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yellowtriumph
25th Mar 2018, 12:32
Would like the 'teams' advice re opening a claim for compensation from AF. We booked business class return tickets from London to Paris. All ok on the outward leg, but due to the widely reported disruption in France the return flights were not as booked. The return flight was carried by an AF charted independent operator (HorizonT) and we were downgraded to economy as the aircraft only had uniform seating (not unreasonable for them) and the flight departed at 14.40 rather than 10.15 so over 4 hours late.

It would seem to me that both my wife and I are entitled to claim twice - for the downgrade, and the for the lateness.

My queries are - Does the 'team' think it better for us to enter 4 separate claims - one for each 'issue' so that matters do not get confused? Any other advice welcome. Should we start the process on-line via the AF 'contact us' website so that we have a written record of our correspondence rather than start a telephone conversation which from recent experience with AF will end up with an operative in the Phillipines and conducted in unclear english?

ExXB
25th Mar 2018, 13:07
I'm not convinced your claim for the delay will be valid. "Strikes" are specifically named in Regulation 261 as being an example of 'extraordinary circumstances'.

As under the Montreal Convention, obligations on operating air carriers should be limited or excluded in cases where an event has been caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken. Such circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.


The reason why you were delayed was beyond Air France's direct control.

However your claim for a refund, in my opinion, may be valid - but not necessarily under the downgrade provisions of R261. It could be considered as a refund.

yellowtriumph
25th Mar 2018, 14:02
I'm not convinced your claim for the delay will be valid. "Strikes" are specifically named in Regulation 261 as being an example of 'extraordinary circumstances'.



The reason why you were delayed was beyond Air France's direct control.

However your claim for a refund, in my opinion, may be valid - but not necessarily under the downgrade provisions of R261. It could be considered as a refund.

Many thanks for your reply.

We both received emails from AF a day or so before the return departure (the London>Paris leg formed part of a longer return trip to South America) which partly read as follows:

"... Following an operational problem on flight AFXYZ we regret to inform you that that we are not able to accommodate you on Business. We have rebooked you on the same flight in Economy class.

You are entitled to compensation in addition to a partial refund of your ticket ...."

It would seem pretty clear then that AF recognise the downgrade and will offer a partial refund and compensation. Interesting that they themselves raise two financial elements?

With regards to delay compensation our thoughts are largely are based on the following which will seem rather hazy I'm afraid - but we were largely out of www and news provision floating about the high seas. Before embarking on our return journey from South America we got the impression the industrial action was sort of two pronged, some of it because of wide ranging industrial action thoughout France (but including AF), but separately a single day of industrial action by AF staff alone (on the 24th March?) and we wonder if the specific industrial action by AF staff alone was avoidable and therefore liable to compensation? We are not vociferous litigants by nature and won't pursue if we come up against any reasonable obstacles. Thanks again.

PS. We sat in the AF lounge in Paris waiting the replacement return flight which was scheduled to be 10.05 am but it just came showing up as 'expected'. Eventually the flight was shown leaving at 14.15 which itself was then slightly delayed. Seemed to us by what the pilot said once we were on board that the replacement charter flight was late itself arriving at CDG following a delayed departure from Barcelona. Bit of a spiders web to unpick I think? - The initial problem being caused by industrial action - but the delayed flight from Barcelona to Paris delayed for unknown reasons (to us anyway).

ExXB
25th Mar 2018, 14:33
It is irrelevant that the strike involved their employees.

Had they simply cancelled your flight they would owe you nothing*, as it was an extraordinary circumstance.

Kudos to them trying to get their customers to their destinations.

*They would be obliged to reroute you on their next available flight, or refund you any residual value of the ticket.

yellowtriumph
25th Mar 2018, 17:25
It is irrelevant that the strike involved their employees.

Had they simply cancelled your flight they would owe you nothing*, as it was an extraordinary circumstance.

Kudos to them trying to get their customers to their destinations.

*They would be obliged to reroute you on their next available flight, or refund you any residual value of the ticket.

Ok, thank you for the further explanation. We will simply apply for the two downgrades from business to economy plus whatever compensation they themselves feel we are due as indicated in their email I quoted from earlier. I wonder what that might be? I will update this post when we get a reply. Thanks again.

yellowtriumph
27th Mar 2018, 11:59
Update:

AF replied that they acknowledged that we were downgraded via a charter aircraft and that we were further affected by the long delay to that replacement flight. They have offered us 219 in cash or 400 in vouchers each.

This seems to be a sensible offer to us (especially as are looking to fly to Montreal later this year) so well done to AF for dealing with this in a reasonable manner.

SeenItAll
27th Mar 2018, 21:06
That seems like an offer that could even be termed generous. But what amazes me is that the matter was all sorted within two days and without multiple back-and-forths.

yellowtriumph
28th Mar 2018, 17:52
That seems like an offer that could even be termed generous. But what amazes me is that the matter was all sorted within two days and without multiple back-and-forths.

Ah, but what I haven't reported back on is that at the same time we are trying to get airmile points credited to our accounts for a sector between Buenos Aires>Ushuaia which was carried out by Aerolineas Argentinas. AA is a Skyteam partner to AF and AF agree that we should be able to claim the air miles. However, both their own website and AA's seem to make it impossible to do so and so I am trying to claim them using a variation on their 'normal' complaints website - in essence I have told them I am going round in circles getting nowhere on the usual 'claim airmiles for a recent flight' on their website and can they help me?

It may well be down to the fact that these flights (both Mrs yt and me) were part of a group booking by a tour operator and I suspect AF/AA may eventually say that for the ticket price paid Airmiles will not be forthcoming. That would be a reasonable reply if that's what it ends up as because you can't often have your cake and eat it can you?

The other flights we took: London>Paris>Buenos Aires, Santiago>Paris>London were booked privately by us and all the airmiles for those flights have already been automatically added to our accounts. So far I'm impressed that the left hand appears to be talking to the right hand.

Mark in CA
29th Mar 2018, 17:00
As someone who has now successfully claimed three instances of compensation, two from Air France and one from British Airways, I'd say the AF offer is pretty good. I believe you'd have a very small chance of a successful claim for the delay under the provisions of R261. It appears that despite this, AF recognizes the inconvenience and is being generous. As for the downgrade, you should be compensated for that. Whether you go for the cash or voucher is up to you. I've done both. It mostly depends on your future plans. Just be sure you understand the restrictions on voucher use first. Typically, they're good only on the airline issued it, in this case Air France or KLM.

radeng
5th Apr 2018, 16:35
About 8 years ago, I was booked CDG - SXB on Air France. Denied boarding because fog had prevented the earlier flight going, so they were clearing those PAX. Offered CDG - MUL and taxi to SXB, which I accepted and got a charges order for €350 before leaving CDG, or €250 if I took cash. When I eventually cashed it in, I got a cheque for the UK equivalent of €350.

Is that unusual for AF efficiency?

yellowtriumph
6th Apr 2018, 17:06
A further update. AF have dealt with Mrs yt’s claim for the ‘air miles’ for the AA flight between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia - they have credited her account with another 750 miles. They have not mentioned my claim at all for the same flight (?) I made a separate claim at the same time.

Additionally, and perhaps somewhat spuriously, they have also emailed to say they are going to refund 2*62 to the credit card that made the original flight bookings. I do not know why they are doing this, but who am I to complain ?