Air France Informative - Travelling with pets
This is a complaint I sent to Air France:
To whom it may concern
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 thought 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, than 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 1.90cm, this was a very unpleasant experience. Additionally, it was so tight that we couldn't check on the cats even ones 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 replay I received was that they 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.