What is wrong with AF ops these days? Breakdown on all fronts...

Old Aug 3, 18, 4:33 pm
  #1  
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What is wrong with AF ops these days? Breakdown on all fronts...

I understand that no operation can always function without hiccups, but I have the impression that over the past couple of weeks things have taken larger proportions than ever. And this was not even a period where AF flying staff were on strike.
  • My past 14 flights in the months of June and July were *all* delayed on arrival, between 25 minutes and 4 hours. And I observed numerous other flights with similar delays
  • I have checked luggage twice, twice it was lost. When delivered at home, the first luggage was damaged. The second one: still no idea where it is
  • Phone lines: they (Platinum line) don't pick up! Given up several times, other times answered after 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer - see picture, and I was still listening to music
  • Website: bugs and dead links, including tracing site for lost luggage
  • Promises of assistance during short connex are made - and then nobody turns up
  • Call center agents make mistakes in calculating fares, repeatedly
  • Big discrepancy in fare conditions and price between phone channel and website
  • Ground handling not ready, jetways take 20 minutes to dock, luggage takes >1 hour to deliver (only to find out afterwards that the luggage is missing)
  • Lounges completely overcrowded, cleaning and getting tables ready no longer happens/too infrequently
  • Planes not fully loaded with catering and amenities, on at least five out of ten flights
  • Seat assignments get changed last minute frequently
What is wrong? I know they suffer from FDD (French dysfunctionality disease) and are often impacted by SAOS (Someone-is-always-on-strike). But this accumulation of shortfalls? Is there something specific? Is this a silent strike?

Or is it just me who is out of luck? I have read stories about other people with lost luggage issues, but is there more?


Last edited by San Gottardo; Aug 3, 18 at 5:01 pm
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Old Aug 3, 18, 5:05 pm
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You forgot to add that if your miles don't post, you can forget about claiming them through the website.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 1:49 am
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Could it be statistical freakery? I had 12 flights in July. One was severely delayed due to strike-related ATC restrictions but all the others were more or less on time. Nor have I experienced any notable problem with any other aspect other than bag prioritisation seemingly not being observed at SOF (but that is pretty much par for the course, TBH and my bag was delivered nonetheless fairly quickly anyway).
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Old Aug 4, 18, 4:19 am
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Dear San Gottardo,


I am glad you posted your recent AF experience here as I was about the write a very similar post. My feeling is exactly the same although the facts differ a bit.
10 flights, mostly long haul, the rest being domestic. A mix of J and Y.
Here is my recent experience compared to yours then:

Delays: quite few actually but one significant. No proactive warning from ROC and absolutely no explanation given.

Luggages: fortunately no issue.

Phone lines: cannot agree more on pick up delays. Whereas Platinum line used to pick up instantly, delays of more than 30 minutes can be the new norm. I have to regularly try local AF number (SIN most of the time) to get better response time. Also while it is not a problem for me, the Platinum line answers 50% of the time in English (most often with a native French speaker…), 50% in French. Sometimes my phone number is automatically recognised, sometimes not and I have to manually enter my FB number.

Website: fortunately no issue that I can remember.

Promise not respected: after horrible flight in long-haul J (from window in Best to middle seat in NEV4 due to last second equipment change, purser dropped a glass of red wine on me etc.) the chief purser wrote a report and promised CS will contact me. They never did.

Call center agents unable to price correctly a simple itinerary. Example 1: modifying a SIN-CDG-BOD to SIN-CDG over the phone results in going from low fare to full fare. Agent understands it is not normal but unable to look further. Example 2: impossible to book a roundtrip for my daughter with UM on the outbound and flying with us on the inbound. Several other examples available. Huaca rule never worked by the way.

“Big discrepancy in fare conditions and price between phone channel and website”: +100

Crowded and dirty lounges: +1. The worst example has been the one in ORY Hall2 (former Patio IIRC): air conditioning not working, absolutely filthy table and sofas, no one to clean. Waiting downstairs had been a more comfortable experience.

Recurring issues with loaded catering: I took 3 long haul with my kids and for 100% of them their CHML were not loaded despite being confirmed on the PNR (and the AF/FB profile). Of course they are now old enough to eat like adults so that is a minor problem. Still, it highlights a gap between what is expected and what is delivered. Also for 100% of my long haul J, they were out of my choice for the main dish. Again, not a big deal for me as it is airline food after all. Still, I find it disastrous in terms of customer experience per se.

Seat assignment: fortunately no issue that I can remember. Maybe because in 2 occasions the IFE was not working.



The outcome is an online complaint after almost all of these flights. And more miles given by CS than the ones earned from flying. Some compensation in vouchers also.

Maybe it’s me changing, maybe it’s them, or a bit of the two.

The consequence is that after 13th August and for the first time I can remember, I do not have a single AF trip planned (I book and pay all my flight tickets).
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Old Aug 4, 18, 10:35 am
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Here's my recent experience with quite significant number of AF flights in medium haul C class with AF (~900 XP this year up to now). I used to fly KL on long haul - but this might change in the future.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • My past 14 flights in the months of June and July were *all* delayed on arrival, between 25 minutes and 4 hours. And I observed numerous other flights with similar delays
I had similar experience, though not 4 hours but at most 2. Though I've lost no connection, I had multiple times to run to the gate or arrived home with significant delay. I mentioned this to the purser of my last time and she was super frustrated as well. She did not blame flight control explicitly though - she said that most of the troubles in CDG and around europe were due to frequent bad weather / thunderstorms, and I must say that a few times that was consistent with my experience.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Phone lines: they (Platinum line) don't pick up! Given up several times, other times answered after 10-15 minutes, sometimes longer - see picture, and I was still listening to music
Didn't experience this at least in Switzerland during their opening hours, when I usually call.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Promises of assistance during short connex are made - and then nobody turns up
Never got any promise, nor any assistance.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Call center agents make mistakes in calculating fares, repeatedly
  • Big discrepancy in fare conditions and price between phone channel and website
Yes and no. The Swiss PSL often has troubles finding some fares - but they helped me solve website issues a couple of times regarding fares. Two times at least - one was a long haul fight in J - the website would give me a price but then fail on payment. The PSL could not find the same fare for the very same flights I wanted, but they trusted my screenshot and guaranteed me that price.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Lounges completely overcrowded, cleaning and getting tables ready no longer happens/too infrequently
Yes, it happened to me that they were significantly overcrowded, but I was always able to find a seat, at least in the awful ones in 2F and the cute one in 2G.
Cleaning was okay, but it was evident to me that the staff was really bored and upset - probably the lounges are relatively understaffed for cleaning.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Planes not fully loaded with catering and amenities, on at least five out of ten flights
Never happened to me, at least with catering on C class. The only time that the purser was sure to not have my plate in C (because I was moved to an earlier flight) she explicitly called catering service and she got my plate a few minutes before closing the door.

Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
  • Seat assignments get changed last minute frequently
Never happened to me at all, but again, I flew mostly medium haul C with AF. And 99% I select first row, so 1F or 1A/2A.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 1:55 pm
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AF is suffering from the same disease that has infected UA. The employees all believe that the company exists for them. Customers mean nothing. That is a poisonous culture that rots an organization from within.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 4:17 pm
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@SanGottardo : my experience this summer is roughly similar as your, apart the waiting time on the phone (I believe the Ulti line has the priority). I have never seen such a mess like this summer. I have reported in the Ulti thread my bag problem in BOS that has been handled poorly. I have followed the BOS operations closely for the last 10 days, and it’s been horribly messy with several cancelled flights and the majority of the others severely delayed (2 to 6 hrs !). And today is no exception . The Ulti team has been helpful today in accepting my demand of changing flight from BOS to avoid several new trip disasters (at least I hope...!), waiving change fee due to all the irrops. But what a pain...

There is no more captain at the top of the company for several weeks now and they need a strong one very quickly.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 4:19 pm
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Slightly different outcome for me last week. .My account showed all luggage lost and enclosed link to claims form whilst waiting for connection in La. P lounge. Took a while but lounge staff finally discovered it was all safe and message was wrong. It's still appearing on my account a week later though.
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Old Aug 4, 18, 4:22 pm
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Originally Posted by lloydah View Post
Slightly different outcome for me last week. .My account showed all luggage lost and enclosed link to claims form whilst waiting for connection in La. P lounge. Took a while but lounge staff finally discovered it was all safe and message was wrong. It's still appearing on my account a week later though.
I had also a wrong message like that in AF app, arriving in MUC 2 weeks ago (bag was announced as missing, while it was not). And after I retrieved my lost bag in BOS (true, this time), I received several days later faulty messages by sms and e-mail saying that my bag was on flight AFXXX and another one that I will be contacted soon by delivery company...
Complete mess everywhere.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 3:16 am
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
@SanGottardo : my experience this summer is roughly similar as your, apart the waiting time on the phone (I believe the Ulti line has the priority). I have never seen such a mess like this summer. I have reported in the Ulti thread my bag problem in BOS that has been handled poorly. I have followed the BOS operations closely for the last 10 days, and it’s been horribly messy with several cancelled flights and the majority of the others severely delayed (2 to 6 hrs !). And today is no exception . The Ulti team has been helpful today in accepting my demand of changing flight from BOS to avoid several new trip disasters (at least I hope...!), waiving change fee due to all the irrops. But what a pain...

There is no more captain at the top of the company for several weeks now and they need a strong one very quickly.
I have been back for the summer since early June and criss-crossed Europe/France (and entertained family). I have never had such bad experience with AF. And NCE airport, my holiday base, has become a AF mess like never before. Maybe Orbitmic can comment.

Your comment about the lack of "captain" in the past few weeks is interesting. A company with over 40,000 employees (AF only) and every management level filled, except for the big CEO, should not experience daily operational difficulties after a few weeks. This has little to do with the CEO which is nothing like an operational "captain". But you are right that the fruit will keep rotting until the situation is frontally addressed by a new management team. The staff is showing a lot of ill-will following the recent saga, and it is quite understandable. They "actively" let the situation deteriorate,

All airlines had to improve productivity, thereby creating ill-will among its staff. But a successful airline has to overcome it. AA and DL went through a rough time. But they ended up generating huge profits that they partly shared with happier employees. A dramatic turnaround in the quality of their product.
BA and LH had/have their share of problems. But IAG has a H1 2018 operating profit of EUR1,115 million. LH is also over 1 billion.
AFKL H1 operating profit stands at 228 with a net loss of 159. KL operating results is 388, so we can guess that AF operating loss is 168. It is hard to see where AF money would come from to make their employees happier, while what is badly needed is productivity gains.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 3:31 am
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Only about 6 flights for me in July, all within EU. All quite good, a couple Very good flights (re. attention from cabin crew), no prob with checked luggage (low statistics) and also was able to quickly change dates with nothing bad to report. Catering ... I have not noticed anything special, this was Economy and I thought was quite good (for the 3hr flights). None of my flights were to/from Nice, though. Maybe I should start worrying when some of you guys actually stop complaining ?

About IT / web site features, or out-of-time SMS - oh well, I stopped paying attention a while ago (like when I received an SMS at midnight to tell my flight will be delayed ... was already home and sleeping).
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Old Aug 5, 18, 4:54 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
BA and LH had/have their share of problems. But IAG has a H1 2018 operating profit of EUR1,115 million.
True but have you seen how badly the BA product has deteriorated over the last few years? BoB in Y, the joke that J catering has become on "medium" flights like LHR-NCE, low quality catering in lounges (even the LHR so-called "First" lounges) to the point where AF CDG lounges now offer better quality catering to BA's LHR F lounges, easy-come-easy-go MF crews, the suppression of any BA personnel (not even a station manager) at many out-stations, very ...umm... "approximate" cleaning of planes, no F product (only a Premium J product), etc...

Yes, AF needs to sort itself out but I hope that it will not mean going down the low quality route that BA has taken.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 7:58 am
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Had 4 flights in July with AF, 2 intra-European, 2 long-haul. No issues, everything went from very good to excellent. We even found where to sit in the lounges right away (2E-M and 2F). My seat wouldn't go back to sitting position when I was woken up to land on one of the long-haul flights but the seat across the aisle was empty so it was a very minor issue. On the way back the armrest was broken (was stuck inside the seat) but I chose not to change seats. Both "new" business seats, 777. Some tape here and there which could have been cut with more care. Didn't pay attention to the food but I managed to find movies (Brazilian, Argentinian and Japanese) that I wanted to see. All in all very pleasant flights (as almost always). Never notice the crew much but all seemed quite pleasant. All flights were on time and our four bags all travelled without incident.

We had to get to 2E-M by bus which I didn't like but the line was short this time (mid-morning). We have never managed to find the train to get there. On the way back we took the train.

I had a small issue with Flying Blue (unrelated to AF flights) and they answered the phone right away. I was logged in as platinum so I may have called some platinum line.
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Old Aug 5, 18, 8:33 am
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Angry

And the saga continues : my bag didn’t make it also for the return trip
And I don’t detail here the huge flight delays which I managed to avoid by proactive actions from my part exclusively.
And very confusing messages in the app and by text/e-mails (one message was even saying that my bag has been localized and will arrive on flight AF xxxx which was the flight I just arrived on ).

Also, something I haven’t reported here : for the delayed bag on my inbound, AF CS has responded to my complaint by a super generous compensation of...10,000 miles (J ticket long-haul, Ultimate, 1 week without bag). I replied this was a total joke and almost an insult because it represents a value in cash of 30 to 50€ (I am referring here to the prices in miles or cash they charge for options like special seats, ŕ la carte menus, paid lounge access, etc). New response 2 days later « we are sorry that our compensation offer did not match your expectations and we are adding a 100€ EMD voucher ». I am still not satisfied with that and now with the new bag delay on the return...
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Old Aug 5, 18, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
True but have you seen how badly the BA product has deteriorated over the last few years? ..

Yes, AF needs to sort itself out but I hope that it will not mean going down the low quality route that BA has taken.
You are of course right that British Airways is an example that we all hope Air France will not follow. However, to be fair, Brunos had also mentioned some other examples of airlines that are financially successful, including ones whose quality levels are about the same or even superior compared to Air France.

Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
And the saga continues : my bag didn’t make it also for the return trip


Also, something I haven’t reported here : for the delayed bag on my inbound, AF CS has responded to my complaint by a super generous compensation of...10,000 miles (J ticket long-haul, Ultimate, 1 week without bag). I replied this was a total joke and almost an insult because it represents a value in cash of 30 to 50€ (I am referring here to the prices in miles or cash they charge for options like special seats, ŕ la carte menus, paid lounge access, etc). New response 2 days later « we are sorry that our compensation offer did not match your expectations and we are adding a 100€ EMD voucher ». I am still not satisfied with that and now with the new bag delay on the return...
I spare you the details of my lost luggage saga. The good thing in the end was that the Dnata handling agent in Zurich who knew me from three weeks ago when my luggage was lost for the first time had pity with me and convinced her boss to approve a “special delivery” to my place in the mountains (up in a valley, close to the border with Italy, 250km from ZRH, without access for cars) rather than insisting on delivering to my permanent address close to Zurich. But this was Dnata’s service more than AF’s.

The one piece of information that is relevant to you is how my complaint about one long delay, missing assistance during short transfer, and lost luggage on the return trip was handled: after about 10 days I received a voucher for €200. And that was even without me sending a complaint about the delayed luggage being damaged, or the other annoyances I had encountered.

As as an Ultimate customer you should get more. As you know I am but a lowly Plat (although they may have looked at XPs earned and bookings for future flights, all either in J or P)
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