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Say Sayonara To The Screamers

, , , , , , , | Right | December 25, 2020

My family has just enjoyed a fun Christmas trip to Japan, the final leg of which was in the northern part of the country, Sapporo. The original plan was to fly from Sapporo to Haneda and then catch a connecting flight there back home.

However, this goes a little awry; during our stay, Sapporo gets hit with a historic amount of snow, which has impeded travel. Our flight does eventually get off the ground, but with a delay of two hours, we’re not confident we’re going to make our connecting flight.

Despite our best efforts, we do miss the cutoff for boarding. Another couple who were trying to make the same flight are there, as well, and we’re all understandably disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances.

We all trudge back to ticketing to see what can be done, and here’s where things go really sideways. The young woman of the other couple immediately raises her voice at the ticket agents, saying how unacceptable this is and that they need to be on that flight, and what are they going to do about it?

Of course, we’re in Tokyo still, and these poor gate agents don’t speak perfect English, which is only frustrating the young woman further. Soon, she’s yelling for a manager. She looks to us as though we’re going to back her up, but my brother simply says it’s frankly more likely that their manager speaks even less English than the gate agents, and it doesn’t change that we missed the flight, which was honestly no one’s fault. She huffs and then proceeds to ignore us and continue her tirade.

At this point, another gate agent opens, and we go to speak with her. We explain the situation and ask if there are any other possible flights or routes that might get us home within roughly the same time frame, and if there aren’t, it’s not a huge deal; we can spend the night if need be. The agent is incredibly apologetic, which we gently brush off; it really wasn’t their fault! Even though we aren’t communicating perfectly, we are able to figure out a new route with her that will have us make one more stop but get us home only a few hours later than expected.

We thank her profusely and start to head out with our new tickets, but she calls us back. The other couple is still fighting with the other agents and their manager — who, as expected, doesn’t speak as much English as the customer-facing gate agents — and our agent quietly thanks us for being so calm. She sends us along with passes for one of the nicer lounges where we can grab a shower, free drinks, and a bite to eat while we wait.

We joke around now that the couple is probably still there, uncomfortable and yelling. Truly, just being understanding and kind where you can greases a lot of wheels!