My Air France flight from Los Angeles to Paris was cancelled and we lost our day in Paris, but at least we will get €2400 out of it thanks to EU261/2004.
Air France Flight Cancelled
That flight diversion I wrote about earlier today ended up impacting my family. We showed up at the airport about 2.5 hours ahead of our Air France flight to Paris and noticed the check-in area was empty. Odd.
The agent checked us in, tagged our bags, and then handed me our four boarding passes. I looked at them to see if we got PreCheck and then noticed that instead of being on AF69, we were on AF4083 and instead of departing at 6:25 pm on January 4th, we were departing at 2:55 pm on January 5th.
I asked the agent about it and she said, “Oh, tonight’s flight cancelled. Didn’t you know?”
No, actually we didn’t…despite signing up for text message and email alerts, no one let us know our flight had been cancelled. I received a call from Zurich earlier that day, which I did not answer, but no message was left.
When I had checked in for the flight the evening before, there was no indication of the cancellation. Of course, I neglected to check the flight status before we left for the airport and we now found ourselves at LAX ready to fly…without a flight.
The station manager came over and explained the plane that had been needed for our flight had taken off from Paris, but then turned around. Upon looking, I found the flight had experienced an engine shutdown earlier in the day due a loss of oil pressure.
Air France runs three flights per day from LAX and there was a 9:55pm flight departing in a few hours. I asked about it and he said it was full. This wasn’t my first time at the rodeo and I knew we could probably get on it on a standby basis, but I did not push it because 1.) the flight would certainly be close to full and 2.) therefore, we might find ourselves separated on the plane. I was not about to fly to Paris in a middle seat.
He said there were no other options (again, I could have pushed to be put on SWISS or Lufthansa), but I decided to accept the overnight delay because it meant we would arrive into Paris more than six hours late and therefore be eligible for €600 each under EU261/2004, which governs airline delays and cancellations in the European Union.
At this point, we could have gone home (about an hour away with traffic at that hour), but we were all packed, the house was clean, and therefore we took hotel and meal vouchers instead and decided to have a family staycation near LAX. I requested the Hyatt Regency, but was told Air France partnered with the Sheraton Gateway.
Hotel and meal vouchers were prepared in an old-school style on paper then handed to us.
Our bags had already been sent away so we had to wait a bit for them to be brought back, but were soon our way to the Sheraton for the night.
With the revised departure time the following afternoon, we would now arrive into Paris with a four-hour layover ahead of our train trip to Basel. I suppose I could have asked for a re-route to Basel or Zurich, but did not want to jeopardize our EU261/2004 credit. Sadly, that meant no stay at the Hyatt Madeleine and no visit to the Eiffel Tower for Augustine. No matter…we will return.
Our trip to Europe is off to a flying start…or something like that. While the obligatory delay compensation makes the blow a little severe, I was reminded again to always check flight status before departing and that sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry…