Innovations That Matter

No-frills chic takes flight in Japan

Mobility & Transport

Like JetBlue, the U.S. carrier that first brought no-frills chic to air travel, Japanese StarFlyer combines low cost with high quality. “Blazing through the world like a comet,” StarFlyer’s homebase is the new airport of western port city Kitakyushu. Flights currently run between Kitakyushu and Tokyo (90 minutes), but the airline is planning to expand to more regional destinations, as well as international destinations such as Seoul and Shanghai. Sleek, black and white and sexy, the airline’s look was designed by Flower Robotics, a Japanese design firm that specializes in robotics and architecture. Instead of fitting in the maximum of 170 passengers in their Airbus A320 aircraft, StarFlyer stopped at 144 seats, creating extra legroom and comfort. Each roomy, all leather seat also has its own LCD monitor for in-flight television, and a laptop power port. (For a not entirely serious aircraft tour, watch this video on YouTube.) If you don’t have a few billion yen starting capital lying around, no worries. Our point is that the combination of low cost and high style can be applied to everything. Whether it’s the Ginger hotel chain in India, or Viktor & Rolf designing for H&M. For a wide range of examples, check out’s coverage of no frills chic. Oh, and if you do happen to have, say, 130 million dollars to spare (JetBlue’s start-up capital in 2000), please note that Europe is impatiently waiting to board its own cheap-chic jets. Ryanair and easyJet soon won’t cut it anymore 😉


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