MADRID SPAIN -- I booked a trip through the Air France web site for my sister-in-law, her husband, my niece and a friend traveling from Madrid to Houston, TX. Everything was fine until the morning of the first flight from Madrid to Paris. As Spanish people actually have three names, the middle and last was in their computer reversed.
Their passport numbers were in their computer also and the ticket agent could see that this was them, but they were denied boarding passes and told that if they were allowed on board, once they reached the states, they, meaning my in-laws, would be fined by immigration. The flight was at 7:00 am in the morning, but no one with authority would arrive until 9:00 am.
So, they missed that flight and once 9 am arrived, this minor problem was resolved in less than 5 minutes. So, they missed two days of vacation for a simple problem, plus had to pay extra to fly Sunday over a book-in agent's incompetence to use their head.
I have to tell you this gruesome tale, and let you decide for yourself, what needs to be done. Here is my story: My mother and I came off a ship in Monaco. I left the ship early to take a plane - from Nice to Paris - to meet my daughter and some other people for a school trip. My mother an 80 year old woman, was on a later bus, to Nice airport, to meet her 4:20 flight to Paris with a connection on flight 8 to new York.
When she boarded her flight to Paris she was not told that her connecting flight was cancelled. She was just told there were some problems. Her plane was delayed, but we were told that the flight to New York was going. There were only two cancelled flights on the board. Anyway, I leave Nice to meet my young daughter at Orly airport, and when I arrive at Orly, I find out that a lot of the flights have been cancelled. I change terminals and go to Air France terminal to inquire about my elderly mother. They tell me that they are not sure what is going on. The plane has been checked in.
I ask them to tell me if my mother is on the flight. They say that they cannot find her name on the flight manifest. I then ask to be told where she is; they say they do not know. I say, "This is not acceptable," and that the woman cannot be just ignored. "Due to her age and feeble condition, I need to know where she is. She is not well, and cannot just be left at an airport alone and frightened - or just sent to a hotel without help. I need to know where she is. She will need my help."
All I get is “I am sorry Madame, there is a strike, you know, and we are very busy.” I said that I understood this problem, but we are talking about an 80 year old woman in a wheel chair!!! No one comes to my aid. And I am starting to panic. I start making calls to Orly airport to see what has happened to her. My cell phone bill will be enormous.
Finally, I put up a fuss. And once again, I am told, "I am sorry Madame; your mother is not on the flight." Again I scream, "So where is she?" Finally I demand to speak to someone in charge, and a lovely lady comes to my aid, and tells me to wait, and she will try to help me find my mother.
After about 50 minutes she comes back to me and tells me that she tracked the wheel chair and my mother is on the plane. But the plane comes in to Charles de Gaulle airport, and I need to get there. So I race with my daughter, another teacher and student, because we are with a group and do not want to separate in a foreign country that we don't speak the language. Now due to this problem we have missed our connection with our tour.
Okay, we all race to the other airport, to find that the plane is delayed. We wait and we wait. By this time, I know that the flight to New York is cancelled, but my mother does not know this. I try to get some information to help my mother get on another flight, and try to explain to the people, that she is not in a good condition and needs to be rerouted as soon as possible, because I don't know how much medication she has.
The people at the counter turn their heads away from me as if I don't exist. They say, “Madame there are other people who need attention.” And I say, “Yes I understand this, but I have a bit of a problem. The woman is very elderly and when she arrives she will be extremely tired, and I need to find her a place to sleep or re route her immediately.” No one listens to me. I start to get agitated and get a bit loud because 18 year old able bodied young people are getting rooms and I don't know what to do for an 80 year old woman coming in.
Finally I demand to see someone in charge, and someone comes to me, and asks me for my mother's name and flight, and he checks the computer, and then tells me that my mother is not on the flight, so I ask him where my mother is, have they put her in a hotel, or have they rerouted her, the answer I get, “Madam your mother is lost, I am sorry, we have no record of her, or where she is.” I start to cry, and tell them this is just not acceptable to me, and that they can't just lose a woman in a wheel chair.
The answer is, “Madame we are sorry, but there is a strike.” I lose it, and say, “I understand there is a strike, but where is my mother?” The answer is “Madame, we are sorry.” By this time I am nuts as you can imagine. I have been stressed for hours now. I go downstairs to tell the children and the teacher that I think they should at least go to the hotel. They have now been waiting for 6 hours with me, and they have lost their tours and their evening meal that had been prepaid. They don't want to leave until they know what happened to my mother. Now the flight comes in, and I see a woman from the ship I was on in the baggage area.
I ask her if she has seen my mother. And she says yes. She gets a piece of paper and starts to communicate with me on paper through the glass window, because we cannot hear one another. She writes to me that they took my mother away in a bus to meet a plane. “A plane to where,” I ask. She says “I don't know.” I run upstairs once more and start to ask for help, and I am ignored completely. I start to talk loudly, so someone will listen to me, and the girls at the desk just ignore me and turn their heads away. Finally I demand the attention of the closest woman, to get someone for me to talk to, and finally someone comes out.
They tell me that my mother was not on the plane. I tell them yes she was and she was taken away by a bus. “Well,” the gentleman said, “I have no idea where she is. I am afraid she is lost in this strike.” I get very upset and start to cry again. “If she drops dead in the airport, what will you do,” I say, “then will you say, I am sorry Madame? It is due to the strike!!!" I demand to know where they have taken her.
After about a half an hour they come back to me and tell me that my mother will be found in the baggage area. No apologies, no nothing. I have been told my mother was not on the plane, I have been told that my mother was taken away by a bus, I have been told that my mother is lost, I am a total nervous wreck.
I run downstairs and tell my party that my mother is here in the baggage claim. Okay. We wait for her to come out with the lady who is steering the wheelchair. My mother starts to cry. She is so happy that I am at the airport. She was frightened, because she didn't know how she was going to get back to New York.
We go upstairs to get her a hotel and a rerouting of her flight. No one pays any attention to us. We wait about an hour, and no one bothers to turn a head in our direction. The lady in attendance with the wheel chair tries to help, but they ignore her, she calls her supervisor. I go downstairs and beg my party to please go to the hotel, they now have been waiting 8 hours, and the kids are so tired and hungry. The driver who has been waiting for us has come back to the airport for the 3rd time to take us. But I beg him to please come back again for me and my mom after taking my group to our Paris hotel.
We continue to wait and wait and wait. I keep saying to the people behind the desk, “Please, can't you see that this woman needs help? She needs to sleep. She needs her medicine, and she needs to eat.” No response from anyone. She is starting to slump in the wheelchair, a sure sign that the stress is getting to her. She is exhausted, and has been jumbled around for the last 6 hours. (Not counting the fact that she woke up early and has been up all day). We are talking from the time she was supposed to board in Nice to now.
After another hour or so, of waiting, a young man with the wheel chair assistance comes. He says he will try to help us. We wait and we wait. He comes back and says there are no hotels to put her in and there are no flights. I ask to speak to his co worker, who tells me the same thing. I beg someone to bring her some water because the cafes have all closed down, amidst all this chaos, the cafes close and passengers have no access to food or water. My mother is really starting to get upset and worried.
Finally a gentleman comes out and tells me that they don't have hotels and I ask if I can find one on my own for her, because she cannot stay at the airport or at an airport hotel now on her own in this condition, and she needs my help. He says, "Of course, but there are no hotels to be found, but if you find one Air France will cover the bill." I contact the hotel I am staying at, and there are no rooms. Again, my cell phone is in use. You must understand that my cell phone is from Greece and all these phone calls are long distance.
Okay, I continue to call her travel agent, in America, to ask for advice and am told not to leave the airport until they give her a confirmed flight home. We wait. The agent from America calls me again and again, and of course my cell is charged. Anyway, we continue to wait. I continue to call everywhere trying to find a room.
From the corner of my eye, I see a bag from the same group that we were with, on the floor. I look up and see a very elderly woman, slumped over in a chair. This woman has been sitting in the chair with no assistance for 4 hours. The person at the desk told her to wait, so this 87 year old woman did what she was told to do, and was sitting waiting for 4 hours. I find this incredible. She is beside herself and doesn't know what to do. She has a broken arm, and is so tired but she was told to wait, that there were no rooms to be had, and they would get back to her, but she was forgotten.
Forgotten for 4 hours!!! Anyway, I got her information and told her that I would not leave her. She, like my mother, practically cried with relief, that someone is helping them. I am now very angry!!! I am very stressed. I have 2 women now that need help!!! And really need help! And I have had the run around now for 12 hours and I was exhausted. Plus, I was worried about my own daughter who I had to send to the hotel without me.
I now bang on the door of the office and demand a little respect for these two people. They are tired and hungry. I am given a tray of food for them and am told to wait. Just as I think that we are getting somewhere, the police rush in and clear the area, unclaimed luggage has been left on the floor and they clear the area. With that all the people inside the office disappear, and we have to wait some more until the scare is over. It is now after 1 am. Two women in their 80s exhausted - in transit, and no place to go. Shameful!!!
Finally I find a room in Paris. They tell me that the room has reserved by someone else but they haven't shown up, and if in an hour or so they don't come, we can have the room. I tell them we will take it. And I tell the other woman, that I will take care of her and not to worry. I will give her my room, and I will sleep in a single bed with my daughter.
Finally, the gentleman who was trying to help us, comes out with a re route for Tuesday on Continental Airlines. He says that he was not able to secure anything else and that the ladies would be stuck for 3 nights. But that Air France would pick up the expenses, just to keep the records. Hurray, the nightmare is about to end. Wrong!
Now if this whole story isn't bad enough, my trip and my daughter's trip are ruined. I cannot possibly attend a trip when I have taken 2 women under my care. So my holiday is ruined due to your strike. But I had a duty to make sure these women were taken care of, because they were in trouble. Well, what happens next is again terrible.
I get them to the airport on Tuesday, and they are denied boarding once again. Continental will not accept the Air France re route. This is disgusting. After all that these women have gone through, they still have to go through more red tape. They are denied boarding, and have to be now re routed again with Air France. Wait another few hours at the airport for the new flight.
Finally these ladies arrive in New York!!! They are exhausted to say the least. Manhandled, to say the least. Disappointed, to say the least. Compensation is in order, to say the least!!! Hotel bills are approximately 1000 euros, transportation costs are approximately 150 euros, for taxis from airport to hotel, hotel to airport, and then airport to home. Phone bills contacting hotels, and travel agents and the airport have yet to be known. But I am sure they will be high and expenses for having to eat at the restaurants, etc.
My trip was ruined due to this situation, and I think I should be compensated as well for all the expense I incurred trying to help these women who were totally ignored by the staff of Air France. If I hadn't taken care of them, I am sure they would have landed up in a hospital. And most important, an apology is in order. I have never seen a situation where people were treated so poorly in my life. Surely the staff are trained to watch out and protect elderly travelers and give them some kind of priority. Well they forgot.
**...I've just learned the name of my new mortal enemy. For those of you who have not had the displeasure of meeting **, let me spare you. ** is a horrible human being who works at Air France in LAX. I'm calling to complain extensively about him tomorrow, in an effort to spare other customers from his wrath. That's right **. You're going down.
AF has been my personal hell for about 3 months now, ever since my boss got downgraded for a flight. Flying to and from Paris, she was downgraded from "Premium Economy" (which I'm still not sure even exists) to Economy. After being promised all sorts of compensation for her downgrade, she received none.
I had to spend several months and countless hours by phone, fax, and email to get the refund for the difference in her ticket price, and a "goodwill voucher" that basically forces you to fly Air France again, (as if you would ever want to) because it's not good for any of their partner airlines.
So, I finally got this voucher, right? And my boss decided to use it. Come to find the only way to use it is to go to the Air France counter at an airport and book it in person - which they charge you $35 for. I get there, and wait in line for an hour, finally get to the counter, and ** tells me he just can't help me right now, because there are other people in line trying to make their flights. He proceeds to usher everyone in line behind me forward, while I wait there for another 20 minutes.
When the line is empty, another attendant named ** takes my vouchers and says it will be 20 minutes for him to book my flights, and he has to go to the back office to do it. I waited 40 minutes and approached the counter again. At this time, I was now late for work. I asked ** to fetch ** and ask him what my status was, and he refused. He said the office was "all the way down there" and he couldn't walk over there and get him.
I tried to explain to him my situation - that I might get fired because I am late for work, having been here to purchase a ticket for nearly 2.5 hours. But he turned around and walked away while I was in mid sentence, rolling his eyes, purposefully ignoring me, and started talking to another customer. I tracked down ** myself, and was told he can't finish booking my tickets until tomorrow because the counter was closing in 15 minutes.
3 hours later, and absolutely nothing to show for it, I went to work late and infuriated. I sent my boyfriend back in to LAX just to get ** name, and ** was a total ** to my boyfriend too. I vowed then and there that I would take Air France and ** down. And now, it is my new mission in life.
Air France is absolutely without doubt the worst airline we have had the misfortune to travel with!!! Our flight to Paris was delayed so after a ridiculous lengthy transfer from plane to terminal and no sense of urgency through the security queue we were not allowed to catch the connecting flight at Rio AF444 on 26th December despite the plane being delayed for over an hour. That meant that over 10 people missed that particular flight. The Air France desk was mobbed by dozens of people who had missed their connections - obviously nothing new for Air France!!!
The next available flight at night was overbooked by 14 people - (how can a flight be possibly overbooked by this many people = they obviously count on unknowing passengers missing their connecting flight that's why!! So we had no choice but to stay overnight in Paris and get on the next day's flight, 27th December. We asked at this point where our luggage was and the Air France representative reassured us that the luggage was there in Paris and would get on the connecting flight.
When we caught the actual flight again the plane was delayed by an hour due to bags being on there without their owners. In this time, other passengers (some of them elderly) joined the plane - upon speaking to them they had also had little time to make the connection but had been allowed to board. But guess what? These poor people had no seats. They had all been double booked!!! After much fiddling about and these passengers stood in the aisle they were finally found other seats.
Upon arriving at Rio some 13 hours later, it appeared that my suitcase was missing, along with another 30+ passengers!!!! However there were still about 20 unclaimed bags going round the carousel. We queued up for a lengthy amount of time and filed a report. It was here that the airport official advised that my suitcase had never left Manchester!! That means that the Air France representative in Paris bare-facedly LIED to us.
We were given a number to call in Rio to follow up the whereabouts of the bag - tried calling it every day since (6 days and counting now) - nobody even answers, it is an absolute disgrace. I called Air France in England but they were extremely unhelpful and said only someone in Rio could help me - nobody answers the bloody phone in Rio!!! They then gave me two telephone numbers which are both out of service...helpful, thanks for that!!
They only give you 100 euros for immediate needs - and what does that buy for a 3 week holiday? Hardly anything!!! They promise to provide you with a toiletry kit but there wasn't any available. Used the tracker system and it just says PENDING - to me that says that they have done nothing to even try look for this missing suitcase. Oh and surprise, surprise the details on the tracker system are incorrect = the Air France representative only had to write about 10 sentences down and couldn't even get that information correct, just an example of their sheer incompetence.
The only way you can change the info is by speaking to someone at the airport - that would all be okay but NOBODY ANSWERS THE PHONE!!! What an absolute shambles!!! Will never ever fly with Air France again. Their service is the shoddiest I have ever encountered. They are a complete disgrace. I have flown with countless budget airlines, BA, Qantas etc, never had any problems but AIR FRANCE is USELESS.
Oh and did I mention an Air France flight from Rio to Paris disappeared in 2009 killing all its passengers and staff? Great looking forward to that flight back!!! NOT!!! If I can be of any help to make sure anyone else doesn't suffer the same as us please take my advice and NEVER fly with Air France. EVER!!!
As you are getting ready for another summer vacation anywhere outside of the US or just Europe, AVOID taking Air France at any cost. I'll let you decide if the heading of this review should have been “I HATE Air France”. If you do book a flight with Air France after reading this review and have an unpleasant experience with them, then please do not complain afterwards because you are forewarned. Here is our story:
It was late June of 2010. We took a flight with Air France, from Washington DC to Istanbul, via Paris. The first leg of the trip was uneventful, thank God, because what happened afterwards was bad enough to cover many many Air France mishaps that you might experience on any given flight. After transferring to another airplane, we continued our trip from Paris to Istanbul, which is supposed to be 3 hours.
A half hour or so before we were supposed land in Istanbul, the pilot announced that we were returning back to Paris because the airplane's landing radar was not operating properly and landing conditions in Istanbul were windy. In other words they were concerned about the safety.
We did not like the news, but, hey, anyone can experience such a malfunction on any airplane or airlines. While we were returning back to Paris, we found out from a flight attendant that the airplane had come from Frankfurt first and this condition was known. So if Air France knew the problem why did they assign the plane to fly? We said, "let's not get upset and ruin our trip." Two and a half hours later, and a full thirteen plus hours after we left home from Washington DC, we landed back in Paris.
The airplane parked on the tarmac. We walked down the stairs to board a bus. Oh by the way, I forgot to mention that my wife's knees are in such a bad condition with arthritis that we had to install a chair lift for her on the stairs of our house so that she can be mobile without pain. But enduring pain is exactly what she did - she walked down the airplane stairs.
The next problem arrived when the bus let us off in front of a three story set of stairs that we had to walk up to reach the terminal. Everyone walked up, and we waited. Waited to ask someone to take us to an elevator so that my wife would not be forced to negotiate the stairs with pain. Oh by the way, I did not mention that I am a heart patient. It is not good for me to walk up three flights of stairs either.
Well, an Air France representative came. We told him about my wife's knees, he said that there is no elevator. I questioned his statement, stating that I cannot believe that in Charles De Gaulle Airport there is no elevator anywhere to take us up. All they had to do is just walk us to the nearest elevator.
The man insisted that there was no elevator and we had to walk up just like all other passengers did. My wife's arthritic knees? My heart condition? I asked him, "What happens if I have a heart attack while I am trying to go up three flights?" His response was, "If that happens we'll take you to the hospital."
At that point I told him that he should call the police because we are not going anywhere until they take us to an elevator. Yes, a few police came around trying to understand the problem. The man was insisting that there was no elevator that we can walk to, nor could they can take us to one, and if all of the other passengers can go up, we too can walk up to the terminal.
I told him if he kept up that attitude we might both be on the front page the next day. At that point, my wife said that she would walk up no matter what. She and I walked up three stories of stairs in twenty minutes, while taking breaks along with the entourage of Air France representatives and a few policemen.
Ironically, after we came home there was the official Disabilities month and passage of disabilities laws to provide a variety of capabilities to people like us and those in worse condition. Thank you America for trying to accommodate all disabled people and shame on you Air France for insisting and expecting us to be in the condition to walk up three floors to your terminal and refusing to take us to an elevator. I would like to ask you, should I hate Air France and should I ever consider flying Air France again?
By a non competent worker who has just dropped it while unloading the cargo out of the airplane due to a bad handling manner and/or unfamiliarity with such a type of cargo which end up by a crash of the cage, putting at risk the life of our dog named HIJO was consequently lost at the airport premises, my wife and me were subject to a forced delay of five days at the CDG, Charles De Gaulle Airport - Paris. From September 16th to 21st (both dates inclusive).
We were informed personally; a cage handle dysfunction caused a cage door open letting the dog run away and considered lost within the airport premises, a spokesman of Air France stated, additional reference in various media TV and daily papers (TV3, France today, La Liberation Newspapers, La Tercera Newspapers & Chile vision) as well. Thereafter the erroneous Air France spokesman statement was never changed and no compassion or attenuation excuse was so far expressed to us to persuade us and/or substitute the first misleading attitude.
We have immediately contradicted publicly through the media AF spokesman, as the dog cage first time used, is hermetically meeting with animal transportation code and in full compliance with the international norms, being made to withstand common eventual shocks may be incurring during air cargo manipulation beside the fact that the cage door cannot be opened unless manually pushed down and released to open as a security measure which can't be forced by any means by the animal itself from inside out.
Obviously the cage is not designed to withstand a free accelerated dynamic fall down from an airplane cargo gate relevant height to hit the runway ground as it was discovered later on by us. We refer as well to the smashed cage in our custody as it was retrieved back from A. France.
In adversary to good ethics, without the help and support of the Media, animal associations and the 1000 EU offered by us, we were like ignored, desperate and frustrated; that is the plain truth unveiled along the five unforgettable days sealed with trauma and desperation.
No one of the Ground Air France responsible felt to deal with the matter in respect and vigor to animal transportation regulations, cargo handling and Air passenger's rights for compensation under the international conventions and codes. Everyone was trying to avoid us and consequently negate the default and consequently the passenger's eligibility to accommodations and assistance in respect to hours and days of delay caused by the company.
Without our insistence and perseverance our dog considered as a family member could have been lost forever or possibly lost his life. Five long days, day and night. Four of them we have called the agony days those before our dog was found at a CDG ground yard. The fifth day was the happy day by excellence marked by finding our companion while we were already exhausted and both my wife and me sick.
A doctor refused to write a medical report to me as I was suffering fever, flu, headache, and stomach pain. He instead has verbally advised me to swallow some Paracetamol. Thereafter my wife had to be and still under medical care and follow up for the Traumatic time we had and depression she was subject to until this actual date suffering in consequence thereof.
Opposed by our solid decision not to leave the airport premises without our companion; Air France offered us one hotel night accommodation with a limited snack food allowance. Beside the humble hotel conditions, then after we were constrained to sleep till the fifth day, as our flight was due to leave to our final destination at a business class salon obviously not equipped with the necessary long staying accommodation facilities, eating the snacks regularly served at this lounge. Any other necessities were on our own cost. At the fifth day still at the business class lounge waiting for our flight to take off to our destination Santiago du Chile as the flight was due to leave late evening.
After 20 days from our arrival to Chile, Air France while we were expecting to be compensated decently, we ironically were addressed with $200.00 USD. Two Hundred. After all our trauma and frustrating agony we were subject to, due to a mistake which we never commit as if Air France still treating the matter in light of their first statement .
Thus, to resume the material direct damage and inconveniences we have faced avoiding going deep into annoying details abundant enough to write a book. Till now the famous AIR FRANCE DIDN'T PAY ANY THING FOR US...LIKE THEY MUST DO.
ROISSY CDG CEDEX -- Grab a coke or a cup of coffee because this is a long message. A little background: We are both Platinum on NWA or Delta as it is now. Some of these events took place from NWA flights but in all instances Air France (AF) was responsible for baggage handling and tracking. Our only 2 grandchildren live in the small village of Breux Jouy, south of Paris about 45 minutes out; we go to see them 2 or 3 times a year; we have been to France 43 times, always either on NWA, Delta, or when they were partners, Continental.
** has over 1.7 million body in the seat miles and ** has 1.1 Million Miler miles, we are exactly the kind of customer you want and want to keep, yet we have been constantly abused by Air France and their incompetent baggage handling and the fact that neither NWA or Delta can help us.
Here is the story but this is not all the times AF has lost our bags. Sept. 2, 2008 bag lost at CDG from flight Memphis-Amsterdam-Paris – numerous calls finally on 3rd bag is “out for delivery today” waited up till 12 A.M. but no luck. Sept. 3, 2008 Called AF again – should be tomorrow. Sept. 4, 2008 Called AF again –should be tomorrow. Sept. 5, 2008 Bag came at noon. Only 3 days lost. But all of these calls involved numerous calls to the number we are given and on hold for 10 to 13 minutes and then disconnected. Probably spent 5 or more hours trying to find this bag. Oh well. We should not have planned on doing anything else but calling AF.
Dec. 17-18, 2008 Memphis-Detroit-Paris. ** bag did not arrive; took 1½ hours to do the paperwork. Dec. 19, 2008 AF can't find bag and the Paris NWA number simply doesn't answer; spent all day trying to get ** bag, but no one knows where it is; NWA says it is in CDG and AF says “have not been notified” – this phrase will occur over and over again. No one can help and no one is responsible. Really frustrating.
Sat. Dec. 20, 2008 no help on bag; AF wants us to fill out a form of the contents; NWA no help; called all afternoon and NWA says bag is at CDG, but no one is responsible to do anything. Sunday December 21, 2008 message on ** phone (number we leave for AF to call); spent 1 hour on hold and 4 times disconnected but finally got someone who says delivery today or tomorrow. Had my daughter in law ** call the delivery service and speak to them in French; they say delivery will be Monday between 8 and 1.
Monday December 22, 2008 bag comes at 11 A.M. The only thing that works for AF is the delivery service they use. So in summary we spent 4 days of our limited time trying to get ** clothes and a few Christmas presents that were in her bag. We leave for Memphis early on Dec. 23rd and got the bag on the 22nd.
June 3-4 2009 Memphis-Minneapolis-Paris terrible service on NWA; but miracle all the bags arrived. Took 25 hours to get home on June 15th, partly because NWA did not put enough fuel in plane to avoid weather in Memphis area – don't they have weather radar?
December 18-19, 2009 MEM-AMS-CDG NW# 256/KL #1233 missed; AF 1741. Well, the pilots did not arrive early as they should to check out the plane, so when they did check it out there was a maintenance problem; so plane left late, no tail wind, so arrived in AMS late and we could not make our connection on KLM.
So they put us on Air France (oh, no!) with a 3 hour layover. Did you know that the AF lounge does not honor Delta Sky Club cards except for 1 person?? Bet you did not know that; and even though you came in business class they don't care; but nice lady let us in the lounge anyway. Always carry your platinum card with you when dealing with Air France.
Arrived at CDG at 4 on Sat. Dec. 19th instead of 11:45. No bags. Checked 4 one full of toys and games for grandchildren. Long line at baggage office finally got forms filled out. File **. Sunday Dec. 20, 2009 begin the telephone route 5 times; on hold 10 to 13 minutes and then disconnect. Website is a joke. It has no information and you cannot even alter or add to the information they have for your profile even though there is a button for “update information”.
Finally get someone who says 2 bags are at CDG. We had told them to hold the bags there and we would come get them as it usually takes 1 to 2 days for the delivery service to schedule the bags to Breux Jouy the little village where we are. So, thinking the bags are there we go back to CDG and wait in long lines to get a permit to enter the baggage area and then the line at baggage service office (2 hours) and no the bags are not there as they have not been “notified” (there is that phrase again).
Monday December 21, 2009. No info on bags early (called 4 times and disconnected, AF takes no calls before 9 a.m. and finally get someone). Website still says “searching for bags”. The situation is this: silver bag found; black and brown “no confirmation”; blue (** clothes) still searching. A call that they have found one and will deliver 6-10 pm and it comes at 9 pm.
Tuesday December 22, 2009. Five calls and disconnects before one connection but finally got someone who says all bags will be cleared by tonight; website has no new info and on the bag that has been delivered there is still a comment “out for delivery”; they don't record when it is delivered, because guess what? They don't care. Call at 8 pm and no information. We post a comment about how Air France handles lost luggage on My3cents.com.
Wednesday December 23, 2009. Four calls and disconnects. At 10 A.M. get a representative and she goes over same words as all the other times and cannot tell me what is happening with bags and there is no supervisor. I ask when bags will be delivered and she says “when they are confirmed.” We go round and round over fact that they don't know anything about where bags are or where the blue bag is on the planet. She says “I am tired of this conversation” and hangs up!
Call later in day and representative says will send message to CDG to confirm the two bags so they can be sent out. Disconnected only twice. About 6 pm call the Platinum line (full fare international rate toll call) at NWA to see if they can do anything. They send an e-mail to MEM, MSP, ATL, CDG, DET asking if anyone has any personal contact at CDG that could help us. No answer. ** files an e-mail with Air France reference number **.
Thursday December 24, 2009; 11 A.M. We know nothing about whether the bags are at CDG or not the same as last 4 days; now they want a description of the contents of the blue bag; we have the form but they want it FAXED to them, not e mail, no they don't have that just a fax. Wow this is the dark ages. Then representative says “sorry I can't hear you” and hangs up. They have more ways to avoid doing anything that you can count. December 25, 2009; no calls to AF today and website still same.
December 26, 2009. Usual disconnects; representative says no news and we can do nothing. NWA Platinum line says “We can't help you call Air France.” What a great way to treat a regular customer. December 27, 2009. Website says brown bag out for delivery and it comes at 2 pm; website at noon says another bag out for delivery and will be picked up today at 3:30 P.M. We emphasize that we have to have the bag today as we are leaving tomorrow. Bag comes in the P.M. (** clothes).
But wait, didn't you check 4 bags? Yes and we got three after 8 days. The black bag with the toys and games? Who knows? Maybe it is on its way back to Memphis, but we suspect some baggage handler gave his children some extra Christmas gifts like the Wall Street Journal article reported a week before we left. But, can't you keep checking the website? No, there is no longer an active file on **.
The problem is that you cannot find out anything. You are completely helpless and at the mercy of their phone and web system. I am sure there will be excuses, circumstances etc. but to have this happen over and over means there is something seriously wrong with NWA and Delta passing off the responsibility for bags to Air France and not leaving some way for us to contact either airline and get any help.
Would we ever travel on AF? No but we would not have to begin with if NWA crew had show up on time and done checks like they were supposed to and we made the KLM flight, so we have some “circumstances” too. What to do? Institute some sort of communication between the head of baggage at AF and Delta so when something like this happens we can get an explanation of what is going on instead of “waiting for confirmation”.
And the big question is: WHERE IS BAG **, BLACK ROLLER BAG FULL OF CHRISTMAS PRESENTS AND TOYS?? There is no access as of Jan. 5th 2010 to ** any more on the Air France website. Any ideas? Will any of you do anything? Probably not, but a lot of people are going to read this and the summary which will be on my Facebook page and posted on My3cents.com.
I flew from America to Paris with Continental Airlines, landed December 30, 2009, and flew from there to Oslo with Air France the same day. Upon arrival in Oslo my bag doesn't show up, and I file a missing luggage-report. Because of new-years I wasn't able to get a hold of the Oslo service-desk until Saturday, when she could tell me that they found my bag: Air France sent it to Mumbai, India. She told me it would take a few days.
I called Air France to find out if I would get some sort of compensation: I had no warm clothes or anything at home. And the temperature was -20 Celsius. A woman at Air France service told me that no, I was not entitled to any compensation as long as my bag was located. Great. She filled out her form with all my information about me and my bag and told me she would send Mumbai a "message" to send me my bag.
On Monday I call again, to see when I can expect it. "Nothing new" the lady tells me. "Nothing new?? What do you mean, my bag is supposed to be sent by now!" It hasn't, and she can't even really tell me why she doesn't know! She's guessing that they're waiting for a confirmation that the bag really is mine. My name is on the bag in two different places, one of them very secure. This sounds odd to me. But she tells me again that she will send them a message and ask them to send me my bag.
I call again on Tuesday: same story. I ask the woman if they can't call them instead of sending them these "messages", talk to someone at their office in Mumbai. "No, we don't have their number." "Uhm... Okay, well it has to be online somewhere, on a website maybe?" She says "We don't have an internet access."
I call a little bit later the same day when I discovered that my home address was misspelled, but this time Air France tells me that Continental airlines has my bag, and that Mumbai are waiting for an authorization from them before they can send my bag! I tell him that this is news to me and that I will call Continental and see what's keeping them.
I talk to a very nice woman at Continental and she asks me if I want her to call Mumbai(!). Sure! She calls them while I'm on hold for a few minutes, and when she gets back to me she tells me that a representative from Air France came and physically picked my bag up from their office on Sunday 1 January and after that there are no messages in my file saying what's been done with it.
She can also tell me that Air France hadn't sent the proper message. They were supposed to send something called an "official request on hand" or something, and told me that I needed to ask them to do that. She also advised me to ask them to call their own office. She was horrified when I told her how they responded to that request. She also told me to ask for a supervisor.
I call up Air France, and a new man at the service desk starts listing all my details. I try to tell him. "It's not necessary, since I talked to them 20 minutes ago." He arrogantly responds: "Okay, miss, let me do my job, okay? Will that be all right with you? Okay." (In a French accent).
After he's finished listing all my info, and I've confirmed, I tell him the news I got from Continental and what she told me Air France needed to do. He interrupts several times with: "Thank you for telling me what to do" in an extremely rude and sarcastic tone. He refuses to let me talk to a manager, when I ask him to please call their offices he replies: "I've already told you, miss, that's not how we do it here!" I'm obviously getting nowhere with this guy so I give up.
I've called again today, Thursday, "no news". My bag is still in Mumbai. They can't tell me anything. Except that it's confirmed that it's mine. They already told me that on Tuesday. She gave me a phone number and a fax number for Mumbai airport. None of them worked. I can't find any other number for Air France. I've tried to send two messages to Mumbai airport, no response. I don't know what to do.
We flew from Manchester to Bordeaux via Paris CDG on 26th December. I was not looking forward to the flight as we had flown with Air France in the past and both times were not pleasant experiences! On arrival at Manchester Airport we checked in through the automated check-in terminals but then we had to queue for 1 hour 30 minutes just to drop off our luggage at the self drop off desk.
Half way through our wait, we were told by a member of staff that we could use the luggage drop off desk for internet check-in, so we left the queue to do so... Then later we had our doubts we weren't queuing in the right place and we checked again with the same Air France member of staff who then confirmed that we were in the wrong queue - despite telling us that we could use that lane moments earlier!
So we had to rejoin the original queue. At the baggage drop off there were 2 members of desk staff for 3 planes full of passengers, as our queue was for KLM / Air France to 3 destinations. Beyond the desk staff, there was no one in charge to direct the 100s of queuing passengers or answer questions. On board the plane from Manchester to Paris, we were offered a Muffin and a drink. No other food was available. The second Flight from Paris to Bordeaux was similar.
For a flight using a "premier airline" of £278 per person this is not acceptable! We arrived in Bordeaux at 11.40am on 26th Dec to find that one suitcase was still in Paris and the other was lost. We were told that once the lost case had been located it would be delivered to our destination address along with the delayed case. Later that day (26th) we awaited a phone call to update us... And waited...and waited. NOTHING
Today is the 27th and we had to phone them this morning to find out why we had still not received the delayed bag and to see if they had located the lost one. The woman said that there was good news and promptly told my wife that one bag was delayed but found and the other was still lost??? "I know that this is the situation already" said my wife. "Oh?" said the Air France woman. "Will the located bag be delivered today?" "No, tomorrow" was the reply...
The delayed suitcase is set to be delivered on the 28th Dec in the morning (some 48 hrs late). We have had to buy underwear, a replacement shaver, and personal hygiene products and are still wearing the same clothes as we flew in! Air France have said that we are entitled to ¢¬100 per person for necessary items which we thought was generous initially, but we soon found out that we quickly reached that amount by only buying essential items to make it to the next day (contact lens solution is ¢¬13). Also we have spent our own money so far and have yet to have the claim approved / verified, so it could be a long wait.
The other case is still lost and it contains(ed) Christmas Presents for our friends and family in France who we only see twice a year. The lost case also contained my wife's brand new trainers bought for her as a Christmas present from me all my wife's makeup and clothes. Most of the clothes were new and received as presents for Christmas! We normally fly with BMI Baby and get excellent service and have never had cause to complain in over 11 flights to France.
We have travelled for Bordeaux with Air France on 2 previous occasions and they have delayed our flights for 10 hours on one return flight. Delayed for 5 hours on another. Been rude and unhelpful during delays. Proved more expensive than other airlines (¢¬250-280 a return flight versus ¢¬100 max with Bmibaby or Ryanair). Never provided proper food or the option to purchase food on board. Overall, I would never ever fly with Air France if given the choice, but unfortunately, they are the only option to visit our family in Bordeaux at Christmas time, as the other BETTER airlines do not fly at this time of year.
When my wife announced that she had booked with Air France, I felt a sense of foreboding which has now proved to be fully justified. AIR FRANCE ARE POORLY ORGANISED, INEFFICIENT, RUDE and DON'T COOPERATE PROPERLY WHEN PROBLEMS ARISE.
UPDATE 1. Received our delayed bag on 28th as expected. We checked the AF site online today (30th) and found that our lost bag had been found but we never got a call to tell us? We called Air France and they said that Air France apparently phoned us this morning??? At 8.50 am??? We got no missed calls on either of our mobiles and the house phone DID NOT ring. This morning as there were 3 of us in the house. They were clearly lying.
We fly home to the UK tomorrow 31st Dec (with Air France) and they asked to deliver the case to our French location tomorrow at 8pm... But we fly home at 4 pm we said. The man on the phone was extremely arrogant (no surprise there, being French and working for AF!) and said that it was our fault for not answering "the call" this morning repeatedly calling my wife (who is French and not arrogant) Madam but in an "I am in control of the situation and you are nothing" kind of way.
After much gabbling, they informed us that they are going to deliver it tonight... 30th Dec at 8pm... We hope and wait for a confirmation call but it's been 1/2 an hour already and nothing!!! UPDATE 2. Well surprise, surprise... It's Almost 10 pm 30th Dec and no luggage has arrived. No Phone call. No Contact whatsoever. I emailed the customer service department 3 days ago and they have not replied to me either.
AIR FRANCE IS TOTALLY INCOMPETENT WITH NO CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS WHATSOEVER. We Fly home tomorrow with one case and then need to fly out to Italy 2 days later... When are we going to see our missing suitcase again? AIR FRANCE IS USELESS BEYOND COMPREHENSION....
BUYER BEWARE!!! My story from the beginning. My partner and I are attending a much anticipated lecture in London on the 25th July, and we were looking on-line for the best flight offers on Saturday the 4th of July 2009. We came across the city jet website and saw that we could get return flights from Dublin to London City airport for €119.70 per person return. We entered in all the details to book for 2 of us, and entered our credit card details and went on to confirm the booking.
However, it was denied as we had insufficient funds on our credit card. A message came up on the screen saying that the transaction was not authorised. We had obviously thought that we had enough money on the card, but when we later checked our on-line banking, we were a couple of euro short. This, you would think would be the end of it, but sadly no.
On Monday, we went to the bank to lodge more money onto our credit card so that we could pay for the flights. We assumed that it would take a day or two for the money to be on the credit card, but just on the off chance that this transaction processed more quickly than the “anything up to 3 working days” we had been told by the bank. It was then that we discovered the money missing from the credit card. We were quite shocked as we initially thought that perhaps our credit card had been skimmed or was being used fraudulently in some way.
It was around 4.00pm so we thought we better get on to the bank right away before they closed to see what was going on. We were told that the money was being held pending authorisation by ‘AIR FRANCE'. They had requested from our bank the price of a ticket for 1 person for some reason, even though when we attempted to book flights for ‘2' people we were told that the transaction was denied due to insufficient funds.
This I thought was crazy – how is it legal for a company to ‘hold' money on your credit card without your knowledge?? We were unable to access this money, OUR money until Air France declined their initial request to take it. We immediately checked our e-mails to see if in fact, our flight booking had gone through without our knowledge, but there was nothing. No confirmation of flights, no mention of ‘provisionally' holding seats for us, no booking contract, and no mention of why they were holding money on our credit card – NOTHING!!!
I have worked in the hospitality industry for 13 years, and I understand the procedure of pre-authorising credit cards on a guest's arrival, but you HAVE to tell the guest what you are doing. Otherwise, you are using their credit card without their knowledge, which is definitely unethical, not best business practice and I imagine illegal.
I called the customer services number for Air France and was told to call their reservations line. After a while explaining the situation to a girl in customer services, she searched for our flight booking. I kept trying to tell her that we had no booking as we were told that the request for the flights was denied on-line, but lo and behold, there were 2 seats ‘provisionally' reserved for us. I inquired as to how this could be, and as to how the money was holding on our credit card, and she really couldn't give me any answers.
She said that she couldn't confirm the bookings as no payment was made for the seats. I explained that as Air France were ‘holding' this money on our credit card we were now stuck as we had no money on the card to book with another airline. She said that the seats were being held provisionally for me, and that there was nothing else she could do until she spoke to her supervisor.
I inquired as to the price of these ‘provisional' seats and I was told that she could give me one seat at the original price of €119.70 but that the other one would be at the new higher price of €169.00. I told her that this was outrageous, as if she was holding seats for us, and holding money on our credit card, then why could I not confirm the booking at the original price. Then, all of a sudden, during the course of our conversation the cheaper seat had been sold so now both seats were €169.00 per person.
I just don't understand that if they are holding seats for me (without my knowledge), how can they all of a sudden be bought by someone else!! She said that because she was working for Air France she could not alter the prices for city jet flights. I asked to speak to a manager who was ‘in a meeting' and she told me that she would get the manager to call me back the following morning. She said that there was nothing more that she could do at this stage. I thought to myself that this was outrageous and I was so angry as Air France were holding us to ransom by continuing to hold the money on our credit card.
As it was after 5pm, there was nobody else we could get through to. The more I thought about it, the angrier I was getting. HOW CAN THIS BE LEGAL!!! We decided to call the 24 hour lost/stolen credit card line for our bank. They gave us some advice, and said that in ‘no way' should a reputable company hold money on people's credit cards like this. They didn't know the exact legalities of the situation, but when we asked could they just cancel the charge they said that Air France has to reject the amount which they were holding. So we were stuck.
The next morning, we contacted our bank again; just to verify all of the information we had been told. They gave us the transaction number so that Air France could follow this up. They said that this transaction number meant that Air France had requested the amount of €119.70 was made available to them to take from our credit card. Our bank had accepted this request, and so, the transaction number was created.
I called Air France back at about 9.30am as I was tired of waiting for them to call me back. I understand that €119.70 might not seem like a big deal to them, but it certainly was to me. And more over, the fact that they held the money on my credit card in the first place, without my authorisation – HOW CAN THEY DO THIS???
I spoke to a man in customer services and explained the situation again as he did not know who the lady I was originally speaking to was. He looked up the details on our ‘provisional' booking and then proceeded to put me on hold for 10 minutes while he spoke to his manager. I couldn't speak to the manager as he was ‘going into a meeting'. I told him that this was unacceptable and that I wanted to know what was going on. At this point, I was still willing to accept the 2 flights at the original price, but not for long.
I asked him how it was legal to hold money on people's credit cards without their knowledge, and he said that when you enter your credit card details in the on-line booking form, you are consenting for the company to charge your card. I am not a complete idiot, so I do get this concept, but what I don't get is why they held money on our credit card firstly for flights for 1 person when we had tried to book for 2 people together and secondly without informing me that they were doing so.
I had checked all of the policies on their website and nowhere did it say that they would do this. Again I was fobbed off that he was going to get his manager to contact City Jet after his ‘meeting' and he would call me back later that day. My frustration was now bubbling over into rage and I thought that I am just going to cancel the whole lot and get Air France to release MY money that they were holding without my consent.
I called back and asked to speak to the same man again so that I didn't have explain the whole ordeal a third time. I was not permitted to speak to him, so I had to speak to another lady who was less than accommodating. I explained the entire ordeal AGAIN and I told her that I wanted her to cancel whatever provisional booking she had in for me and my partner and to release the money they were holding. She said that she could not release the money as they had not charged our credit card. I explained that I was well aware that they had not charged our card, but that Air France was ‘holding' this money and we were unable to access it, so they should release the ‘hold'.
During the course of our hour long conversation, I asked her several times to contact whatever bank they used and give them the transaction code and release the money, which she eventually did after approximately 50 minutes. She attempted to tell me that she would cancel the flights for me, which she would normally not do as I had made a contract with City Jet.
Obviously, these flights had been booked for me, without my knowledge. Had I not found out when I did – would City Jet have told me or would they have waited until the flight had gone and charged me anyway as I didn't cancel??? How could there be a contract when one party has told the other that the transaction was DENIED!!! I then read to her the details of the ‘Liability' section in the ‘legal' section on their website, which goes as follows:
"A binding contract in relation to a ticket is not formed until Cityjet accepts a customer's offer to buy a ticket. An offer will be deemed to have been accepted by Cityjet once the customer is in receipt of a booking confirmation. Prices are subject to change at any time before acceptance by Cityjet. All flights and products are offered subject to availability.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event of a genuine website error or inaccuracy, Cityjet reserves the right to withdraw an offer immediately and without notice. Cityjet reserves the right to cancel all confirmed bookings that are subject to genuine website error or inaccuracy. In the event of such cancellation Cityjet's only liability shall be to refund the ticket price paid by You. You agree that this is fair and reasonable in the circumstances and your continued use of the Web site indicates your agreement with this specific provision."
I took exception to the following part: “An offer will be deemed to have been accepted by Cityjet once the customer is in receipt of a booking confirmation.” I read this to the customer services agent, and yet she still tried to insist that I had a contract with City Jet, even though this directly contradicts the liability section of their website. I asked her to explain how I had a contract as the above terms as stated in the ‘liability' section on City Jets website were not met – she had no answer for me.
I asked again for her to explain to me exactly how I had a contract with City Jet considering they had not taken the amount of money initially requested by them, before declining the transaction, but they took and held the price of a ticket for 1 person only. Surely if we were to have a contract, City Jet would have just broken it. I told her that a contract had to be agreed by both parties, and I told her that if she wished to go down a legal route, I would be more than happy to do so, as there is absolutely no contract, nor was there ever and she could not prove anything; and she continued on to change the subject.
Again, had I not discovered this request for payment made by Air France to my bank, I would be none the wiser – there was no contract! I explained this to the customer services agent, at which point she implied that I was lying as she said several times,"‘I just don't understand why we would hold the money on your card," and yet she refused to get in touch with her bank until the end of my conversation with her. I explained several times that my bank had given me a transaction code, which proved that her bank was holding funds from my credit card.
During the course of the conversation, I asked her several times to just contact her bank, as she was talking over me and was becoming quite rude. Up to this point she refused to acknowledge that Air France were holding my money. She insisted that it was my bank. I again re-iterated my request that she please check with her bank instead of arguing with me as I had now checked this 4 times with my bank, who gave me the transaction code which proved that Air France were holding my money.
I repeatedly asked to speak to a manager but I could not as the manager ‘would not help me' (her words, which she quickly retracted and said ‘could not help me) and guess what – the manager was just going into a meeting! She insisted on talking over me and continued telling me that my bank had to cancel the transaction. My partner got on the phone to our bank while I was on the phone to the girl from Air France and told them what she said – they said again that as the request was made by Air France, that Air France had to cancel the request.
There are a limited number of days that a company can continue holding money on your card without accepting or denying a payment and eventually the money would be returned to you, but this was not acceptable to me as I still required this money to book flights. All Air France had to do was ring their bank and cancel the transaction and it would happen immediately, as we were told by our bank.
I kept asking her to please just contact her bank with our transaction number and they could chase it up, but she wouldn't do this. She kept implying that there was no way they would just hold money on someone's credit card without their knowledge. When I said that I could 100% prove to her that Air France was holding money on my card, and that they couldn't go around holding money on credit cards without their own bank being aware of this. Surely their bank HAD to have some record of it.
Eventually she conceded and said she would call the bank and check. I later got a call from her supervisor, and she told me that the bank did indeed find the transaction and they would release the ‘holding' money. Maybe its just me, but personally I do not see the need for a 1 hour long conversation whereby it is implied that I was lying or that my bank was making it up, when a simple phone call which took a matter of minutes to Air France's bank with the transaction number I provided would have shown that I was not making this up.
This supervisor told me that she had been filled in about our case, and yet when I asked her how is it legal for Air France to do this to me; she didn't seem to know what I was talking about. I just didn't have it in me to go through the entire episode again, so I left it at that – they were indeed holding money on our credit card, without our prior consent, or a lawful 2 party contract and they would release the funds back to their rightful owner – ME!
What I can gather is that Air France take your credit card details when you try to book on-line, hold money on your credit card for your ‘provisional' bookings which you are sent no notification or confirmation for, and then charge you for either canceling your flight when you eventually realize what is going on, or charge you for not turning up for your flight!!! I really think that it is absolutely outrageous and had I not noticed what they I had done, I would have been out of pocket €119.70.
I received no real explanation – I was told that it was ‘technical' and they probably wouldn't be able to explain it to me, while the 2nd lady I spoke to was implying that I simply must have concocted the whole ordeal in my head as she couldn't possibly just pick up the phone and call her bank. We have received no apology for this.
Had it been the other way round and I had taken something from Air France without their prior consent, no doubt the boys in blue would be knocking on my door but it doesn't work that way for the average Joe. I believe that us average Joe's have to look out for each other, especially these days when money is scarce, so please be careful out there – even companies that you may think are reputable are not too slow when it comes to scamming us.
I wonder is this accepted business practice by Air France? I wonder would Air France have eventually contacted me to let me know they were holding money on my credit card? I wonder do Air France normally book provisional seats without a method of payment? I wonder would Air France have eventually charged my card without my knowledge, and later told me that I missed my flight when I inquired as to where my money had gone? I wonder why every time I asked to speak to a manager, my request was denied and I was told that they were in meetings?
I wonder why it took 4 phone calls to different people at Air France before they eventually picked up the phone to check with their bank, instead of implying that I was a liar? I wonder that if the same situation were to arise in a different scenario, say a shop and I hand over money to the shopkeeper to pay for goods. He declines to sell me anything, but holds on to my money and tells me that he will decide in a few days if he will accept and sell me the goods after all – would this be theft? I don't know if Air France has broken any laws – most probably not, but the question I think people need to ask themselves is: are Air France's business practices ethical, moral and honest?