AF stubbornness on ticket change

Old Mar 28, 09, 1:44 pm
  #1  
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Thumbs down AF stubbornness on ticket change

I bought a round-trip ticket JFK-CDG-IST-CDG-JFK, all AF metal, on the AF site. Only thereafter did I realize that the TATL segments were in a class (N) that doesn't earn me any Delta SkyMiles. OK. My fault. However...

(1) I called AF and asked whether I can buy up and be rebooked in a class that does earn miles. No go. This is already, ermmm... not very clever in my books, as I was willing to pay more than the cash equivalent of miles (a business that doesn't want to take my money pretty much as a gift? Strange, at best). But then...

(2) AF canceled the CDG-IST flight, pushing my departure from CDG back some 3 hours as a result. This is really bad news for me, as my trip is quite short, and those 3 hours do matter. Not even hoping to be able to cancel the itinerary, I asked them to at least move me to a later JFK-CDG flight -- so I could spend the extra time in New York rather than wandering about CDG. The answer? No, because my original booking class is not available on any of the later flights.

OK, it's no news to me that "No" is the standard answer when a paying customer asks Air France for service. But here, they are clearly breaking their part of the contract, which is to get me to Istanbul at HH:MM. And they are tacitly acknowledging that: My fare doesn't permit any change at all -- hence, by even considering my change request, they admit that they have to compensate me for what's their fault.

Hence, a question to the experts: Is this a losing battle? Assuming N inventory doesn't open, shouldn't I even bother to fight? Or can asking for a supervisor / writing Customer Service possibly help?.. (The flight is at the very end of April, so there's still time.)
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Old Mar 30, 09, 7:30 pm
  #2  
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I would write to AF CS USA and desribe the situation (not the buying up, but the 3 hr later arrival) and see if they can do something for you. I would not fight over 3 hours, but it's worth a fax or two.
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Old Mar 30, 09, 9:21 pm
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Geez i thought if they xcelled your original flight or flights, they'd let you re-book with no penalty. Seems most USA airlines would do that much at least.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 3:18 am
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Since AF/KL has changed your schedule considerably you are supposed to be able to cancel free of charge. Also, since by their own admission, they do not sell the class you booked in (and wanted to change anyways) on the flight you want, you can demand to be rebooked (even with a fee) into a class they do sell on that flight.

And if you don't get what you want: hang up and try again, and again, and again...
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Old Mar 31, 09, 3:20 am
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Originally Posted by henkybaby View Post
Since AF/KL has changed your schedule considerably you are supposed to be able to cancel free of charge.
Definitely.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 9:39 am
  #6  
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In case of flight cancellation, you have a legal entitlement under EC Regulation 261/2004 to be offered the possibility of cancelling your trip and getting your money back (within 7 days).
Count this as a golden opportunity to avoid N class by cancelling and making a new separate booking.

As to the impossibility of upgrading the selling class, this is precisely the key characteristic of the very lowest fare classes on AF (as well as on a number of other carriers): these tickets are not only non-refundable but also 100% non-changeable, even if only to change booking class.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
In case of flight cancellation, you have a legal entitlement under EC Regulation 261/2004 to be offered the possibility of cancelling your trip and getting your money back (within 7 days).
Count this as a golden opportunity to avoid N class by cancelling and making a new separate booking.
is the flight 3 hrs later still the old flight #? They might argue it is 'just a schedule change'. I too think they have to let you change your TATL flight. I lost a fight recently over award re-depositing fees ... the flight time changed and arrival was 40 minutes later ... not much might you say, but 40 minutes late at night might make or break my access to public transportation ... of course they argued that 40 minutes is not enough to waive the fees and after 2 attempts I gave up ... it was just 45 EUR.
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Old Mar 31, 09, 11:12 pm
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Thanks a lot to everyone who replied! Much appreciated.

Originally Posted by henkybaby View Post
Since AF/KL has changed your schedule considerably you are supposed to be able to cancel free of charge. Also, since by their own admission, they do not sell the class you booked in (and wanted to change anyways) on the flight you want, you can demand to be rebooked (even with a fee) into a class they do sell on that flight.
Originally Posted by NickB View Post
In case of flight cancellation, you have a legal entitlement under EC Regulation 261/2004 to be offered the possibility of cancelling your trip and getting your money back (within 7 days). Count this as a golden opportunity to avoid N class by cancelling and making a new separate booking.
I didn't even realize that cancelling/refunding is in principle a possibility. Well, one problem is, it has been more than 7 days since they notified me about the change... so it may happen that that train has left? OTOH, I have to see whether I actually want to cancel (I do need to go, and the fares right now are noticeably higher).

Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
is the flight 3 hrs later still the old flight #? They might argue it is 'just a schedule change'.
No, different number. Apparently they have just eliminated the flight I was originally on.
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