Question about AF/Flying Blue compensation for 22 hour delay

Discussion in 'Flying Blue | Air France, KLM/Partners' started by bythebay12, Oct 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. bythebay12

    bythebay12 New Member

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    Back in July, my mother purchased a roundtrip SFO-CDG ticket for more than $1,600. Her flight took off from SFO without incident but roughly 5 hours into the flight the captain announced that he had discovered a crack in the cockpit window and was diverting the flight to Montreal, Canada. After a fairly harrowing and rapid descent to 10,000 feet, the plane landed at Montreal (YUL) in the early hours of the morning.

    Despite reassurances from the captain and crew that AF ground would meet passengers as they deplaned, there wasn't a soul to help the 300+ passengers once they were on the ground. So, no food vouchers, no accommodations readily available and absolutely no communication about how to get to Paris. My mom eventually called the Delta 800-number from a payphone and was able to get a confirmed seat on an AF flight leaving late that night. So, she had a 16 hour layover in YUL and arrived in Paris almost 24 hours late.

    She wrote to Air France about a month ago and received the email below last night:
    "We recognize the challenges our passengers may encounter during air
    travel. I apologize for the difficulties you experienced at Montreal.
    We would appreciate future opportunities to reinforce our dedication to
    excellent service and as a gesture of apology, I have added 20,000 bonus
    miles to your Flying Blue account. Please allow three business days for
    the miles to appear."
    I don't know how much Flying Blue miles are worth, but this doesn't sound like a very good deal considering that 1) the 20,000 mi compensation is considerably less than the 50,000 mi needed for a roundtrip award ticket in economy during peak seasons and 2) she would have to spend an additional $400-$500 in taxes to redeem award travel to CDG on Flying Blue.

    I did a little homework and found out that her rights as passenger on an EU airline heading to an EU final destination entitle her to to 600 euros because she was delayed more than 4 hours. I also learned that mechanical difficulties do not qualify as one of the "extraordinary circumstances" that would exempt the airline from the doling out.

    I need advice. Should she to try to claim the 600 euros as well at this point? Have other folks written to the EU Civil Aviation Authority and gotten their funds? If her claim is successful, can AF rescind the 20,000 mi in compensation?

    Or should she recontact AF and request more miles or even a travel voucher?

    Btw, she doesn't have elite status on AF or any other airline.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. Ninmurai

    Ninmurai Active Member

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    well 20,000 miles is probably worth less than a third of €600. I would send a polite but assertive letter stating your EU rights, and if they don't comply you will escalate further legal action.
  3. CescoAiel

    CescoAiel Silver Member

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    If she doesn't protest, she automatically loses any right to that EUR 600... So she should definitely let them know she appreciated the gesture, but does not relinquish her rights to monetary damages as set under EU aviation law. Please note there has been a fairly recent EU court decision on this exact issue, confirming the airlines' obligations in this regard...

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