Haneda Airport Collision Causes Numbers of Flight Cancellations | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Haneda Airport Collision Causes Numbers of Flight Cancellations

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Airline’s “Transportation Expense Claim”. The upper limit of 15,000 yen does not allow you to return from Ehime to Tokyo. (Some photos have been edited.)

The airline said, “Well, our flight has been informed from Haneda Airport in Tokyo that there was a runway fire accident, and we are going to turn back to Matsuyama Airport (in Ehime Prefecture) now.”

Shortly after 6:00 p.m. on the evening of January 2, an announcement was made on the plane from Matsuyama to Haneda. This reporter, who was boarding the same flight to visit his wife’s parents, thought it was just a minor problem and that the plane would soon be on its way to Haneda. However, he was not surprised to find that the flight was canceled.


On January 2, the first day of the new year, an unprecedented accident occurred. At around 5:50 p.m., a JAL airliner collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft shortly after landing. The 379 passengers and crew on board JAL escaped and appear to be in good health, but five of the six employees aboard the Coast Guard plane were killed.

Let’s return to the aircraft at the beginning of this article. Basically, smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices cannot be used in the air. However, the situation is different. The atmosphere was so unusual that some people began to turn on their phones. The reporter also talked to a man seated next to him.

He asked, “Have you heard any news about the situation at Haneda?”

“Yes, it’s bad. Look at this video.”

In the video shown to me, I saw a passenger plane with a huge flame. After about 30 minutes, the plane returned to Matsuyama Airport. What is going to happen now?

“This flight has been canceled,”

A female staff member made an announcement on the plane.

“Due to a fire on the runway at Haneda Airport, this flight has been canceled. All flights for tomorrow (the 3rd) and the day after tomorrow (the 4th) are also full. We are very sorry that we are unable to accommodate you. Please disembark from this flight and listen to the instructions of the ground staff. We will reimburse you for your return transportation expenses, so please pick up a claim form from our staff when you disembark from the flight.”

I received the “Transportation Expense Claim Information” form. The airline company will cover up to 15,000 yen. “What? This amount? That’s all?” This is not enough to cover the cost of the trip from Ehime to Tokyo. I asked the ground staff.

“Please don’t bear any more expenses than this. Get a receipt from the transportation company and mail it to us within two weeks. We will transfer the money to the financial institution you specified.”

“We are very sorry, but all flights on the 3rd are full. Can you arrange your own return flight after the 6th? We do not have any information about trains and buses. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

I had to work from the 4th, but I was not happy. It was around 7:30 pm. I wanted to return to Ehime, but my mother-in-law was away on a trip to a hot spring in anticipation of my return to Tokyo. I had no choice. I decided to stay at a hotel near the airport. But I was naive. Many people were in a similar situation. All the hotels were full.

Finally, I found a luxury ryokan in one of Matsuyama’s most famous hot spring resorts for 35,000 yen per night. I had spent a lot of money since New Year’s. It was better than staying in the wild. (Of course, the travel agency would not pay us a penny.)

We were exhausted, so we paid a cab fare of 1,000 yen and went to a high-class ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). Since dinner time was already over, I ate a sandwich I bought at a nearby convenience store and went to bed early.

The next day, since air travel was not available, we decided to take the train, and the express train from JR Matsuyama Station to Okayama was so full that we had to stand early in the morning. The Shinkansen “Nozomi” train from Okayama to Tokyo was also fully booked at least until the 4th. The thought of taking a conventional train and returning to Tokyo standing up makes me feel hopeless.

A major earthquake on the Noto Peninsula and an aircraft crash and fire at Haneda Airport: The year began with a sense of a turbulent 2024.

JAL aircraft in flames
Firefighters were unable to extinguish the flames.
Passengers returning to Tokyo at the beginning of the year were in chaos.
As of January 2, there was no sign of recovery.
Even from afar, the enormity of the damage was evident.
Panic at the airport in central Tokyo on New Year’s Day.
Even from afar, the extent of the chaos was evident.
  • PHOTO Kazuhiko Nakamura, Takamasa Yamazaki

Photo Gallery8 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles