Tokyo Haneda Runway Closed and Flights Delayed by Runaway Poodle

A passenger’s poodle that was checked as baggage onto a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo Haneda to Okinawa escaped this morning onto a runway.

One of Tokyo Haneda’s four runways had to be closed. Twice. But here’s the thing. It took them 40 minutes to catch the poodle, but they only closed the runway for six. Which brings to mind a cartoonish poodle dodging planes on an active taxiway.

The large poodle had been placed in a special basket but when JAL staff tried to load it onto the flight bound for Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, it escaped and ran off towards the runways at around 8:50am, according to the transport ministry.

The commotion caused one of the airport’s four runways to be closed twice for a total of six minutes, delaying departures and landings, the ministry said.

Japan Airlines at Tokyo Haneda, Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo

The adult poodle “appeared to enjoy its brief taste of freedom, dashing across a runway and sniffing around in grassy areas” and created an opportunity for media to cover the airport being ‘dogged by’ the problem of a poodle on the runway.

Japan Airlines flight JL907 appears to have been delayed only 12 minutes into Okinawa so it’s unclear what happened to the poodle once it was found.

The airline is questioning staff and looking into its pet ‘loading procedures’. A total of 14 flights were disrupted. Bear in mind this was 6 minutes of runway closures, though in my experience Japanese airlines apologize to customers even for 3 minute delays (“we apologize for inconvenience caused”).

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. So planes were still running with the dog running loose? That’s dangerous not just for the dog, but for passengers and air crew.

  2. Sometimes they apologize too much here… Like when a train is delayed five minutes and they run an apology announcement every minute until the train comes. 😀

  3. Six minutes is a long time in Japan and a delay of that long can have huge system effects. Their transportation grid is like a finely tuned Swiss watch. I was once returning to Tokyo from Nagoya and my ticket was for the 6:59 Shinkasen. Nearly made the mistake of boarding the 6:52. Would have lost my reserved seat as all trains were packed.

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