My Issue Confirming Seats on JAL

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my upcoming trip to Thailand and Japan. The flights are operated entirely by Japan Airlines (JAL), which had me excited because the airline just won best economy class at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards Ceremony. I booked the O-fare (lowest economy fare), multicity itinerary for approx. $1,300 USD through Expedia.

JAL 787-900
JAL 787-900 Courtesy of World Airline News

I was able to confirm seats on the BKK-HND and NRT-DFW segments through the JAL mobile app. Since I booked the ticket through Expedia, I did not search for my itinerary through my JAL Mileage Bank Number. I, instead, searched by reservation information. FYI: if you used a middle name on your reservation, input it immediately after your first name, without spaces.

JALJAL

The issue arose when I could not select seats on the DFW-NRT and NRT-BKK segments.

JAL

Thinking this would be an easy fix, I contacted JAL USA at 1800-525-3663. I was able to speak with a representative after a 20 minute wait. The representative stated that since I booked an O-fare ticket, I was not able to confirm seats early. What a minute? How was I able to confirm the other seats on the itinerary? She gave me one option: confirm the seats at check-in.

I did not want to be stuck in a middle seat, so I asked about an upgrade to Premium Economy. The representative gave me two options: 1) call the booking company to upgrade, or 2) purchase an upgrade at the airport. She stated that the price for the upgrade would be $350 USD. Too easy, so I thought.

I hung up and made a call to Expedia. After explaining my situation, the agent told me that it should not be a problem to upgrade. Well, it turned out to be a huge ordeal. After 90 minutes, three disconnections and speaking with the floor manager, Expedia wanted to charge me $6500 USD to “change” my seat to Premium Economy. When I tried to explain that I was only trying to upgrade, she stated that it was not possible so I would have to change the entire itinerary for the price. Um, that is a no from me dawg.

Final Word

I do not understand how only half of my seats were confirmed for the trip. It should have been either all or none. The process to upgrade seems to be clear to the JAL representative but not so much for those at Expedia. I understand things like this will happen, but I feel awful for wasting two hours on the phone.

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