I do a lot of long haul flying for my little adventures, being tucked away in the no-man’s-land of Australia. Comfort, then, is a big thing for me. Generally speaking, I prefer to pay a little more to make sure these flights are as comfortable as possible, which is why I always choose either Singapore Airlines or Emirates if I can. Most of the carriers, IMHO, are completely substandard to the point of being inhumane. On some routes however, I just don’t have the luxury of choice.
Such was the case when I was travelling to Paris from Havana last year. Whilst the Paris-Havana leg was not particularly abysmal, it was nonetheless nothing special either. Possibly because there was a German guy on board took it upon himself to do the duties that the flight attendants seem to think not part of their job – serving drinks and snacks. It was on the return leg that Air France lost my business forever. I arrived at Havana airport to discover that the flight had been put forward an hour. This meant that I was almost last to check in as I did not re-confirm my flight time (so my fault). So I’m stuck with a cramped window seat on a full flight. This would not have been so bad if the passenger next to me was a woman with a 3 year old child IN THE SAME SEAT. Of course this translates to the child being in half my seat. That alone would not have sent me over the edge. It was the lack of service that made this the worst flight of my life. Not only did we not see the attendants (apart from meal time) during this 10 HOUR journey, no one even responded I pressed my flight attendant call button repeatedly.The child and mother spent a great deal of the flight asleep, strewn over the other seats so I couldn’t get out. So basically I was stuck for 10 hours with no access to the toilets and because we never saw the attendants I was completely dehydrated. It’s a simple courtesy that the better airlines employ on long haul flights – the attendants appear every hour on the hour with water or juice.
I’ll never understand how it’s acceptable for a child to share a seat with his/her parents for a start. I also don’t understand why she wasn’t given a bulk head seat like the other parents. I realise that other people have had worse flights than this. This is my story.
I complained bitterly to Air France upon my return. They did apologise but as is the case with most companies, denied any wrong doing and asked me to give them another chance. Why would I when they clearly have no intention of changing their inflight policies? I haven’t even mentioned the food – but that’s a universal gripe.
You know what Air France? Fool me once shame on you. There won’t be a second time.
BIG TIP on complaints (and this is for all companies): Never use the contact email on their website. You will never hear from them. The one sure way you’ll hear from them is to post an angry message on their Facebook page.