I have no photos from this day because of a very unfortunate incident that happened with
My Vanilla Air Horror Story and Review
I had booked two tickets to fly from Tokyo to Naha, Okinawa months before the trip. I knew that we had to be at the airport early enough to store our bags and check in. I know I am late for everything, but I am NEVER late for the airport.
Anyhow, we got to the airport stored our luggage (we only got to fly with one piece each) in one of those airport lockers and went to the check-in line a good 40 minutes before take off. We got to the front of the line and the lady at the front told us that we couldn’t progress through the line and told us that we should go and wait at the side. Why did she tell us this? I will never know. Maybe because our carry on was a couple pounds overweight? Maybe becuase she didn’t like us? Maybe the flight was overbooked and they needed to find someone to boot? I don’t know. So we went to the side and waited around, came back after waiting for 10 minutes and asked her what the deal was. This woman proceeded to tell us that the flight was closed. I was flabbergasted. The flight was closed?! How is that possible. We hadn’t boarded, we were on time. What was the deal?!
We then beg them to put us on the flight because there was clearly a misunderstanding. The staff member promptly refuses. I ask to talk to a Vanilla Air manager and she shows me this guy behind the counter. He tells us that we were late to check in and we have to buy another flight. Now, I don’t know if that is how they do things in Japan, but we flatly refused. We told them that they better put us on the next flight becuase their staff member refused to let us pass through the line in order to get to the check-in counter.
These people say that they cannot let us on or put us on the next flight. OKay. No biggie, there are other airlines flying to Naha. We then ask for a refund. Lo and behold the Vanilla Air ‘manager’ says that they will not refund us.
Vanilla Air: Poor Customer Service
That is when I launch into bitch mode! I tell them that we ARE NOT leaving until they either put us on the next flight FOR FREE or refund us. Those are their only two options because their staff member fuc*ed up and it is on them to fix it. They are going off in Japanese to each other and the lady who refused us passage said she did no such thing and we showed up like 10 minutes before the flight. LIES!
That’s when we cause a scene. We DEMAND that they check the security camera that will PROVE that we were there. We go back and forth, and eventually, the Vanilla Air rep admitted to her boss that she lied and what we were saying was true: she specifically told us to go to the side and didn’t let us pass. I feel like we are making progress, but these are still trying to tell us they cannot refund us our money. That’s when Peter pulls up their policy online and shows them that they have to refund us our money if it is the fault of a staff member. The manager seemed shocked! I don’t know if he even knew the policies of the company.
I don’t think that the Japanese are as confrontational as Westerners. I have a feeling that a typical Japanese would just let the situation slide and get another flight. To be honest, the flight wasn’t expensive, but at this point, it was the principle of the matter. Some lying woman was ruining my vacation and I was not about to let her get away with it!
After a long struggle, refusing to leave, uncovering the lies of a Vanilla Air representative, and showing them that they are in violation of their own policies, the manager makes a call and we are on the next flight! Hurrah! There is so much more to the story, but I won’t bore you with the details.
I would say that Vanilla air is overall okay. It is pretty clear that their customer service needs help and that their staff members need a little more autonomy in dealing with situations that arise in person. That being said, they fly planes that are safe to convenient destinations at reasonable prices. A solid 2.7/5.
Day 17: Narita and Our New Flight
We spent the night at an emergency Airbnb where we made a new friend from California. I visited a super low-key traditional onsen and it was amazing. I will give you the link to the Airbnb we stayed it because the host was AMAZING. He includes pick up and drop off from the airport!
We got on the first flight of the day and all was well in the world.
Here is his listing: Free pickup! Narita Airport･Station･Hot spring☆B&B || Tomisato-shi
You can get $45.00 off your next Airbnb trip by signing up here!