Asia,  Korea

Asian Budget Airlines Korea/Japan

This blog post will be about the things I wish I knew before I went on an Asian Budget Airlines from Tokyo to Seoul. This also will act as a review. I went to Seoul 2 times from Tokyo and both times were adventures, to say the least. Because these are budget airlines, even though you can save a lot of money (can be up to hundreds of dollars) most times, it can be an inconvenience. You win some, you lose some right? The two airlines that I used was Peach Aviation and T’way air.

*Disclaimer – I’m personally 5’0 feet so I usually have no problem with seat and feet space so I can get pretty comfortable in planes. A lot of times, budget airlines have small leg space and I know it can really affect the flight of someone who’s taller. Just always remember that everyone has different experiences on budget airlines.

Peach Aviation – Japanese Asian Budget Airlines

Peach Aviation Peach is an Asian Budget Airlines airline based in Japan. Peach is one of the popular airlines within the budget airlines community. They use Haneda Airport which is much more convenient than Narita so that was already a plus. You can save money and time by just using Haneda. My flight was 45,620 yen which is about $212 converted, round trip. We booked this flight for 4 months in advance to go at the end of February.

Outbound to Seoul: MM809

The only flight that peach operates to Seoul leaves at 01:45am or 01:55am (depending on the day). Mine was the 01:55am. So even though technically the flight was on Sunday, it felt more like Friday. It is recommended to go early and arrive 3-2 hours before the flight just in case anything happens. From my dorm in Nishi Waseda, it took us about an hour to Haneda, vs the 2 hours it would have taken to go to Narita. It costs about 500 yen to get to Haneda through the local line, but it also depends on where you are. I used the Yamanote Line and Keikyu Main Line.

Peach air flight info 
Asian Budget Airlines
Our flight information

Buying the tickets

When buying the tickets, we paid extra for seats and a piece of extra luggage for the way back. Baggage is always extra for any Asian Budget Airlines. Carry on baggage allowance is up to 2 items including personal belongings and/or baggage. So this means everything that you are holding has to be under 7.0k, so about 15 pounds. They actually weighted our mini suitcase to make sure that it was under 7kg. We bought our extra luggage a day before the flight online and it was 2,000 yen. If you want to see more information on how much extra each thing costs click here for the official website with charts.

The reason why we only bought one checked luggage was in the case that we bought stuff in Seoul that may be heavy and we didn’t want to accidentally go over the 7kg carry on limit on the way back to be safe. We also didn’t want to worry about our luggage on the way back, and we just ended up putting in barely anything in the mini suitcase on the way there, and stuffed it up on the way back.

We also paid extra for seats going and coming back since we wanted to guarentee that we would would be sitting next to each other. Each seat was 600-800 yen so about 5-7 dollars, depending on the seat, like window seat or not. The link from earlier also states the extra costs.

Peach budget airlines weight limit
Asian Budget Airlines
Peach Carry on weight limit

Check In At Haneda

Even though this was the only flight that Peach does, I think the time wasn’t too bad. On the same Friday, I was able to have a whole hangout with my friend in Kichijouji and then spent the evening packing with my friend who was going with me. It felt like I had used my day well.

Me and my friend didn’t have any problem for checking in and we were quickly able to find it and check in together. The staff are all Japanese and were very polite and spoke to us in Japanese (we were both exchange students so it was great to practice!)

On the official website, they do say that Peach check-in & arrivals point is different from other airlines and to please check the location before you go to the airport. They also say to complete check-in procedures before the stated deadlines which for international flights, check-in closes 50 minutes before scheduled departure time.

The flight

The flight its self was very straight forward. The flight attendants weren’t seen as much and there’s really nothing special. No food, no in-flight movie. But its a budget airline so you get the price you paid for. The only problem was that it seemed that they kept on broadcasting and talking through the loudspeaker and it was repetitive and annoying. I was able to sleep through most of it but my friend wasn’t able to sleep too much. Because we would arrive in Seoul at 4:35 am, it was important to get a little bit of sleep during the flight or taking a nap before heading to the airport since it would end up with your first day in Korea with no sleep.

Even though Peach says the flight time is 2 hours and 40 minutes its actually much shorter and the time actually flighting was about 2 hours. The extra 40 minutes were waiting to take off and waiting to get off the plane.

I personally liked Peach Airlines for its price and staff. They’ve never been late for me or canceled my flights. I have nothing to really complain about. I have only flown with them two times, another time being when I went to Taiwan, and that had no problems either.

Arriving in Seoul

Because the flight was an early morning flight, we arrived at around 5am, immigration wasn’t too long since that was the only flight coming into the airport, and before we knew it, we were all through immigrations. We were basically on one of the first trains to Seoul since its not a 24-hour operation. The train ride from the airport to Seoul station was so beautiful and the sunrise made the sleepless flight worth it in my opinion.

Because we arrived so early, we found that a lot of the stores weren’t open until noon so we just relaxed in a Starbucks until noon so we can visit stores and shops, and drop off our luggage at our Airbnb. The morning time in Gangnam was so peaceful and so quiet. Perfect time to explore the quiet mornings of Seoul!

Gangnam in the morning
Empty Gangnam street

Inbound to Tokyo MM808

The flight was at 10:45pm so we were able to spend most of the day looking around Seoul and spent the afternoon prepping to go back home. The train ride from Seoul station to the Airport is about 30 minutes so getting there was easy and gave us enough time to enjoy and relax the whole day.

Check in at Incheon

I remember that it was quite difficult to find the check-in counter but that’s because peach doesn’t really have their own counter and their check-in time was late so we had to wait a little bit before actually checking in. It wasn’t too much of a problem though.

The flight

The flight was the same as the outgoing flight. 2 hours and 40 minutes. And before we knew it, we were back in Tokyo. The only problem was getting back to central Tokyo. Because the flight arrived in Tokyo at around 1am. The flight is also much faster and is about 2 hours because the plane is going with the earth’s rotation. But in reality, the flight was even shorter and we were actually only flying for about an hour and a half.

Getting Home

Haneda is directly connected by two train lines; The Tokyo Monorail and the Keikyu Line. But these two train lines stop running at around 12am so everyone on our flight would not be able to make the last train. You also have to consider the time it takes for people to get through customs and immigration. We also had the checked luggage and that was another thing we had to wait for. If you really want to save money, you can wait at Haneda airport for the first train back. The airport is 24 hours so it technically shouldn’t be a problem, but it isn’t recommended. We were exhausted and just wanted to be back home in our beds.

Haneda Airport Limousine routes 
Asian Budget Airlines
Haneda Airport Limousine routes

Luckily, Haneda has a few late-night bus options for passengers. Usually the one flights departing or arriving this late are budget airlines. The last regular Airport Limousine Bus leaves from the International Terminal around 11:30pm, getting you to central Tokyo in about 35-90 minutes. The counter to buy the tickets were right by the arrivals gate and is very straightforward, and lists all the buses that are still available. If you don’t know which one to buy, the staff is there to help you. Unfortunately, I can’t link the timetable right now since COVID has affected the bus times and website, but this is their website.

Regular limo-buses cost around 1250 yen per person, but with the late-night bus service, it was 2,060 – 2,260 yen depending on where you are going. There are two to three buses that service late-night arrivals, typically departing at around 1am or 1:40am, and again around 2am. We were able to get outside at around 1:35, so it took us about an hour to get through customs and everything. It was 10 minutes until the 1:40 bus but it seemed like it was full, so we bought the 2am tickets that was heading towards Ikebukuro. If you miss that last 2am bus, your only option is a taxi or to wait for the first train. Be aware that since trains stop running around the same time if the bus doesn’t drop you off at close to your accommodation, you’ll probably need to get a taxi the rest of the way. Luckily, our dorm was a walkable distance from where the bus dropped off, which was Higashi-Shinjuku Station. We just walked around 20 minutes at around 3am. Tokyo is very safe to walk at that time, so do not worry.

Recap:

– Go to the airport early the night before, try to get some sleep before the flight or during the flight or you’re going to end up super tired by the end of the first day of your trip
– Check-in for peach is different from regular check-in, go early to make sure where it is located.
– Plan on how you’re getting back home from the airport at around 2am since there are no trains running and the buses are limited.
Options include the airport limousine bus service, taxi, or waiting for the first train.
-Remember you are getting on a budget airlines, the service wont be the best.

Olympics park I seoul u sign
First time in Seoul

T’way Air: Korean Asian Budget Airlines

This Korean budget airline usually has the best deals, but you will need to get all the way to Narita for it. That’s usually an extra 1,000 yen ride there plus an hour extra to get to Narita then Haneda. Flights leave at noon and in the evening. Personally I thought that peach airlines were much kinder but T’way is much cheaper so I shouldn’t be complaining right? I have been on worse budget airlines, (cough cough flybe) so T’way’s service was okay.

Outbound to Seoul TW214

The tickets that I bought were $204.49. (Not sure how much in yen since it charged to my card through USD) But it wasn’t as much as a change from peach and is the more expensive tickets within T’way. Even though T’way is known to be cheaper in the budget airlines, I got regular-priced tickets within the budget airline averages.

Buying the ticket

I know T’way tickets can go as low as $100 dollars round trip and I saw some of my friends do so. But I had to go on a specific weekend since I was meeting friends from New York there, I wasn’t able to be too flexible with the dates. The more flexible you are, the better tickets you can find. It also didn’t help that my flight was on the weekend, which is usually when the tickets are the most expensive.

T'way flight information
Budget Airlines
My T’way flight infomation

Check in at Narita

Honestly, getting Seoul was a Journey. I thought that the time for both outgoing and inbound was perfect since it wasn’t too late or too early, but I was wrong. Since the trip was a weekend trip, I attended school in the morning/afternoon (and bragged to my friends I’m going to Seoul that night haha) and then packed and headed to Narita.

The local line to narita is 1,220 Yen, but you can opt for a speeder skyliner which is a little bit pricer, which is about 1,700 yen but takes you there faster. It takes 2 hours from central Tokyo to Narita so always make sure for the time. I personally forgot that it takes so long to get to that airport, so I was already running a little late.

Once I got to Narita, it was lowkey hard to find the check in since like peach, they dont have their own check in booths. And once I checked in, we had to go a completely different gate to get to our plane.

After going to a completely different gate then the rest of the airport, we had to get to the plane by a shuttle bus going through the whole airport. The process of boarding on kept on getting delayed and we were about 20 minutes delayed. When getting on into the plane, we had to get off the shuttle bus and walk outside to enter the plane. With all these delays, I didn’t think this was much of a problem since it wasn’t too much time, but O boy I was so wrong. These 20 minutes affected EVERYTHING (keep reading and you’ll find out).

Getting on the T’way Plane

The flight on an Asian Budget Airlines

The flight its self was normal, nothing too special, the staff was all Korean and had normal service. It was basically what you would expect from a budget airline. It was the same layout as in peach airlines, no food, no in-flight entertainment, and not a lot of service from the flight attendants.

Arriving in Seoul

The flight was supposed to land at around 10:40pm and I researched beforehand that the last train to seoul was at around 11:30. I knew this was going to be tight, but I thought I was able to make it, but I couldn’t. Because of the delay, by the time I got out, it was around 12am and I had missed the last train. Luckily Incheon airport has wifi, so I was able to look up how to get to my Airbnb as I took my friends who were already in Korea for the past 2 weeks that I was arriving Friday night.

But even looking up the way, it wasn’t that helpful. There were barely any buses that run past 1am and the rides were about an hour from the airport. Since I was alone and didn’t know any Korean, I didn’t want to risk ending up lost. I decided to take a nap at the airport lobby until the first train which is around 4am. This isn’t really recommended, but this is what I ended up doing. I was super hungry so I ate at Lotteria before the nap. I found a bench and went to sleep at around 1:30 hoping to get about 3 hours of sleep

At around 3am I got rudely awoken by Korean Ahjussis (korean old men) screaming. I got so scared since I thought something had happened at the airport but turns out I just happened to sleep next to the tv without noticing and there was a soccer match that the whole airport was watching and screaming at. AT 3AM. What a night. But after furiously waking up and waiting another hour and a half, I was able to hop on the first train to Seoul station, to Dongdaemun, where my airbnb was, and was successfully able to meet with my friends.

Dongdaemun I seoul u sign
Second time in Seoul!

Outbound Flight to Tokyo TW 217

I didn’t have any problems and the time of the flight was perfect. We headed to the airport early to make sure nothing happened and we had kfc right before checking in. We checked in at around 1pm for my 3pm flight. Unlike Peach, which the flights were at the night, the shops were mostly closed, all the stores and restaurants were open. By my gate, there was a Baskin robins so it was nice to have a few scoops of ice cream before saying goodbye to my friends going back to NYC while I go back to Tokyo.

The gate wasn’t any place different like in Narita and was very quick and easy to find, and there were no delays and was very smooth.

I left Seoul at 3pm, and in two hours, and by 5:25pm I was already on the ground back in Tokyo. The flight, like peach was much faster and is said to be 2 hours and 25 minutes but in reality, the flight was even shorter and we were actually only flying for about an hour and a half. Since the time we came back was at a normal time, I was able to use the local trains back to my dorm. I didn’t have any classes on Mondays so coming back by the evening of Monday and resting for the night and going to school the next morning was just fine.

Tips to travel to Korea on a Asian Budget Airlines

– Be prepared to have delays on your flight
– The gate to enter is located far from the actual airport, go to the gate earlier then what you think is needed.
– To enter the plane from Haneda you use a shuttle bus and enter the plane from the outside. (no indoor ramp)
– Plan on what will you do if you miss the last train to Seoul (very possible if your flight gets delayed)
-Remember you are getting on a budget airline, the service won’t be the best.


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Some Useful Sources when traveling to Korea:

My Korea posts: Pennyless Travels Korea posts
Youtube Channel: Just Coneys Corner
Food/Travel Instagram: @coneystravel
General Toursim information: Vist Korea
Korea subway Map: Seoul Metro
Best e-sim card for Korea: Airalo
Airport pickup pocket wifi: 4G Pocket WiFi


To Buy Discount tickets for attractions:

Klook.com
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