I am still trying to get my luggage from Air France after a week in Paris. I have heard they lost over 20,000 bags. This alone is unacceptable, but I would like to post about something more general that is clearly a huge problem with Air France's policies in my experience. Every step of my journey has been fraught with incorrect information from Air France. They seem to have a habit of saying things that they cannot or will not actually do.
A simple example is this - I call "baggage services" and a recorded voice informs me that my wait time on hold will be 7 minutes. Not "approximately 7 minutes", mind you, it claims it will be a 7 minute wait. Following that I am on hold for over 20 minutes. They do not seem to understand that this alone is already a deplorable way to treat a customer. If the recorded voice came back after 7 minutes and updated the time estimate, or if it simply did not tell me how long I would be waiting, that would be much better than claiming 7 minutes and then not delivering on that promise.
In general, this has been my continual experience with Air France. Another more extreme example occurred during take off from JFK to Paris. After 5 hours of delays, all of which contained this same over-promise/under-deliver characteristic, we were still waiting to take off after sitting on the plane for well over an additional 2 hours. When we finally moved away from the gate, the pilot informed us we still had to wait for the plane to be de-iced, but assured us this would take no more than 10 minutes. In fact, it took well over 30 minutes, and we continued to sit still for another 30 minutes after that with no information about when we might finally move ahead.
I could give countless other examples of this, as it seems to be acceptable to Air France to essentially lie to its customers and never to recognize or apologize for giving entirely inaccurate information during times when information is the most important thing they can give to a customer.
As I sit here now, I had been told my luggage (actually only one of my two bags) was to be delivered four hours ago. I actually spoke to the delivery person and was told this. When I finally called Air France to complain, they didn't even seem to understand why this was a problem until I explained that I am a virtual prisoner in Paris because I do not want to miss the delivery. They have not set up any system to track or contact the courier for an update on the arrival of the delivery. (While the bag was eventually delivered, I still feel that Air France has no interest in taking proper care of paying customers.)
1/1/2011 I have NEVER experienced the kind of customer service nightmare I am currently going through with Air France. We flew from San Francisco to Barcelona on Dec. 23 with a connection at Charles De Gaulle. Due to bad weather in Paris, our flight out of SF was delayed for 5 hours. When we reached Paris, 3 flights to Barcelona were cancelled, so our baggage was at CDG for over 5 hours.
When we finally landed at Barcelona at about 11:30 pm, our luggage (and that of most others on the plane) was not there, even though they had 5 hours to transfer it from one plane to another at the same terminal. After literally dozens of phone calls to Spain, France and the US, and constant checking online, we still do not have our bags, after 7 days! They initially promised it within 24 hours, yet everyday their answer was the same: "sorry, no information." They consistently refused to answer whether the luggage had ever been scanned into CDG.
I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and did not have enough medication to last the entire trip in my small carry-on bag. I explained this to them immediately, and it was noted in the file, but they gave no extra consideration to this, even though it constituted a medical emergency for me.
This morning they reportedly found one of the three bags and it was supposedly out for delivery at 8:30 am, but it is now 11 P.M. and still no bag. They promised that it would be delivered by private courier given the medication inside, but instead I have now been told it is on a huge truck, and they refuse to provide the name of the service so that I might avoid having to waste ANOTHER entire day of my vacation waiting at my rental apartment to be sure I don't miss the driver.
I have received nothing but officious, rude service, and outright lies from nearly everyone I've dealt with at all levels of Air France -- no firm answers, no apologies, no accurate information -- just continuous delays and hours waiting on hold. NEVER AGAIN WILL I FLY THIS ROTTEN AIRLINE!
There is not lots of info regarding flying an aircraft into volcano ash loaded atmosphere, yet AF decided to take the risk and fly WITHOUT giving passenger with non-essential travel needs a chance to postpone the fly until the air is "cleaner". My teenager niece was about to fly two days after they opened the air to fly again. We, the family considered that is still unsafe for a teenager to fly alone, especially that she doesn't have a direct flight. The situation in Iceland is not calm yet and if something unexpected appears, she will be stranded in Paris airport all by herself.
The Air France people told us that because we purchased an "adult ticket" for her, they don't believe us that she is underage. (Needless to say her DOB is on their records). They said that because her ticket was a 1 month ticket, we cannot extend the departure date even if we offered to pay the extra fees and I wanted to buy a ticket myself to accompany her at a later date.
When I offered that we would like to let the airport AF people know they can use the seat for a stranded passenger (me thinking they cannot resell that ticket), the agent replayed rudely: "you're not getting any refund and don't worry they'll sell it once they see she's not boarding."
Never asked for a refund just wanted to help some unfortunate people. It was interesting to find that AF is reselling the tickets that are paid and not used. Isn't this fraud? Selling the same service twice? Why they don't give it for free to someone that needs it?
Greedy company. It was our family first travel with them and hopefully the last. We will go back to our old British Airways which is not perfect but ten thousands times more decent. I read what others went through with Air France. I don't feel so angry anymore, I realized that it can be worse.
I left Los Angeles Airport on Dec 16 on Air France connecting through Paris and continuing on to Rome. When I got to Paris my connecting AF flight was cancelled due to bad weather in Paris. After standing in a long line for 3 hours I was booked on another AF flight departing later that night. I did not receive any voucher for food. Then my flight kept getting delayed and eventually was cancelled.
After another 3 hour line, I was put on an Alitalia flight that had boarded and was about to take off. I was told my luggage would be transferred but it was not. I filed a claim with Alitalia in Rome when I arrived 1 day late Dec 18. My claim was forwarded to Air France in Paris. My luggage was located on DEC 19. Since I was leaving Dec 20, I told them to deliver it to my home address. It was not until Dec 25 that my luggage finally arrived at Los Angeles Airport.
I was told that I would have to pay the delivery costs to deliver it to my home as Alitalia was responsible and they would not deliver. I argued with him that I purchased my tickets through Air France. He hung up on me. I have been in contact with Alitalia whose customer relations is great. I get a response within 10 minutes after filing a complaint. They insist that Air France is responsible and have contacted them for me regarding the baggage claim policies. I have filed 2 complaints with Air France but have gotten no response.
I spoke with a very rude person in the luggage department today who insists I need to contact Alitalia or pay for it. I asked for a phone number of the corporate office and they said they are not allowed to give that out. I am completely disgusted with Air France. I am their customer and they need to deliver my luggage to me and resolve their dispute with Alitalia later.
I am a travel professional and I will never book any clients on Air France anymore. I cannot work with a company does not look after its customers when there is a problem. I have traveled extensively on many airlines and have lost baggage and experienced flight delays and cancellations but I have never experienced awful customer service. So right now it is Dec 29 and I am still without my luggage. It is long drive to the airport and it will be at least a week before I will be able to get there.
My parents, my mother being seventy one and my father being seventy six and suffering from Parkinson's disease quite badly were booked to fly from Narita in Tokyo to Manchester England via Paris France. The flight time was 10:30 A.M. with the checkout closing at 9.30. Unfortunately due to very heavy traffic and finding a way to wheel my father around Narita to the checkout counter meant that we arrived twenty five minutes after the checkout had closed.
I completely understand that such companies have to run to tight schedules but the treatment we received when we finally arrived at the checkout counter was totally idiotic to say the least. Even though the check in counter had closed the flight was still in the process of boarding, as there was at least another thirty minutes before take off, absolutely no effort was made to try to get my parents to the plane before take off.
I would like to add that I had completed internet check in twenty four hours before and so there would be no need to go through the check in procedure. The response from the staff was basically this, "The check in is closed and you will now have to buy new flights." Even if this was the case the way that we were told this with absolute no care or respect for our situation especially with my father being so ill and needed to be back in England for doctors visits.
The only thing the staff seem to be bothered about was making more money by selling us more seats and having no thought or care to my parents situation. In my opinion, they had every opportunity and time to rush through my parents so that they could make their flight, but straight no from the off was all we got combined with "give us another two thousand pound and we will fit you on the next flight."
I would like to add that yes, the tickets were non transferable or refundable but if this company is quite willing to leave a sick man stranded with no money to pay for an extra flight and with zero concern for his situation then the whole event is an absolute disgrace.
My parents have now had to stay on with me for another four days causing considerable stress on both my parents as they needed to be back in England due to their health. Two seats have now been booked for Sunday the 9th of August with B. A. at a cost of well over one thousand pounds, money which my father needs for for his hospital treatment and medication.
JFK, NEW YORK -- This is a complaint regarding flight #: 5, on the date of August 11th, 2008, departing JFK at 1AM, arriving Paris Charles de Gaulle at 2:10PM. This flight, as tardy as it was scheduled, was cancelled at the last minute, after everyone was already on board. The situation was handled with complete unprofessionalism. After we debarked none of the attendants at the airport knew what was going on or helped make any arrangements for the passenger's next flights.
Eventually, after about two hours of confusion (mind you this is 3AM by now) an Air France employee went to the check in counter and started telling the passengers that they were going to be put at a hotel and put on a flight out the next evening – after a 17 hour delay!!! No one was asked if this was interfering with our plans, and no one knew if there were other flights we could take that would leave earlier.
Such was the situation that I was en route to my OWN wedding together with my fiancé, and not only under a lot of stress, but also under a very tight schedule. Needless to say that all our appointments we had scheduled for the following day had to be cancelled and some of them could not be rescheduled, such as the tasting of the menu which was going to be served at OUR WEDDING!!
Everything we had carefully planned was irremediably delayed, while my fiancé and I were under tremendous amounts of stress trying to schedule and reschedule the mess created. No one at Air France offered a single apology when our flight was cancelled or the next day on the second flight. On the contrary, the crew of the flight we finally took the next day, flight #: 017 was extremely unwelcoming and rude and intentionally ignored us if we had a question or needed something!
Also, while at the airport trying to understand what was going on and if we had other alternatives that would bring us to our destination earlier, we tried to find an Air France customer service desk – needless to say, that was impossible. An Air France employee gave us brochures which we could mail to Air France customer service, however to this day we did not receive a response.
It was the most awful experience, and although I knew Air France standards were low, I didn't expect them to have become this bad. The week of the flight was absolutely awful, my fiance and I worked on fumes all week constantly trying to catch up on our appointments and everything else we had to get done, and wasting a whole day and night at an airport derailed us completely.
ONTARIO CA -- Very bad experience with Air France. Suffered a lot with 1 year old daughter. All her special prescribed food was delay by 3 days. We bought $2,100 each ticket to go to India for only 12 days to attend brother's marriage and this is what we have experienced with Air France.
Experience while going to Delhi. Left Toronto on 23rd of Dec, 2007 in flight # 353 to celebrate Christmas with family and to attend brother's wedding on 26th of Dec. Connecting flight # 148 from Paris to Delhi was cancelled just 30 minutes before boarding due to short technical staff. All 5 checked in baggage were thrown out in some other terminal in Paris.
After standing in line for 5 hours we were told to collect our baggage from some other terminal and go to third terminal and take a flight to London and from London to Delhi. This is the best option they had for passenger with small kid. Help was refused when asked Air France to move those baggage to the terminal where we had to take flight to London.
With one year old daughter, 2 carry bags and one stroller we took 1 bus and one train to collect our 5 thrown baggage, took 1 hour to locate them on the floor. Took train again for other terminal with 7 baggage, one year old daughter to catch flight to London. After standing in line for 3 hours we were told that London airport is closed. Baggage were checked in for India and we waited for 3 hours for London Airport open.
After spending 14 hours at Paris Airport with small exhausted daughter we again went to Air France counter. This time we were told to take indirect flight via Bombay next day. After many request we finally got direct flight next day to Delhi. When we arrived at Delhi 4 out of 5 checked in baggage were missing. Took 2 hour to make missing baggage report. Next day after many calls we were told that only one baggage has arrived and we have to come to the airport to identify that baggage. We drove 1.5 hour to the airport. This was our Christmas morning when we were at the airport.
Day of my brother's marriage for which we specially went, we still had 3 baggage missing. All our clothes, gifts, baby food and wife's jewelry were in that. Next day we were told that they will deliver 2 more baggage to our home. 2 more baggage arrived after my brother's marriage. Final baggage arrived 3 days after our flight landed.
Experience while coming back. Flight was 2 hours delayed from India. Connecting Flight from Paris was also delayed. Arrived Toronto and one baggage out of 4 were again missing. Air France is still unable to locate that bag which has some important papers and my wife's jewelry.
We (there were 17 of us) were flying on Air France from Rome to Philadelphia with a 45 minute stopover in Paris. Before leaving Rome we were delayed in Rome for about an hour because "some luggage hadn't made it on the plane". During the flight we asked the flight attendants about our chances of missing our connecting flight because of the delay and because we only had 45 minutes to catch the flight to begin with. The flight attendants offered no assistance. Upon landing we discovered that the gate we needed to get to had been temporarily moved, and that we had to allow for 45 minutes of foot travel just to get to the gate.
At this point most of us knew there was no chance of making the flight, but we tried! Without the help of signs or any assistance from airport employees we managed to make it to the gate (after passing through 3 unnecessary check-points) only to find out the plane had left 20 minutes before we got there. Their option for us - to put us up in the airport hotel and take a flight the next morning (20 hours later). They also offered us a free sandwich and a soda. I consider this to be totally inadequate customer service. They actually told me that their only responsibility was to get us from point A to point B with the amount of time to accomplish that not factoring into the equation.
In the months following I attempted to get some compensation, as we had taken a flight into New York the day of the fiasco and had rented a car and driven to Philadelphia. My attempts met with nothing but rigidity and unhelpfulness. I asked for specifics of the original delay in Rome and this time they cited "security issues" but would not specify. When I mentioned that even if the flight had been on time in Paris we would have had difficulty catching the connecting flight because of the relocation of the gate and the time required to just get there being equal to the time we had to catch the flight, they offered no explanation.
Air France proved to me they care nothing about the people they are supposedly servicing. Their customer service is an abomination. In fact it was so bad I wouldn't be surprised to hear they've gone belly up; at least that would explain why they obviously didn't care about service - their game was already up.
DUBAI -- Our belated honeymoon from Rome turned into a complete disaster thanks to Air France. Returning from Rome, my husband flew Air France via Paris and onto Dubai where we currently reside. In hindsight we should have both flown BA as I did with our toddler. Neither my bags from the BA flight or my husband's materialized that evening.
Mine were delivered the following day, but three weeks later my husband's have still not turned up. No one seems to know where they are, no seems to care. After numerous trips to the airport my husband was on his third visit advised to check through the unclaimed baggage room. It was horrendous, thousands of unclaimed bags, but not ours unfortunately.
After three weeks Air France have offered my husband zero compensation. The supposed Customer Service Executive responded to one email and is now on two weeks vacation. Quite frankly no one at Air France gives a damn. What is so upsetting is that my wedding dress had gone into my husbands bag and is totally irreplaceable. Not that we have been offered any form of compensation in any way, shape or form.
There are hundreds of stories like these on the net. Take my advice and do not under any circumstances travel with Air France. Not only have they LOST our bags there has been no apology or any effort at all to do ANYTHING to help us. They are the most diabolical airline I have ever traveled, and we travel often. Totally appalling. I am so upset about the way we have been treated that I could weep.
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.