Airline review: Peach.
Peach is Japan’s first (but not only) true LCC (low-cost carrier) airline, with hubs at Osaka (Kansai International), Tokyo (Narita), and Naha, but flying to 17 destinations within Asia, including Seoul. It was founded in February 2011, and took up operations in March 2012, and since then has been a popular choice for cheap flights. But what’s it like to actually fly with them? Let’s review.
One of the most attractive things about Peach is their low-cost. Much like the LCC’s of Europe (EasyJet and Ryanair), Peach offers a “no frills” approach to getting you from A to B. This means seating is basic and you pay extra to book seats (more for emergency door seating), there’s food but you pay extra, and service isn’t as attentive as it would be with say ANA. I’ve found that the earlier you book, the cheaper it is, but they also do regular sales on flights to their popular destinations (Tokyo for example) and these can be an absolute steal. I also like that in certain places they offer added extras, such as onward travel by train (from Narita airport to central Tokyo is long and can be expensive, the discounts offered on the flight are pretty good).
In this instance, it really is “you get what you paid for”. Don’t expect oodles of leg room and über comfy seats, and you won’t be too disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t terrible, but if you’re used to flying high quality airlines such as ANA or JAL, this will seem like “slumming it” somewhat.
Again, it isn’t on a par with the big carriers, but it isn’t awful either. The staff are mostly still really polite and helpful, with most speaking a decent amount of English (and with some multilingual speakers). My biggest issue so far with Peach is that they aren’t too great at communicating with their passengers about delays. On a recent trip from Taipei, the flight was initially delayed about an hour, but only one announcement was made and it was hard to hear. In the end, the flight was almost three hours late, the gate was changed with no communication (thankfully only to a gate close by), and with only a further one or two scratchy announcements the entire time. Cue lots of frustrated passengers constantly hassling the staff, and you’ve got for a miserable wait.
Peach flies to destinations in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, and has talked about plans for destinations in Vietnam and other parts of South-East Asia. The cheapest way to book is through their website www.flypeach.com or through price comparison site www.skyscanner.net. They offer two types of fares; “Happy Peach”, designed for budget travellers unlikely to change their travel arrangements, and “Happy Peach Plus”, for travellers who may need some flexibility in their ticket, with no time restrictions and no extra fees for changing the booking (aside from the difference in price). It also includes free seat reservation and one free checked bag (on “Happy Peach” both of these services cost extra).
Overall, they really aren’t a bad little airline. They certainly make exploring South-East Asia that much more affordable, and if talks of further destinations are to be believed, the continent will be even more affordably accessible.