[JAL return flight canceled due to typhoon] “Special vacant seat waiting” experience in Japan


Hello, I am GT, a man who can bring sunny days.(^^)

The other day I went to Okinawa and the return flight was canceled. So in this article, I will report on the state of waiting for cancellation. Here’s what happens when a flight is canceled, what you should be aware of, and what you should do.

About half of this article is a factual story. If you are not in an emergency, please enjoy the story while thinking about how you think and how you will act if you are in such a situation.

If you have an emergency, look at the table of contents and read only where you need it to get information.

(^^)/ Hurry Up!

Conclusion of the simplified version(When a JAL flight is canceled due to a typhoon)

In conclusion, there are several things I want you to keep in mind.

When you buy a ticket, be sure to register your email address with the airline, pay attention to the cancellation of the next day of the typhoon, and keep in mind that another flight will soon be sold out for two days after the cancellation. In addition, you should be able to process online on your smartphone, and go to the airport early and wait for a special vacant seat.

You can use the time effectively by getting information immediately, making the best judgment based on it, and starting to move. If the situation is reversed, the information will not be entered and the time will pass without any judgment.

This was my first experience because the flight was canceled this time, and I felt that these were very important. I will show you why I thought so.

JAL=Japan Airlines


Before the trip, a typhoon egg occurred in the south sea. According to the weather forecast, the typhoon was going to go to the Kanto region where I lived while I was in Okinawa.

According to the weather forecast, the typhoon passes through the Kanto region on the evening of Saturday, October 12. The 13th (Sunday) when the return flight arrives at Haneda Airport will be after the typhoon has passed. The weather forecast for the Kanto region at that time was also sunny.


If the weather is as expected, there will be no problem with the flight. When the typhoon comes to the Kanto region where I live, I can enjoy traveling far away. If the typhoon passes from the Kanto region, it will just come back. What a good timing!

Notice of cancellation of return flight

I was traveling in Okinawa and received an e-mail on the 12th (Saturday) the day before my scheduled return date.On that day, I was in Kouri Island in northern Okinawa. After staying overnight, I intended to go south on the last day of Sunday (Sunday). And I was going to arrive at Naha Airport before 2pm, and I was going to take a flight to Haneda at 3:45 pm.

Then an email came. It said that the flight from Naha Airport to Haneda was canceled.

Wow, canceled?

Can I go home? I have a job three days later ^^;

I realized at that time that I couldn’t go home without taking any action.

Starting action!

First, I searched with my smartphone using words such as “Typhoon Canceled”. And I knew a few.

The airline canceled the flight, so I can get a refund for the return flight if I wish. If I cannot get my return flight, I will not be able to return to Haneda and will be absent from work.

I found that I can wait for cancellation as a way to go back. But I’ve never waited for cancellation.

Is it possible to get a return flight using a smartphone? Or am I just waiting in the airport lobby? Would I sleep at the airport chair? If there aren’t enough seats to sit, will I sleep on the concrete floor of the airport?

There are lots of things that beginners waiting to cancel do not understand. I decided to call JAL directly and ask what I should do.Then there was an automatic announcement that you should wait as it is now crowded.

What I learned by calling JAL directly

What should I do … I will stick here! I will wait without giving up!

And finally connected. I waited 25 minutes!

I immediately asked what I should do. First of all, the operator responded according to the manual.

She said she was sorry for the cancellation. She told me that I could receive the return fare if I wanted. But that does n’t matter. I want to know how I can go home!When I asked how to do that, there were two answers.

①Getting another flight myself

In this case, if I have a smartphone, I can find a free flight online and go home by purchasing a ticket. If I get a return flight, I can then refund the original flight. The question is whether there is a good timing flight and what the amount will be.

②Waiting for cancellation at airport (waiting for vacant seats)

Waiting for cancellation is not possible to apply by phone or smartphone.In other words, I need to wait for a seat at Naha Airport. The reception at the airport lobby started at 6am (in the case of JAL at Naha Airport).

I have to board as soon as the turn comes at the airport. If I am not nearby when the turn comes around, the waitlist will be disabled and the right will be transferred to the next person.

Actually I came to northern Okinawa, so it was impossible to return to Naha Airport at this stage. If I go back, I would cancel everything I had booked for accommodation and dinner. Above all, there are no flights available at the airport in the evening or at night. Because exactly that day, Haneda was hit by a storm.

(Actually, I understand that this is not a correct decision later. It is better to go to the airport lobby and wait for an empty seat when the cancellation is confirmed. Because the vacant waiting system means “first comes, first served”.)

It seems realistic to wait for a seat at the airport on Sunday the 13th. So,I asked if it was possible to return on that day as a result of waiting for vacancy on the 13th (Sunday). The operator said she did not know.

I told her that I wouldn’t complain later if she missed her expectations. I told her that I wanted to know what to expect when I waited. But she didn’t tell me.

yack yack

I don’t really know this because it’s my first time. She can tell me what I do and how often I can go well or fail. I said I WOULDN’T complain if she missed her expectations!

Why doesn’t she tell me! Annoyed!

I checked the availability to be able to board another flight

Waiting for a seat at the airport seems to be influenced by luck, so I looked for another flight after finishing the call.

Here, I will strictly enforce the meaning of the words used. I used the word “waiting for cancellation” myself, but waiting at the airport for cancellation = “waiting for vacant seats”. After this, “waiting for cancellation” is limited to the meaning of waiting for a ticket to be purchased if there is a vacancy on the internet.

At 2:00 pm on this day, the JAL flight did not remain on the 13th (Sunday) online ticket. I was able to apply for some cancellations on late afternoon flights. There will be a lot of people who want to get home, so there will be no cancellation. And the price was high. It was over 40,000 yen.

On the 14th (Monday) the next day, I was able to make some reservations. There were some vacancies.

However, each company including Haneda costs 38,000 yen or 45,000 yen, including ANA. Because the flight I had booked was about 18,000 yen, even if I received a refund, I would add about 20,000 yen.

It was difficult for me to pay an additional 20,000 yen, so I didn’t make a reservation (I should have reserved a seat. If I could return to the waiting list earlier than that, I could cancel the reservation. That was fine).

I also learned something else. As expected, the flight to Haneda on Sunday 13th was canceled due to ADJUSTMENTS to return people who could not get on the previous day. That’s why four afternoon flights from Okinawa to Haneda were canceled on Sunday 13th.

I searched for something I don’t have … policy was decided!

The method of returning home that has been listed as a candidate so far is to shift the return home one day backward and lose 20,000 yen to purchase a return flight on the 14th (Monday). Is there anything better than that?

When I searched on my smartphone, I found several JAL websites and other sites. JAL’s homepage was about waiting for vacancies.

Actually, this was different from the reality that I understood later (in fact, I could wait for a SPECIAL vacant seat). Of course I didn’t know that at this point. And the following contents were confirmed from HP of JAL.

Q 予約便が欠航したので変更したいが、希望する便が満席です。当日空港で空席待ちはできますか。

A 当日、空港で空席待ちが可能です。出発空港の自動チェックイン機(一部空港を除く)、カウンターにて空席待ち整理券を発行しております。


  • ご搭乗当日の空席待ちは、お電話では受け付けておりません。
  • 空席待ち整理券の番号は当日に限り有効です。翌日引き続き空席待ちをされる場合、翌日改めて出発空港で整理券をお受け取りください。
  • 空席待ち整理券は行き先方面別の発行となっており、一方面に対してお1人様1枚の発行となります。便指定での空席待ちはできません。

引用元:JALホームページ 国内線・国際線・JALマイレージバンクに関するQ&A

The above quote is translated into English as follows:

「Question: I want to change the reserved flight, but the flight I want is full. Can I wait for a seat at the airport that day?

Answer: On the day, you can wait for an empty seat at the airport. An automatic check-in machine at the departure airport (except for some airports) and a waiting list numbered ticket are issued at the counter.

※please note
• Waiting for seat availability on the day of boarding is not accepted by phone.
• The number of the numbered ticket for waiting seats is valid only on the day. If you continue to wait for the next day, please receive a numbered ticket again at the departure airport the next day.
• A numbered ticket for waiting seats is issued for each destination, and one ticket is issued per person. You cannot wait for a vacant seat by specifying your preferred flight.」

Reading this increased one understanding.The understanding was that the numbered tickets for waiting seats are valid only on the day they were received = reset on the morning of the following day.

If I get a numbered ticket on the morning of the 13th (Sunday), I might be able to become the number one waiting queue. Then I could get on the plane with the first available seat on the 13th. Even if I am not waiting for seat number 1, the smaller the number, the faster the seats will turn. I thought the possibility of going home during the 13th was very high.

I decided what to do. Purchasing a flight on the 14th (Monday) is an economic burden, so I decided not to do so. I decided to go to the airport early in the morning and wait for a seat.

The arrival target at the airport lobby was 5am!

Rethinking after deciding to wait

The reception desk waiting for vacant seats started at 6am. Anyway, if I waited for a seat from the beginning of the morning, I wanted the number one. I thought that there would be many people waiting for the start of reception at 6 o’clock, so I decided to line up one hour before that.

Oh, I have to return the rental car.

I found it. I had to return the car and go to the airport, but I didn’t think the car rental shop was accepting the return at 5am. I immediately inquired over the phone. I was told that it would start business at 8am.

Well … I can’t get out of the lobby in front of the boarding gate if I wait for a seat. It’s no good that I can’t get on because I have not returned the rental car.

I changed my schedule. I decided to return the rental car at 8:00 am and then apply for an empty seat at the airport lobby.

I further investigated the mechanism of waiting for a seat. Then I suffered more damage. Please see below.

引用元:JALホームページ 空港での空席待ちより呼び出し順についての種別をキャプチャー抜粋

The above quotes are summarized in English as follows:

「In JAL’s vacancy waiting system, customers are separated by type, and the priority is determined. This means that vacant seats come in the order of type S → type A → type B.」


Because I am very rich VIP GT (ideal), of course, I belong to Type B. (^^)

I was worried about this, but I thought I did my best at this stage. And the last day in Okinawa was over.

I hoped to go home the next day … Good night!(^^)

13th (Sun) began and went to the airport

The fateful day has begun. I didn’t know that what I knew from research would collapse.

I left the lodging area, returned the rental car, and then arrived at the airport by shuttle bus at around 8:20 in the morning. I immediately headed to the JAL reception counter.

Numbered ticket distribution was here. There were about 4 people in front of me, so I was waiting for the turn.

In the image, the staff handed out numbered tickets one after another. But it was different. The JAL staff was talking to each person. I waited about 10 minutes for my turn to come.

Informaiton about “waiting for a special vacant seat”

My turn had come around.

When asked if the JAL stuff would like to help me, I answered that I came to wait for a seat because the flight to Haneda at 3:45 pm was canceled. I was told to show the ticket for that flight and showed it to him.

I heard the explanation and received a numbered ticket and instructions. I saw the number.

Oh, 644!

There are over 600 people in front of me!

(Countdown starts : 644 )

Looking at the instructions, I realized that what I applied for was “Waiting for Special Seats”, not “Waiting for Seats”.

What is this?

While I was writing a blog just now, I searched the JAL website for “Waiting for a special seat”. But no explanation came out.

I don’t think waiting for a special vacant seat is to be taught by inquiries via the website or telephone. If many people know that there is a special vacancy waiting in advance, it may bring that people rush to the airport in a short time.

And the airport lobby will panic. JAL wants to prevent it, I guess.

The explanation about the special vacancy waiting in the manual is as follows (extracted from the distributed paper as it is).











It is as follows when translated into English.

1.About air tickets and special vacant seats

①Even if the ticket cannot be changed, the validity period will be extended.

Special vacant seats

This is a numbered ticket issued to customers waiting for reservations for our flights canceled due to a typhoon, and has priority over general vacant seats.

Special vacant seats are valid until they are called and arrive at the destination. (There is no date limit.) If the boarding flight is returned to Okinawa due to a conditional flight, the number of the special vacant seat number will be valid again.

If the numbered ticket number is called, it will be invalid if it is not submitted to the counter. Please be forewarned. If you wish to continue waiting for a seat, please receive a special seat for waiting for a seat again.

2. Special seat waiting counter

Please wait near the special vacancies counter on the 3rd floor. We will call you 20-30 minutes before departure.

Special vacant seat numbered tickets will be called in numerical order and will be guided from scheduled or temporary flights.

Please bring your checked baggage when the number is called.」

In the case of a cancellation due to a typhoon unlike normal waiting for a vacant seat, the person who originally planned to board can do a “waiting for a special vacant seat”. Normal waitlisting will be invalid if the date changes, and there is a priority for each type of customer introduced earlier. However, special waitlists are effective even when the day changes, and take precedence over regular waitlists.」


First, people of type S and type A were not given priority, but conversely I was given priority over those people. And even if the date changes, the order remains valid, so if I wait patiently, my order will come someday.

By the way, the explanation sheet I received was as follows.


I Sorted out the situation

I organized the situation here from the staff and other posted information.

  • (Maybe) special vacant seats were distributed from the previous day
  • Waiting for vacant seats will start from number 121 on this day (= people from number 1 to number 120 were already called on the previous day)
  • The 3:45 pm flight is an extra flight with approximately 400 seats
  • However, there were school trip students to take there, and it was not yet known how many seats will be allocated to people waiting for special vacant seats
  • The total number of flights to Haneda on that day was 7 (including one extra flight)
  • The scheduled departure times for these 7 flights were 11:55, 12:40, 13:20, 15:45, 18:40, 19:55, 20:45.
  • The number is called about 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time, so I can stay in other places when it ’s not called time(I can eat at the restaurant or have coffee).

My number was 644. Subtracting 121, which became invalid, I got 523. There were 523 people waiting in front of me. (Countdown: 523 )

1st flight 11:55

The first flight to Haneda is at 11:55, but the call was supposed to start from number 121 about 30 minutes before departure. The announcement actually started at 11:25.

From here, I will report how the numbers actually progressed.

There was an announcement to come from No. 121 to No. 145. After that, the numbers called one after another increased. Call from 145 to 170 → Call to 190 → Call to 206.

The numbers were increasing at a fairly fast pace. That would have meant that there were so many people who were not there.

At 11:40, the number went up to 300, but no more. The boarding flight would have been fully booked up to number 300.(Countdown: 344 more)

2nd flight 12:40

At 12:10, the call started. It was from 301 to 310.

Then it increased to 330 at 12:31. At 12:35, it was up to 350. After 1 minute, it was not finalized, but it reached 370. Numbers have been increasing.

However, after that, there was an announcement that it was finished up to 341.


This time it seemed to be in a hurry. The numbers increased one after another, but JAL announced that it was not finalized. Even if the number 370 appears, the number 370 will be sent to the next flight if the previous number comes and becomes full. (Countdown: 303 )

Third flight 13:20

This is the third flight. A call from 342 to 400 was made around 13:00. Because the number range was 58 people, we can guess that there were a lot of people who did not come and that there were many empty seats. The number increased after that.

And the call reached number 500.Next is an extra flight with 400 seats, so can I get on next? (Countdown: 144 more people until 644)


↑ This is the largest bulletin board. At first it was not posted here, but it was posted after noon, and the situation became clear from sitting.

Trying to get information

The next 4th flight was past 15:00, so there was more than an hour there. I wandered to find out if I could get information because I was free.

I found a male JAL staff. When asked what the ticket number is, he said it was just past the 1100s.

About 500 people came after me. If I have this number, I can’t really see if I can go home on this day. I moved up the schedule and came to the airport as early as possible in the morning and thought it was the right answer.

Next, I found a female JAL staff .

She told me that on the next flight, there would be 360 students on school trips. The number of seats that could be assigned to general people waiting for special vacant seats was only about 40.

Information from a trio of women and an elderly man

After that, when I went back to my seat, I heard the voices of a trio of women and an elderly man from behind.

A:It’s terrible
B:Why don’t thye tell us?

They were saying this. I didn’t know the details, but apparently they knew that their return flight was canceled for the first time after coming to the airport.

It seemed that JAL did not contact the trio of women. Even if they get a numbered ticket from that time, the number was already in the 1100s range. They would wait quite a while until the turn comes.

Everyone, let’s register your email address!

The trio of women was talking to an elderly man. The elder man said that he came at 7am and got a numbered ticket 603.

If the return flight is canceled due to a typhoon, it is good to go to the airport as soon as possible and get a numbered ticket waiting for a special vacant seat.

4th flight 15:45

The fourth flight was a temporary flight. The announcement began at 15:08. Calls started from 401 to 520. It seemed that it was hard to fill up. The number increased to 590 at 15:29.

Then at 15:44, there was an announcement stating that it was full at 582. (Countdown: 62 people until 644)

5th flight 18:40

Calls started from 583 to 590 at 18:12.

At this stage, I asked the JAL staff about the boarding rate for the last hour. I knew that three or four out of ten people were on board.

At 18:51, calls up to 640 were announced.

щ(゚Д゚щ) Come on!

After that, there was an announcement telling that it was over at 634. Ah. It was almost coming to 644. (Countdown: 10)

6th flight 19:55

I was tired. But number 644 was right there. I thought I could get on the sixth flight.

With that in mind, the call announcement began at 19:24. From 635 to …


(This photo was taken after the call on the day.)

To all the readers who supported me while reading so far,

Thanks a lot !

For those who are waiting for a special vacant seat,

Please do your best!

I really want to cheer you up.

You can do it.

Yes, you can!

Good Luck !

After that, the plane arrived safely at Haneda and I was able to return home safely.


The points to get a return flight are as follows.

  • Email address should be registered(Information such as cancellation notices will be entered promptly)
  • pay attention to the cancellation of the next day of the typhoon
  • keep in mind that another flight will soon be sold out for two days after the cancellation
  • you should be able to process online on your smartphone
  •  go to the airport early and wait for a special vacant seat.(Time is money!)

How was it? Thank you for reading. See you!



  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加