How to buy mystery flight?

Old Apr 7, 20, 7:37 am
  #1  
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Question How to buy mystery flight?

I need to buy a ticket from Guinea/Senegal to Europe (as original return with TK has been cancelled and they refuse to rebook to anything but their own metal) and have been monitoring the situation. Today a new flight appeared which hasn't been available previously: AF717 DSS-CKY-CDG on April 13th. It shows up on Air France homepage (no matter what local site is selected) with fares available 3 classes:




The problem is that when I go to purchase I can enter all of my details but when clicking continue after that there is just an error message. I've trying purchasing on AF Finland, France, Guinea and Senegal sites with no success no matter what class I choose (I also tried formatting name differently, using different contact number, etc). Ive also tried to buy with departure both CKY and DSS.

I've called AF in Finland and in Senegal. Both agents said they can't even see the flight. AF FI said they couldn't even see it on the homepage when she tried searching though I can see it through repeated searches.

AF Senegal has published a statement on their local site where this flight is listed as an extra flight available to European residents and to call AF to book or book using Senegal site. Yet AF locally has no idea about the flight.

The flight doesn't show up in any other systems than AF own, so I can't buy from a travel agency.

I've also been in touch with the French foreign ministry in Senegal who told me to talk to AF to book.

Any ideas on how I can buy a ticket for this flight?
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
Any ideas on how I can buy a ticket for this flight?
  • did you called the +221 33 839 77 77 ??
  • what is the error message you received ?
  • maybe contact airport and ask AF staff about this flight
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Old Apr 7, 20, 7:57 am
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If this is some sort of special repatriation flight (as it appears to be since it's for Europeans), you might need some link available through the consulate, either through a website or email. Have you tried contacting the local French embassy or consulate? They might know more than your own consulate (Finland?). In fact, have you registered with the relevant consult/embassy? [This might have resulted in having information about the flight sent directly to you.]

Look at the thread on repatriation flights in the newish FT COVID-19 forum for information on the various ways these are organized (including the ones operated by regular commercial carriers) and general procedures. IIRC there are links in the wiki for repatriation flights for Europeans stranded in various locations.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by fifty_two View Post
  • did you called the +221 33 839 77 77 ??
  • what is the error message you received ?
  • maybe contact airport and ask AF staff about this flight
Thanks for your ideas.
  • Yup, that is the AF Senegal number. Talked to them already. Also tried calling AF city & airport offices in CKY & DSS but no replies.
  • Error message comes after I've entered all the details on the Passengers-screen and is generic: "Sorry, something went wrong... Due to a technical issue, it is not possible to complete your booking online."
  • We're trying to reach the city office in Conakry tomorrow (as there is a curfew in place so too late for today), don't know if it is even open.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If this is some sort of special repatriation flight (as it appears to be since it's for Europeans), you might need some link available through the consulate, either through a website or email. Have you tried contacting the local French embassy or consulate? They might know more than your own consulate (Finland?). In fact, have you registered with the relevant consult/embassy? [This might have resulted in having information about the flight sent directly to you.]

Look at the thread on repatriation flights in the newish FT COVID-19 forum for information on the various ways these are organized (including the ones operated by regular commercial carriers) and general procedures. IIRC there are links in the wiki for repatriation flights for Europeans stranded in various locations.
Thanks for your ideas. It does say in the announcement the flight is for Europeans only but that it should be booked through AF, not through the foreign ministries.

I've been in touch with both Finnish and French foreign ministries (and also registered for travellers) who both say to contact AF. French consulate in Senegal said to contact AF directly.

I'll have a look in the Covid-forum.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:30 am
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These repatriation flights are akin to charter flights.
As the webpage states, they are open progressively for reservations ("au fur et a mesure").
AF717 on 13/4 is supposed to be DSS-CKY-CDG. On 6/4 it was DSS-NKC-CDG. AF might still be trying to handle the previous flights from DSS and see how to apportion seats between DSS pax and CKY pax. What will happen in 6 days might be too early to tell. The flight is zeroed in all classes on EF.
The flight is handled from HQ in Paris, you might be better off calling the French nunber mentioned on the webpage 33 839 77 91.
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:45 am
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Could they be giving priority to French nationals and then other Europeans? I presume when you enter your data this includes passport details.

When you call the French AF number, have you asked to talk to a supervisor?
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:53 am
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Do you prefer departing from CKY or DSS?
If the latter can you book tomorrow flight?
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Old Apr 7, 20, 8:02 pm
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News media accounts of many of these repatriation flights have said they often depart without a full load. You may want to show up if possible
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Old Apr 9, 20, 12:13 am
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Thanks again for your answers.

It seems like this indeed was a charter-flight that by mistake made it into AF's public booking system. Yesterday it did not show up anymore but I did get a mail from the French foreign ministry informing about the flight and that it would be sold through the local city office only. We managed to buy a ticket there yesterday.

Unsold seats were to be released publically today but I haven't seen any.
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Old Apr 9, 20, 12:29 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Gnopps View Post
It seems like this indeed was a charter-flight that by mistake made it into AF's public booking system.
It is not designated as a charter flight in the system:

[KVS Tool 9.7.7/Diamond - Operational Info: AF 717/13 Apr 2020]
Code:
                 Planned Flight Info
Segment          Departure  Arrival    Duration
-------          ---------  ---------  --------
DSS-CKY          12:00      13:30      01:30
CKY-CDG          15:15      22:45      05:30

Segment          Flight Note
-------          ---------------------------------------------------
DSS-CKY          Aircraft Owner:   AIR FRANCE
CKY-CDG          Aircraft Owner:   AIR FRANCE
DSS-CKY          Cockpit Crew:     AIR FRANCE
CKY-CDG          Cockpit Crew:     AIR FRANCE
DSS-CKY          Cabin Crew:       AIR FRANCE
CKY-CDG          Cabin Crew:       AIR FRANCE
                 Alliance:         SkyTeam [*S]
CKY-CDG          Arrival Terminal: 2E
                 Amenity:          In-Seat Video Player/Library [15]
                 Amenity:          Duty-Free Sales [7]
                 Ticket Type:      E-Ticket [ET]
DSS-CDG          APIS DEST PAX DATA REQUIRED SSR DOCS
CKY-CDG          APIS DEST PAX DATA REQUIRED SSR DOCS
DSS-CKY          CO2/PAX:          111.84 KG ECO, 111.84 KG PRE
DSS-CDG          CO2/PAX:          405.52 KG ECO, 699.19 KG PRE
CKY-CDG          CO2/PAX:          293.68 KG ECO, 587.36 KG PRE
                 Source:           ICAO Carbon Emissions Calc
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Old Apr 9, 20, 1:43 am
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Originally Posted by KVS View Post
It is not designated as a charter flight in the system:

As the OP noted above, it should not have made it into the "system".
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Old Apr 9, 20, 3:56 am
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Glad that it works out.
Technically, this repatriation flight is not a charter flight and has an usual AF717 flight number.
But it is handled differently in AF booking system. It shows on EF (and probably KVS) as zeroed in all fare buckets, so it should not have been available for sale on AF booking engine. It seems that it is now corrected.
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