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Stranded in Japan update on DD's
Old 07-28-2016, 05:23 PM
  #1

First of all thanks so much for the good thoughts and well wishes. My DD's are home safe and sound. Their grandparents bought tickets for them to come home. They had to fly on another airline, but they are here.

Based on some of the posts I'm sure that some disagree with the decision to spend that much money, or feel that they should have known. You are definitely entitled to your opinion. However, according to someone from the airline this is a huge problem in Japan specifically with this airline. They overbook flights way more than industry standard practice and leave people stranded in the airport for several days or more. Unlike the US there are not multiple flights per day back to the US. There is one flight per day to each hub they fly to. There is a huge backlog of people trying to get home. When there are over 50 people on a standby list, that is a problem. Also, the airport closes at night and they were kicked out of the airport. There were people that had been stranded for four days trying to get home to the US. Had they known they could potentially be stranded for two weeks, which is what the airline said, they would not have gone. In my opinion, one night of being stranded is an adventure and a hazard of traveling, maybe even two but being stranded for potentially weeks is an issue. I'm happy and relieved with our family decision to fly them home, not matter the cost. Thanks again for the well wishes.


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Old 07-28-2016, 05:26 PM
  #2

I'm so glad that your dad's are safe and sound!

Thanks for the update!
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:33 PM
  #3

I am glad your daughters are home. I think I missed the original post so I am trying to understand. If I understand, they had tickets but there wasn't room for them on their flight. My son moved to Tokyo in June and so your story interests and concerns me. Were your daughters flying out of a major city?
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:33 PM
  #4

I would have done the same as the grandparents. There is no way I want my kids stranded on the streets of a far away place waiting for a ride home. At that point in the trip,most likely my kids would not have had very much money. Kids do not know the ins and outs of travel on standby at that age. Thank God your kids are home safe!
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Money
Old 07-28-2016, 05:44 PM
  #5

My cousin works for the airline so they were flying on two of his buddy passes. They have never had an issue of this magnitude before. Sure, they have had times when they couldn't get on a flight, but usually they were able to get a flight later that day.

They were flying out of Tokyo so it was a major airport. it was the very end of their trip so they were very low on money. I'm almost 50 years old and if someone told me that I had to stay in Japan for almost two weeks because every flight to the US was booked I would be freaking out too, especially if I don't speak the language and I'm low on money because it's the end of my trip! They were fortunate to meet an American family in the airport that was trying to get home too. They had been in the airport with their kids for two days. The dad spoke Japanese and he helped them so much! I wish I had a way to contact them and thank them for their kindness towards my DD's. I'm just glad they are home safe!


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Old 07-28-2016, 05:44 PM
  #6

Thanks for the update. So glad to hear all is well for your girls and your family.
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Old 07-28-2016, 05:55 PM
  #7

So glad that they are home safe! I love that they met angels in the airport just when they needed them!!
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Update
Old 07-28-2016, 05:59 PM
  #8

I'm glad that your daughters are home safe. They have been on my mind since you posted.

I would not want my children stranded in a foreign country either.
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:00 PM
  #9

So glad they are back home safe!
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Wow!
Old 07-28-2016, 06:29 PM
  #10

That is an adventure. Its good that they met a family that could help them cope while they were going through this. I know what those airline tickets from Tokyo can cost -- its wonderful that the grandparents were able to step in and buy the tickets for them.
There are so many "hidden" things when a person decides to travel. There are things it is assumed they understand or already know. There are things that companies don't want you to know. Language barriers add to the problems. This was just a learning experience for your family and for those you share this story with. I certainly appreciate learning this. I am glad this did not turn into a tragedy. My son would tell me that Japan has such a low crime rate, that those girls are fine... He's 20 and knows it all. Thankfully the crime rate there is different than here, but you just never know what could happen. I would have worried too.


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Old 07-28-2016, 07:43 PM
  #11

Who knew? I am so glad they are home safe and sound.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:42 PM
  #12

Glad they are home.
I was one who thought there was risk in flying standby --- but I was thinking a day or two.
Two weeks is freak-out worthy.
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Old 07-29-2016, 01:46 AM
  #13

Quote:
Also, the airport closes at night and they were kicked out of the airport.
I'm glad your DDs are back at home, and sorry you all had to spend so much for the additional tickets. But I don't understand the part quoted above. You mean the airport put them through entry immigration/customs and moved them out of the airport into the city? Without visas? How can they do that? I have never been to Japan, but I've traveled to Hong Kong and through South Korea, and you are not allowed to exit the airport transit area unless you have a visa. I'd be interested in knowing about this. Also, which airline?
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Old 07-29-2016, 02:33 AM
  #14

I'm so glad they made it back home safely! I would definitely have been freaking out had I been stranded there or had by kids been stranded there. How kind of the American family to help them as well! Now they have a great story to tell about the time they almost got stuck in the airport in Japan for two weeks.
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Tokyo Airport
Old 07-29-2016, 03:14 AM
  #15

A Tokyo airport closes at night? Really? This is NEWS to me. Which airport?

Also, for info for my upcoming trips, which airlines did they use? It'd be great to know to avoid issues myself.

I'm glad they are home.
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Old 07-29-2016, 03:25 AM
  #16

Glad to hear your DDs made it home safely. It's great they had help from an American family. I would have been nervous in a foreign country where I did not know the language(not a world traveler here). What an adventure!
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:29 AM
  #17

Good decision and I'm glad they're home safely!
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:35 AM
  #18

Thank you for the update. I too would have definitely been buying tickets to bring them home based on the info you updated with. Glad there here safe and sound.
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Japanese Airport
Old 07-29-2016, 05:22 AM
  #19

We got a crash course in traveling on a buddy pass with Delta. When you fly on a buddy pass you are automatically on the standby list. Seats are assigned by a priority system based on the seniority and position of the owner of the buddy passes. So for example, if you are the employee and you were hired in 2016 as a gate agent and you want to fly, you have less priority on a flight than someone hired as a gate agent in 2009. If you are a gate agent and a flight attendant wants to fly you would get bumped. If a pilot or his or her family member wants to fly, you are bumped to give that employee the seat. If you aren't the owner of the buddy pass, then you are technically allowed to fly with the priority of the employee. However, there was an American girl there whose dad is a pilot that kept getting bumped over and over from flights by people with less priority than hers. She was also very upset and tried to explain that she had higher priority than the people that were being allowed to board the plane. She said the gate agents didn't care and they weren't listening My daughter said one of their frustrations was that they couldn't tell how they were assigning seats. She said in the US and France there was a published list in the airport with last names that showed them where everyone was on the standby list. She said that didn't seem to exist in Japan.

They were in the Narita airport in Tokyo. The other airport in Tokyo, Haneda is about an hour away by train. When they were returning from Thailand they were told by my cousin the order of four different flights they could try and get on to come home. He was able to assign them a standby number and let them know how many people were on the list. He told them there was a flight from Haneda to Los Angeles that had almost 25 seats available so they were confident they could just take the train and get on that flight. Well, when flights out of Narita were completely oversold, everyone had the same idea and did the same thing, they began heading to the Haneda airport to get home. So by the time they arrived in Japan, all flights in both airports were overbooked with extremely long stand by lists (some with more than 50 people on them!)

Yes, they close the airport at 10:00 PM and it reopens at 7:00 AM. They were told they couldn't sleep in the airport by the gates and they would have to leave and come back. They had no place to go, almost no money at this point and didn't speak any Japanese. The American family helped them. The dad spoke fluent Japanese and convinced the airport security to allow them all to sleep in the lobby of the airport. And, yes, you have to go through customs and immigration each time you exit the airport. My daughters flew into Japan once, but the have four stamps from immigration in Japan because they had to go through security and immigration each time they had to leave the airport. Even in the US if you leave the airport after you have gone through TSA you have to go through again. Each stamp granted her 30 days in Japan so she did have a temporary Visa to be in the country each time.

Trust me, I am not making this up! I'm just grateful this is over and they will never fly to that part of the world without a confirmed ticket!
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Can confirm
Old 07-29-2016, 07:41 AM
  #20

Quote:
Also, the airport closes at night and they were kicked out of the airport.
This happened to me as well. My flight was delayed and rescheduled for the morning. My concern was my visa was expiring in two days so if I missed out on the next flight I was in serious trouble.


Shame I did not see this post earlier as I have numerous friends in Tokyo who would have put them up for the night.
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Thanks Mr. Sensai
Old 07-29-2016, 12:58 PM
  #21

I was so freaked out, it didn't even occur to me to reach out to you. I appreciate it some much!
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