. authorities to fly its jetliners to American airports -- the first low-cost Asian airline to do so.
Founded by charismatic businessman Tony Fernandes, AirAsia pioneered the low-cost model in Asia, delivering rapid growth as it undercut bloated legacy carriers in the region with its no frills approach.
The U.S. flights will be operated by its long-haul affiliate, AirAsia X, which currently focuses on destinations in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.
The airline says it's considering flights to several U.S. states including Hawaii. It's hoping it will have more success in the U.S. than it did in Europe, where it abandoned flights to London and Paris in 2012 because of weak demand.
For U.S. travelers who are willing to pass up some of the comforts of international flights, AirAsia's services could offer a cheaper route to Asia.
AirAsia X operates a fleet of Airbus A330-300s fitted out with 365 economy seats and -- for those willing to spend more -- 12 "premium flatbeds," a kind of low-cost business class. Economy passengers currently pay extra for things like meals and baggage allowance.