Flying The Stars

Like many other international carriers, Japan Air Lines is having a difficult time financially because of increased competition and deregulation. However, one sector is looking up: charter flights.

A recent article in the Asahi newspaper told of how JAL’s charter service received a call from a British travel agent in October 2005. The agent wanted to know if JAL could provide special flights from Europe to Japan and then from Japan to other destinations in Asia and back to Europe for a "group of musicians." JAL took the job, even though the names of the musicians were not written in the contract.

However, a month later The Rolling Stones announced they would tour Japan and Asia, which is how the airline found out who their customers really were.

The Stones were apparently very pleased with the service they received on the JAL leg of their world tour. Since then, word has spread and the airline has provided charter flights for Madonna and U2 for the Asia-Pacific portions of their most recent world tours.

Very few artists charter fully staffed jumbo jets, and one of the reasons JAL has become so successful so suddenly is its famous emphasis on customer service.