James Asquith, 32, holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest male to visit all 196 UN-recognized countries. Now he claims Air France is deliberately selling “fake” first class tickets then downgrading passengers who purchased them to business class.
Air France Fake First Class Tickets? One Traveler Makes His Case.
I missed it, but apparently Air France recently offered a “sale” on first class transatlantic tickets recently between New York and Paris, selling them at about $2,200. While that is a steal for La Première, it hardly a cheap ticket or a so-called “mistake” fare.
In fact, $2,200 seems like a reasonable price to stimulate demand right now considering the La Première lounges are closed in New York and Paris. Several days after ticketing, he received the following letter and was promptly downgrade to business class:
When Asquith was downgraded, he did not just accept it. Instead, he wrote back.
If you have a few moments, read his hilarious letter to AF. He’s quite the wordsmith.
Dear Ms Rigail,
I feel the need to write an open letter to Air France after your airline basically ran away and hid from tickets you sold to many passengers – very akin to Napolean in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Just to introduce myself, my name is James, and I’m just a guy that flies quite a bit. I travel with a mini stuffed koala bear called Tony (he’s kind of a big deal) and he’s into the finer things in life, unlike myself who is a bit of a peasant really.
So, when I suggested to Tony that we fly on Air France First Class (La Premiere as you so eloquently put it dans Francaise), he initially said he would rather sit on a baguette than fly Air France. Don’t worry, I disciplined him for this, but he then said, and I quote: ‘I would rather dunk my fluffy face in a tub of Camembert than fly Air France.’
I digress. A while later, after convincing Tony that Air France first class has a curtain divider akin to an IKEA shower curtain, and a few mid to average fine wines onboard, he came round to the idea, although he still don’ts understand why they are called French Fires, but that’s beside the point.
Interlude: What do French ducks say? Quoi quoi.
Regardless we passed over our hard earned $2,200 to book an Air France ticket, which considering the current awful situation for aviation, one would expect that is great revenue for Air France, potentially keeping more staff employed.
Now, again, I’m a peasant and have flown perhaps over 1,000 economy flights in my lifetime, on all sorts of airlines. I know luxury items are quite the ‘thing’ in France, but to be honest, I’m very un-materialistic and simply occassionally like to fly in a nice seat.
Therefore, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but your business class cabin sucks. It’s truly abysmal. I would indeed rather flush my head down a toilet than fly Air France business class (and you don’t even want to know what Tony said). You can therefore imagine my dismay when you send an email downgrading all the tickets because of your ‘mistake fare.’ This is not the first time you have done this to me during covid.
I’m quite positive that selling false first class fares and downgrading them to a difference class is illegal, and not only have you done it to me several times, but many other people too. I really don’t care too much about myself or flying Air France, but employees need support from people, why are you trying your hardest to antagonise paying customers. How many people have you done this to?
Furthermore, under EC261, you are entitled to pay all these downgraded passengers compensation, not just tell them you have downgraded them and expect them to feel grateful, so please, for goodness sake, stop ripping off people supporting your airline in tough times.
Now, I have a solution regarding my ticket. I was once quoted in the media as saying: ‘I would rather get waterboarded (again) than fly on Air France’ – yet here we are again.
Being a bit of a sadist, here’s my proposal to you: downgrade me yet AGAIN, into economy, and donate 10,000 baguettes (or the equivalent, which at €0.90 a baguette on average I calculate to be €9,000, to the humanitarian food crisis in Yemen). This way it will be part me and part you contributing to a good cause. This is Air France’s chance to shine, just how Napolean couldn’t.
The cursing from Tony as I write this is ridiculous, the thought of Air France economy is palpably nauseating to him, but I’m happy to do it for a good cause.
I will even wear a French beret and striped shirt, whilst walking around with a little French flag to plug the world’s 80th best airline, whilst singing Joe Le Taxi and randomly belting out Vive La France.
Let’s turn another miserable situation into something good. May your Christmas be filled with Gian servings of escargot and all the Brie your hearts could desire.
Certainly I’ve had my own experiences (several over the years) with “fake” first class Air France tickets. The French carrier is highly restrictive with its premium cabin and has gone to great lengths to preserve to “protect the integrity” of its premium product.
And while I do not concede that a $600 one-way ticket from Northern Africa to North America is so outlandish during good times, I certainly cannot understand why Air France suddenly deemed a $2,200 ticket a “mistake” when transatlantic travel is dead.
So fight the good fight James. Let us know if you have any luck. Qui vivra verra…
image: Air France