Recent Trip Experience: TPE-CDG-NUE vv.

Old Mar 8, 19, 1:30 am
  #1  
tya
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Taipei, Taiwan; New York NY
Programs: TK Miles&Smiles, AAdvantage, Flying Blue
Posts: 264
Recent Trip Experience: TPE-CDG-NUE vv.

I recently had a trip from TPE-CDG-NUE with my sister. I am FB Gold and my sister is just FB Explorer. Some interesting things happened during the trip and I just want to share them as datapoints for future travellers.

We bought the tickets separately. TPE-CDG vv, and CDG-NUE vv. The reason we did this was half because of price, and half because I was on a business trip and my sister cannot get reimbursed, so we had to buy tickets separately.

For TPE-CDG, I had a Premium Economy (A class) ticket issued by AF around EUR 1,000, and my sister had PE (E class) issued by China Airlines (CI) for EUR 950-ish. (No wonder CI recently decided to withdraw from codesharing partnership with AF on this route. Odd pricing strategy for them).

Before the trip, I even regretted for a bit that I didn't also get the ticket from CI as it seems to offer more FB miles had I bought CI-ticketed flight. But two days before travel, I saw the cash upgrade to Business Class option when I checked my reservation on AF.com, but nothing showed up for my sister. The offer was EUR399 one way, which sounded a very appealing deal. I took the deal, and decided to ask for it for my sister when we checked it at the airport. CI (AF ground handling agent at TPE) told us that pax bought tickets from CI don't get this offer. Otherwise cash upgrade at the airport was also around 400-600 EUR, which I believed to be pretty decent for long-haul flight (especially given that our original ticket was also not ex). I tried to ask the FAs again after boarding and received the same answer. I flew in Business in the end and my sister stuck in the back.

The trip TPE->CDG was pretty pleasant. I just felt AF is more generous in terms of giving out alcohol beverages and ice creams. They had a self-service snack bars set up in the galley with Champagne, red/white wine, and Porto, as well as some french sweets and tones of Haagen-Dazs. I have never seen (and ate) so many H-Ds on an airplane in my life.

For CDD-NUE vv, We bought tickets seperately again. The reason is that my sister and I have two checked bags (one for each of us). I remembered I bought the lowest-fare ticket (as I get one free bag allowance because of FBG anyway), and I bought a slightly higher-price ticket for her so that she can also have one bag allowance. I am not sure if I messed up (when I checked the ticket now, we both have same fare class code: R & T, but her ticket was indeed EUR50 higher than mine).

Anyway, when we checked in at CDG T2G, the ground staff told us we could actually check in 3 free bags in total. That surprised me a little. The trip was generally fine, except that the AF passenger greeter kind of racial-/age-profiled us and assumed we should use the kiosks to get tickets first when I hold a Sky Priority ticket to show him (but he soon let us in when I told him again we are Sky Priority), and the boarding group was not well-managed at T2G.

What went horrifying was the return flight NUE-CDG. Our original flight was a 9:40 am departure on 01Mar. At around 21:30 on 28Feb my sister received a email notice that because there was an aircraft change, they decided to pull her off and reschedule her to a 06:15 flight on 02Mar. Mine reservation was, however, not moved.

12 hours before departure and it was late at night, I mean AF, really? My sister had little experience travelling alone, not to mention if I had to leave it up to her to handle all these IRROPs on her own, and it also involves one extra night in NUE. I called FB Gold number (which btw, was really hard to find on the Internet). The lady on the line was fine. She gave me a few options, including reschedule both of us to a later flight together on 01Mar, but we had other appointments so I declined, or transfer us to LH leaving NUE also at 6am on 01MAR, which we didn't like at all but still took it as there had been no better option.

On this incident, for one I appreciate that FB Gold agent who was able to help us find an alternative. I don't know if we had bought the ticket together, AF might not have moved my sister but chose other innocent victim (since I am FB Gold)? But I just feel that arbitrarily reschedule one's ticket so late at night (the time I received the notice was 21:30 for a 9:40 flight next morning. And AF rescheduled my sister to a flight that was leaving even one day later on 02MAR. What about accommodations? Nothing was explained in that single email.), it was really bad customer management.

Finally it came to our return flight CDG-TPE. cash upgrade didn't show up on the Internet for me this time, but when I asked at airport check-in, it was EUR465-ish, which was still a good deal. But it was a holiday peak season for Taiwanese travellers going back to Taiwan so I wanted to bet if they would oversold and offered complimentary upgrade. I didn't took it.

After boarding, I did notice that there were some empty seats, but I didn't ask for cash upgrade either.

Around 6 hours after flight (also 6 hours prior to arrival), when my sister who sit next to me asked me to let her pass for lav, I realized my leg rest could not working properly. I couldn't switch it back to upright position. I asked a FA for help. He came over, tried to fix it for a good 3-5 mins but couldn't. He just decided to break some parts beneath the seat and said "Ok now it's in upright position."

I asked "what if I still wanted to use the footrest?"
He replied "But you asked me to change it back."
I was like "I was just trying to let my sister pass by. It still have a good 6 hours of flight ahead, I still wanted to have the flexibility to use the foot rest"

So he called over another FA (a lady with a read S้curit้-Security tag), she just told me they were sorry the seat was not working properly. She checked her iPad, and said "oh you are Gold. We can offer you 10,000 miles or EUR120."

I took melatonin an hour ago, so my brain couldn't really function, but I agreed with the EUR120 option.

A few days after we landed, I do see that EUR 120 voucher and AF seems to give my sister another voucher for the NUE-CDG flight.

Overall, I have mixed feelings towards AF after this trip.
  1. Cash upgrades were relatively cheap for both TPE-CDG and CDG-TPE, especially given the price we paid for Premium Economy was not too high. Total costs for travel in Business could be as low as EUR1,600-1,700, as long as you are willing to bet on last-minute cash upgrade availability
  2. I am still not quite happy about they arbitrarily reschedule my sister's ticket without giving needed information (such as they should have offered accommodations.) I do appreciate the help from the lady at Gold call center, however.
  3. And I do think they should try to reschedule her back to our very original flight after knowing I am FB Gold and travel together. (And I know people would say that's because we bought tickets separately. But unless the very original 9:40 flight we booked is full of FB Plats or Golds, I don't see why they pull other paxs off and put my sis back.
  4. On the broken seat incident on my CDG-TPE, I believe other Asian carriers might just ask me move over to Business, especially I am their elite flyer.

Last edited by tya; Mar 8, 19 at 10:21 am
tya is offline  
Old Mar 8, 19, 2:41 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
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Cheap cash upgrade was definitely nice. If you buy tickets on KL/AF stock you will get miles based on your spent. It is better to try to book long haul under different airline's stock. AF/KL definitely have nice service for its Elites.
747jetter is offline  
Old Mar 8, 19, 6:10 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by tya View Post
A few days after we landed, I do see that EUR 120 voucher and AF seems to give my sister another voucher for the NUE-CDG flight.
Do note that, as your NUE-CDG has not been cancelled, your sister has been "denied boarding". She is thus entitled by EU regulation to a compensation of (as she eventually arrived at CDG "less than 2 hours after the original scheduled time") 250/2 = 125€ in cash. If you accept to be paid in voucher, AF offers instead 350/2 = 175€, but your sister has the right to deny this proposal and request the compensation in cash (e.g. if she does not plan to fly with AF in a close future).

Regarding the lack of information regarding accommodations, I think it would worth reporting your experience with the customer service.
Porcepic is offline  
Old Mar 8, 19, 10:20 am
  #4  
tya
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Originally Posted by Porcepic View Post
Do note that, as your NUE-CDG has not been cancelled, your sister has been "denied boarding". She is thus entitled by EU regulation to a compensation of (as she eventually arrived at CDG "less than 2 hours after the original scheduled time") 250/2 = 125€ in cash. If you accept to be paid in voucher, AF offers instead 350/2 = 175€, but your sister has the right to deny this proposal and request the compensation in cash (e.g. if she does not plan to fly with AF in a close future).

Regarding the lack of information regarding accommodations, I think it would worth reporting your experience with the customer service.
I remember our new flight (LH with FRA connection) did arrive within 2 hours from the original AF arrival time.
But you are saying that even this, my sister is still entitled to 1/2 original ticketed price (i.e. 125€) compensation?

AF just sent us an email saying they are giving her a voucher, but we can write them back to ask for the cash option?
If we are not in the E.U. zone right now, is it going to be hard to request?

Thank you so much for the info!
tya is offline  
Old Mar 8, 19, 1:57 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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The amount of compensation depends on the distance of the flight on which you have been denied boarding (250€ for a NUE-CDG) and the delay you arrived at destination with compared to your original schedule (if you arrive less than 2 hours late then the airline can reduce the compensation to 50%, hence the 125€ in your case). The EU regulation clearly states this compensation shall be paid in cash (except if the passenger accepts a voucher).

AF offers a higher compensation if you accept to receive a voucher instead of cash (in your case, your sister is entitled to a voucher of at least 175€ per AF general conditions). It may be a good deal if you frequently fly with AF/KL, but if no you should definitely (and have right to) write back to them and ask for a (lower) compensation paid in cash.

Living outside the EU should not make the process more painful. Especially as AF is generally pretty fair in recognizing your rights.
Porcepic is offline  
Old Mar 8, 19, 3:33 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Originally Posted by tya View Post
as long as you are willing to bet on last-minute cash upgrade availability
There are reports that one will get a limited amount of invitations for cash buy-up within a certain amount of time.

That may explain they did not proactively send you an invitation on your return journey.
tbaiyun is offline  

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