Airline ticketing error

We got to the airport and checked in for our flight to Shanghai, connecting in Tokyo, this morning. But as Chris was looking at our boarding passes, he noticed that while both of our frequent flier numbers were noted on the passes, his status was mentioned and mine was not. So he told me to ensure that everything was correct by speaking to the gate agent. I went to the gate, which was being managed by contractors (well, they weren’t Japanese), and the gate agent said that it was a mistake on the American Airlines side, and that AA would need to correct this.

Well, that made no sense because this booking was done directly via Japan Airlines on their website, so how could this be a mistake on the part of American? I proceeded to call the American Airlines executive platinum desk to tell me what the JAL gate agent told me. The AA agent on the phone checked my ticket number and found out that my name was actually written incorrectly on the ticket (it noted my middle name as my first name and my first name as my middle name…), which was probably why my status was not showing up. This would also mean that my account would not get the frequent flier mile credit unless this was credited. AA couldn’t do anything to fix this and said that JAL would have to resolve this, but the only way they could do this is to reissue my ticket, which would likely cost money… if not the cost of a full ticket. Worst case scenario, I would just have to call AA after the trip and give them all the legs I flew to retroactively credit my account.

I argued back and forth with the JAL gate agent, then her supposed boss, and it was not a good experience. They never even once apologized for not being able to help me and continued to either blame me (well, Chris is the one who did the booking) and AA. I was so shocked to personally witness such rudeness and finger pointing on JAL’s part at AA for something they had nothing to do with. Chris quickly pointed out that they were not actually JAL employees but contractors, and that we’d instead get this resolved when we got to the JAL lounge in Tokyo.

And… that’s exactly what happened. When we arrived at the lounge, I explained the problem to JAL workers at the front desk, and they told me it *may* cost 5,000 yen, but they’d see what they could do to help. An hour later after multiple phone calls and online checks and balances, they not only fixed my name on my boarding pass and had the correct status noted on it, but they waived any and all charges and apologized for the inconvenience. The JAL front desk worker who was helping me had the biggest smile on her face when she found me to inform me and hand me my passport and new boarding pass. I almost wanted to jump up and hug and even tip her, but I knew that neither action would be considered appropriate or wanted.

This is one of the many, many reasons I love Japan Airlines and especially Japan: everyone is always so overly polite and helpful and will truly go above and beyond to ensure you, as a customer, are satisfied. So many cultures could learn from and benefit from their customer service and hospitality.

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