Finally flew AF, the new A359, JFK T1 and VIPOneJFK notes

Old Nov 22, 2023, 7:32 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NY
Programs: AA, Hilton
Posts: 1,570
Finally flew AF, the new A359, JFK T1 and VIPOneJFK notes

So since you have all been so helpful, hereís my contribution to this forum with jfk datapoints. Plus this is one way to get my back to sleep.

our first AF trip, so I dressed for the occassion.




these tixx were bought on Delta. Then through their app, we upgraded the teens to premium Econ and us to Business on a delta flight. Crucial point: At this moment, the airline rep said we would have 2 linked PNRs. Parents and teens. No problem.

Then later: we switched from Delta to AF metal both ways. All fine and sorted months ago. Iím a travel nut and need to be organized so I choose seats, etc

we got to JFK T1 and I had printed out my boarding passes at home and headed straight to VIPOneJFK to bypass TSAlines. There, the rep says I canít use those boarding passes, I need ones printed from the airline.

So I go to the AF counter and the AF rep tells us our 14 yo is an unaccompanied minor, termed UM, (sitting in premE with almost 17 old sibling) and needs to pay $80 and I have to fill a form out. What the? Iím visibly annoyed off, how could it get that far? I was as cordial as one could be (remember this) but did voice this was another way to squeeze $80 out of us.

Supervisor confirms itís true, no one knows why this ticketing was allowed. I comply, the rep is apologetic, citing itís just the rules.

After the hassle and 40 mins, they waive the $80 and the rep also kindly allows the kids to come to AF lounge with us. (Goldorak, neither you or I expected them to get in this way but weíll take it)

but teen still gets the UM treatment so a rep at the gate has to board them😡. Really ridiculous. She gets a cardboard envelop with UM document had to wear it. We made a joke of it. Lots of eye rolling.

30 min delay at gate 4, not sure why since a narcissist model was blabbing nearby and we couldnít hear announcements. (yes. I can tell you everything about her. She couldnít stop hearing herself) fortunately I got out of line to sample Macallan across from the gate. The salesperson said sheíd never seen our flight take so long to board.

We flew F-HUVB, the new A359 with new cabin. Its first revenue flight was CDG-TLV just 6 weeks ago and our flight was its 103rd revenue flight. To put that into perspective, less pax have sat in my seat than in a fully packed Concorde. That said, I was surprised to see seat 14 starboard window was inOp.



An FA took my coat and I was impressed with their hanger system that allows them to dial the seat number you are at.

We sat in the couples aisle seats & nice FAs, great food.

surprised though, no printed menus offered.

Seems like one FA didnít know what the other was doing. The one FA confirmed our beef and duck dishes. The other came back and told my wife she was to choose between shrimp and risotto? And wife didnít care and enjoyed the shrimp.


Here is a pic of our seats. We are last row business and our teens in 2nd row Premium econ. We could literally see them through the wall partition but they needed to go through the UM procedure to board her.


Just before landing, FA tells us to wait in our seats until a rep comes to deliver teen to us. We can literally see her 15 feet away. We wait.

As impressed as I was with the hanger system, I was less than enamored that I had to flag down an FA to remind her they still had my coat hanging up somewhere.

But we arenít in a hurry, the whole plane unboards then another FA brings us up. Note: My daughter is my clone & Looks like me but with curly locks. Random people in airports have said this to us. Yet the gate agent looks at us and says she needs my passport and signature to release her to me. My teen never left usÖ.just really unnecessary.

to be honest, I guess the fault lies with Delta who made the tickets but then AF enforcing rules that donít apply made it unpleasant to say the least. But then sending teens to lounge with us was one was to sooth the unpleasantness

Although VIPOneJFK was pleasant, since we have tsaPre, not sure itís worth $45/head. It got you to the front of tsa line, still took electronics out of bags, shoes stayed on.

but ultimately you join the line aside the general TSA line nearby where a Hasidim was created a ruckus saying he wasnít about to take off his garments or shoes because he had cancer and missing toes. I think if vipone had a dedicated TSA line, perhaps with its own aisle and partition, if might feel more VIP.

back to sleep!
Goldorak, lynxy, fifty_two and 3 others like this.
the phoenix is offline  
Old Nov 22, 2023, 7:53 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Programs: FlyingBlue
Posts: 2,339
Originally Posted by the phoenix
That said, I was surprised to see seat 14 starboard window was inOp.
About that: the new A350 cabin certainly has some teething troubles.
Flew HUVC yesterday. Got assigned a new seat at the airport because my seat had been declared inop.
I was put in a new seat with unusable IFE. Screen would keep turning off every 2 minutes. I tried to push through and watch a movie but had to stop after 30 minutes, when the urge to throw something at the screen that turned black for the nth time started to become too hard to suppress.
blairvanhorn likes this.
maalloc is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 12:47 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Accor 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Paris, France
Programs: AF/KL Flying Blue Platinum for life/Club2000 Ultimate, Accor ALL Diamond
Posts: 21,662
Thanks for the report
I just love your shoes 😍
lynxy, moondog and blairvanhorn like this.
Goldorak is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 3:05 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: France
Programs: FB Plat for Life, UAMP, BAEC, Accor ALL Platinum, Marriott silver, Hilton, MeliŠ silver.
Posts: 3,092
Originally Posted by the phoenix
(...) Crucial point: At this moment, the airline rep said we would have 2 linked PNRs. Parents and teens. No problem. (...) So I go to the AF counter and the AF rep tells us our 14 yo is an unaccompanied minor, termed UM, (...) AF enforcing rules that don’t apply made it unpleasant to say the least. (...)
Hi there,

Nice report thank you.

Once thing though, which will explain what you experienced with your kids.

You have been misled by the sales staff who told you both PNRs would be linked.

There is NO SUCH THING as linking PNRs. This is an urban legend which keeps being spread around, even by sales staff as in your case.

What they do is add a note in the bookings, note that few people will see and read.

The "system" still sees both PNRs as separate bookings and there is nothing you can do about it.

For example, in case of irrops, the system could have automatically rebooked you on one flight and your kids on another. Changing that would have required manual intervention, where the notes in the PNR might help (without guarantee though).

Once you know that, you understand why AF enforced rules which DID apply, because the procedure for UM travelling is very strict.

AF responsibility is huge in case the kids get lost or mishandled, so they cannot simply let go because someone somewhere added a note in the PNR.
  • The system says: UM. So UM procedure must be followed.
Had you known this, you would not have been irritated by the procedure.

The only way to avoid this, is for the minor and parents/guardians to be in the same PNR (one booking only).

Last edited by carnarvon; Nov 23, 2023 at 4:27 am
carnarvon is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 4:39 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong, France
Programs: FB , BA Gold
Posts: 15,436
I might be wrong, but I think that even if they were on the same PNR (which they were clearly not), you would have encountered the problem.
Children MUST travel in the same cabin as one adult.
If one adult had volunteered to swap seat with a kid, that should not have been a problem (assuming that AF would allow it).

You might criticize rules. But Rules are rules and this one is designed for security. . It is not a matter of "squeezing" the UM fee.
mrow likes this.
brunos is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 6:53 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: France
Programs: FB Plat for Life, UAMP, BAEC, Accor ALL Platinum, Marriott silver, Hilton, MeliŠ silver.
Posts: 3,092
Originally Posted by brunos
I might be wrong, but I think that even if they were on the same PNR (which they were clearly not), you would have encountered the problem.
Children MUST travel in the same cabin as one adult.
When you buy tickets for several pax in one PNR, the fare has to be the same.

As a result: same PNR = same cabin.

However, I think that "same PNR" is what matters. It proves that the minor IS accompanied.

Even if the kid and the parents were in the same cabin, but the kid under his own PNR, I don't see how the system could not have recognised him as a UM. This however may be solvable before the flight. I don't have experience.

If one adult had volunteered to swap seat with a kid, that should not have been a problem (assuming that AF would allow it).
UM Boarding procedure would have been followed anyhow.

Swapping seats after boarding would not have waved AF responsibility towards a pax flagged UM in the system, would it?

After arrival, the recovery team tasked with collecting the UM upon arrival would not have been satisfied with a "oh, he travelled with me in biz, so he is not a UM any longer. No need to sign any paperwork"
orbitmic and the phoenix like this.

Last edited by carnarvon; Nov 23, 2023 at 7:11 am
carnarvon is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 7:56 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: HAG
Programs: ST E+, *G, some hotel gold...
Posts: 7,544
Originally Posted by carnarvon
When you buy tickets for several pax in one PNR, the fare has to be the same.

As a result: same PNR = same cabin.

However, I think that "same PNR" is what matters. It proves that the minor IS accompanied.

Even if the kid and the parents were in the same cabin, but the kid under his own PNR, I don't see how the system could not have recognised him as a UM. This however may be solvable before the flight. I don't have experience.



UM Boarding procedure would have been followed anyhow.

Swapping seats after boarding would not have waved AF responsibility towards a pax flagged UM in the system, would it?

After arrival, the recovery team tasked with collecting the UM upon arrival would not have been satisfied with a "oh, he travelled with me in biz, so he is not a UM any longer. No need to sign any paperwork"
Swapping seats as in swapping seat assignments. That is one parent takes a voluntary downgrade and one child gets an upgrade. If AF systems allowed this, would have been a reasonable solution.

Onboard, they could take original seats.
Fabo.sk is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 10:22 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: France
Programs: FB Plat for Life, UAMP, BAEC, Accor ALL Platinum, Marriott silver, Hilton, MeliŠ silver.
Posts: 3,092
Originally Posted by Fabo.sk
Swapping seats as in swapping seat assignments. That is one parent takes a voluntary downgrade and one child gets an upgrade. If AF systems allowed this, would have been a reasonable solution.

Onboard, they could take original seats.
1) That's a big if, isn't it?

2) I fail to understand how this would solve the problem. Even if seats are swapped, the kid will not be on the same PNR as the adult and therefore because of his birth day, will still be recognised as a UM. The system will call for a ground staff to accompany him and another to collect him.

Anyhow, we can speculate forever.

The fact is that AF did nothing wrong.

The minor was not on the same PNR as his parents, so was considered as unaccompanied.

The system generated UM procedure and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe it can be solved beforehand, but certainly not on board.

It is not up to the onboard staff to judge the validity of the relationship between the adults and the kids.

They have to follow the procedure. They are told that they have 1 UM on board and cannot simply agree "ŗ la bonne franquette" with the adults that because one looks like the adult female, she must be her daughter and let them go... Can they?
carnarvon is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 12:30 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: GVA
Programs: AF Flying Blue, LX Miles&More, TP Miles&Go, EK Skywards
Posts: 86
Originally Posted by maalloc
About that: the new A350 cabin certainly has some teething troubles.
Flew HUVC yesterday. Got assigned a new seat at the airport because my seat had been declared inop.
I was put in a new seat with unusable IFE. Screen would keep turning off every 2 minutes. I tried to push through and watch a movie but had to stop after 30 minutes, when the urge to throw something at the screen that turned black for the nth time started to become too hard to suppress.
I had exactly the same issue on my flight JKF-CDG AF3 with HUVA
maalloc likes this.
frec63_ft is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 1:42 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: HAG
Programs: ST E+, *G, some hotel gold...
Posts: 7,544
Originally Posted by carnarvon
1) That's a big if, isn't it?
.
Of course it's a huge if, and the other if of pairing the child with a parent on a different PNR is an even bigger if. But that's the point.
carnarvon likes this.
Fabo.sk is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 4:28 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NY
Programs: AA, Hilton
Posts: 1,570
I appreciate all the comments. Rule are all good and fair. I just can’t believe I was so blindsided after my months of careful planning.

if you think about it, had I NOT opted to use VIPOne JFK, who would not accept a boarding pass printed at home, which is why we had to go to the airline counter, then when would the issue have come up otherwise?

We had checked in online the day before and all passport info is in the system. Our passes from home would have gotten us to the gate. I don’t understand how, if we did t go to the counter, when would the issue come up?
the phoenix is offline  
Old Nov 24, 2023, 12:47 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Accor 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Paris, France
Programs: AF/KL Flying Blue Platinum for life/Club2000 Ultimate, Accor ALL Diamond
Posts: 21,662
Originally Posted by the phoenix
I appreciate all the comments. Rule are all good and fair. I just canít believe I was so blindsided after my months of careful planning.

if you think about it, had I NOT opted to use VIPOne JFK, who would not accept a boarding pass printed at home, which is why we had to go to the airline counter, then when would the issue have come up otherwise?

We had checked in online the day before and all passport info is in the system. Our passes from home would have gotten us to the gate. I donít understand how, if we did t go to the counter, when would the issue come up?
I have never understood this ďprocedureĒ in T1. Even if you connect DL to AF in T1 and have a BP emitted by DL, the agents patrolling the lane are refusing it and ask you to go to AF counters. Totally ridiculous.
the phoenix and San Gottardo like this.
Goldorak is offline  
Old Nov 24, 2023, 1:00 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: NYC -- UA 1K; SPG Platinum; HH Diamond.
Posts: 2,826
Originally Posted by the phoenix
I appreciate all the comments. Rule are all good and fair. I just canít believe I was so blindsided after my months of careful planning.

if you think about it, had I NOT opted to use VIPOne JFK, who would not accept a boarding pass printed at home, which is why we had to go to the airline counter, then when would the issue have come up otherwise?

We had checked in online the day before and all passport info is in the system. Our passes from home would have gotten us to the gate. I donít understand how, if we did t go to the counter, when would the issue come up?
I suspect it would have gotten flagged at the gate right before boarding. When scanning the boarding pass the system would have recognized itís a UM and required some extra step ó at least thatís how it should work.
carnarvon, hhdl and orbitmic like this.
NYC1 is online now  
Old Nov 24, 2023, 4:09 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Programs: Flying Blue, Hilton Honors, Amtrak Guest Rewards
Posts: 2,212
Originally Posted by NYC1
I suspect it would have gotten flagged at the gate right before boarding. When scanning the boarding pass the system would have recognized itís a UM and required some extra step ó at least thatís how it should work.
And in that case, assuming the phoenix has boarded with J and the kids are in group 3, it could be even more of a mess.
hhdl is offline  
Old Nov 25, 2023, 3:45 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Programs: Eurostar Carte Blanche, SBB-CFF-FFS GA-AG, SNCF Grand Voyageur LeClub
Posts: 7,819
In fact, PNR linking is more than just a note in separate PNRs. The reservations are truly ę data-linked Ľ in the reservation system, so that they appear together during check-in for instance. If one passenger of the party starts OLCI, he/she will see all other pax from ę linked PNRs Ľ. In fact that even works for people in separate cabins (had this with our kids on US flights, they were in Y, wife+I in J - all appeared during my OLCI).

Also, in the case of IRROPS re-booking, whilst it might be true - but even not sure - that ę the computer Ľ may do separate re-bookings for the various PNRs, agents handling rebookings do see the note. And since it’s often gate/airport/phone agents that deal with that, they see it and can act on all the pax.

On UM, I am somewhat surprised I must say. Yes, it’s true that kids traveling on the same flight but not in the same cabin as their parents are considered ę traveling alone Ľ. However, I remember when we had a family flight from JFK last year with a 13-year and a 17-year old in the Y cabin we did not have to pay an UM fee for the 13 year old as she was with her 17 year old brother (who by the way wasn’t on the same PNR but merely ę linked Ľ). But then, I just re-read the AF webpage, it indeed says that kids up to certain ages have to be accompanied by an adult aged >18 (which clearly wasn’t the case for us). Looks like AF did the right thing in the OP’s case, and not in ours.

And yes, AF have to make you show your piece of ID and sign. Which is a very very good thing. It’s not about whether this is your physical daughter or not, even if she is a perfect clone of you. It’s about making sure that only the person designated to be authorised to pick up the kid gets to pick her up. Otherwise there would be many cases of mums/dads that have lost custody of their child snatch it after a UM flight only on the grounds of physical semblance. Something that should not happen, which is why all airlines require for the name and details of the person dropping the child and the person picking up the child.
Xandrios likes this.
San Gottardo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.