There has been a post that doing the rounds of social media circles and caught my attention. The blogger has written an open letter to Air France CEO Alexandre De Juniac describing the harrowing experience that he and 44 other people had to undergo when their flight from Paris to Mumbai was abruptly cancelled and they were made to wait endlessly on the air-side and the Air France staff showing an indifferent attitude towards them. The big issues that obviously come to anyone’s mind in such a situation is that:

  • The airport being the airlines own hub, why couldn’t alternate arrangements be made to accommodate 45 passengers?
  • How can transit visas be rejected in such a case, I’ve never ever heard a case where this may have happened before, If anyone has experiences about the same or more detailed knowledge please do share in comments.
  • Why were the passengers left to fend for themselves, In my point of view at least lounge access should have been allowed.

The most troubling aspect that I found from the piece was the lop sided compensation policy adopted in this case whereby certain people were either compensated or readjusted in other flights but these 45 odd people were not. Now the facts presented in the piece are just one side of the story, I would be really interested to hear Air France’s side of the story and see what they have to see about all this but in any case from the current facts it seems that the airlines performed a shoddy job in managing its customers and did not live up to its promise to serve its customers.

I would love to hear your views about this situation and suggestions about what could be done in such a situation. Look forward to your comments.

You can read the complete post here

  • KG said,

    This is second such story I am hearing for folks travelling to India by Are France ..Reading this piece and listening to other one made me never ever fly Air France i my life !

  • Gerard said,

    What an incredibly stupid letter…. All in all not much of an hell, simply a delay of a day, happens to plenty of people.

    And you should know when traveling that an airline has a duty of care, so of to an hotel it is. And being an EU flight he will/should also get the standard compensation for a delay of more than 6hrs.

    Simply fill out the form and be done with it.

  • planensimple said,

    @KG I’ve traveled by AF-KLM many times but have never faced any such situation but that does not guarantee that this cannot happen to me or anyone. What remains to be seen is what action AF-KLM takes up in this case.

  • planensimple said,

    @Gerard Agreed its a delay of a day but what about being stranded on air-side with no accommodation or any care being provided for the stranded? Compensation is understandable and deserving in this kind of cases but still question is would you be willing to spend one night at airport like this?

  • ffi said,

    My family member was held in a cell at JFK when a flight change happened many years ago. So the refusal to give a visa is not uniquely French.

    The main problem is with France refusing to give Schengen Visas. Air France cant do anything about that.

    But they can open a Biz lounge and just keeping all Pax there would have been the best thing to do, but that calls for sense and sensitivity …

    A similar episode 5 years ago on a flight MAA-CDG-JFK when the incoming was late, caused a severe meltdown in AF sales in MAA and the flight was canceled a few months later.

  • Gerard said,

    If those that were delayed didn’t have a visa to leave the airport, everybody is out of options. It’s a risk you take when having a connection in a country you cannot enter.

    Otherwise I’ve never heard of airlines denying a hotel for such a delay. Should there be any problems getting the duty of care most people would simply book a hotel and bill the airline later.

    EU regulations are quite clear, as is the standard compensation of €600 / $800 per person in this case. And that is without any costs for the duty of care.

    It’s still a simple delay that happens regularly without people making such a fuss. Not a nice experience I’m sure, but far from the drama that is promoted here.

  • Ami said,

    @Gerard Did you even care to read the whole blog post? It’s not just about hotel..total disgrace for AF

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