Woes with Air France

I have to write this before it becomes too late. At the risk of being labeled a whiner, I want to warn any potential customers of Air France with my experience so that they stay aware.

1. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, the airline missed our baggage while flying us from London to Chennai. Two days later, they delivered 2 out of 3 items. Further few days later, they delivered the one remaining item – which unfortunately happened to be the biggest and most important one.

While we waited anxiously for the lost baggage, there was no apology or anything from them. Talking to the airline’s staff, their attitude is like “We are much better than British Airways. They fail to deliver more baggage than us”. I am not sure how BA fares against AF on this front, but I saw a huge missing-baggage mountain at the airport delivered by BA.

2. I am not sure whether this is the case with all the airlines or it is something kind of Air France special, these guys make a big fuss about the weight of the baggages to be checked in. They allow only 20 kgs per person (yes, 20 kgs – you read it right) and when it went over the limit by 2 kgs for 3 passengers put together (that is less than a kilo over the limit per passenger), they were demanding an awful sum (Rs. 6600) towards the excess.

There is absolutely no flexibility on their part. I tried to point out that I had to make extra purchases coz of the late delivery of baggages, but that failed to cut any ice. She simply said that missing baggage is a separate issue (about which no one cares – really!).

3. Despite being the 30th passenger to check-in out of the 300+ passengers, three of us including our toddler were allocated seats in different rows in the air craft. I failed to notice that while getting the boarding pass, but when I went back to the check-in lady after 5 minutes pointing out the issue, she were lazy enough to issue a fresh boarding pass. She and her supervisor convinced me that although it appears as different rows, it is actually the same row towards the end of the air craft where the body of the plane gets narrower.

When we got into the plane, we found that it was the first and second row. The cabin crew threw up their arms saying that it is not their problem. Only after making a big song and dance (saamiyaattam – quite literally) and after demanding them to offload me if they don’t sort this out, they begged other passengers and made us sit in the same row.

4. Last but not the least is the quantity & quality of food. I have travelled both on short and long haul flights with Air France. If you are flying with them, better pack your food and eat it on board. It is THAT bad.

I sent all of the above to the Customer Service desk of Air France including the details like the date of travel, flight number, passenger names etc. Their response was surprisingly quick. But, all they said was that they would ‘look into the matter’ referred by me. If you are flying with Air France, good luck to you! I swear that I would never ever do that in future.