incomer_android (incomer_android) wrote in bad_service,

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I forgot all about this.

The recent post about United Airlines made me think of this.

A couple years ago I was an exchange student to Japan for a year. On the day of my departure I had to take a domestic flight from where I was staying to the Haneda Airport in Tokyo that deals with domestic flights. My flight was early in the morning. I believe it was around 10:00 a.m or so. My plane was delayed two hours but I was assured that I would have enough time to get from Haneda to the Narita International Airport, and still be able to make it through customs without any problems.

Cut for the tl; dr

Before I got onto the plane to Haneda I had to hand over the cellphone I had been using while I was in Japan that had all my contact information for my counselors and host families (this will be important later in the story).
When I arrived at Haneda I then had to pay $70 out of the $100 I had for the bus fare from Haneda to Narita. On the way there was severe traffic so I asked one of the attendents if I would still be able to make it to my flight on time. The woman did looked at the time on my ticket (the flight left at 3:30ish in the afternoon) and did some math and told me that even with traffic I would still make my flight. So this was good news.

After arriving at the airport around 2:00 I stood in line with my baggage to be checked in. I could see that my flight hadn't departed yet. When it was my turn to be checked in I handed my passport, ID card and my ticket to the man. The following is in script format:

Him: *looks at the ticket and then his watch* I'm sorry miss, but the gate is closed.
Me: But it's only 2:30 I still have an hour before my flight.
Him: I'm sorry. The gate is closed.
Me: But I NEED to be on that flight.
Him: *getting angry* Well the gate is CLOSED *the word closed was said very slowly* I can reopen the gate for you but I will have to charge you a fee of $250.
Me: O_O Excuse me?
Him: I will only be able to reopen the gate for you if you pay the $250 fee.
Me: I'm a student. I don't have any money on me. I can't pay that.
Him: You don't have a credit card or something?
Me: No sir, I don't have a credit card. And I HAVE to be on this flight because my visa expires tomorrow

(Note: During my stay Japan had gotten stricter with its visa laws and if you overstay your visa you can get kicked out of japan for a minimum of 5 years, I know someone who has gone through that and I was worried that this would cause problems.)

Him: Well that's not my problem (!!) and if you want me to reopen the gate you have to pay the $250 fee.

Then it began to dawn on me that I might be stuck in a foreign country with $30, no place to stay, no food, and no way to contact my host family or counselors since the cellphone that had all my contact information had been returned (looking back I realize it was really stupid to not write down the information but I didn't expect this).

The man then asked me to get out of the line and he would see what he could do. But he kept saying that I would have to be charged for certain fees (which total... I believe was close to $500) or possibly had to purchase a new ticket.

Scared and not knowing what to do, I went over to the international payphones and used the last of my money to buy a phone card so I could call my mother. I told her that I was stuck in Japan and they wouldn't let me on my flight unless I paid them $250. I told her that I had no money since I spent the last of it on this phone call and I had about 15 minutes. She told me she would call my host families as well as the airport to see what she could do because there was NO way she could get money to me. Then as she was explaining what I needed to do to make sure I got on the next available flight my call was disconnected because I had no more money.

Cue crying hysterically at the payphones.

I didn't know what to do and that man was off talking to who I assume was his manager, so I sat down and waited. I made sure I was in plain sight so he could still see me. They still wouldn't let me board and after couple hours my flight left.

Eventually my mother got a hold of my host parents and counselors who called the airport. The employees at the airport argued with them saying that I had to pay these fees or I was screwed and I had to stay. They pretty much refused to do anything to help.

It was about 8:00 pm when the man finally came back to me and asked me if there was anyway I could pay for a new ticket. I told him that I wasn't going to pay for a new ticket because I did not have any money and I already had a valid ticket for the previous flight but he HADN'T let me board.
We argued back and forth awhile about money and I kept telling him that my freaking visa was expiring the next day and I had to leave or I would get in big trouble with immigration. He rolled his eyes at me and told me that wasn't his problem and that I needed to stop bringing it up.

He was being rude and argumentative the entire time and continued to try to force me to pay huge amounts of money that I didn't have. I at one point took out my wallet and showed him that I had nothing except for a few coins inside my wallet. He then told me I should get my host parents to send me money so I could pay for it. He started berating me about how I should have come sooner and that it was all my fault that I missed my flight. I began to cry and he told me to suck it up, stop crying and act my age. He looked so mad at me at one point I thought he was going to hit me. We argued for a bit longer until he went back to talk with his manager.

When he returned he handed me a new ticket saying that my flight would be for tomorrow at the same time my previous one was and that I had to be on time because they weren't going to be so nice next time.

Then he asked me where I would be staying and I told him I would probably have to sleep inside the airport since I had nowhere to go. He told me that if I paid $100 I could stay in a hotel. Which made me facepalm. I don't know how many times I'd told the man in the past several hours that: I had no money.

Did he expect me to magically summon hundreds of dollars?

Besides, by the time I finally got my new ticket it was almost midnight and even if I DID have money I doubt I could've found a hotel that had an vacant room.

So, new ticket in hand I went to the waiting area and tried to fall asleep when this ~WONDERFUL~ employee came up to me and... Well. That is another story for another time but the short version is I didn't have to sleep in the airport that night which was good since there was this creepy old guy who kept following me around.

When I went to board the plane the next day the rude man was there and he made a comment about how he was surprised I was actually on time. I wanted to hit him with my suit case for all the shit he put me through but I didn't. I got through customs and finally got home a day late.

Tl;dr version: Guy at airport wouldn't let me board my flight unless I pay an ungodly amount of money I didn't have. Was rude and argumentative the entire time. Finally managed to get a new ticket and got home safely a day after my original arrival time.
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