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Really frustrated with JAL, lack of communication, and delays (DEL-NRT)

Really frustrated with JAL, lack of communication, and delays (DEL-NRT)

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Old Feb 25, 19, 2:04 pm
  #1  
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Really frustrated with JAL, lack of communication, and delays (DEL-NRT)

This is my first time on a JAL flight, and based on the highly positive feedback from forum members and from others, Iíve been really looking forward to flying DEL-NRT (C) and NRT-LAX (F).

However, todayís flight (so far) has been a case study for how to anger passengers.

The flight arrived approximately 6 PM. I arrived at the gate at 7:50 PM for departure at 8:20.

Around 8:05, there is an announcement for an indefinite hold (updated time of departure now 9:15 PM). No information was provided about the hold by the JAL outstation members (I did ask and they mentioned there was a mechanical issue, but didnít provide more information).

About 9:00 PM, the JAL head at DEL explained the situation - there was a lightning strike on the NRT-DEL leg and the earliest that Boeing could check on the plane was approximately 6 hours later. The head also mentioned that he was going to work to find a hotel for people to stay at. Knowing this, I asked if there were alternate options (ANA to NRT, AI to KIX via HKG, CX to KIX via HKG), but the flights were claimed full (even though on the CX leg, I saw availability left).

No information was provided until about 10:15 PM, at which time a delay document was provided. I donít believe there was an announcement of the same, but Iím willing to give some benefit of the doubt. JAL indicated that they would put us up at The Grand, New Delhi. Another JAL rep mentioned that they would have us leave about 15 minutes later.

We kept getting delayed and the gate agents kept saying it would be 10-15 more minutes on a couple occasions. Ultimately ďboardingĒ to leave the airport took place about 11:45 PM, with the agent requesting that folks make lines corresponding the classes of service - but it was impossible to find where C was because the lines were jammed. I believe the reason for this delay came down to waiting for a response from the Indian government to give clearance for people to go back into the India side of the airport.

After that, one of the reps had us follow her, but she went down the wrong exit path and almost had us go through security again. In addition, a number of Prem Economy pax ended up ahead of the C pax because we were sent in the wrong direction. We were through the gate about midnight, into the bus around 12:30 AM, and at the hotel about 12:55 AM. As a result, most of the pax can expect to sleep less than 4 hours before having to leave for DEL again.

Current plan is to get an update around 4 AM, with probable (optimistic?) takeoff time around 8 AM.

Ultimately, I was bothered by a lack of planning (if the plane was struck by lightning, Iíd expect that after arriving at DEL it would be checked), a lack of empowerment (most of the main staff kept saying that there was nothing they can do to provide more information), a lack of taking charge, and a lack of consistent messaging (what to do about duty free items, picking up bags, etc).

Admittedly, Iím a bit short on sleep, so I donít have all the details, but if you have any questions, please let me know. So far I feel like Iíve ponied up the miles for a business-class experience and am getting coach-class service so far - which is disappointing given how good they usually are!
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Old Feb 25, 19, 3:10 pm
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That's outsourced ground handling for you!
kaka and Tokyoite like this.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 3:33 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by gmax58 View Post
Ultimately, I was bothered by a lack of planning (if the plane was struck by lightning, Iíd expect that after arriving at DEL it would be checked), a lack of empowerment (most of the main staff kept saying that there was nothing they can do to provide more information), a lack of taking charge, and a lack of consistent messaging (what to do about duty free items, picking up bags, etc).
You don't know when the lightning strike happened. It could have happened during landing which won't leave them much time for planning. They inspected the plane after landing and they wouldn't know the extent of the damage until this is complete. And if what they said is true, it means maintenance were not sure and they need Boeing to come inspect the plane to confirm it's safe to fly after the inspection. Not much they could have done at that point other than wait.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by JALPak View Post
You don't know when the lightning strike happened. It could have happened during landing which won't leave them much time for planning. They inspected the plane after landing and they wouldn't know the extent of the damage until this is complete. And if what they said is true, it means maintenance were not sure and they need Boeing to come inspect the plane to confirm it's safe to fly after the inspection. Not much they could have done at that point other than wait.
Thatís a good point you raise - while I wasnít aware of storms in the area, there definitely could have been (I noticed rain in the vicinity a couple hours before the flight). That said - I would prefer that it have been explained instead of waiting until 15 minutes before the flight and acting like itís a surprise. Youíre correct about maintenance not being sure of the extent of damage.
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Old Feb 25, 19, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by gmax58 View Post


Thatís a good point you raise - while I wasnít aware of storms in the area, there definitely could have been (I noticed rain in the vicinity a couple hours before the flight). That said - I would prefer that it have been explained instead of waiting until 15 minutes before the flight and acting like itís a surprise. Youíre correct about maintenance not being sure of the extent of damage.
Gate agents probably don't know till maintenance gave them that info? May also need to wait for answers from the operations team in TYO.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 5:17 am
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To finish up the rest of the story:

We arrived at the Grand Hotel at 1 AM, and I was able to get a little bit of sleep (not much, though). The Grand Hotel was very well prepared for dealing with the crowd when we arrived. They even had a small buffet, but more than enough to help the passengers feel a bit better. (For that I think the credit goes to one of the pax, who I believed worked for JAL!)

We found out that the bus was to go out at 6 AM for departure at 9:30 AM, and that ground experience was a little more routine. Ultimately we were delayed 13 hours so we ended up missing the last Shinkansen to make our hotel reservations; I plan to request trip delay reimbursement through the credit card company or through JAL.

Once onboard, the JAL crew was generally very good to excellent, as was the crew upon getting to baggage claim and customs. I stand by my statement that the ground crew at DEL ranged between incompetent and useless, and the crew at DEL are a huge step down from the quality of the rest of the crew (based on my small sample size).
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