It goes without saying that there are far more important issues going on today than my Air France ticket. Still, consider this a diversion.
As feared, Air France has re-issued my A380 and 777-300 tickets, knocking me out of first class and placing me into business class.
Historically, when Air France claims a “mistake” fare it just cancels tickets. Instead, I simply received re-issued electronic tickets from Air France with no further explanation. The flights had not changed, but the longhaul segment from Paris to the West Coast, originally booked in unrestricted first class (F), was changed to discounted business class (Z). The ticket was also re-issued from Delta stock (starting in 006) to Air France stock (starting in 057). Essentially, Air France “took control” of the ticket.
Hours later, I received the following note from Priceline, the website I booked these tickets on:
Dear Matthew Klint,
We have received notification from your airline that your reservation has been changed according to your request, or has been cancelled due to day-of-travel flight cancellation or traveler no-show.
Because these changes have been made directly with or by the airline, any questions regarding your itinerary should be directed to the airline; we will be unable to address any questions or requests regarding this reservation. Please call Delta Air Lines directly at 1-800-221-1212.
Please note that future changes, including schedule change notifications from the airline, will no longer be sent to us, which means that our website will not reflect your most up-to-date itinerary. Please call your carrier prior to each departure to confirm your flight information.
I haven’t reached out to Delta yet, but several passengers on Flyertalk reported that Delta agents claim the ticket changes were unilaterally issued by Air France and Delta now has no control over the ticket.
That’s just plainly false. Air France took over the Delta ticket and there is nothing technically or legally stopping Delta from taking over the ticket back.
Indeed, a pair of passengers reported that Delta had taken over the ticket…and rebooked them in first class.
Those are unconfirmed data points, but I have no reason to question their validity. We’re in the Wild West when it comes to so-called “mistake fares”. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that airlines do not have to honor them, leaving consumers to fend for themselves. That forces consumers to either accept pushback in more direct ways. Ultimately, resolution may come down to your negotiating power and will to fight.
With the economy imploding before our eyes, I’m not making threats or promises here. In fact, I really do not know at this point what I’ll do, beyond tear into Air France in a future post for its hypocrisy and duplicity.
We are seeing $16 fares to Miami and recently saw $500 r/t tickets in business class between Hawaii and Europe. I insist that customers cannot and should not be on the hook for figuring out what is a mistake fare and what is a sale. Furthermore, why should consumers only have 24 hours to refund tickets they booked in error but Air France can simply unilaterally modify tickets more than four days later? The fact that Air France is withholding refunds from so many customers around the world makes the irony all the more richer.
Longtime readers know I approach this issue with some degree of perspicaciousness. I’ve been on this rodeo so many times. My aggressiveness will be determined by my will to fight.