Incident at Kochi Ryoma Airport

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When I visit Japan I usually fly ANA. For a previous trip we took JAL and were very displeased by the cabin temperature. For much of that long flight I was so warm I thought I was going to be sick. However, we have flown JAL on many domestic flights across Japan and the cabin temperature has been fine. On our most recent trip we were scheduled to fly from Kochi Ryoma Airport in Kochi to Haneda in Tokyo.

Kochi Ryoma Airport, Shikoku, Japan

Kochi Ryoma is a pleasant, smaller airport we have used in the past. There are the regional foods and souvenirs to be had, and there are several cafes where you can grab a bite to eat before boarding time. We made the rounds of the airport and then sat in the waiting area near the large screen TV (showing the usual NHK news program) with a large group of dark-suited salary men. Soon we noticed some activity between flight personnel at the boarding gate. Serious conversation and consultation was taking place.

My daughter explained that the flight was delayed. As she listened intently she reported that we were waiting for a substitute airplane - the originally scheduled plane had some sort of problem. We didn't mind. It was nicer to wait in the quieter Kochi Ryoma Airport instead of bustling Haneda prior to our overnight trip back to the States. We relaxed, tore open a bag of dried yuzu, and settled in for the wait.

A little while later we noticed a line forming at the boarding gate. "Is it time to go?" I asked. But no, the flight attendant was handing each passenger an envelope. Curious, we stood in line and were handed a similar envelope. We opened them. "It's money!" I exclaimed. Indeed, JAL had presented every passenger a 1000 yen note. Wow! We were amazed.

Yen at Ryoma Airport

We supposed it was a token gift to express the airline's regret at causing the delay. But that would have never happened in the USA. Our opinion of JAL brightened a bit that day. Although we would not attempt another overseas journey on JAL, once in Japan we'll choose the airline to take us all over the country.


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