AF-Employee: I'm not allowed to give you my name

Old Aug 5, 05, 2:17 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs down AF-Employee: I'm not allowed to give you my name

On tuesday I was booked on AF BRE-CDG-NCE with a 70-minutes-connection at CDG from 17.15-18.25 on an award tix in Y. Being BMI DC Gold, my business usually goes to *, but this time I thought I could burn some old miles on Flying Blue.

Aircraft at BRE came 90 min. late in from CDG, hence my arrival at CDG was at 18.30 h, the connection was missed, of course. No big problem, I thought, as there was a 19.30 h flight to NCE with huge availability (I checked before with the KVS Tool).
Big surprise when I arrived around 18.40 h at the transfer desk in 2D: I couldn't go on the 19.30 h-flight (the last on AF to NCE on this day) because I had checked baggage and it wasn't sure if the baggage would make the connection. AF would need 120 min. to ensure the correct redirection of the baggage!? Hence I would have to stay at CDG overnight and take a flight the next morning.

OK, I said, I'd take the risk of delayed baggage and I did even offer to renounce on the delayed baggage compensation in advance. NO WAY.
I argued that I could even go to ticket counter and buy a ticket for that 19.30 h flight as it was still 45 minutes before departure (boarding time was 19.00 h). NO WAY.
I suggested to rebook me on the easyjet flight to NCE at 21.00 h, but: NO WAY. I quoted the EU Regulation but it didn't help either.

As the easyjet option was still available on my own expense, I took the hotel voucher (Ibis ** - not really my category), but demanded for full compensation according to the EU regulation. NO WAY. She argued, that my delay wasn't the fault of Air France !?

At this point, I asked her for her name as she didn't wear a name plate, but she replayed: I'm not allowed to give you my name.
I: Could I please speak with the supervisor?
She: No, he is not here and won't be here within one hour.
I: Could you please give me the name of the supervisor?
She: No, I'm not allowed to give you the name of the supervisor, and they are changing all the time.
I: Could I please speak with a responsible person?
She: You could go to the police which is located ... [she seriously described the way to the next police office from 2D].

Very funny joke, I thought. As I was too surprised by this behaviour I left the transfer desk at this point.

Being only FB Ivory and travelling on an award tix, I was nothing at AF (and surely will never be anything more!) but I wonder how AF can seriously conduct procedures like these.

What do you think ?

a) regarding the connection
with LH at FRA or MUC it is never a problem to redirect the baggage, considering that the bar code can easily be reprogrammed, if it is done before boarding time of the new flight. I accept that baggage could be delayed with a rebooked connection, but it never happened to me with other airlines that I was denied a rebooking well before boarding time because of the possibilty that the baggage could be delayed.

b) regarding the behaviour: Completely inacceptable in many ways. I wonder how Air France can seriously implement/accept a procedere where employees are not allowed to give their names or the name of their supervisor.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 3:01 pm
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You're not the only one to have had this experience with employees refusing to tell you they're name. But you had an extreme version of it. In my experience, they refused but called a supervisor who eventually showed up. Haven't been referred to the police yet - but I'm sure that's coming !

And based on the number of people I hear have this experience I am convinced that it is company policy.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 3:34 pm
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I believe that in crisis situations they tend to stick very strictly to corporate procedures and rules. OK, this was a sad experience, and I won't comment on the technical side of the issue (the 120' requirement for redirecting the luggage to another flight) as I know little about ADP's rules for irregular luggage connections.

What is exactly the purpose of getting the name of an employee? Frighten him/her? Hope that the management will punish him/her, knowing that there is almost 0 chance you get any feedback on sanctions?

Originally Posted by Braniff
Haven't been referred to the police yet - but I'm sure that's coming !
Avoid that at all cost. Too much stress and they are not involved at all. They won't even listen to your story. You will then ask for the name of the Police Officer on duty, who knows what might happen next...
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Old Aug 5, 05, 5:14 pm
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I asked for the name of the employee because
1. I wanted to complain to the supervisor and I should have known the name of person I was going to complain about
2. I think for a written compensation request it is always useful to name the persons you dealt with

As I think that this procedure is fully accepted/implemented bei Air France, it's not a question of punishment of a single person but a question of learning that these procedures will - from time to time - cost the airline some money for compensation (but this is rather general comment and not especially related to Air France).

I think noone will seriously consider going to the police because an airline treats you badly - it's more or less a tasteless joke to get rid of the complaining customer.

And next time I come to an Air France transfer desk, I will hide my boarding card and say: "Could you please rebook me, but I'm not allowed to say my name either"
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Old Aug 5, 05, 5:28 pm
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This is standard operating procedure at CDG for AF when they misconnect you. I developed after many experiences the following tactics which counteract their idiocy 100% effectively. 1) I once met the senior supervisor woman after a 2 hour battle with them, I have her name memorized and when up agains such idiocy, have demanded to see her and as she has been in that role for about 7 years, generally get results. IF she is not around, or they claim she is not around, 2) When they refuse to give their name, pull out my phone take their picture and ask them to please repeat the BS they have just said again so I can record it as well - they go absolutely bonkers but I find that I am instantly booked either on the next plane (whatever French or EU regs say AF NEVER EVER wants to FIM onto other airlines) or given at least the Sofitel. Camera phones are useful.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Falco Peregrinus
What is exactly the purpose of getting the name of an employee? Frighten him/her? Hope that the management will punish him/her, knowing that there is almost 0 chance you get any feedback on sanctions?
Maybe it's a British thing... but it would never occur to me NOT to ask for the name of the person I've been dealing with (or some other unique reference - UK police officer will give you the number on their staff badge rather than their name).

Why? Because it lends some credibility. "I spoke to Officer 358 and he said..." seems a lot more credible than "I spoke to SOMEONE and they said...". If it's SOMEONE everybody can hide ("Wasn't me!"). If you have a name, or a staff number,it's a lot more difficult for staff to deny that the conversation took place.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 6:21 pm
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The British thing certainly works against you in Paris - and dont let anyone tell you otherwise, even if you speak fluent French and can kiss arse with the best of them.
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Old Aug 5, 05, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by hfly
When they refuse to give their name, pull out my phone take their picture and ask them to please repeat the BS they have just said again so I can record it as well - they go absolutely bonkers but I find that I am instantly booked either on the next plane (whatever French or EU regs say AF NEVER EVER wants to FIM onto other airlines) or given at least the Sofitel. Camera phones are useful.
^ thanks for the suggestion, brilliant idea
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Old Aug 6, 05, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by Aviatrix
Maybe it's a British thing... but it would never occur to me NOT to ask for the name of the person I've been dealing with (or some other unique reference - UK police officer will give you the number on their staff badge rather than their name).
Big cultural difference here. In France, people will generally refuse to provide their names - especially if the situation is hostile. This is especially true on the phone, where french-companies' call centre personnel tend to be in North Africa. In such cases, they make up imaginary names (Anne-France instead of Aisha). Asking for a supervisor works 50/50.

You could try the charm approach - with a thick english accent : "Madame/Monsieur, vous etes tellement gentil(le)". Works great with horribly rude CSRs. They are caught off-balance and feel pitie' for "ce con anglophone" ...

- free advice from a franco-americain

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Old Aug 6, 05, 1:25 am
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Originally Posted by dctorres
^ thanks for the suggestion, brilliant idea
More like a terrible idea, unless you like risking physical violence. Remember, AF is French (as are most of their personnel). Charm works much better. Form over function.
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Old Aug 6, 05, 5:43 pm
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No actually real idea that works wonders, and I have used it in many circumstances, not just with AF, if the employess gets hostile and demands the picture deleted or whatever, I just inform them that I've already e-mailed it somewhere (myself, whatever), it is the ultimate equalizer.
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Old Aug 6, 05, 7:56 pm
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Originally Posted by hfly
No actually real idea that works wonders, and I have used it in many circumstances, not just with AF, if the employess gets hostile and demands the picture deleted or whatever, I just inform them that I've already e-mailed it somewhere (myself, whatever), it is the ultimate equalizer.
Is it legal? It's definitely rude and intimidating. Normally, those staff in the frontline are just having to implement whatever corporate policies are sent down to them by faceless suits behind closed doors. Not giving a name or at least a staff number is unnecessarily bad service but I could imagine the initial looks of confusion, closely followed by howls of laughter at the complaints department when they read your letter with an enclosed pic of their flustered colleague.

If I was ever on the receiving end of this treatment, I would need to exercise serious self-restraint so that camera phone isn't taking pictures deep inside your rectum.
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Old Aug 7, 05, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by hfly
1) I once met the senior supervisor woman after a 2 hour battle with them, I have her name memorized and when up agains such idiocy, have demanded to see her and as she has been in that role for about 7 years, generally get results.
Fair play, and it surely helps a lot.

Originally Posted by hfly
IF she is not around, or they claim she is not around, 2) When they refuse to give their name, pull out my phone take their picture and ask them to please repeat the BS they have just said again so I can record it as well - they go absolutely bonkers but I find that I am instantly booked either on the next plane (whatever French or EU regs say AF NEVER EVER wants to FIM onto other airlines) or given at least the Sofitel. Camera phones are useful.
Wow... better declare war. From a French cultural perspective, there is nothing ruder you can do to them. Besides, I believe it's illegal in France to take a picture of someone without his/her consentment. Finally, should things really go sour, these types of recordings are not accepted as evidence in court.
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Old Aug 7, 05, 9:46 am
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I have never had a bad experience with an AF person at CDG. Then again, I have never had a bad experience with a KL person at AMS (aside from the loungedragons). But I can't imagine a typical, everyday occurrence like a missed connection escalating that someone is threatening physical violence because you took their picture.

That being said, if you're to the point where you're asking for someone's name to file a complaint, I doubt your charm is going to get you anywhere. May aw well resort to intimidation.
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Old Aug 7, 05, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by albireo
I believe it's illegal in France to take a picture of someone without his/her consentment. Finally, should things really go sour, these types of recordings are not accepted as evidence in court.
I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that in many EU countries (eg UK) you have no right to your image. As long as further use of the image is not defamatory then there should be no problem... (but maybe there's a legal expert out there who can clarify for this discussion). I don't think hfly is recommending it's use in court either.

BUT all airline employees are required to possess and show valid ID on request - maybe this could be a tactic? Or go to the ticket desk and say 'sorry I missed the name of the lady/gent at the check in' and hope they'll tell you instead...
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