Thank You Japan Airlines! Japan Airlines refunds due to COVID-19
Japan Airlines refunds due to COVID-19 are, in my experience straightforward, fair and don’t take long to process. I would like to thank Japan Airlines for their responsible handling of the Coronavirus travel restrictions and flight cancellations. This goes to show that with so many airlines in Europe just hanging on to your money, there are others you can trust.
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Our Japan 2020 trip
In January 2020, I booked flights on the Japan Airline website. We would fly from Berlin to Tokyo in September 2020. Although we booked directly with Japan Airlines, our outbound flight would be Iberia and the return flight Finnair. Japan Airlines only operated direct flights from Frankfurt – a pricey 5-hour train ride from home.
Our plan was to spend a day in Tokyo, then take the Shinkansen to Fukuoka. We’d visit Nagasaki and a few ceramic villages. Then we’d amble back up to Tokyo via Kyoto, Harie and parts of the Kumano Kodo, visit more pottery villages and spend time in Tokyo. All within in 2.5 weeks. I also made reservations in my favourite ryokan in Tokyo, a hotel in Fukuoka on a special offer and a pilgrim lodge in Koya-san.
The confirmation was partially in Japanese and the website not the most straightforward. But we received our flight confirmations and all was well. Then came Coronavirus. As the months went on and Japan closed its borders to foreign citizens, we decided to sit it out. I visited the Japan Airlines website and felt reassured by the information there. It said flights affected by coronavirus could either be rescheduled or refunded upon application.
In early July, Iberia cancelled our Madrid to Tokyo flight, followed by silence. Cases were increasing in Europe. There was no reassuring noise from the Japanese Embassy about entering Japan for tourism. In late July we decided to cancel our trip and apply for a ticket refund. We didn’t want to reschedule. Who knows what will be next year? My job is reasonably safe but the coronavirus might bring unstable work conditions. My husband has just survived a second round of redundancies. There is no way we are able to commit on holidays for next year now.
Japan Airlines refunds due to COVID-19 were swift!
With a heavy heart, I logged into the Japan Airlines website. I am a member of the JAL Mileage Bank, which doesn’t necessarily make navigating the website easier. I located the section for “Special Handling for international tickets following the COVID-19 situation”. There, the conditions are clearly laid down. Right now, all flights leaving between February and October 2020 could be changed or refunded provided the ticket was issued before 11 June. I filled in a form which took less than 5 minutes, pressed “Send” and received immediate Email confirmation, which mentioned a refund may take up to two months to process.
Imagine my surprise when yesterday, I went through my credit card transactions and found that my credit card had been refunded the price for the tickets – only two days after application! SInce it was a larger amount, I highly appreciate the fair and transparent dealing of Japan Airlines with the current travel restrictions.
Japan next year?
We still really want to visit Japan. We have decided to postpone until sometimes next year. Probably in autumn again as not to clash with the Olympics – if they happen.
We will reassess the situation over New Year and book tickets once we have some idea when we can take leave. After this, there is no questions that I will book with Japan Airlines again given the fair policy of Japan Airlines refunds due to COVID-19. I just want to share this in the light of the complaints and media coverage of airlines refund policy in Europe. For now, here are some fun reasons to visit Japan. The pictures were taken on my trip in 2005. So they are a bit ancient now and not exactly the optimised Lightroomed super shots but I love them nevertheless.
My experience with European Airlines – and why I don’t make longer term bookings now
Like most travellers, I had some trouble getting a refund for flights cancelled by airlines – Easyjet, Ryanair and we have booked some Lufthansa flights which we will see about – whether they operate.
As summer holidays are about to end here in Germany and generally the holiday season in Europe is winding down, the numbers of cases are sharply rising and there is a lot of noise about new lockdown measures. I won’t be holding my breath over the one trip we’ve planned to see family, and our annual holiday which we have shrunk from three weeks to one and will book just a week or two ahead in the light of the coronavirus situation.
What is your experience with flight cancellation and refunds? Would you like a post on how I eventually managed to get refunds for my cancelled flights this year?
None of this content is sponsored by anyone. I booked and paid my Japan Airlines tickets using my personal funds, and this is a genuine personal recommendation.