A strange of "no show" at TXL

Old Oct 25, 18, 3:49 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Flying Blue
Posts: 6
A strange of "no show" at TXL

I've been reading Flyertalk for quite a long time but didn't post anything as I am a semi frequent flyer (around four flights per month). I hope this post won't fall in the category "angry airline customer venting his frustration" but I wanted to share with the Flyertalk people a strange story about Air France which happened to me recently. I was supposed to fly back to Berlin on Friday from Paris but could not check online. After checking my reservation on the Air France website I found out that my outbound flight to Paris a few weeks ago was tagged as "no show". However I do vividly recall the flight from Berlin to Paris (it was in fact the first flight of the day at 6:20 PM). Everybody knows that one cannot board a return flight when not showing up for the outbound flight. But in my case I didn't let fall the first leg of my trip.
Contacting the Air France customer service in Germany was no help. They were supposed to sent an email about my so called "no show" to the Air France station in Tegel but haven't yet received any reply from them a few hours before my return flight. I ended booking a train ticket to Berlin for Friday.
I do wonder if this mishap can be labelled as a technical glitch or as a serious mistake from the handling agents at Tegel airport. As far as I know, they are supposed to print a passenger manifest based on the names of people who actually showed at the gate and scanned their boarding passes, which was definitely my case. Do they hold a copy of this manifest which is handled to the crew? I have no clue. How can Air France literally lost a flight guest on his way to Paris like they did with me? This is really weird.
Anyway, I wonder if this sort of incident frequently occurs. Whithout a bit of humour I would feel myself being trapped in some sort of Kafkaesque nightmare. Needless to say, I filled a complaint. Let's see if Air France can explain how I disappeared between Berlin and Paris.
Err..France is offline  
Old Oct 25, 18, 6:14 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mostly 🇸🇬 often 🇫🇷 or 🇭🇰
Programs: Many
Posts: 4,648
Hello,

Welcome to FlyerTalk!

Did you check-in online for your Berlin to Paris flight? Did you keep a copy of the boarding pass (paper, pdf or mobile)? Did you by chance take a picture during the flight? Did you have a checked luggage and keep the label attached on it or the tag? Did the miles posted on your account? Anything that can prove you were on board from the beginning to the end of the flight.

While I do not question your good faith and it is true that IT bugs are possible, what you describe is practically impossible unless you were not on the flight. It can happen in case of complex itineraries involving some exotic airlines. But not here: AF ticketing and DCS are fully integrated.

NB: first flight of the day might be at 6.20 am, not pm.
bodory is offline  
Old Oct 25, 18, 11:42 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Accor 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Paris, France
Programs: AF/KL Flying Blue Platinum for life/Club2000 Ultimate, UA Mileage plus, Le Club Accorhotels platinum
Posts: 13,946
Someone reported here (FB/AF/KL forum) very recently a similar story but I can't locate this post.
Goldorak is online now  
Old Oct 26, 18, 3:29 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: LYS
Programs: FB Plat
Posts: 405
Originally Posted by Err..France View Post
I've been reading Flyertalk for quite a long time but didn't post anything as I am a semi frequent flyer (around four flights per month).
That is quite frequent!

Welcome to FT!
Zarmakuizz is offline  
Old Oct 26, 18, 2:37 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Flying Blue
Posts: 6
Thank you all for your warm welcome. I did actually check online and printed a boarding pass which I am now supposed to send to the Air France folks for further verifications. I travelled without checked baggage. However I didn't take any photos before and during the flight as I don't belong to the core clientele-segment of millennials flying with Joon and taking selfies ;-)
And Bodory, you're right, it was the 6:20 am flight!
Anyway I will report about further developments of this story.
Err..France is offline  
Old Oct 27, 18, 5:36 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mostly 🇸🇬 often 🇫🇷 or 🇭🇰
Programs: Many
Posts: 4,648
Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
Someone reported here (FB/AF/KL forum) very recently a similar story but I can't locate this post.
There has been a story reported by the media, with Corsair IIRC.
The flight was delayed and the passengers wanted to claim for compensation. The airline asked for the boarding passes. The couple did not keep them so the airline said because you cannot prove you were on the flight you cannot claim for compensation
Morale of the (terrible) story: always keep a copy of boarding passes.

Err..France, please keep us posted.
bodory is offline  
Old Oct 27, 18, 5:16 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Programs: FB, M&B, UA, AA
Posts: 307
Originally Posted by Err..France View Post
Thank you all for your warm welcome. I did actually check online and printed a boarding pass which I am now supposed to send to the Air France folks for further verifications. I travelled without checked baggage. However I didn't take any photos before and during the flight as I don't belong to the core clientele-segment of millennials flying with Joon and taking selfies ;-)
And Bodory, you're right, it was the 6:20 am flight!
Anyway I will report about further developments of this story.
For such reasons I always check in on line, have a BP sent to me by mail or stored on my laptop. Or, if I cannot check in online, the minute I have my BP from the desk, I take a photo of it. I did not have the trouble you had, but it served me as proof I did some travels earning me XPs and miles.
atflyer is offline  
Old Oct 28, 18, 12:35 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: AMS / ATH
Programs: AFKL Gold, A3 Gold
Posts: 4,844
I'm not so sure if the burden of providing proof has to lie with the pax here. The pax did his what he was supposed to do (ie fly the first leg) and the airline systems failed. Isn't it up to them to prove that he was not on the flight?
Xandrios is online now  
Old Oct 28, 18, 2:02 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: FB AF Silver, BA Gold
Posts: 11,379
Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
I'm not so sure if the burden of providing proof has to lie with the pax here. The pax did his what he was supposed to do (ie fly the first leg) and the airline systems failed. Isn't it up to them to prove that he was not on the flight?
It would in a perfect world.
But such a system fault is extremely rare given the daily number of pax, so I understand the airline attitude. As far as they are concerned, the pax did not board the plane. And it they always gave the benefit of doubt to noshows, this would lead to increased fare cheating.

The OP ticket originated in TXL and was a simple return ticket.
Let me imagine the worst scenario from AF perspective. It could be that the OP is a frequent flyer on the route and nest return tickets. Could be that he never used that specific TXL-CDG segment. But apparently, that is not the case. Having an OLCI BP would go a long way to establish his credibility, although he could still have not taken the flight for various reasons (maybe it is a very cheap nonchangeable ticket and did not want to travel that day). Having OLCI BP is frequent when a pax skips the last leg of a ticket.
But is the OP DID fly that segment, it points to a serious security flaw. Maybe due to the transfer of the TXL flight from AF to JN (unlikely).
wuzziduzziman likes this.
brunos is offline  
Old Oct 28, 18, 3:22 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Accor 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Paris, France
Programs: AF/KL Flying Blue Platinum for life/Club2000 Ultimate, UA Mileage plus, Le Club Accorhotels platinum
Posts: 13,946
Originally Posted by atflyer View Post
For such reasons I always check in on line, have a BP sent to me by mail or stored on my laptop. Or, if I cannot check in online, the minute I have my BP from the desk, I take a photo of it. I did not have the trouble you had, but it served me as proof I did some travels earning me XPs and miles.
Originally Posted by brunos View Post
It would in a perfect world.
But such a system fault is extremely rare given the daily number of pax, so I understand the airline attitude. As far as they are concerned, the pax did not board the plane. And it they always gave the benefit of doubt to noshows, this would lead to increased fare cheating.

The OP ticket originated in TXL and was a simple return ticket.
Let me imagine the worst scenario from AF perspective. It could be that the OP is a frequent flyer on the route and nest return tickets. Could be that he never used that specific TXL-CDG segment. But apparently, that is not the case. Having an OLCI BP would go a long way to establish his credibility, although he could still have not taken the flight for various reasons (maybe it is a very cheap nonchangeable ticket and did not want to travel that day). Having OLCI BP is frequent when a pax skips the last leg of a ticket.
Indeed, having a BP (whatever it’s form : electronic, printed at home, delivered at airport) doesn’t prove that a pax did actually flew. Only a proper scan of the BP at boarding will prove it

Originally Posted by Brunos View Post
But is the OP DID fly that segment, it points to a serious security flaw. Maybe due to the transfer of the TXL flight from AF to JN (unlikely).
nothing related to Joon, as the ground ops remain entirely controlled by AF. What happened likely is a BP improperly scanned at the gate or a boarding manually cancelled and not reinstated for whatever reason. I think the scan problem happens quite regularly. On several airlines (including AF), I have witnessed a couple of times toward the end of boarding the agent in charge of boarding coming in the plane and asking the crew to make an announcement saying « Mr XXX, if you are on-board, please contact a cabin crew ». Mr XXX raises his hands and I hear from the crew « OK, we just wanted to confirm you were on board. So this can happen.

Last edited by Goldorak; Oct 28, 18 at 3:29 pm
Goldorak is online now  
Old Oct 28, 18, 5:48 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Flying Blue
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post



Indeed, having a BP (whatever it’s form : electronic, printed at home, delivered at airport) doesn’t prove that a pax did actually flew. Only a proper scan of the BP at boarding will prove it


nothing related to Joon, as the ground ops remain entirely controlled by AF. What happened likely is a BP improperly scanned at the gate or a boarding manually cancelled and not reinstated for whatever reason. I think the scan problem happens quite regularly. On several airlines (including AF), I have witnessed a couple of times toward the end of boarding the agent in charge of boarding coming in the plane and asking the crew to make an announcement saying « Mr XXX, if you are on-board, please contact a cabin crew ». Mr XXX raise his hands and I hear from the crew « OK, we just wanted to confirm you were on board. So this can happen.
I think that the ground ops at TXL are not anymore totally controlled by Air France but rather by an handling agent like AHS or Swissport. I will check this next time I'm flying with Joon. Not sure if this might explain a security flaw, as brunos suggested, but perhaps a poor handling of a fully packed A321 at 6 o'clock in the morning.
What you described appears as the most plausible situation. Indeed, it did happen to me a few weeks ago on a flight with Wizzair from Berlin to Kyiv where the boarding agent came to my seat in order to verify that I was actually on the plane. I immediatly thought that my boarding pass was unproperly scanned. But in the case that I'm describing as OP nothing like that happened.
Today I received a mail from the Air France customer support in Germany acknowledging the receipt of my complaint which I sent with my boarding pass. I'm supposed to call back on Monday, hoping that until then they will check with the people at TXL that I was actually on the flight, if such proof still exists (some checked passenger list or whatosever). But the fact that Air France asked for the OLCI BP in order to make further verifications shows that this situation, although extremly rare, may occur.
However I am fully conscious that an OLCI BP won't constitute a watertight proof that I was actually on the flight but I am loath to take further mesures in the future like photographing myself in front of the boarding gate.
Err..France is offline  
Old Oct 28, 18, 7:39 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: CH, D, USA
Posts: 1,563
I just want to say it is not impossible to happen. It has happened to me only 2 or or 3 times in my life, once it was purposely, I think right before September 11, the other time(s, not sure now) was a mistake like happened here. I also recall now that it happened once on a KLM flight from US to Amsterdam. If I had 1500 flights so far that is like 0.2% chance.

The purposeful one was AA from Tyler to Dallas on a paper RTW ticket. The single agent on the ground (ticket agent=gate agent=flight manager) after two hours on the phone to change my ticket talked to the captain and they took me without taking a coupon or checking me in. Amazing but true. It's a long time ago, I hm guess I am still fairly anonymous here and I kept quiet not to jeopardize the jobs on the line. They helped me out for a service shortcoming. Of course I dis not claim the miles :-)

The KLM one was a nightmare. This was more recent. Same thing happened. E Ticket coupon marked no show. No miles. And worst of all no manifest of me leaving us sent to US immigration. Purser came twice to ask my online boarding pass. I still flew, in my assigned upgraded seat. (Op up).

Next entry in USA I was almost arrested for an overstay. I am sure KLM got in trouble. I had proof including the KLM house and fotos but it was a nightmare to get my return ticket working, miles credited, immigration record fixed and compensation. (I think was a service recovery upgrade)
f4free is offline  
Old Oct 28, 18, 11:00 am
  #13  
q
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 179
can you elaborate what you mean by "vividly recall" ?
q is offline  
Old Oct 28, 18, 3:40 pm
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Flying Blue
Posts: 6
Originally Posted by q View Post
can you elaborate what you mean by "vividly recall" ?
Of course: since many years I fly around four times in a month between Berlin and Paris, always looking for the best fare and the most suitable schedule for my work commitments. I keep a list of my flights and archive most of my printed boarding passes (including the one of the erroneously as "no show" tagged flight).
I can easily remember the incriminated flight because it was the first time that I've flown with the earliest Joon flight to Paris.

Last edited by Err..France; Oct 28, 18 at 3:44 pm Reason: Misspelling
Err..France is offline  
Old Oct 29, 18, 6:16 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: Flying Blue
Posts: 6
Update form Monday morning: Air France Germany now confirms that I've flown with them on october 2th. This flight shouldn't have been tagged as "no show", what prevented me from checking in for the return flight on last Friday. I am now waiting for the answer from the custumer service about compensation and reimbursment of travel expenses.
The people at Air France didn't elaborate on an answer about the causes of the technical glitch, which seems to happen very rarely as user f4free reported. In the future I will frequently check my reservations on Air France/KLM metal and monitor the status of my flights when booking a return ticket.

Last edited by Err..France; Oct 29, 18 at 6:17 am Reason: Misspelling
Err..France is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread