I have a flight at 2am tomorrow morning to Tokyo. That’s not the bad bit. The bad bit is that I’m flying with JAL, and JAL have the most aggravating website I’ve used for some time. It’s impossible for me to check in online, which means it’s impossible for me to get out of the aisle seat that’s been assigned to me, when the one thing I want to do if I’m flying on a 2am flight is to get myself a window seat so I don’t have to be disturbed for the whole flight and can sleep in peace.
This isn’t a new thing. I remember a couple of years ago trying to check into a JAL flight, inputting flight number, booking reference, first name, surname and so on, and getting “Please confirm reservation number entered or contact the JAL office in your area of residence if the input is correct. We are sorry for your inconvenience.”
You’re not sorry for my inconvenience. If you were sorry, JAL, you’d have a website that worked with Chrome, as opposed to one which only functions with older versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer. And as my computer is only a year old and only has the latest version of Firefox and Chrome and Microsoft have replaced Internet Explorer with something less bad, there’s no way for me to enter my details without being asked to confirm if I have the correct reservation number.
Sure, I could call up the JAL office. At ten o’clock tomorrow morning when it opens, eight hours after I’ve boarded my flight and sat in an aisle seat for seven hours.
Now, you might think I’m complaining unduly because it’s just a matter of going to the airport and asking to get seated somewhere else. But it’s not just that. I’m flying for work, which means my flight has been booked through Egencia, and after other people have arrived at the airport only to find Egencia didn’t properly process their reservation and they don’t actually have a seat on the plane, after being emailed to be told they did, I’d kind of like some proof before I abandon wife and children that I am going to be able to successfully abandon my wife and children. I mean, every other airline seems to be able to take your booking reference and your surname and show you the reservation you have. Are JAL unique and keep using the same booking reference for everyone, or something?
Of course, it could be worse. Go onto the mobile website, and apparently your reservation number is only ever 4 digits, when around the world every flight number I’ve ever encountered (including JAL) is 6 digits. Are they just messing with me? Or messing with everyone? I hope the latter – that’s a bit more diplomatic…