Japan Airlines Launches Innovative Clothing Rental Scheme To Cut Carbon Emissions

Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced the launch of an innovative clothing rental scheme for passengers as a part of its efforts to make air travel more sustainable. The “Any Wear, Anywhere” initiative will allow travelers to hire clothes for the duration of their trip, cutting the need for passengers to travel with bulky luggage and, in turn, helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Japan Airlines Any Wear Anywhere
Japan Airlines has launched its exciting new “Any Wear Anywhere” clothing rental scheme © Japan Airlines

Pick Up Your Wardrobe At Your Designation – An Innovative Clothing Rental Scheme

Japan Airlines has launched an innovative clothing rental scheme in recent days called “Any Wear, Anywhere”, which will offer travelers the chance to hire clothes during their trip and effectively “travel lighter”. The airline aims to capitalise on Japan’s post-pandemic tourist boom and tap into the growing demand from passengers for more sustainable travel options.

Through a specially designed online reservation service, JAL passengers will be able to choose from a range of clothing bundles, which will be delivered directly to their accommodation, removing the necessity to pack items other than the bare essentials into their luggage.

The clothing available to hire will comprise excess stock from different retailers and second-hand clothing, with the dual aim of mitigating unsustainable clothing waste and promoting the circular economy, a model of production based on the reuse and regeneration of materials and products.

The airline will work in cooperation with the Japanese business group Sumitomo Corporation, which will be responsible for the onward development of the scheme’s reservation system and other tasks such as the procurement, washing, and delivery of the garments.

The “Any Wear, Anywhere” initiative has been developed on the premise that lower luggage volumes will translate into reduced aircraft fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions. The airline plans to carefully monitor data on the environmental value of the service by analysing the effect of changes in passengers’ checked-in baggage weight and reduced aircraft weight on any reductions in carbon emissions.

The scheme’s trial period will run for just over a year, from 5th July 2023 to 31st August 2024. Should the scheme prove to be successful, it may be rolled out to other Oneworld carriers such as British AirwaysAmerican Airlines and more.

Japan Airlines Any Wear, Anywhere Reservation System
Garments can be ordered through the “Any Wear, Anywhere” online reservation system © Japan Airlines

How Will The Scheme Work?

JAL passengers intending to use the scheme will be required to submit their reservations through the Any Wear, Anywhere reservation website at least one month in advance, and garments can be rented for up to two weeks.

Travelers will be able to pick a bundle of clothing based on their size (S–XL), preferred style (smart, smart casual and mixed), seasonal requirements and the number of items desired, with rental prices starting from ¥4,000 (around £20) to ¥7,000 (around £40), inclusive of shipping costs.

To place an order on the website, travelers first choose their desired clothing bundle to fit their personal preferences as above. Next, they are required to submit their JAL reference number and accommodation details, including their date of pickup and return, before they are finally transferred to the payment page.

Upon arrival in Japan, travelers can pick up their orders from the reception desk of their hotel. To return the items at the end of their trip, they are simply required to pack their rental clothing, together with a plastic pouch containing a delivery label, into the garment bag in which the clothes originally came and hand the bag to reception staff at their hotel. For those staying in other forms of accommodation (such as Airbnb, guest houses, etc.), it will be possible to return the items at locations such as convenience stores.

Etihad and Lufthansa Airplanes
Etihad and Lufthansa have also recently launched sustainability initiatives © Md Shaifuzzaman Ayon (top image) and Bene Riobó (bottom image)

Key Players In Aviation Sustainability Efforts

Direct on board and in the wider aviation sector, airlines are making concerted efforts to make their operations more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

In May, Lufthansa announced the launch of its “Onboard Delights Last Minute” meal service, which allows and incentivises passengers to purchase unsold meals at greatly reduced prices shortly before landing. The scheme was launched with the aim of tackling one of the aviation sector’s biggest sources of waste: uneaten/unsold cabin food, the disposal of which continues to be mired in red tape.

In the same month, Etihad Airways and Twelve, the carbon transformation company, set forth their memorandum of understanding to accelerate the development and use of E-Jet fuel, a low-carbon fuel made from COand renewable energy sources. The companies plan to work with one another to develop a supply plan to incorporate the use of this renewable fuel into Etihad’s network and will also work towards an international demonstration flight in the future.

Japan Airlines Airplane
Japan Airlines will need to develop its scheme further over the coming year © Aeroprints

Potential Pitfalls Of The Scheme – Challenges To Be Addressed

Returning to Japan Airlines’ “Any Wear, Anywhere” scheme, the initiative aims to, in practise, simultaneously offer a convenient “lighter luggage” service to passengers and help in making air travel more sustainable. The initiative will inevitably face several challenges, however, that the airline and its partner will need to work to address.

One challenge that will need to be tackled is what provisions will be made for passengers whose flights are cancelled or diverted to other destinations if they, following the ethos of the scheme, travel with no change of clothing. In the event of delays due to severe weather phenomena, passengers could quite simply be left with only the clothes on their backs whilst contending with refund processes and other related procedures.

Next, as the rented clothing items are ordered online, travellers face great uncertainty about whether the garments they order will fit, suit their style or be comfortable. Second, travelers face a very much hit-or-miss situation regarding choosing their clothing order based on the season at the time of travel. Travelers could face having only a limited number of clothing items available to them that are totally inappropriate for the weather and temperature during their stay, which could be particularly problematic considering Japan’s variable climate.

Another pitfall concerns the limited range of clothing sizes that can be reserved. At present, it is only possible to rent clothing in adult sizes, so families travelling with children would still need to bring additional luggage with them to cover all of their clothing essentials.

Finally, the most important hurdle to overcome will be travelers’ acceptance of and enthusiasm for the scheme. To achieve substantial reductions in carbon emissions, the service would need to be taken up by a large number of travelers, who would need to balance the aforementioned pros and cons of the initiative.

To sum up, the initiative has been rightly hailed as a positive step forward in efforts to make air travel more environmentally friendly. How broadly the scheme is adopted by travelers and its influence on reductions in carbon emissions, however, will presumably become clear over the coming year.

What are your thoughts on Japan Airlines’ innovative clothing rental scheme? Would you consider renting holiday clothes through the “Any Wear, Anywhere” scheme? Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel Dunster
Rachel Dunster
Aviation Reporter