Asia is surging in popularity with Americans due to its affordable prices, completely foreign yet fascinating culture, and relaxed visa policies that benefit U.S. passport holders, but it’s not always the easiest continent to fly to, especially if off-path gems are on your radar.

If you’re based in Seattle, we have great news for you: Taiwan-based luxury airline STARLUX is coming to the city, launching nonstop flights to their Taipei hub, as well as one-stop routes to 6 other incredible Asian destinations that might appeal to the adventurer in you.

We hope you haven’t made plans for spring 2024 already, as the start date is August 16. Here’s everything you need to know:

Everything You Need To Know About The New One-Stop Flights To Asia From Seattle

STARLUX Airlines has been making quite the splash since its global launch last year: a Taiwan-based luxury airline, it first entered the market primarily serving destinations in Asia before adding the United States to its flight map.

The first U.S. cities STARLUX launched in were Los Angeles and San Francisco, not coincidentally, as these Californian metropolises are not only America’s gateway to Asia, but they are home to a high number of Asian-Americans, and that typically pushes up demand.

woman holding us passport waiting for a flight

Seattle is the third city to host STARLUX, with Taipei flights starting from August 17.

Through a partnership with Alaska Airlines, Seattleites and Americans residing in several other inland cities and as far away as New York on the East Coast will be brought closer to the Oriental World.

If you fly out of any of the airports listed below, you can now get to Asia with Alaska/STARLUX via Seattle:

  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Portland (PDX)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)

STARLUX is the only Taiwanese airline offering first-class seats, and trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this:

Business Class Seat In A STARLUX Airlines Aircraft
Image courtesy of STARLUX Airlines

Luxury Service Mid-Air

The A350-900s deployed on Trans-Pacific routes come with four first-class suites, with 60-inch doors that provide full privacy, 32-inch 4K flatscreens equipped with Bluetooth pairing, a spacious wardrobe, and our favorite, and zero-gravity seat settings that will make you feel as if you’re sleeping on a cloud.

The Business seats aren’t too shabby, either, arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration and seating 26 passengers. The 48-inch sliding doors close partially, and TVs are smaller (24-inch), but they still feature bluetooth audio and on-demand entertainment.

Plane Window At Sunrise

With inflight dining curated by chef Lam Ming Kin, known for adding a high-end twist to native Asian cuisine, including the exclusive Hutong Wagyu Bo Luo Bao (pineapple bun with black truffle butter), and other artisanal highlights, you’ll enjoy Michelin-starred dining mid-air.

Moving down to the 36-seat Premium Economy and 240-seat Economy Class, you should expect the classic 2-4-2 and 3-3-3 configurations, respectively. If you need more legroom and you can’t do without a comfy footrest, then you should definitely opt for the former.

Now, let’s have a look at the flight schedule:

Flight Schedule From Seattle To Taipei

Interior Of A STARLUX Airlines Aircraft
Image courtesy of STARLUX Airlines

From August 16, this is what STARLUX Airlines’ flight schedule from Seattle (SEA) to Taipei (TPE) will look like:

  • JX21 flight departs from Seattle at 2:10 a.m. landing in Taipei 5:10 a.m. on the next calendar date
  • JX22 flight departs from Taipei at 8:00 p.m. arriving in Seattle 4:15 p.m. on the same calendar date

Covering 6,075 miles, the Taipei-bound flight completes the journey in roughly 12 hours every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. Return flights to Seattle block at 11h15 and operate on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

traveler at airport flight board

We’re not exactly thrilled about Seattle’s suboptimal 2:10 a.m. departure time, but there’s nothing a well-spent overnight in a STARLUX luxury first-class cabin won’t fix. You’ll wake up in Taipei at 5 a.m. feeling like new.

How Much Does It Cost To Book?

Prices for Seattle-Taipei flights start from only USD $897 return in Economy.

Traveling in the lowest tier, you can bring one piece of hold luggage weighing 23kg and under.

Premium Economy allows you to bring two pieces of luggage onboard, and you have a complimentary seat selection.

STARLUX Exclusive Soap, Chic Business Class Design
Image courtesy of STARLUX Airlines

Business Class starts selling from $3,691, and finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for, a First Class seat averages a whopping $10,029.

We know this is a pretty long, strenuous journey, and breaking the bank before you even make it to Taipei will be no help, but don’t despair just yet:

Remember STARLUX has partnered with Alaska Airlines to improve connectivity between the inland U.S. and Asia?

If you have accumulated Alaska Mileage Plan miles and you’d very much rather travel in comfort, you can spend your mileage on a deluxe STARLUX experience.

Young Woman Enjoying A Meal From Her STARLUX Airlines Business Class Seat
Image courtesy of STARLUX Airlines

Tthis partnership allows you to use your Alaska miles to book a First or Business Class seat on Trans-Pacific flights, reducing the eye-watering airfares.

In order to get a good deal on Business or First, or even fly for free, it’s recommended to have at least 75,000 miles accumulated.

Regardless of where they’re flying in Asia with STARLUX, Americans will have a short layover in Taipei, Taiwan, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing:

Nonstop Flights to One Of The Most Exciting Cities In Asia

Taipei is one of the most exciting cities in Asia, and the capital of Taiwan, an independent Chinese island that, contrary to the mainland, has adopted more democratic values, and has cozied up to Western values in recent decades.

Busy Street In Taipei, Taiwan

Other than walking the vibrant, market-lined streets and admiring ancient temples, tourists can use Taipei as a starting point for exploring the island, full of natural landmarks and historic seaside villages with origins to lost to time.

From Taipei, passengers can connect to as many as 22 other destinations in Asia, including 10 in Japan. From the United States, mainly from Los Angeles, you can travel to the following Asian cities with a stopover in Taipei:

  • Phu Quoc, Vietnam
  • Hakodate, Japan
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Nagoya, Japan
  • Kumamoto, Japan
  • Clark, Philippines
  • Sendai, Japan
  • Cebu, Philippines
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Sapporo, Japan
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Fukuoaka, Japan
  • Singapore
  • Manila, Philippines
  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Da Nang, Vietnam
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Macau, SAR China
blonde woman looks at a temple in chiang mai thailand

Some of the destinations listed above, such as Tokyo and Singapore, host nonstop flights from the United States, usually via their own national carriers, so unless you’d like to couple those with a short visit to Taipei, it’s best you book directly with Japan or Singapore Airlines.

STARLUX is great, however, for reaching lesser-known destinations in Asia that are not typically served by mainstream Trans-Pacific airlines.

Straight from Seattle specifically, these are 6 other incredible destinations you can book full tickets with a stopover in Taipei, with departure times always set for 2:10 a.m:

Old Buddha In Sukhotai Historical Temple, Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, Southeast Asia

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is the cultural capital of Northern Thailand, a UNESCO-listed moated old city jam-packed with centuries-old temples, including the storied Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, with its towering golden stupa, and a foodie hotspot of the highest order.

One-way tickets from Seattle to Chiang Mai, with an 8h10 layover in Taipei, start from $541.30 on STARLUX’s website near launch dates. Following departure from Seattle, arrival in Thailand is set for 4:15 p.m. of the following day, local time, totaling over 24 hours of travel.

Historic Temples In Chiang Mai, Thailand, Southeast Asia

Cebu, Philippines

One of Southeast Asia’s last hidden gems, Cebu is a paradisaical Filipino island that combines vibrant city breaks (check out cosmopolitan Cebu City) and nature preserves (picture powder white sands licked by turquoise waters and untarnished jungles).

Flying from Seattle, you can find tickets for as cheap as $535.90 (return flights not included), with an even longer layover in Taipei, blocking at 10h50, which should give you plenty of time to do some exploring ahead of resuming your journey towards Cebu.

man looks at kawasan waterfalls on cebu island philippines

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

An eclectic metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) combines French colonial, stemming from the period of imposed European rule, Western, commonly associated with America’s capitalist influence on South Vietnam, and post-communist architecture.

At the same time, it is unequivocally Vietnamese, with late-night markets bustling with merchants, crazy colors, and chaotic traffic to accompany them.

It is where several of Southeast Asia’s most iconic landmarks are concentrated, including Notre Dame of Saigon, a Neo-Gothic church built by the French, the ill-famed Cu Chi Tunnels, used by communist combatants during the Vietnam War, and the Flamboyant Opera House.

Motobikers Riding Across The Streets Of Ho Chi Minh, A City With French Colonial Architecture In Vietnam, Southeast Asia

From Seattle to Ho Chi Minh City with STARLUX Airlines, your trip will include a brief layover in Taipei (2h40 mins), with the arrival time expected at 10:15 a.m. local time of the following day (total journey length of just over 18 hours).

One-way tickets average $526 flying Economy.

Da Nang, Vietnam

Moving up the Vietnamese coast, Da Nang is an up-and-coming resort destination with affordable oceanfront hotels that straddle turquoise waters, where overnight rates average a negligible $17, and mid-range eateries where you’re unlikely to be billed over $10 (even if you eat lavishly).

Young Woman Walking The Golden Bridge, A Famous Bridge Supported By Two Giant Hands Close To Da Nang, In Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

It’s a popular starting point for exploring Central Vietnamese nature, especially Ba Na Hills, where the viral giant hand-supported bridge is located.

Booking a one-way ticket to Da Nang through STARLUX, Economy tickets cost an acceptable $552.90 on launch dates this August, and the Taipei layover is one of the shortest at 1h45, for a total flight duration of 16h35.

Macau, SARS China

Vegas of Asia, anyone?

Macau Skyline, Special Administrative Region Of China

Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China, meaning it is part of China, but it’s responsible for several of its own internal policies and not bound to follow Beijing’s social market economy: it’s a lot more open, with more Westernized values.

Similarly to Hong Kong, it’s a ‘mini China’ for beginners, except it’s distinct for its Portuguese heritage: the Luso-Europeans had held Macau as a colony for several centuries, so don’t be surprised to still find Iberian-style churches, ruined convents, or Portuguese azulejos lying around.

Fortunately for Americans, unlike mainland China, they don’t need a visa to enter Macau, making a trip there much easier to organize.

Portuguese Colonial Structure Ruins Of St Paul In Macao, Special Administrative Region Of China, East Asia

On select August dates, there are two flight routes departing from Seattle at 2:10 a.m. and then connecting onward towards Macau, one with a 3-hour stop and another with a longer 11h25 layover (durations 16h50 and one day, 1 hour, and 10 minutes, respectively).

As for tickets, they start selling for $587.90 on August 17.

Hakodate, Japan

Sitting at the foot of a 334-meter-high mountain, Hakodate is one of the main cities in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island.

It’s famous for its steep streets winding around slopes, aerial gondolas, and the iconic Old Public Hall, a rare example of 20th-century Western architecture.

Coming from Seattle, your layover in Taipei is an estimated 6h50.

Your arrival in Hakodate is scheduled for 4:45 p.m., for a total journey length of 22h35. The second leg of the journey is Taipei to Hakodate. One-way Economy tickets start from $630.90.

Cable Car In Hakodate, Japan, East Asia

It’s worth noting there are countless flight combinations and possible pan-Asian routes available now that STARLUX has landed in Seattle: these seven are only an example of that.

If you’re using STARLUX to reach one of the secondary destinations on its network, we advise you to check its official website for up-to-date pricing and information, as the schedule for connecting flights can change until then.

Credit: Source link