A U-turn was required after a Japan Airlines flight narrowly missed the airport curfew

a plane of Japan Airlines

Short-haul passengers in Japan were forced to fly back to their starting city after an airport refused to let their plane land because it was 10 minutes past curfew.

On February 19, Japan Airlines flight JL 331 departed Tokyo for Fukuoka with a 90-minute delay because of a plane switch.

It was turned away by the airport for missing the 22:00 cutoff time when it was only a few minutes away from landing.

After that, the plane was made to circle until it located an airport for landing.

The initial landing attempt was made at a Kitakyushu airport, which is close to Fukuoka. The plane was turned away, the airline later explained, because buses couldn't be arranged to transport the passengers to a hotel.

According to the airline, finding space to accommodate the 335 passengers onboard was the main challenge.

Similarly, because hotels couldn't be planned, passengers were unable to disembark when the aircraft had to land at Osaka's Kansai Airport to refuel.

Ultimately. All passengers were flown back to Tokyo, where they had to board the aircraft once more the next day.

Online passengers reported that their two-hour flight had actually turned into a 16-hour ordeal. But they claimed the airline had provided them with fair compensation.

One traveler claimed on Twitter that they received a new boarding pass, 20,000 yen ($148; £123) in cash, and water while spending the night at the hotel.

Due to nearby residential areas, the airport where the flight originated, Fukuoka Airport, has a policy banning flights between the hours of 22:00 and 07:00.

If the delay is unavoidable, officials said they had allowed planes to land after the airport closed. According to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper, examples of such events include poor weather or runway congestion.

However, according to the newspaper, officials did not view JL 331's delay as "unavoidable.".

Other flights were permitted to land that evening after the deadline, according to flight data. Earlier in the day, other flights at Tokyo's Haneda airport were delayed as a result of strong winds.

According to Bloomberg, only flight JL 331 was turned away.

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