Japan Airlines doesn’t let a passenger go hungry

By | January 26th, 2016

Who would have thought an airline meal gone awry would reveal the over-the-top care of a Japan Airlines (JAL) flight attendant?

Stuck on a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Raja Gopalan of Tucson, Ariz., realized too late he completely forgot to order a vegetarian meal.

When the attendant learned of Gopalan’s predicament, she went to great lengths to make sure he didn’t go hungry.

The Good News Guy enjoys the multitude of feel-good airline stories coming down the runway, even the small ones.

What’s for dinner?

JAL enjoys a reputation for passenger care and takes pride in personalized service – including quite a spread of quality menu items. With advanced notice, they will provide specialized meal service per their criteria., and even ”minimal allergen meals” for those with food allergies.

But advanced notice is the operative phrase, and something Gopalan freely admits slipped his mind.

“Due to my own carelessness, I had somehow missed requesting a vegetarian meal,” he explained. “This was entirely my fault. I was resigned to going hungry for the entire flight.”

Twelve hours without a meal of any kind can be a stretch for anyone, and to his credit, Gopalan was prepared to suck it up.


A five-star meal

“There was one flight attendant, Ms. Yoshida Michiyo, who observed me refusing all the meals,” said Gopalan. “On her own and without being asked, she collected extra salads and fruit to make plates for me even after I informed her the fault was all mine.”

The message here is the attendant was under no obligation to do anything about this whatsoever during what was for her surely a long and demanding work shift. Yet, she voluntarily used some of her allotted get-off-her-feet time to help.

Related story:   Nothing says "we don't care" like a tray of unwanted food left in front of you for a few hours

But then, Gopalan did something many others do not – he made the effort to recognize a simple act of kindness by researching JAL’s executive contacts on our forum and sending them a written letter of thanks.

Evidently, even seemingly big, impersonal companies can be starving for a kind word, since JAL did not hesitate to write back a detailed and personal “you’re welcome” letter. Perhaps we all can make more of an effort to compliment those who deserve it – instead of only complaining.

“I know that your site mainly works with complaints and you have been very helpful to us in the past,” said Gopalan. “In this case, I wanted to share kudos to JAL based on information we got from the forum. Thank you!”

You’re welcome.



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