Q: I will try to briefly describe my son's 24 hour delayed flight to Nice, France via Paris.
I am trying to get some compensation from Air France... just wondered if you thought I had any chance or have a leg to stand on.
I find it hard to believe that everything has to be done through regular mail with them. There is no customer service except via mail. Of course I'm sending everything certified receipt.
Flight booked on Air France- departing Logan, July 12 at 5:30 PM - (arriving in Paris and connecting to Nice). Plan to leave our home in Sharon, MA at 2PM. Just before leaving, Brad checks his email for one last time- there is an email from Air France: flight is delayed until 3:00 AM. (I suppose we are to be thankful we did not arrive at the airport to find that news. Both by phone and in the email we were told that it was 'technical difficulties').
Awaken at midnight, prepare to leave for the airport, check email- None! But Brad decides to check the Air France website for the heck of it... flight is postponed until 9:00 AM! Not even an email this time!
Try calling Air France- either the 800 number or to find someone at Logan. No one is available.
Awaken at 6:00 AM to try to confirm that the flight will indeed be taking off at 9:00. No one answers phones at Air France till 7:00 AM
Finally found out that it will leave at 5:30 PM, a full 24 hours later
(no email, no phone call).
Arrive at Logan at 2:30 PM. Brad goes inside-lines are horrendous. We call Air France from the car and they tell us on the phone that the flight left at 9 AM that morning! We tell them that it is on the departure board for 5:30 PM.
Brad lost a full day of his trip. Lost a confirmed reservation for Friday night in Nice. Lost a full day wages for the Thursday that was never a travel day. Planned to leave for the airport three separate times.
Wonder what they'll do, if anything, to compensate us. What do you think?
A: I think that Air France is one of the worst airlines in the sky. Readers may recall the case of the couple celebrating their wedding anniversary with a flight to France from Washington. They were caught in a horrendous traffic jam, and arrived at the airport 60 minutes before departure, only to be told by Air France that they could not be boarded because they were late for check in, and although there were coach class seats on the next flight out that day, they'd have to buy full fare economy tickets to get on board, at $2400 each. And Air France wouldn't even apply the cost of their original fares to the new fare, or refund their fare if the decided not to fly, which in the end they decided not to do.
I tried going to bat for them, but both Air France's public relations department and their New York-based PR agency were useless (basically, their modus operandi is to ignore problems rather than fix them).
I advise consumers to avoid Air France at all costs until they get their act together. They are an incredibly arrogant airline.
You should also report the airline to the FAA using
this page of their Web site, and send Air France a copy. You should continue to pursue this with them and they may be shamed into action, but they'll probably just offer a voucher good for future travel, which at this point is probably useless to you.