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Help! ANA cancels flight, refuses to rebook unless called, but doesn't answer call

Help! ANA cancels flight, refuses to rebook unless called, but doesn't answer call

Old Sep 9, 19, 3:06 pm
  #1  
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Help! ANA cancels flight, refuses to rebook unless called, but doesn't answer call

So an award flight home was canceled not due to the typhoon but because as a side effect, the crew couldn't make it to the airport.

But ANA staff at NRT (this was an award on F via virgin) refused to do a rebook, saying you can only call. I call and give up at 2am local time after 90 minutes of listening to music.

How to get home? Virgin says it is up to ANA, which must put on first available flight but Virgin can't do anything about it. ANA is busy with lots of conceled flights so never answers the phone (I called US number, Japan number just hangs up on you). Cannot be done online and cannot be done by ANA staff at airport.

How to get a new flight, any thoughts? Is there a ticket office at the ANA HQ in Shiodome I could go to? It doesn't seem like it. It also can't be done online.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. United was automatically rebooking people, even those on ANA booked through United.

Last edited by RichardInSF; Sep 9, 19 at 3:23 pm
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Old Sep 9, 19, 4:27 pm
  #2  
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I don't think that the Shiodome office handles ticketing at all (there's no indication of it anywhere online). Have you tried the US or other international number, the Osaka city, or Kansai airport numbers? Those probably are less busy than the main or Tokyo lines. If you are still near Narita airport then ticketing staff (not others) should be able to help if you are willing to wait in line.

Given the size of the typhoon and the fact that access to the airport was cut off I'm not that surprised that the phone hold times and airport lines are long , but unfortunately the Japanese attitude to that is just to suck it up and get in line with everyone else.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 6:14 pm
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Have you tried using Skype to call the US / UK / Singapore numbers? Might be worth a shot.

Also if you're in Tokyo (not Narita) and don't want to go all the way back to NRT maybe try the ticketing counters at the HND international terminal — which should be a (relatively) quick subway / monorail ride depending on where you are
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Old Sep 9, 19, 7:23 pm
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Thanks for the suggestions. I should have made it more clear that my hours of hold time (where I ultimately gave up) were via Skype to the US toll-free number.

I have now sort-of resolved the issue: I've booked an available J award seat on UA from Haneda for tomorrow. That was simple and quick to do online and even though United clearly had the same issues as ANA, it was straightforward with plenty of availability Fortunately I had enough UA miles for that.

Ultimately, I will ask ANA for a mileage refund, something I allegedly can do now that I have a "cancellation certificate" from their website, although there is still some risk of all those miles being lost given ANA's attitude.

Maybe ANA thinks that if they suffer, so should all their customers and premium customers should be treated the same as everyone else. If so, that sucks. What would have stopped ANA from paying some overtime to have more phone agents available? How about allowing changes to be made online like other carriers do in this situation? And what about automatically doing a cancellable rebook on the first available flight like many carriers do?

I don't just do J award tickets, I also purchase them. But given this experience, I can see no reason to book them on ANA. If I want to fly ANA because it has better service, it's just as good to book a UA codeshare to protect against this very situation.
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Old Sep 9, 19, 7:27 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I should have made it more clear that my hours of hold time (where I ultimately gave up) were via Skype to the US toll-free number.

I have now sort-of resolved the issue: I've booked an available J award seat on UA from Haneda for tomorrow. That was simple and quick to do online and even though United clearly had the same issues as ANA, it was straightforward with plenty of availability Fortunately I had enough UA miles for that.

Ultimately, I will ask ANA for a mileage refund, something I allegedly can do now that I have a "cancellation certificate" from their website, although there is still some risk of all those miles being lost given ANA's attitude.

Maybe ANA thinks that if they suffer, so should all their customers and premium customers should be treated the same as everyone else. If so, that sucks. What would have stopped ANA from paying some overtime to have more phone agents available? How about allowing changes to be made online like other carriers do in this situation? And what about automatically doing a cancellable rebook on the first available flight like many carriers do?

I don't just do J award tickets, I also purchase them. But given this experience, I can see no reason to book them on ANA. If I want to fly ANA because it has better service, it's just as good to book a UA codeshare to protect against this very situation.
How would booking a codeshare help? For cancellations etc., rebooking is normally the responsibility of the ticketing carrier (FF program) acting as your travel agent before the day or departure or the operating carrier on the day of departure.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 2:14 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
How would booking a codeshare help? For cancellations etc., rebooking is normally the responsibility of the ticketing carrier (FF program) acting as your travel agent before the day or departure or the operating carrier on the day of departure.
What ANA actually says is that if you were booked by someone else, you should contact them. Maybe we are saying the same thing.

And it really happened; United people in the ANA lounge on that ANA flight were rebooked by United. Sometimes the pax were rebooked on a United flight, sometimes an ANA flight. It was only those who booked through ANA that were left stuck and helpless. Exception: if booked through Virgin, Virgin said that it was strictly up to ANA. So Virgin people were in the same sinking boat as the ANA people.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Maybe ANA thinks that if they suffer, so should all their customers and premium customers should be treated the same as everyone else. If so, that sucks. What would have stopped ANA from paying some overtime to have more phone agents available? How about allowing changes to be made online like other carriers do in this situation? And what about automatically doing a cancellable rebook on the first available flight like many carriers do?
Because waiting in line with everyone else is the Japanese way. ANA generally runs a good operation, probably overall better than United and many other major carriers, however, when a big disruption occurs at their main hub they just cancel everything and aren't sure what to do next. All the railway companies in Japan are the same way as well.

Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
What ANA actually says is that if you were booked by someone else, you should contact them. Maybe we are saying the same thing.

And it really happened; United people in the ANA lounge on that ANA flight were rebooked by United. Sometimes the pax were rebooked on a United flight, sometimes an ANA flight. It was only those who booked through ANA that were left stuck and helpless. Exception: if booked through Virgin, Virgin said that it was strictly up to ANA. So Virgin people were in the same sinking boat as the ANA people.
Just guessing, but the UA/NH joint venture, extensive codesharing, and staff experience probably makes it easier for UA and NH to rebook each others' tickets and book on each others' flights compared to other combinations.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 10:39 am
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Iíve been flying with ANA for about 15 years without any major issues on their part(Unitedís end is another story). This past April my wife and I flew SLC-SFO(UA)-NRT-NGO. After landing in SFO, I received an email from ANA stating my NRT-NGO flight had been cancelled. It provided no further info as to what was being done for us, or what I should do. I called their US number and sat on hold for my entire layover. Once I got someone on the phone, they put all of the responsibility on the Tokyo office. They said they couldnít do anything for me, but assured me that someone at Narita would be waiting for us with a solution. After stressing the entire flight, we arrived and no one was waiting for us. We went to multiple ANA counters, with no one willing to assist. It wasnít a question of a language barrier either as my wife is Japanese. We ended up at the domestic counter and at this point when we were told again it was our responsibility to figure out our own way to Nagoya, I was finally angry and asked to speak to a supervisor. At first the supervisor also told us it wasnít their problem and it was on us to figure things out, I told her I wasnít going to leave until she had a better solution. I listed all the people who had brushed us off and explained that I understood that flights get cancelled and if they had booked us on a later flight that day or even another day, I wouldnít be angry. They werenít even offering a refund on the cancelled segment. It would then be up to me to decide to pay for my own hotel(she repeatedly mentioned that they wonít pay for a hotel which was the least of my concerns), or decide to pay for a train. It was the lack of empathy at a problem I had not created, and their lack of interest in even trying to offer solution. All of the past flights I have had with ANA, they have always attempted to fix issues, even when UA was responsible, like when UA had somehow dunked my entire suitcase in water when their had been no rain at any point along the way which soaked my clothes and my suit that was for a wedding. ANA paid for my suit and clothes to be cleaned, and cleaned my suitcase. They said if I was t satisfied, they would buy me a new suitcase. In the end, after all of the employees who seemingly didnít care, the assurances that nothing could be done and no flights were available, we were put on flight scheduled to leave an hour after the original flight that had several empty seats. We sat on the runway for more than 2 hours, but we did make it to Centrair and to our hotel in Nagoya before midnight. It only happened due to my persistence and knowing if I was stubborn they would either have to help us, or I would keep bothering them. Iím not sure if our experience in April was a fluke, or if things have changed with the culture at ANA. My wife is upset with our treatment enough that she wants to try JAL for our next trip to Japan.
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Last edited by Bailey35mm; Sep 10, 19 at 10:54 am
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Old Sep 10, 19, 12:40 pm
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This problem has to do with different company operating policies and culture. I can think of 3 types based on my experiences:

Experience 1
- Before check in, its up to Reservations or Airport ticketing to look after your booking if anticipated (travel waiver) or actual IROPS occur
- After you are checked in, its up to airport operations to manage your rebooking. If IROPS occur they can rebook you.
- In my experience, this happens a lot of North American airlines

Experience 2
- Operating airline requires ticketing airline (or its travel agency) to rebook you. For example, 014 ticket stock must be rebooked by Air Canada.
- In my experience, this is very typical with Asian carriers and can be pretty frustrating experience. What I do is have their operating airline contact the ticketing airline reservations center directly and let them sort their differences out.

Experience 3
- Operating airline will only rebook you on their segment only.
- In my experience, mixed carriers with little relationship
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Old Sep 12, 19, 2:11 pm
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Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Maybe ANA thinks that if they suffer, so should all their customers and premium customers should be treated the same as everyone else. If so, that sucks. What would have stopped ANA from paying some overtime to have more phone agents available? How about allowing changes to be made online like other carriers do in this situation? And what about automatically doing a cancellable rebook on the first available flight like many carriers do?
Originally Posted by Bailey35mm View Post
Iím not sure if our experience in April was a fluke, or if things have changed with the culture at ANA.
As I've noted previously on this forum, unfortunately this is typical for Japanese service culture. IME it's more noticeable with premium cabin / luxury travel because of the greater discrepancy in treatment compared to what we are accustomed to.

Also, while many of my Japanese associates/colleagues seem to have a higher opinion of JL in this regard, I would remain skeptical.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by gengar View Post
As I've noted previously on this forum, unfortunately this is typical for Japanese service culture. IME it's more noticeable with premium cabin / luxury travel because of the greater discrepancy in treatment compared to what we are accustomed to.

Also, while many of my Japanese associates/colleagues seem to have a higher opinion of JL in this regard, I would remain skeptical.
For reference, a year ago when JAL took a delay on SIN-HND which would have caused a misconnect for their own flight onwards, I got an email, was on the phone with their call center to sort out options when I got a phone call from them. They not only gave me a few options, including going on an earlier flight, but they proactively offered to reserve a full row for me to make up for the inconvenience of having to go to the airport earlier.
This was in economy, on a low fare class (though admittedly as a oneworld top tier).

Night and day service experience. One data point only ;-)
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Old Sep 13, 19, 5:45 am
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Originally Posted by bpe View Post
Because waiting in line with everyone else is the Japanese way. ANA generally runs a good operation, probably overall better than United and many other major carriers, however, when a big disruption occurs at their main hub they just cancel everything and aren't sure what to do next. All the railway companies in Japan are the same way as well.



Just guessing, but the UA/NH joint venture, extensive codesharing, and staff experience probably makes it easier for UA and NH to rebook each others' tickets and book on each others' flights compared to other combinations.
This is all true. Richard, my friend, youíve been here so many times, Iím sure you know the Japanese way, even if you and many of us) donít like it. There is no flexibility here and very little preference given to anyone beyond the top 0.00001%.

Besides, NH, like most other airlines, is going downhill. Albeit even UA handles situations like this better.
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Old Sep 13, 19, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by MKE-MR View Post
For reference, a year ago when JAL took a delay on SIN-HND which would have caused a misconnect for their own flight onwards, I got an email, was on the phone with their call center to sort out options when I got a phone call from them. They not only gave me a few options, including going on an earlier flight, but they proactively offered to reserve a full row for me to make up for the inconvenience of having to go to the airport earlier.
This was in economy, on a low fare class (though admittedly as a oneworld top tier).

Night and day service experience. One data point only ;-)
JAL is generally regarded as having better service than ANA, but for a single delayed or canceled flight ANA would handle it well too (not really a fair comparison here). I don't know how JAL handed the typhoon and recovery but I suspect it wasn't quite as smooth as your experience.

Last edited by bpe; Sep 14, 19 at 1:46 am Reason: clarity
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