On January 2, 2024, a Japan Airlines Airbus A350 and Japan Coast Guard Bombardier DHC-8 tragically had an accident at Tokyo Haneda Airport, whereby they collided on the runway. Well, this is giving Japan Airlines passengers quite some flexibility…
In this post:
Japan Airlines offers free ticket changes & refunds
Japan Airlines has announced a new flexible ticket policy, following the accident that happened a couple of days ago. As the airline explains:
We regret to inform you that on the evening of January 2nd (Japan time), JL516 was involved in a collision with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft during its landing at Haneda Airport, resulting in a fire on the runway. In consideration of the impact of this accident, we will accept booking changes or ticket refunds without any fees for customers who have a booking on our flights.
Japan Airlines is offering full ticket flexibility, including changes and refunds, with the following restrictions:
- You must request a booking change or refund by January 31, 2024
- You must have a ticket for travel by March 31, 2024
- This applies to all Japan Airlines flights, including codeshare flights, and flights booked through other airlines
- For international flights, you can request a full refund of your ticket, as long as you make the request at least three hours before departure, or you can request a one-time booking change without any fee to an alternate flight with travel by April 20, 2024
- For domestic flights, you can request a full refund of your ticket, as long as you make the request at least 20 minutes before departure, or you can request a one-time booking change without any fee to an alternate flight within 30 days of your original ticket
Hmmm, this is an interesting policy…
Typically we see airlines offer ticket waivers in situations where there’s bad weather or social unrest at a destination. Even then, you typically only have the flexibility to change your ticket, and not to get a full refund.
Admittedly airlines don’t have major accidents leading to a hull loss often, so it’s possible I’m not remembering correctly. However, I don’t think this is something that we’ve often seen in the past, so this seems extremely generous?
To me it raises a curious question — is it unethical to use a policy like this to get a refund if you’re not actually “scared” of flying with Japan Airlines? For example, if you booked a ticket and your plans change, should you use this to get a refund?
On the one hand, I think Japan Airlines is being very generous here, to give those who are scared an alternative to taking their flight. On the other hand, the airline isn’t stating that you need to be scared to fly in order to use this waiver, but is just offering additional flexibility, without the need for a customer to provide any explanation.
There’s another interesting angle here that I’m curious about both logistically and ethically. For those of us who are booked on Japan Airlines between New York and Tokyo on the Boeing 777-300ER, it sounds like we’d be able to switch to potential days that are operated by the Airbus A350-1000, featuring the carrier’s new cabin products?
The airline states that customers who purchased tickets through another airline should contact the airline where they purchased the ticket for changes. So would American be able to change an AAdvantage award through a liaison, or how exactly would that work?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is thinking about all of this, so I’m curious where OMAAT readers stand on this topic.
Japan Airlines has introduced a very generous flexible ticket policy, whereby you can refund or change your Japan Airlines ticket, in light of the recent accident. I don’t recall other airlines having a blanket waiver like this in the past following an accident, so this seems very generous.
Is it wrong to take advantage of this flexibility if you’re not scared to fly with the airline?