“Super Typhoon” Hagibis to Disrupt Japan Flights This Weekend

A satellite photo of Typhoon Hagibis approaching Japan. // Photo by NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) via AP

Typhoon Hagibis has strengthened rapidly into a “super typhoon,” and it is set to approach Japan this weekend. A number of airlines have already canceled flights and issued travel waivers. 

According to NHK, the storm currently has maximum sustained winds of approximately 112 mph. The storm is expected to bring heavy rains and gusty winds over a wide area of eastern Japan Friday afternoon and evening and through Saturday, as well as heavy surf. Starting now, there is also a risk of “freak waves” – huge and unexpected waves that can be double the usual size, and which have caused the deaths of people standing near breakwaters in the past. Travelers in Japan are advised to complete any preparations for the storm by Friday. 

The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has a Safety Tips app for travelers, which will provide push alters with the latest weather updates. Travelers are advised to download it here

A number of airlines have issued change waivers and flight changes due to the storm:

ANA has cancelled and delayed a number of flights scheduled for Tokyo – Haneda and Tokyo – Narita October 12, and changes are also possible through October 13. Public transportation to and from the airports may also be affected. Due to high volumes at the airline’s call centers, travelers wishing to request a refund for departures October 11 – 13 are advised to call after October 15. Refunds are available even after travelers’ departure dates. 

Japan Airlines has likewise cancelled a number of flights on October 12, and it is expecting further cancellations October 13. Travelers on disrupted flights can request assistance by calling the JAL International Reservation and Information Desk at 0570-025-121 or 03-6733-3062 (tolls apply). 

American Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to fly October 11 – 13 to rebook through October 18 between the same city pair in the same cabin (or pay the difference). 

United Airlines customers set to fly October 11 – 13 can rebook through October 18 without any change fee or difference in fare so long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin and between the original city pair. For wholly rescheduled travel departing after October 18, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

Delta is allowing customers scheduled to fly through October 13 to rebook through October 18, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date. 

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