So disappointed

Old Aug 22, 11, 8:16 pm
  #1  
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So disappointed

I hope this is the correct forum. I picked it because this is AF specific. AF cancelled my family's flight today (affaires) due to "pilot unavailability". We checked the flight status before going to the airport and were told that everything is fine, just go there. 45 min trip to the airport and I was (once again) only handed a letter saying that I should call a number they can't help you at the airport.

Customer service? All passenger's have been re-booked to the next day. Now we've lost a day of our vacation and are not getting it back, because it's award travel and there is no award seat available.

I picked AF, because of the "extras" that you get, in this case flying the A380. This is not the first time I received a letter instead of a smile at check-in and I've had it. I buy my ticket based on the services they offer, and then suddenly I find myself on a different flight, with a different plane or different airline, with no mileage credit, arriving a day later and being totally exhausted and unnerved.

My flight has been booked through Delta, and the person I spoke to would only give me her first name. Anne, supervisor in Atlanta. I guess this is how I'm supposed to file my complaint? Even IRS customer service reps give you a badge number.

I'm just soooo disappointed. Does anybody know of any recourse? They certainly made it sound like that's just the way it is, a schedule change and I'm due nothing. I will still get from A to B, albeit on a different day and via a different plane.

Thanks a bunch for any advice!

Schlossie
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Old Aug 22, 11, 10:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
(...)
Customer service? All passenger's have been re-booked to the next day. Now we've lost a day of our vacation and are not getting it back, because it's award travel and there is no award seat available.

I picked AF, because of the "extras" that you get, in this case flying the A380. This is not the first time I received a letter instead of a smile at check-in and I've had it. I buy my ticket based on the services they offer, and then suddenly I find myself on a different flight, with a different plane or different airline, with no mileage credit, arriving a day later and being totally exhausted and unnerved.
(...)
I'm just soooo disappointed. Does anybody know of any recourse? They certainly made it sound like that's just the way it is, a schedule change and I'm due nothing. I will still get from A to B, albeit on a different day and via a different plane.
(...)
Not sure what you are complaining about.

Flight cancelled : sure, this is unpleasant and "pilot unavailability" is not a good thing for an airline, but such things can happen. However, you are right to complain.

You say that you have been rebooked to the next day. Unpleasant, but could have been worse.

Still, you say "All passenger's have been re-booked to the next day. Now we've lost a day of our vacation and are not getting it back, because it's award travel and there is no award seat available. "

In the same sentence, you say all passengers have been rebooked and that there is no award seat available..... Confusing.

Then you say you are not getting the lost day back. How can you expect this to happen?

Then you write "with no mileage credit". If you are using an award ticket, what's wrong with that?

Now, what to do?

1) make your complaint clear
2) write to them listing all the inconveniences and costs at destination due to the delay

and see what they answer. You should get a few miles.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 4:05 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by carnarvon View Post
and see what they answer. You should get a few miles.
With a flight cancellation with little or no advance notice (and pilot unavailability as the reason for cancellation, moreover), the OP should get more than just a few miles: EU statutory compensation should kick in.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 4:34 am
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Hi Schlossie, your post is so correlated with that of amarein that you might be in the same travel party. Unfortunately cancellations do happen. Better a delay than flying with a sick pilot running a high fever...
Both parties (pax & airline) are losing; the airline is also losing a lot of money, the pax a day of work or vacation. Thanks to the EU directive, what you can get is clear, although always subject to interpretation.
First the airline must care for you (meaning paying food and hotel) while waiting for rerouting. That means they would provide you with a hotel at the departure point. Unfortunately they have no reason to pay for the hotel night at destination that you did not use. And that is logical as you would have pais anyway and you get a free night on teh day of cancelation.
Second, a compensation of EUR600 should be paid in case of cancellation. I do not know the detail of your case. It could be that the fligt is only delayed and the plane remains in IAD until a new pilot is flown in. or the flight is cancelled altogether. despite a recent ruling, airlines have been reluctant to pay the 600 for a delay.

You complaint about change of aircraft (A380 replaced by another type of plane), but that is not subject to compensation, nor should it.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 8:47 am
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Yup, we were on the same flight I think.

Sure, things happen, crew gets sick, delayed, etc. But what I don't understand is how AF didn't have a reserve pilot available. I've worked as a FA and this is the whole point of having reserves - so situations like this don't happen.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 9:08 am
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Originally Posted by amarain View Post
Yup, we were on the same flight I think.

Sure, things happen, crew gets sick, delayed, etc. But what I don't understand is how AF didn't have a reserve pilot available. I've worked as a FA and this is the whole point of having reserves - so situations like this don't happen.
There are reserve pilots available in CDG/ORY on certain aircraft types. Based upon operations, reserve can be empty and can lead to such event. On outstations, if a cockpit crew is unavailable (illness, etc.) it might be not possible to have someone immediately available there to replace the missing crew.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by Mokshu View Post
There are reserve pilots available in CDG/ORY on certain aircraft types. Based upon operations, reserve can be empty and can lead to such event. On outstations, if a cockpit crew is unavailable (illness, etc.) it might be not possible to have someone immediately available there to replace the missing crew.
Exactly - I think crew getting sick in outstations always creates a mess regardless of the airline - when they can, AF will fly another pilot from somewhere in the US and then another pilot from CDG to the destination which is then missing but this does not always prove possible. Had the same problem on an Openskies flight some weeks ago and they used the same procedure. Also bear in mind that the A380 is the newest baby in AF's fleet and only very few pilots have the qualification to fly it so it is effectively harder to replace an A380 pilot than a 777 one (let alone than a cabin crew).

OT but I'm curious whether AF has insurance for cases like these and whether this would cover statutory compensation owed to passengers?
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Old Aug 23, 11, 1:10 pm
  #8  
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Thanks so much for the responses. To make my complaint clear: I've lost a day of vacation and made a roundtrip to the airport (with infant!) because I was assured the flight was okay.

I'm not getting the vacation day back (so far), because they do not have award seats available for any of the days following my travel. I did not book an award ticket. I paid for my ticket when I booked through a travel agency. What happened is that they sold me a ticket that they paid for with skymiles. On that subject I believe I have a complaint with the travel agency that I need to pursue.

The useless airport trips & letter hand outs are the second ones that I've received from Air France. I did 2 trips with them and this is the second time this happened, so in my case 100% of the time. Looking at facebook someone posted on the AF US site on 08/18 that no AF380 flights would fly IAD/CDG. If issues were known this far in advance then I should have been notified.

Another complaint of mine is that I wanted to fly with the A380. I paid more for flying with AF, because I thought I was going to fly this awesome plane and the extra space was worth it to me to pay up. I've learned my lesson. My future reservations will be based purely on price, because the frills are not reliable.

A couple minutes ago we have just been struck with an earthquake here and now I'm pretty sure that I won't be able to fly anyway as flights are (understandably) grounded. Next year I'm going camping.

One last thought - does the EU directive apply to US flights and citizens?

Thanks for hearing me out. It's so frustrating, you work work work all year and then finally your few measly earned vacation days come up and this happens (EVERY TIME TO ME).
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Old Aug 23, 11, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
I'm not getting the vacation day back (so far), because they do not have award seats available for any of the days following my travel.
Have you tried to beg and plead to get that return changed?

It seems to me like you have a good story to try to get a supervisor to open up the seats for you - most likely seats are available and someone could put you in those seats as a measure of goodwill.

Maybe AF doesn't do that but you could try, you might have ok results if that is the only issue you focus on initally. i.e. AF took one day of vacation from you due to pilot issues, they are to blame, they can help you with that.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
One last thought - does the EU directive apply to US flights and citizens?
I assume you mean EU Regulation (rather than Directive) 261/2004. If so, it applies to:
1) all flights from the EU regardless of carrier;
2) all flights to the EU on EU carriers.

Since AF is an EU carrier, the Reg would cover an AF flight to Paris.
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Old Aug 23, 11, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
I did not book an award ticket. I paid for my ticket when I booked through a travel agency. What happened is that they sold me a ticket that they paid for with skymiles.

I'm sorry but I'm not sure to understand what you mean/what happened to you here. Could you clarify ?
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Old Aug 24, 11, 4:54 am
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
I'm not getting the vacation day back (so far), because they do not have award seats available for any of the days following my travel. I did not book an award ticket. I paid for my ticket when I booked through a travel agency. What happened is that they sold me a ticket that they paid for with skymiles. On that subject I believe I have a complaint with the travel agency that I need to pursue.
Like Goldorak, I'm very very puzzled here. Do you mean the travel agents had access to your Skymiles details and booked your tickets with your skymiles (which would mean you bought an award ticket, albeit paying a travel agent to make the booking for you) or that the travel agent booked you a ticket using someone else's skymiles and then charged you an 'equivalent fare' in cash which I'm pretty sure would be illegal???

Assuming that the travel agent booked the ticket using your own miles, I agree with comments above you should call DL and ask whether they would open availability for you for a return one day later as a gesture of good will. Speaking to a supervisor might be worth it in this case and offering to send a copy of the AF letter too. If they booked using someone else's miles, only that person could call them but if so I would have serious concerns about the practice of those agents.

As for the rest, as noted by brunos, not flying the A380 is not something that entitles you (or indeed, as brunos says, should entitle you for that matter) about compensation, nor would a possible change of itinerary (e.g. going with a stop, etc). By contrast, actual expenses do - so if you took a taxi to come to the airport/return, if you lost one hotel night, etc, do keep and send them the receipts. And as NickB confirmed, you are indeed covered by the regulation in your specific case.
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Old Aug 24, 11, 8:15 am
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Last edited by FBI; Jan 28, 16 at 3:35 pm
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Old Aug 24, 11, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by Schlossie View Post
(...) What happened is that they sold me a ticket that they paid for with skymiles. (...)
You mean you neither knew nor suspected anything like that?
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Old Aug 24, 11, 11:58 am
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Apparently this is the usual "fraud" where one buys an award from someone else, not through a TA but rather some "intermediary". This might be reasonably cheap but risky. The OP case is one of the risks. Very hard to complain unless the scheme is revealed and the award ticket is invalidated.
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