I often fly with Delta and Air France. I've had quite a high number of bad experiences with both airlines and I am glad I can share a pleasant experience for once. I recently flew from Bangalore to Paris CDG, and then Paris CDG to Atlanta. I was originally in India for 10 days. But I caught typhoid fever and was unable to travel. After I was finally allowed by doctors to travel, but still on medication and exhausted from two weeks of disease, I decided to fly back home.
I get on the plane in Bangalore and as I am heading towards my seat a flight attendant asks me if I speak French. I tell her I do. She then answers in French "you'll be sitting soon and will be able to sleep and rest". I was surprised by her comment (I hadn't let the airline know about my being sick) and speechless. She then added "you just look so tired..." I let her know that indeed I am exhausted because I have been sick for two weeks and was supposed to fly back to the US much earlier. I then proceed to my seat.
5 minutes later the same flight attendant comes to me and asks me if I mind telling her what I have. I let her know I've had typhoid fever. After reassuring her that I was not presenting a risk to other passengers anymore she asks me what it is that I would need the most to make the flight as easy as possible on me. She offers me extra blankets and pillows.
She asks me if I need a lot of water (indeed I am supposed to drink liters and liters for my kidneys to properly function). She lets the rest of the crew know about my condition and they all came and checked on me during the flight. They gave me 1.5 liter bottles. They also moved the passenger next to me to another seat so I could lie down. When I was not drinking enough they would gently remind me that I needed to drink more.
I was extremely touched by their kindness. I was nervous to get on two flights for a total trip of 24 hours while still being very tired. They made it so much easier on me (without me mentioning anything about my condition or asking for anything, everything they did for me was their own initiative). Before landing in Paris they checked again on me and asked me to let the next crew know about my condition.
So when I arrived at my gate in Paris to board for Atlanta, I went to the Air France counter. Although I had a seat they couldn't change because I had purchased it with my miles, they still moved me so nobody would be sitting next to me. The crew also offered me bottles of water. They were all very nice.
Maybe not as sweet as the crew on the Bangalore-Paris flight who was as caring as my own mother, but still very nice. I have to say that after all the unfortunate experiences I've had with Air France for the past 20 years, I was very surprised and glad to be taken care of in such a sweet way by the Air France flight attendants.
On 5th August, we (my husband, 2 kittens and I) were traveling with your company from Sofia to Paris and from Paris to Montreal (details about the flight provided at the end of the letter). I'm glad to say that the flight from Sofia to Paris was pleasant and that the flight attendants were helpful and professional. However, we are very unhappy with the service we received from the Air France staff in Sofia, the place from where the tickets were purchased, as well as with the conditions during the flight from Paris to Montreal.
Even though the tickets were booked 2 months in advance, no one in the office in Sofia was able to inform me about the requirements concerning the transportation of pets in the cabin. Even after calling the main office three times, and once the office at the Sofia airport, I still couldn't receive reliable information.
For example, once I was told that if I take a pet I would not be able to have any hand luggage. This is a problem because if I follow all the instructions of the office staff, then on the day of the flight I might be surprised by new set of instructions known only to airport staff or vice versa and therefore would not be able to board the flight. I regret to say that the staff at the Sofia office and at the airport is poorly trained.
Additionally, we specifically requested to book seats at the back of the plane or in front (in our class), and were surprised when during both flights we were travelling in the middle of the plane. This was not a problem during the first flight (Sofia-Paris) because the seat next to us was available and we could put one of the cages there and the other on the floor.
However, during the second flight (Paris-Montreal) the plane was full and we were ordered by the flight attendant to put the cages below our seats. Even though, we followed all instructions as to the measurements of the cages, it was so tight between the front and our seats that we had to put our feet on the cages and stay like that for more than 7 hours. Given that my husband is 1.90 m, this was a very unpleasant experience.
Additionally, it was so tight that we couldn't check on the cats even once during the whole flight or add water. The flight attendants were extremely unhelpful and rude, and refused to provide any assistance. The only half joking reply I received was that the only place for the pets they could find was in the fridge.
We chose to have our little cats (both are around 3 kilos) with us in the cabin, because it causes less stress to the animal and the possibility of fatal accident is reduced. Due to the deplorable conditions in which your company transports pets in the cabin (I dare not think what the conditions in the luggage department are), I was not sure that they will survive the flight even though they were with us. I find your attitude towards animals horrific.
The fact that I paid EUR 300 to transport 2 cats and that there was no designated place for the cages is shocking. Following this experience, neither I nor a member of my family will ever use your services again, with or without pets. Also, we strongly discourage any of our friends to fly with Air France. I strongly believe you have to seriously revise your rules and procedures, and, above all, to train your staff.
5/31/08. 19:30. On Board Flight AF0025, late departure. Crew informs passengers this is due to a malfunction with the luggage loader. 6/1/08. 09:00. Arrive CDG, can not debark due to malfunctioning stairs. Watch as broken stairs are taken away and new ones replace
6/1/08. 09:30. Meet at bottom of stairs with AF Staff holding "Budapest" sign. Loaded into special van and escorted through customs to Air France Service Desk. 6/1/08. 09:45. Told that other flight was not held due to tickets being held by passengers on AF0025 being sold when AF was told of delay out of IAD. 6/1/08. 10:00. Told no flights were available out of CDG to BUD until 18:30 due to all flights being fully booked. Asked numerous times regarding other airlines and told all flights were booked.
6/1/08. 11:00. Receive vouchers for sandwich and drink, go through security to terminal. I research flights on internet and find several flights on SwissAir and Lufthansa. 6/1/08. 11:30. I go back to Air France Service Desk and speak with Supervisor and ask him about availability shown on internet. He informs me that he can not book on another airline if there is an AF or partner flight available on same day. He informs me that if I book the flight, Air France will reimburse me the cost of the ticket since our delay is over 6 hours. I clarify that AF will reimburse the cost of the ticket on the other airline in full and says yes. He gives me the AF mailing information for reimbursement.
6/10/08. Submit complaint on Air France website noting supervisor's name and description of ordeal. 6/11/08. Receive reply. 6/19/08. Call Air France because there has been no reply. 6/20/08. Receive reply with PDF letter asking me to supply documentation. Immediately comply and send scanned copies. (Do not notice the do not reply to this email message). 6/24/08. Call to assure all documents needs are received, told by AF representative that everything is in order and being processed. Approx 7/16 Call AF to check on Status, told documents have not been received, should never have replied to email which sent request. Instructed to mail documents.
7/22 Mail requested documents. 7/30 Rec'd email PDF document from AF agreeing to refund unused portion of flight $393.74 USD. 7/30 Called AF Customer Service. Spoke with **, told me I could speak with no one at AF, all correspondence had to be in writing, there is no email address available or name to address my correspondence.
That the flight crew did not have the correct information when we were delayed on the ground at IAD, that a set of working stairs would have been available if flight would have not been delayed out of IAD and that there is no way to pull up my original email and correspondence in which the name of the supervisor was noted. Told ** that even if US Govt was involved in the delay, I would have never spent $915.66 EUR without a clear understanding from the Air France Supervisor that I would be reimbursed. Told that I needed to resubmit information and it would be researched.
8/4 Retrieved information from home, realized in the course of 2 months ticket voucher which had supervisor's name had been misplaced, may be written on the back of tickets sent to AF on 7/22. Should this have to be such an arduous process from the customer's end? I look forward to your favorable reply of a full refund of $915.66 EUR. Thank you for your consideration and feel free to contact me via phone so we may have a person to person contact if there are additional matters to be discussed.
8/13 - Called to check on status of above and told file was closed with first offer and I have to wait 30 days before the file will be reviewed and reopened. Told Supervisor was not taking calls and did not have email. Transferred to Supervisors vm which stated she was out until 8/13. URGH - How do I get a response? It has been over 2 months and I am out $1500.00 USD!!!
SEATTLE -- I have had many VERY positive experiences with other airlines so I do not complain easily. But Air France is easily the most irresponsible and uncaring airline I have been involved with. My 14 year old disabled niece used them and we all had a terrible experience. First off, she can walk but in pain, so we arranged with **, their disabled service, for her to be picked up and taken to her connecting flight in Paris, where she had a scheduled transfer. No one was there to pick her up and nobody helped her. She had to make her own way (in pain mind you).
We specifically had reservations made understanding that they had an unattended minor service available, as this was our niece's first time traveling this way and this was an international connecting flight. We knew we would have to pay 90 Euros for the service which was not a problem. At the last minute we were refused this service because the arriving plane was 1 hour 10 minutes before the next departure and they have a minimum 1 hr 15 minutes. We were told we could always rebook. We did not need the transfer help because she is disabled and already supposedly had that service. We just wanted someone to look after her for goodness sake!
The worst: She goes missing and nobody seems to care. We wait, and wait, and wait, at the airport and she does not show up. 45 minutes after landing the flight crew came through and we spoke to them. Nobody had paid attention or could remember her despite the fact that notes were made to the attendants that she was on the flight. They then told us that everyone was through customs and they were the last and panicked us!
I went upstairs to let Air France know that our 14 year old niece did not arrive and we had heard nothing from her. The manager was extremely dismissal. Said that "she is probably still in customs" and then turned back to his work. I had already told him that his crew had told us that was not the case. As it turned out she was indeed stuck, with their darn own customer service as they had lost all of her luggage! Do you think he would call around and check?
Our niece is very confused when we finally find her. So I go back upstairs to what should be a fairly routine discussion about what the procedure and situation is with the luggage. Once again the manager was short and unhelpful. All I wanted to do was find out what was going on, how it would get to us, etc. But he said they "had already discussed it with our niece" (who was confused beyond reason) and was put off that we needed to discuss it further. He told me "It is not a big problem, this happens all the time!"
That was not the end of it either. Their baggage "customer service" is equally inattentive and on the edge of rude. My family often flies international and we have never experienced this kind of detached and unhelpful service in all of our travels. Worse even than third world airlines! My advice, unless you have a sadistic bent STAY AWAY from this airline! Awful.
WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA -- Traveling by Air France is a nightmare since all planes land in Charles De Gaulle airport which is a maze of scenic fiction proportions, with no land crew help and very poor directions written or otherwise. Coming in you still have to stagger miles, go down stairs with hand luggage, catch shuttles, trains, escalators, then do the whole thing yet again, just to arrive after you are taken by bus through meadows, hills and vales, to your aircraft which is parked right next to the one you have arrived with.
If you are fortunate to see someone in uniform that should help you and ask them for information, you get the rudest way of telling you that may be you should go that way, meanwhile time is passing by and you might end up missing your connecting flight. Mind you this takes like 2 hours, and here you were thinking that may be you might have time to visit the restroom, have at least something to drink, since all water bottles and others are thrown away as soon as you hit one of the checking in points, thus you arrive panting to the aircraft, thirsty and sweating.
All this of course might sound like griping but it is not. I am diabetic and need to take medication at certain times, as soon as we boarded the plane which was idling for the longest time I asked for water to take my medication which is important as I do not want to faint or go into any kind of unfortunate situations where I might probably be kicked out of the aircraft with nary a glance. What I got was a frosty glare and "One Minute" as if I was a kid asking for candy, or something frivolous. So I had to go myself see the person in charge, explained my predicament, and got my water. I guess they are taught to treat us passengers one and all as recalcitrant kids to be disciplined firmly.
Another thing about which I have to complain is the food, I ask for vegetarian food on long trips, well the swill I got was non edible and when I asked for at least one more piece of bread again I got the inquisition about why I needed the bread until I made it clear that the food was totally non edible so I was trying to have something to eat for a trip which was to last 8 hours. I mean come on I have paid for my ticket and that is the least they can do. As for my request that they ask the kid sitting behind me who kept on kicking my seat repeatedly for 8 hours, all I got was "Madame, do you not have keeeds???" Yes I do but what has that to do with my case???
I did try to reason with the mother of said kid but I think she spoke no known language so I did try to make her understand by hand gestures to ask her kid to stop kicking and screeching at the top of his lungs, but to no avail, and when I asked the stewardess that was what I got, as though I had asked her for something unreasonable. Just a thought, a decade ago the airlines had smoking and non smoking sections, now that all flights are non smoking I would suggest they create a children, no children sections for all of us who have raised out kids, paid our dues and need to travel without going through all this every time we step on an aircraft.
This is all for now. Lesson to be learnt, courtesy is not a sign a weakness nor are we paying customers supposed to be treated like cattle just because we travel coach. After all as I mention we have paid for our tickets and this is the least we can expect.
PARIS -- On November 15, 2007 I was en-route to Cairo via Air France Flight 7351 from CDG to Milan, Malpensa then Al Italia flight 882. The problems started in Paris before we even left the ground. The plane was delayed over an hour on the tarmac by waiting for de-icing. The concern was that our connecting time in Milan was only 65 minutes. We had not exceeded that sitting on the ground.
Sitting one row in front of me and across the aisle was a man traveling with two children. The young girl looked about four and the boy must have been about six or seven. From the moment we got onto the bus from terminal to plane we knew the boy was a problem. He could/or would not behave. He was crawling all over everyone's baggage, running and pushing people inside the bus, and when we boarded the plane he continued with the same behavior. Never once did he sit down. Instead he crawled over his father into the aisle several time, crawled up the back of the chair and disturbed the people sitting behind him, etc. etc.
Prior to landing in Milan we were informed that we might just make our flight if we hurried. They said an agent would meet us at the door of the plane and take us directly to our next flight. We finally land, and the time is actually after our next flight should have departed, however we were advised again that someone was at the door of the plane.
Knowing this didn't matter because the flight attendants didn't help any of us off the plane. Instead of making an announcement for passengers to wait until we were off the plane, they said nothing and all the passengers in front of us crowded into the aisles. We were more than half way back in the plane and knew that it would take forever to get off.
Just as I began to make my way up the aisle to the door, the man with the children stepped in front of me blocking the aisle and now tried to get his children out of their seats. Unfortunately they were not moving. I asked if he would move aside since we had another plane to catch and were in a hurry. His reply was "No". He just stood there and tried to get his children to move again, while he blocked not only me, but the rest of the passengers behind me.
Once again I asked him to move out of the way or hurry his children. Once again he said no. At this point fearing that we would miss our plane,and if we did, the only options were to either stay the night in Milan or take a plane back to Paris and re-connect for another flight to Cairo, using a rather loud voice I instructed him to move aside. The result was that he turned around and struck me in across the face with a punch.
I was astonished as were those around me. I immediately called for security, flight attendants and/or pilot, but no one responded. I called out again and he hit me again, yet no one from the flight responded. Now the passengers behind me were yelling at the man to move and he refused. Finally a member of the flight crew came up the aisle and assisted the man and his children off the plane, while I was still trying to get someone from security to stop him.
Instead, I was met by the pilot who stopped me and informed me that I was causing a commotion. I informed him that the passenger they just helped off the plane had struck me. His arrogrant response was, "I don't think so". How dare he! Other passengers behind me were trying to tell him what had happened, but he would have none of it. He informed me that if I did not quiet down he would have me held by security. Can you believe it? I've been accosted and he's going to restrain me because I was calling for assistance.
We finally got off the plane and were met by the representative who was to take us to the next flight. However, she didn't have a cart, no, we had to "RUN" from one terminal to the other with our hand luggage. So we ran for 10 minutes to the next terminal for the flight. What began on the Air France Plane continued here on the ground, the same man was connecting to the same plane.
I suffer from a heart condition and should never incur such stress. The result was that while waiting to board the bus to the plane I began having a full blow stress attack. My heart began racing from all the excitement and running, I couldn't catch my breath, I began coughing and vomiting. This continued long into the flight and when it finally ceased, I was exhausted and left without a voice. Because of this my first two days in Cairo were spent resting. All of this resulted because the Air France flight crew would do nothing about the security of one of their passengers and instead harassed him as if he was the culprit.
I will do everything within my power to never fly Air France if I can prevent it. Just last week, instead of flying Air France to the United States, I flew to London, Heathrow and flew Virgin Atlantic to Miami. Their Upper Class is wonderful. Even though it took a few extra hours, it was worth it not having to fly Air France. I plan on filing complaints with Air France Management, but don't expect much in return. For those of you reading this review, if you can avoid Air France, please do so, also advise friends and family of the same.
I had checked in a bag (Baggage Tag No.: DL808436) on 26th October 2007 from San Diego to Chennai per the following routing: (i) SAN to ATL by DL0720 on 26 OCT 2007; (ii) ATL to CDG by DL0028 on 26 OCT 2007; (iii) CDG to MAA by AF0204 on 27 OCT 2007.
When I reached CDG on 27th October, 2007, I was informed of a strike by a section of Air France employees, because of which AF0204 was cancelled. I was rerouted to Mumbai by AF0134 that left CDG on 27th October. Upon my arrival in Mumbai, I noted that my baggage had not arrived. I filed a missing baggage complaint with Air France in Mumbai airport, and was provided with a copy of the Baggage Declaration Certificate.
After considerable communication with Air France and considerable hassle, my baggage finally arrived in Kolkata from Chennai on a Jet Airways flight (with Rush Tag No. **) on 5th November 2007 evening. Upon opening the suitcase, I found that the new Panasonic digital camera (Price: ~ USD 300; copy of receipt was sent to Air France) which was in its original packaging and kept inside the suitcase was missing.
Please note that (i) I had declared the camera in the customs declaration form that I had filled at the Air France counter upon my arrival in Mumbai airport; and (ii) I had listed this camera in the Inventory Form that I had filled and faxed to Air France offices in Delhi and Kolkata. I had called Air France's Delhi and Kolkata offices this morning and had informed them of this missing camera.
On November 6, 2007, I faxed a letter to Air France's Mumbai office. On November 28, 2007, I received a letter from Air France stating that the General Conditions of Carriage incorporated by reference on my ticket advices passengers not to include cameras in checked baggage; therefore, Air France cannot accede to my request for any compensation. I find this explanation wholly unacceptable for the following reasons:
(1) Just as a list of prohibited items in cabin baggage is explicitly provided on the ticket jacket, such a list should have also been provided on the ticket jacket with respect to checked baggage. Referring to your “General Conditions of Carriage” in fine print on the ticket jacket is tantamount to cheating your passengers.
(2) If a camera is disallowed in checked baggage, this should have been ascertained from me, even if verbally, at the time of checking in. This was not done.
(3) My checked baggage did not arrive upon my disembarkment in Delhi on your AF-134 flight, and remained undelivered for about 10 days, ostensibly because of a strike by a section of your employees. During this period, you were the custodian of my checked baggage. Since my suitcase in your custody was vulnerable to pilferage by your staff because it was lying in your baggage hold for an extended period of time due to the strike, I would like to know what additional precautionary measures Air France had taken to prevent theft from checked baggage of passengers during this period of the strike.
Air France ought to accept responsibility for theft of items from checked baggage of passengers and compensate passengers for their losses.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- This review is regarding the poor customer service of Air France. My parents-in-law travelled from Chennai to Seattle with Air France on Oct 26-27, 2007. Unfortunately because of the strike, their flight from Paris to Seattle got cancelled. They were stranded in LA airport for a night before they got the flight to Seattle. My mother-in-law could speak little English and that helped her in managing the situation. With all these delays and cancellations, to add to the agony all of their baggages were missing.
When they landed in Seattle, we wanted to file a baggage claim with AF. There were no one in the AF counter in Seattle. Then we finally filed a complaint with Alaska Airlines (the last airlines that my in-laws took) and returned home. My mother-in-law is not used to western clothes. She has been using the clothes (3 sets) that she brought with her in the carry on baggages. We have been washing these clothes every 3 days and using them. Obviously we cannot continue doing this for months to come.
We were calling the Air France and Alaska airlines every day. Their customer service representatives are really mean and rude. Fortunately, yesterday one lady gave me some information on the baggages. She was nice and so unlike the other staff members. She asked me to call Alaska airlines and request them to place an order with AF using reference numbers that she gave me. I then called Alaska airlines and conveyed the message. They told me that they would follow it up.
Today I called AF to check on the status. This time it was one of their rude staff. I explained her the situation and asked for the update. She bluntly told me that she did not have any information and we need to communicate with only Alaska Airlines and they have got nothing to do with it. I told her that the other lady could give me some useful information yesterday and why not her.
She replied back saying that the other lady should not have helped me at all. Above all, she was interested in getting that nice lady's name so that they can take action against her (Because she was nice and giving me the information). When I started asking her name, She was rude and started yelling at me. Then she hung up on me without even listening to me.
After this phone call, the AF customer service reached a new height. I tried to calling them again, hoping that I would get to talk to that nice lady again. This time the same rude lady picked up the phone. She told me that she would be happy to connect me to her supervisor, who was more rude than her. When I was requesting him to talk to me in a rather friendlier tone, he told me that it is his way of talking to people. He was extremely rude and he also hung up on me. No apologies, no explanation. I am wondering whether the rudeness and the poor customer service runs in each level of their hierarchy.
After all these phone calls and frustrations, I am giving up my hope of getting those baggages. I wish that I could alert every international traveller about Air France's poor customer service and ask them to avoid their service. Personally I will never fly Air France.
PHL, PENNSYLVANIA -- I lost one suitcase on October 25, 2007 (**) on flight from Paris to Philadelphia and all my luggage on December 20, 2007 (**). I had to buy clothes and medical supplies for my stay in the USA. I have submitted claims for my lost luggage to Air France and Delta but have not received acknowledgment from either organization. I want my luggage not compensation. I have X'mas presents and wine to celebrate the New Year in my luggage.
I have made several trips out to the Philadelphia Airport trying to recover my luggage without any tangible results. The people at Air France are not very helpful. They want me to go away and not to get angry with them. "If we do not find your luggage we will compensate you for your loss."
My luggage is only misplaced, they do not wish to spend the required man hours to find them. It is more cost effective to give you financial compensation rather than spend the required resources to find your missing luggage. Also they sell the missing luggage to an outside company which then opens, sorts, cleans, items in individual suitcases. There is no attempt at looking for ID information that may be located outside or inside the individual pieces of luggage.
Under current international agreements about lost luggage there is no incentive for airline companies to improve their baggage handling system. If penalties for lost luggage were increased to the extent that airlines bottom line were negatively impacted, this would motivate companies to provide necessary resources to do the job. This international agreement is designed to protect the airline companies because they provide jobs, pay taxes, buy items and services from other companies, the individual is left unprotected. On domestic flights in the USA the compensation for lost luggage cannot be less than $1,250.00.
119, AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ÉLYSéES -- I flew to Barcelona via Paris CDG on the 25 Dec 2010, my suitcase never made it to Barcelona. I reported and received a PIR (**) and was informed that it would be delivered to my destination by 1300hrs on the 26 Dec 2010. It never arrived! I rang Barcelona airport on 28 Dec 2010 and they confirmed that they had the suitcase, it still did not arrive during my holiday.
I returned to Barcelona airport on the 04 Jan 2011 and spoke to the lost luggage counter. I was told that "yes, we have your case", then, "no we have not got you case", "yes we have", and finally, "no we have not got your case!" This was within the space of LESS than 5 minutes!
I returned to the UK and over the 5 months, I have rung, faxed & emailed Air France and received NO replies! After my first call to Air France I send a fax informing Air France what was in my suitcase, to help find it. I spoke to the Air France desk in Aberdeen airport during the week 31 Jan - 04 Feb 2011 and was informed that comments had been entered on my file, so I can only assume that they are my fax, email & phone calls for requested updates on my suitcase.
The main items, not including my everyday clothes etc, are skydiving clothing & equipment which consists of a helmet, jumpsuit, altimeter & gloves. To replace these alone will cost me about £1000.00. I had to borrow equipment in Spain, commercial DZ. Normally I would have to hire the missing items but because I am a regular jumper at the DZ, people lent me the items I required. How can you repay kindness?
I was informed on a call to an Air France baggage help desk number during the last 2 weeks in February 2011 that I was entitled to compensation, as Air France had not located my baggage within 3 weeks. What happened to Air France informing me when the 3 week period expired, which would mean I should have received a letter from Air France informing me of the fact that I'm entitled to compensation BY THE END OF JANUARY 2011. I have received a goodwill gesture of £344, took them about 3 months to receive it and recently been informed by e-mail, that they have LOST my suitcase. Big difference between £1200+ and £344!!!