A test of Frequence Plus customer service

Old Feb 25, 00, 6:02 am
  #1  
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A test of Frequence Plus customer service

Frequence Plus cancelled a booking I made. And now I cannot get back all my flights. But the reason for the cancellation is curious. They claim that I did not call them back after one week to confirm my reservation? But they did not say that I had to do this at the time I made the reservation.

They blame everything on me of course.

So I've sent this FAX to them.


To: Air France Frequence Plus
Fax: +33 1 49386400
From: Austman
FP number: XXXXXXXXXX
E-mail:
Tel:

February 25, 2000

Reference: BOOKING XXXXXX
01 MARCH ARN-CDG-ATH
04 MARCH ATH-CDG
05 MARCH CDG-ARN


Dear Frequence Plus,

I made the above booking in January via the Gothenberg office. I was very happy with the booking except for the flight on 05 MARCH. This was the first flight out of Paris in the morning and I perferred a later flight if possible.

The lady in Gothenberg very kindly suggested that she could delay the ticket issue by one week to allow me a chance to try again for a later flight. But later I decided that the early flight would be OK and I left things at that. There was never a mention that the reservation would be cancelled if I did not call back within a week.

And yet a cancellation is exactly what happened. I was never told of the cancellation. I expected tickets to arrive in the mail about one week before departure. That is what SAS does for me. But when no tickets arrived I had to call Frequence Plus, only to discover that my reservation was indeed cancelled!

Now I just want what I booked, to be given back to me. Nothing more. I have not made an error here. If any error was made it was made by Frequence Plus in Gothenberg.

I understand that all my original flights are still available except for the flight from Paris to Stockholm on 05 March.

I appeal to Frequence Plus to realise that this error is NOT my fault and that Frequence Plus should allow me travel on 05 March. As you know there are two tickets involved here and I could accept that one (myself) travels on 06 March. But the other (and hopefully
both) must be for 05 March.

I have travelled over 150,000 miles in the last 6 months alone, so I am an experienced traveller and I am extremely aware of what is said to me when I make reservations.

I do not think it is much to ask of you to just restore my original booking.

I am publishing this letter on http://talk.flyertalk.com/forumcgi/Ultimate.cgi under the Air France section.

I will publish your response also.

I hope you can respond urgently to this matter.


Best regards,

Austman.


[This message has been edited by Austman (edited 02-25-2000).]
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Old Feb 25, 00, 9:21 am
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Good luck! As much as I dislike people using this forum as a whip with their service issues, this one is just too much fun to miss... I await to see if they reply with anticipation


Nick
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Old Feb 25, 00, 11:06 am
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They have not replied yet. I find this matter annoying mostly because Frequence Plus keeps blaming me for this situation. The lady who made the booking for me apparently no longer works for Air France. Air France's records apparently show that I was informed that I must claim the tickets within one week of making the booking at an Air France ticket office. But both the lady who made the booking and I know that this demand was never made. I honestly thought that the tickets would just come in the mail, like my SAS and American Airlines ones do.

But a booking record is a booking record and what is written in it is the absolute, 100% and complete truth according to Frequence Plus. Whether I was told or not is irrelevent.

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Old Feb 25, 00, 11:37 am
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I will probably be hung for this, but Air France are not exactly known for flexibility, compasion, customer empathy etc.

As you are finding to your cost with AF a rule is a rule and that is it, common sence or fair-play never come into it.

The American airlines would rectify this as a matter of good faith. The better European airlines would look at how much business you give them and decide if they should make an exception, but if AF are true to form they will get sniffy and tell you their records show x and therefore hard luck!

I hope they surprise us!


Nick
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Old Feb 25, 00, 12:02 pm
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I'm sure you will be right Merry. And as you can judge from my inexperience in claiming Frequence Plus awards (this is my first ever claim), I do not travel much on Air France. I know that I cannot exercise any FF 'muscle' with them like I perhaps could with some other airlines.

I thought I had done everything so right in this case. And a good deal of the points that I intended to use for these tickets expire on Feb. 29.
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Old Feb 25, 00, 1:43 pm
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Ah -- poor service and expiring points. Too bad I have to travel on AF sometimes. I have some expiring at year end too. Hope you get a good break on this Austman.

You know sometimes Merry is right
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Old Feb 25, 00, 2:25 pm
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doc
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Have you read the possts by QL earlier?I'm sure he wont be surprised.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum94/HTML/000511.html

Sorry Austman!
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Old Feb 25, 00, 11:16 pm
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Still no word from Frequence Plus and I don't think there will be any either as the weekend moves across the world. I'm actually in Bangkok now and will fly back to Stockholm on Monday night. I arrive Tuesday and was to leave with Air France for a few days vacation in Athens on Wednesday.

On Monday I'll contact Frequence Plus here in Bangkok and may even pay them a visit, as I have a day off here. That will no doubt shock them. Perhaps the service in Thailand will be better.

I think if I can get back my flights except for the final Paris-Stockholm one, that will be something I can work with. I know that on 05 March none of the four AF flights from Paris to Stockholm is actually full, it's just that all the Frequence Plus seats are taken. It should not be all that hard for Air France to fix this problem if they had the inclination to do so. I have said that any of the four flights would be OK for me.

I'm finding this exercise a bit of fun really. I know I'm right, but my argument is with a reservation record! And what's written in the reservation record MUST be true according to Air France.


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Old Feb 26, 00, 9:51 am
  #9  
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Nick, you might be somewhat excessive about inflexibility at AF. While I'd agree that flexibility is not their forte, it tends to depend on the agent you are dealing with. I once found myself boarding for a connecting flight on AF having lost, through nobody's fault but my own, my flight coupon. While the initial reaction of the agent was not to let me board, she quickly relented and let me board.
I am far from sure that many European airlines would have been so accommodating, particularly for someone flying on a cheap ticket and who had not had much business with the airline.
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Old Feb 27, 00, 1:41 am
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NickB: No not excessive at all. I could fill this thread with horry stories about AF, but there is no point - stick around long enough and you will see for yourself.

I have past the point where one ray of hope convinces me there is any good in AF.


Nick
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Old Feb 28, 00, 6:30 am
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Today I spent quite some time at the Air France ticket office, here in Bangkok.

I met Suran and explained everything to her. She printed my reservation record and it showed all the flights I wanted except for the problematic last one. There I had two bookings:- Paris-Gothenburg for the right day but wrong city and Paris-Stockholm for the right city but the wrong day. I told her that I really would like Paris-Stockholm on 05 March. She checked and it was not a problem. She even got the flight I preferred (11.20 am).

Great!!! Can I have the tickets please?!

Well, then a constant stream of little problems came up. Suran thought that I needed double the points that I was using. I told her of the Frequence Plus two-for-one offer for certain destinations (Athens was one). This needed lots of checking and re-checking but eventually it was OK. Then she could not issue the tickets anyhow. That must be approved by Paris I was told. Well it was 9 am in Paris, so I suggested that I call back in an hour to see if it had been all approved. I had some matters to attend to with Thai, down the road anyhow. One hour later I called and 'yes, the tickets were approved, please come and collect them'.

So back to the Air France office. It took the other lady there about 20 minutes of typing before she announced the cost of the taxes I had to pay. I produced my credit card and eagerly awaited the tickets. But after about another 15 minutes of her typing she announced that the link between Air France and the credit card companies was not working. I had to pay cash or get the tickets another day. I like using my Diners for pay for tickets because of the extra insurance Diners offers. The lady also informed me that bonus tickets must be printed at least one day before the flight. It was the 28th of February today. I'm on a flight to Stockholm on the 29th and my bonus trip was for the 1st of March. What to do ? I had to get those tickets TODAY! So I went down to the ATM and took out the THB 3,200 and came back and paid the cash. All in all it took 2 trips of one hour each to the Air France office. But I did end up getting exactly was I wanted and just one day before most of my points expired (but I had booked the trip weeks ago).

The staff in the Bangkok office were very nice and tried to be as helpful as possible. They apologised that it all took so long.

Now I'm wondering... was it worth all the effort? I suppose so. For 30,000 Frequence Plus points, I have two round trip tickets Stockholm-Athens with a transit stop in Paris.



[This message has been edited by Austman (edited 02-28-2000).]
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Old Feb 28, 00, 6:59 am
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Whew--they may call it reward travel but it wasn't a very rewarding experience getting the ticket. Glad it all worked out in the end.
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Old Feb 28, 00, 7:04 am
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Uuuffffffff!
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Old Mar 6, 00, 11:01 am
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I'm not sure that I should have started this thread. It IS service related and I see that people are starting to complain about whether or not these forums should be used for service related topics. I did consider this. But I started the thread because the issue related specially to Frequece Plus and to the problems of dealing with them and booking award travel. It was not anything to do with Air France's in-flight service or the like. Maybe it serves as a warning to others about Frequence Plus's inflexibility if you do not confirm everything to them within 7 days of requesting a flight.

I certainly did call them a lot and send them the FAX. I may have been wrong to mention that I would publish their response on this forum. That is probably my biggest error.

But then again, what is this forum supposed to be about? Is it just to announce offers of Frequence Plus? Of how to earn the most and get the best value out the miles? Or is it here to discuss actual problems with Frequence Plus too? Is it suppose to discuss even wider matters such as pros and cons of flying Air France?

I'm not sure I should have started this thread and I did try to delete it more than once. But at least I started a thread that was "Discussion regarding Air France Frequence Plus" which is the forum title.

Sorry if this annoyed you.

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Old Mar 6, 00, 11:28 am
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Austman - I feel very comfortable with you sharing your experiences here. This has a lot to do with 'a typical frequent fliers problem'. Sharing ff-experiences and exchanging commentaries how to handle specific ff-situations is what this board, in my opinion, is about.

But I would be very reluctant to use this board/postings as a kind of 'threat' against the airline(s).
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