Thousands of passengers arrived at their destinations all over Japan last night, only to find that everyone’s bags were left behind.

On the evening of 11 August, now known as Mountain Day and the beginning of the Obon holiday season, a staggeringly large number of passengers on ANA flights from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to various locations across Japan received a shock when their luggage failed to appear on the carousel.

However, rather than the crushing depression and sighs of “Why me?” that usually accompany an instance of lost baggage, these passengers were more perplexed by the fact that everyone else’s luggage appeared to have gone missing too.

Instead of their belongings, arrivals in Oita airport were greeted with a handwritten apology scrawled on a whiteboard as this tweet shows.

Instructions to arriving customers
We are very sorry for the inconvenience today. Your baggage could not be loaded onto this flight because of a failure in the conveyor belt at Haneda Airport. As soon as your baggage arrives at Oita Airport we plan to send it to you by courier. However, although we plan to send your baggage today, there is a lot of congestion at Haneda Airport. There is a possibility that we cannot deliver your luggage today.
Thank you for your understanding.
*We are offering papers for you to fill in your address. Please pass the paper with your address on it to the attendant.

According to an inquiry made by BuzzFeed Japan to ANA, the conveyor belt malfunction occurred at about 6:25 a.m. and was fixed about an hour later. However, rather than cause large-scale delays of the 19 flights scheduled to leave that morning, ANA made the ballsy decision to just send them off as they were.

However, they also reportedly made an even ballsier choice not to tell the roughly 5,500 passengers what they were doing, and, according to some tweets, they even covered it up with a dubious announcement.

“ANA is crazy. They don’t load the baggage and take just the passengers to Hokkaido. At the time we were supposed to take off, they announced there would be a short delay because ‘they were loading the bags.’ Stupid. Now I have to write my address on a piece of paper, so they’ll send it to me. What the hell!”

BuzzFeed Japan also interviewed a passenger who went to Okayama bagless, and got the same “baggage loading delay” announcement as the woman in Hokkaido. However, this man had no address to write down. When he told ANA staff this, they apologized and gave him an envelope with 5,000 yen (US$49) inside.

However, according to the following tweet not everyone on these flights was apparently told about the 5,000 yen apology either.

“After writing down my address on a slip of paper and stepping outside, I overheard a couple complaining about the ‘measly 5,000 yen’ they got as an apology. Eh? I can get money?
Apparently if you get all angry and get up in the staff’s face, they’ll slip you an envelope with 5,000 yen inside. lol
It’s kind of sneaky of them not to tell everyone.”

On one hand, you can almost admire the steely cold pragmatism of ANA taking such a bold move to avoid the chaos of thousands of angry people in Haneda airport and instead dividing them into 19 smaller angry mobs across the country while at the same time keeping all flights relatively on schedule.

However, not informing the passengers as to what was happening doesn’t really seem in keeping with the legendary customer service Japan is known for. Just ask Hiroyuki Ito, the guitarist for The Challenge who was scheduled to perform at the Rising Sun Rock Festival the next day…if only he had his guitar.

“I arrived at Shin-Chitose Airport a little while ago, but it seems they didn’t load our luggage onto the plane. I don’t have my bags or instruments. Other bands performing, please, could you lend me a guitar and bass? Especially if you’re on the same stage, like Art-School or Bradio? ANA you suck! Our Hokkaido!”

Source: Yahoo! Japan News, Alfalfalfa (Japanese)
Top Image: Wikipedia/吉田宅浪 (Edited by RocketNews24)