Japan Travel Update: Refunds and Fee Waivers

Tracy Stewart, March 17, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    With much of the country left in shambles after last week's earthquake and tsunami, ongoing aftershocks and the looming threat of nuclear disaster -not to mention a volcanic eruption in the south- it's no wonder anyone holding a ticket to Japan might prefer to sit this one out. The question is, will your airline refund the ticket? If you'd asked yesterday, you might have been refused, though that seems to be changing as of this afternoon. Here's what we know:

    American Airlines will refund tickets to Tokyo Haneda and Narita for travel through April 10. Passengers can refund their non-refundable tickets for the original form of payment. American will also waive change fees for tickets issued on or before March 14, for travel dates March 11 through April 10 for new travel dates through May 10.

    From Delta, "customers with fully unused, nonrefundable tickets may be entitled to a full refund, inclusive of all taxes, fees, and surcharges" to Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda, for travel from March 11 through March 31, if purchased on or before March 11. One time ticket changes are also allowed for all travel to, from, or through Japan, for tickets issued on or before March 31, for travel through April 25, or -more specifically- to Tokyo through April 25 or May 9 through July 15.

    United has issued a 'travel waiver' for travel to, from, or through Japan through March 31, meaning you can request a refund, change or postpone your trip without incurring the usual fee.

    Continental will allow refunds for tickets to, from, or through Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Niigata, Okayama, Osaka, Sapporo, and Sendai with original travel dates between March 11 through March 31.

    ANA All Nippon Airways will allow refunds for tickets issued on or before March 16, for travel to Japan through May 31. A one time change will be permitted for travel on or before July 10.

    JAL Japan Airlines will provide refunds to passengers holding tickets for travel to Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, Sendai, Hanamaki, Aamori, Misawa, Yamagata, Akita, and Niigata through April 10, for tickets issued on or before March 14. New flights should be scheduled for travel on or before July 10. Says JAL's site, "It may take sometime for refund process to be completed."

    Singapore Airlines will waive administrative fees for refund, re-booking or re-routing for tickets issued on or before 11 March, for travel to and from all cities in Japan from 11 March to 10 April, both dates inclusive. This also applies to KrisFlyer redemption tickets.

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