Air France cancellations

Hi - I'm in Buenos Aires where Air France have twice cancelled my return flight to the UK and automatically booked me on another - the third attempt is on a flight tomorrow  night. However, I am not able to check in for this, and suspect it may be because there are no guaranteed seats for that at present.

I've contacted customer service by phone, and separately by WhatsApp following the check in issues this evening - both have been spectacularly unhelpful, refusing to give any reason either for the flight cancellations or my current inability to check in for tomorrow (which I've had both email and app prompts to do). They don't seem to have anyone in Buenos Aires whom I can go and physically meet tomorrow morning, beyond turning up at check in desks to check in 4 hours before the flight itself.

I'm concerned that I may not get on the plane tomorrow. If I do, I will have little choice over seat for what is a 13 hour flight, which is then followed by a 7 hour wait in Paris for a sub-1 hour flight to Manchester - the last one of the day which arrives too late for me to get home from Manchester via public transport. And will be 27 hours later than the arrival time on my original booking.

What are my options? Can I cancel the Air France flight, go home with someone else,  and charge Air France for that?

I did book the flight tickets directly with Air France.

Thanks for any advice.

Comments

  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,888
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    Do you know WHY the flights have been cancelled?

    Using Manage My Booking on the AF website, does your flight status show as confirmed for tonight’s service to Paris?

    It sounds like you have accepted the rebooking on tonight’s flight so I would say that ‘No’ you can’t book with another carrier now just on the basis of not being able to check-in online or pre selecting a seat.  Or at least not and expect AF to pay.

    If however you cannot be accommodated by AF on tonight’s flight then ask them for a re routing option on other carriers.  You could research and prepare for this now - check other airline options, check your ESTA is up to date so a routing via the USA could be made.

    Good luck.  Please update the thread to let us know if you got on tonight.
  • Westin
    Westin Posts: 5,888
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  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,220
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    As you are 3 hours behind us I presume by tomorrow you mean today (25th) and although most flights seem to be back to normal it looks like your AF flight is cancelled again.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/af411
  • Pendrive
    Pendrive Posts: 69
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    Westin said:
    Do you know WHY the flights have been cancelled?

    Using Manage My Booking on the AF website, does your flight status show as confirmed for tonight’s service to Paris?

    It sounds like you have accepted the rebooking on tonight’s flight so I would say that ‘No’ you can’t book with another carrier now just on the basis of not being able to check-in online or pre selecting a seat.  Or at least not and expect AF to pay.

    If however you cannot be accommodated by AF on tonight’s flight then ask them for a re routing option on other carriers.  You could research and prepare for this now - check other airline options, check your ESTA is up to date so a routing via the USA could be made.

    Good luck.  Please update the thread to let us know if you got on tonight.
    Hi - thanks for the response. I'm guessing flights have been cancelled due to the 'national strike' someone else mentioned, though it had so little impact that I walked quite a bit through parts of the city and everything seemed entirely normal - lots of people out and everything open; up until I got back to hotel around 8pm. But according to news sources there was indeed a demonstration of some kind which may have affected airport workers.

    AF have told me nothing - quite why they wouldn't have mentioned a 'national strike' I'm not sure. I did walk across to their office on this side of the city, only to find it closed during Covid and didn't reopen, but no one has ever bothered to update the website which still lists it as an open office here. So I rang customer service, where option 1 said he didn't  know what was going on with the flights, couldn't do anything and I should ring again and choose option 4. Option 4 then said he didn't know anything about what was going on with the flights, couldn't do anything and I should choose option 1. Neither of them knew anyone else I could contact.

    So I didn't 'accept' the flights - which had by this time been rescheduled for a third time. I just couldn't find anyone at Air France to have any kind of conversation with.

    When I had prompts from the app and by email last night to check in, and couldn't and was told to contact customer service, WhatsApp was the only place I got a response from. I asked explicitly a few times why the flights had been cancelled and they refused to give an answer. They couldn't tell me anything else, including why I couldn't check in online as prompted, and said I could only go to the airport to speak to someone face to face once the check in desks opened before the flight. Not, for instance, this morning to have a conversation with anyone. Presumably all of this lack of customer service in realityis to prevent people from looking into any other options, or provide any kind of possible ammunition for future claims. Along the way they strand a passenger and provide zero support.

    I'm about to go to the airport anyway, and hopefully be there as soon as the check in opens. I will certainly be asking about a re-route if there is no plane back for me this evening.
  • Pendrive
    Pendrive Posts: 69
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    Westin said:
    Yes - that seems to have been the case, although it appeared to have little impact on the areas of the city I was walking around yesterday. The local news reports 40000 people taking part, which doesn't really sound a lot. But if airport workers were thought to be involved I guess airlines can't send flights. Odd that 3 different 'customer service' people can't give a reason for the flight cancellations, though, if that's what it was.
  • Pendrive
    Pendrive Posts: 69
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    As you are 3 hours behind us I presume by tomorrow you mean today (25th) and although most flights seem to be back to normal it looks like your AF flight is cancelled again.

    https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/af411
    The flight is 20:05, and I would guess is replacing the one at 22:45 which is the regular flight time from here.
  • Pendrive
    Pendrive Posts: 69
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    Well I have checked in for this flight. Air France customer service at the airport now tell me the reasons for the two cancellations were weather and the 'national strike' here. In consequence they have no obligation whatsoever to provide even as much as a cup of coffee along the way (apparently including the 7 hour wait in Paris for the short Manchester flight, which should finally get me home 27 hours late), and the airline will not be paying for last night's hotel. 

    This is Buenos Aires staff, but when I get to Paris what should I be requesting from Air France staff there in relation to support? Or are they really, in a context of two cancellations and a delayed destination arrival time, devoid of any responsibility for any support of any kind?
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,932
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    The EC261/2004 regulations, under which Air France operates, don't oblige it to pay compensation in the event of flight cancellations or significant delays if caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, so perhaps that's what they're thinking of.

    However, regardless of cause, they are required to provide or reimburse accommodation and meals during such events, so are very much on the hook for the extra night's hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires, and meals during the period between originally scheduled and actual departure times.
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