National

Japan Airlines apologizes after canceling overbooked Tokyo-Fukuoka flight

Kyodo

Japan Airlines Co. apologized Thursday for canceling a flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka that was overbooked.

The airline canceled Flight JL335 on Wednesday after 400 people showed up at Tokyo’s Haneda airport with a reservation for a plane that could only take 375. The time spent trying to persuade some passengers to give up their seats made it difficult for the flight to arrive at Fukuoka airport before its closure at 10 p.m., the airline said.

“We accepted extra bookings because some people do not board even though they have made a reservation. Our projection was incorrect and we deeply apologize for causing trouble,” a JAL official said. The company also posted an apology online.

There have been cases of delays for overbooked flights but cancellations are rare, the company said.

The overbooking system began in Japan in 2001 to prevent empty seats due to last-minute cancellations or rebookings. Airlines offer cash or mileage points to passengers who change or cancel their flights when a flight is overbooked.