JAL – good and bad

Eagle, the dog I brought from Incheon to JFK via Japan Airlines is fine. He’s in America, happy, healthy, and bonding with his new family. I have no idea what he went through on the flight but he survived and was acting completely normal when we got him out of the crate.

There were a few problems with Japan Airlines though. When we talked to JAL people on the phone they tols us that visiting our dog during our one night stopover in Japan would be no problem. They gave us the number for Narita Airport customs/animal quarantine and we talked to someone for ten minutes about the rules which seemed fairly clear. We could visit our dog and take him for walks but we could not leave the airport.

When we arrived in Japan, the JAL people told us customs laws did not permit us to see our dog. We argued for a while explaining what we were told on the phone and that he used to be a stray and was afraid of being abandoned. My wife cried and threatened lawsuits if he didn’t make it.

Half an hour to 45 minutes later they let us see him but we couldn’t take him out of the cage to walk him (The quarantine people walked him or so we were told). All in all it was very stressful so I do not think I’ll be using JAL again if I can help it. This is not the first time we’ve gotten bad information calling the JAL information people and sometimes misinformation can add a lot of stress to your travel.

Filed Under: Travel with pets

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  1. Brian Sheriff says:

    Welcome to Japan Inc.

    That’s what they’ll give you, all the time. One will tell you it’s perfectly okay – citing policy to you – and letting you go through to the next guy, who’ll stop you dead in your tracks and cite what he swears to be credible rules overruling the first guy’s.

    Ask for a third person’s opinion and you’ll get a fellow telling you that both guys were wrong… Then try asking what it is you can or cannot do and wait for the shock of your life. He’ll just tell you that he is not in charge while saying you’ll just have to try to understand. And he’ll leave you standing there as he turns to take care of another customer.

    Believe me this is the greatest mistold story of the last forty years – that Japan Inc. is superior in customer care and service. It sucks!!!!

  2. Nate says:

    Well it is not exactly the airlines fault, I am sure the government and the FAA had something to do with your hold up. But still, it is like an airline to do that, say one thing is okay, and then five minutes later it’s not. Some airlines suck, choose wisely and happy trails!

  3. The Critic says:

    Do we need to ask the reason you brought a dog back from Korea to the U.S.? Why did your other half think that she can threaten a international company based in another country with a lawsuit? You know I am a fellow american but I am still amazed at how insular my fellow countrymen can be. “I’m an American god damn it, I’m above everybody else!” LOL! Next time stick to a good old american carrier and you’ll still go through the same experience. Get over it.

  4. James Trotta says:

    I blame the airline for giving us the wrong information, but I agree with Nate that we can’t blame JAL for Japan’s customs laws.

    And while I appreciate your point about frivilous lawsuits Critic, my (non-American) wife can file a lawsuit against an MNE though it’s unlikely that we have the money to see it through…

    Of course, luckily the dog was fine so no one is even considering a lawsuit now. We may stop flying JAL though…

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