Take notes of promises made

This item appears on page 24 of the November 2010 issue.
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Eight of us flew Delta/Air France from San Jose, California, to Cairo, Egypt, via Paris, France, on Feb. 27, 2010. When we arrived at Paris’ CDG Airport for our connecting flight to Cairo (on Air France 508 or Delta 8622) at 1:35 p.m., we found out that it was delayed due to weather. It was finally canceled at 9:40 p.m.

Air France gave us hotel vouchers as well as boarding passes for the next day’s flight and told us they would keep our luggage and put it on the flight. We were told that we would have to pay for a taxi to the hotel because it was so late at night but that if we kept our receipts and filled out the form provided, eventually we would be reimbursed. We also were told we would have a complimentary return to the airport the next day if we phoned.

We assumed that the hotel would be near the airport, but the one chosen for us was over an hour away by taxi. The eight of us fit into two taxis, but the cost was high: €84 and €100. The next day the hotel informed us that there was no complimentary return, so four of us went back to the airport by bus (€17 each) and the other four took a taxi (€90 total).

We flew to Cairo only to find that all of our luggage was still back in Paris. We had to contend with long lines to fill out lost-luggage claims.

At 5 a.m. we took a flight to Abu Simbel, where we had no time to sightsee before barely catching our ship for the four-day cruise on Lake Nasser.

It was eight days before we got our luggage. Even though the Air France representative in Cairo said we could spend up to €100 each for replacement clothes, etc., we never did partly because we had no time in the airports. We could have bought some items from the ship, but most chose not to since we had extra underwear in our carry-ons.

After returning home, all eight of us put in our claims to Air France expecting, at least, repayment for our transportation charges at Paris. We got a letter back from a customer relations representative stating that when a flight cancellation is due to weather, the airline offers airport restaurant vouchers — but that we were lucky to have been given a hotel voucher and the airline didn’t owe us anything for our transportation costs.

I hadn’t taken out trip insurance.

It wasn’t Air France’s fault for the cancellation of our original flight, but we feet that they should honor their representative’s promises. And if it is their policy to not reimburse passengers for extra transportation costs, they should have been up front about it and told us that.

THEODORE (TED) SWIFT

Santa Clara, CA

ITN wrote to Air France (125 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019) regarding Mr. Swift and received a call on June 10 from Karen Giro, who told ITN that there must have been a miscommunication and that Air France would be reimbursing Mr. Swift’s party for their airport/hotel transfers.

In a follow-up to ITN, Mr. Swift wrote, “We received a phone call from the Florida office of Air France. The representative apologized for the treatment we received and said that our claim would be honored. On June 25 we received a check from the airline for $486, based on our claim for our taxis and bus expenses. Since the amount that we received covered our actual costs, I was pleased.

“I think we learned three lessons: 1) whenever an airline employee makes a promise to you about future reimbursement, write down his or her name and position, the time, what was said, etc.; 2) when you’re promised that your luggage will be put on a later flight, make sure when you check in that the airline is, indeed, aware of your luggage and that it is in fact going to be on your plane, and 3) if at all possible, plug in an extra day at the city where your tour is to begin so that if you miss a connecting flight, you won’t miss the beginning of your tour. If we had done that, we wouldn’t have missed Abu Simbel!”

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Eight of us flew Delta/Air France from San Jose, California, to Cairo, Egypt, via Paris, France, on Feb. 27, 2010. When we arrived at Paris’ CDG Airport for our connecting flight to Cairo (on Air France 508 or Delta 8622) at 1:35 p.m., we found out that it was delayed due to weather. It was finally canceled at 9:40 p.m.

Air France gave us hotel vouchers as well as boarding passes for the next day’s flight and told us they would keep our luggage and put it on the flight. We were told that we would have to pay for a taxi to the hotel because it was so late at night but that if we kept our receipts and filled out the form provided, eventually we would be reimbursed. We also were told we would have a complimentary return to the airport the next day if we phoned.

We assumed that the hotel would be near the airport, but the one chosen for us was over an hour away by taxi. The eight of us fit into two taxis, but the cost was high: €84 and €100. The next day the hotel informed us that there was no complimentary return, so four of us went back to the airport by bus (€17 each) and the other four took a taxi (€90 total).

We flew to Cairo only to find that all of our luggage was still back in Paris. We had to contend with long lines to fill out lost-luggage claims.

At 5 a.m. we took a flight to Abu Simbel, where we had no time to sightsee before barely catching our ship for the four-day cruise on Lake Nasser.

It was eight days before we got our luggage. Even though the Air France representative in Cairo said we could spend up to €100 each for replacement clothes, etc., we never did partly because we had no time in the airports. We could have bought some items from the ship, but most chose not to since we had extra underwear in our carry-ons.

After returning home, all eight of us put in our claims to Air France expecting, at least, repayment for our transportation charges at Paris. We got a letter back from a customer relations representative stating that when a flight cancellation is due to weather, the airline offers airport restaurant vouchers — but that we were lucky to have been given a hotel voucher and the airline didn’t owe us anything for our transportation costs.

I hadn’t taken out trip insurance.

It wasn’t Air France’s fault for the cancellation of our original flight, but we feet that they should honor their representative’s promises. And if it is their policy to not reimburse passengers for extra transportation costs, they should have been up front about it and told us that.

THEODORE (TED) SWIFT

Santa Clara, CA

ITN wrote to Air France (125 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019) regarding Mr. Swift and received a call on June 10 from Karen Giro, who told ITN that there must have been a miscommunication and that Air France would be reimbursing Mr. Swift’s party for their airport/hotel transfers.

In a follow-up to ITN, Mr. Swift wrote, “We received a phone call from the Florida office of Air France. The representative apologized for the treatment we received and said that our claim would be honored. On June 25 we received a check from the airline for $486, based on our claim for our taxis and bus expenses. Since the amount that we received covered our actual costs, I was pleased.

“I think we learned three lessons: 1) whenever an airline employee makes a promise to you about future reimbursement, write down his or her name and position, the time, what was said, etc.; 2) when you’re promised that your luggage will be put on a later flight, make sure when you check in that the airline is, indeed, aware of your luggage and that it is in fact going to be on your plane, and 3) if at all possible, plug in an extra day at the city where your tour is to begin so that if you miss a connecting flight, you won’t miss the beginning of your tour. If we had done that, we wouldn’t have missed Abu Simbel!”