Any experience with JAL downgrading an aircraft that affected your booking?

Hi all,

I am not sure if anyone legitimately knows the answer to this question, but I (and my partner) am considering a JAL redemption from SYD-NRT return next year. We have enough points, via EK, for a J redemption, and can purchase some more to allow an F.

Based on current schedule and availability, both J and F are available (we are flexible with dates).

However, given current load out of Sydney (May was under 70%), and our travel date (outbound June, inbound July), is there reasonable potential they will downgrade the aircraft? I don’t even know what a downgrade would mean: losing F? A different (non-sky suite) J?

If we buy additional points to facilitate the F, and as it’s via EK, I am not sure what a downgrade would mean: refund in points? No refund?

Perhaps the above requires a crystal ball, but any insights/experiences (e.g. whether JAL do typically downgrade in June/July due to load factors) would be appreciated :slight_smile:


I found that this is an interesting question and had a quick look around for an answer myself.

In short, most airlines are entitled to change the aircraft that they use to get you from A to B. Some happens weeks beforehand and they may be kind enough to inform you but some happens a few hours beforehand and you may only find out at the gate. It appears that this happen more often than you think due to unplanned maintenance, etc.

Some airlines such as AA categorize change of aircraft as equivalent to change of schedule and thus allow you to make changes to a certain extent. Refer to this webpage for some more info.

As you are asking about JAL in particular, I had a quick look on their ‘Condition of Carriage’. Section 12 indicates:

(B) Cancellations

(1)JAL may, without prior notice, substitute any other Carrier or change an aircraft with respect to Carriage assumed by JAL.


Ways to manage this that I can see:

You would have to keep checking to see whether there is an aircraft change. If there is an unfavourable change, you would have to try your luck with the agent over the phone. Some are kind enough to even provide free upgrade (after calling 4 different phone agent) but some would charge to make any changes.

More tips: How to Handle Last-Minute Aircraft Equipment Swaps - The Points Guy

Hope that helps one way or another. Others may have more experience in this department. I myself am booked on a Business seat on JAL NRT-SYD in April 2017.


Thanks for responding - very useful.

I guess it’s a grey area: I don’t know what would happen upon a change of craft. I can understand operational reasons but if it is a change of craft entirely for the route, then I would expect some recompense (refund in points difference, at least).

The key thing I am questioning is whether it is worthwhile to purchase the required points (~$2,000) to upgrade from J to F (for two, return).

I shall deliberate over the next two weeks (as we are awaiting the inbound to open).

Thanks for your response.