Air France Complaint - Treatment of passengers
Here is a copy of the letter I wrote, it explains the story very well.
To whom it may concern at Air France.
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 mothers 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.
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 not 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 cry with relief, that someone is helping them.
I am now very angry!!! I am very stressed,I have 2 woman now that need help!!! And really need help! And I have had the run a round 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.
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 woman where 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 woman 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.
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