Air France Tickets: A Perfect Gift for Your Enemies
While I recently claimed I would never fly Air France again, I made this bold statement without thinking about my return journey. I had already paid for a round trip and frankly I did not value my peace of mind as much as I did the $1200 I would have to pay for a new ticket on an alternate airline.
Bracing myself for a long and tiresome journey comprised of 3 flights, I walked up to the self check-in machine. Self check-in machines never work for me. Before you write me off as an idiot who does not know how to use such a machine, I would like to point out that airline staff do not fare any better when they try to help me out. I’ve seen every message from ‘boarding pass will not be printed’ to ‘passport invalid’.
I digress. Self check-in once again did not work for me on my WestJet flight (this partner airline of Air France was responsible for getting me to Montreal so I could catch my connecting Air France flights). When I spoke to the attendant, she said it was probably because I had connecting flights and that I should just get in line. When I finally reached the front of the line the conversation went a little differently than expected.
“You’re lucky your flight was delayed. Otherwise you would have been too late for check in”
“Yikes. Well I’m glad you can check me in. Can you check me in all the way to Dubai?”
“I’m sorry I don’t see you listed so I can’t put you on this flight. Have a nice day! NEXT PLEASE”
“What do you mean? If I don’t get this flight I will miss my connection from Montreal”
“You’ll have to discuss this with Air France. It’s their responsibility to get you to Dubai. NEXT PLEASE”
I ran to the Air France counter, inconveniently located at other end of the airport. Running through a crowded airport with a heavy suitcase in tow is not an activity I recommend. It took a little while but the staff finally figured out that they had mixed up my first and last name and that’s why WestJet couldn’t find my booking. So with this new information, I ran back to the other end of the airport with my heavy suitcase and explained the situation to the same WestJet gentleman.
“Well you’re lucky your flight got delayed a second time or I wouldn’t have been able to check you in”
“Since I can’t correct your information on your Air France flights I can only check you in up to Montreal so you will need to check in again”
So I made it to Montreal, grabbed my bag and walked up to the Air France counter exactly 5 minutes before check-in was scheduled to close.
“So your final destination is Paris?”
“You called and cancelled the final leg of your journey”
“I did no such thing. I don’t even like Paris!”
“Well your flight to Dubai is not in our system. Are you sure you didn’t cancel it?”
“I think I would remember doing something like that”
After what felt like eternity, an Air France employee spoke to me in English, solved the problem and told me to check in. Of course check-in was closed by now. With a little effort, they managed to override the system and check me in. I tried my luck for an upgrade to business class but was told it was full. By the time I arrived at my gate it was last call and I was one of the final few to board. As I stepped on board I noticed that business class was actually far from full but still took my economy class seat near 3 screaming babies.
Since I had 4 seats to myself I actually felt happy about not being in business class. My happiness lasted all of 3 minutes. Air France crew told the lady with the loudest baby that she could have the seats next to me. In attempt to have at least a little extra space, I placed my feet on the seat next to me. This worked well for a few minutes. Then the mother of the loud baby told me she just wanted to place her child there for a moment but she was not taking the seat. By that she actually meant she was leaving her child there for the next 7 hours while she occupied the other 2 seats.
About 2 days later I received a customer feedback survey email from Air France. I could either do the survey in French or Arabic, both languages I do not speak. Well played, Air France. Well played.
I love your work. It would mean the world if you checked out my cartoons and to give your opinion? Thank you so much
I’ll be surprised if anything changes next time if you do fly with them!
Don’t say that. I’m sure it could change for the worse :I
after all that u were still able to make your flights. so i guess looking for a bright side, at least you got back. the thing is, u live in a out of the way spot if u have to take so many connecting flights. can there be another alternative? u might be limited in finding another carrier. the plus side is that we have u to thank for a post that is amusing to read and make us glad we are not flying air france.
Great post and have to agree….though for me it’s just anything with the French….French airport, French airline, etc.
Oh god, what a nightmare! At least you got to Dubai in the end! Maybe you should consider never leaving again 😉
Great story! My worst flight experience was being seated next to an unruly unaccompanied child on an Air Canada flight from Halifax to Vancouver. I usually like kids, but after the first hour with this little monster I understood why he was being sent far, far away on his own.
Haha! I think they should ask people if they are comfortable sitting next to unaccompanied kids, just like they do for emergency seats.
Oh wow, making a mental note never to fly Air France. You experiences remind me of mine with Qantas, though they weren’t as bad. I was asked once at the airport by their staff , whether I was sure I didn’t change my flight. Qantas has a code share agreement with Air France, now that I think about it. Maybe the whole alliance has bad service.
I was actually quite happy with Qantas… but then again thanks to British Airways and Air France I don’t really have high standards anymore.
Well played indeed! I’ve had some less than stellar experiences with Air France but lately even worse with Jet around needing to change supposedly flexible tickets – not! Glad your survived your trip…. Now go ahead.. Send your feedback en Anglais with a link to your blog!! 🙂
Oh my god, that makes me look forward to my first Air France flight in some weeks… Thanks for the post though, it really made lough 😀
Not too late to switch airlines!
Well, it’s more or less the same story as with your flight (only the returning leg is with Air France – changing this one would be expensive)
Anyway, after this review I’m really interested how bad they really are. Blogging about this experience will be fun!
Well in that case you can’t lose.
Either your experience is fine or you have the makings of an entertaining post.
I even got the double chance due to flying with KLM as well, so I got the full KLM-AirFrance “experience”
I’ve always been pretty happy with KLM personally and Schipol is a decent airport. I cannot understand how these 2 airlines merged!
I felt so frustrated for you just reading this! How infuriating!
Haha would you believe what made me the most sad was that I did not miss a flight and receive a free hotel room
I hate air france also. I could get started on this but I will spare you all the rant. I feel your pain and the 800 quid hole in my pocket thanks to them. Don’t fly air france kids….