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Passenger Assistance with Air France

S S
Barrie, Canada
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2 posts
4 reviews
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Passenger Assistance with Air France

We now call them Air Chance!

My husband had requested passenger assistance on a flight from Toronto to Marseille via Paris.

In Paris, because of the large number needing assistance, I could not accompany my husband but was told he would meet me at our gate.

We had 2 hours between flights - all booked with AF.

My husband was left for 4 hours in the holding area - no lunch, nothing to drink!

When he didn't get to the gate, I was told he was booked on the next flight and that I should go ahead.(I was already boarded when told this!)

Bottom line - he was 7 hours late arriving at our river cruise ship!

Also they had taken my luggage and not his off the flight!!!!!

Will never fly AF again - disorganized and terrible customer service!

Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
94 reviews
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1. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

I don't quite understand this story. What assistance did he need? A wheelchair?

Belfast, United...
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8,143 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Hi

Although you couldn't go with your husband to the gate surely you could have stayed with him in departures until your gate was called and then at least told whoever was in charge your husband needed to get to the gate, remembering that Air France are not running the assistance service but airport employees.

If your husband had a problem with communicating with the staff then you most definitely should not have left his side until you knew he was safely on his way to the plane.

Then the other matter regarding luggage, always and I repeat always mix your packing. Then if one case is delayed for any reason you both can get by with the one that isn't. I'm not sure how you expected the baggage handlers should know which case contained your undies and which his shreddies, but that's life. There was a 50/50 chance and you lucked out.

Jackie

UK
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6,750 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Jackie, the OP clearly stated that she was not allowed to accompany her husband - so the option of not leaving her husband's side simply did not exist.

He was taken through the priority Immigration/Security line while she had to wait in the normal queue (and the queues for non-Schengen to Schengen transfers tend to be enormous at CDG). I presume that by the time she had gone through Immigration and re-cleared security her husband was nowhere to be found.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
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30,665 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

That doesn't sound good. When my father was alive and needed assistance my mother was always allowed to accompany him during transit, so it seems mighty strange that an airline/airport wouldn't allow that. And the fact that they were involuntarily separated, and that concierge didn't take Mr SS to his flight is pretty poor.

S S, your husband should file a claim for compensation under EU261. It looks as though due to either Air France or their contractors he was involuntarily denied boarding for his flight.

Jackie's point about spreading your clothes across both bags is valid, as then if one bag goes missing you'd both have something to wear rather than one person having nothing.

Belfast, United...
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8,143 posts
17 reviews
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5. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Hi

I spent some time in a wheelchair a few years ago and fairly often we would be told at various airports that my husband could not accompany me to the gate. Usually it was because Special Assistance was fully booked and the beep beep truck was full. Never were we separated before security. I have even been at Stansted when there was a package tour going to Lourdes, you have never seen so many wheelchairs.

You stay together going through security, it is your partner who puts your bags on the conveyor, helps taking shoes off and putting them back on, and in my case taking off the brace and refitting it. That is what your companion does.

After security it is a different matter, it is the transport between the assistance area and the gate where you can, and often will, be separated. So after having lots of assistance in many airports I know when the separation happens.

My point is that although she couldn't accompany her husband to the gate using whatever transport the special assistance team were using she could, and should have stayed with him to that point.

If the man was left for four hours without food or drink then obviously there must be a problem with his ability to communicate and in that case she should have stayed by his side until he was collected to be taken to the plane.

Jackie

UK
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6,750 posts
25 reviews
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6. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Jackie, this was a non-Schengen to Schengen transfer, not a depature. The first step will have been Immigration, and I suspect that that's where the passengers were separated - one was wheeled to the front of the queue, the other one was told to join the back of the queue.

S S
Barrie, Canada
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2 posts
4 reviews
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7. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Yes he was in a wheelchair.

UK
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6,750 posts
25 reviews
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8. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

Thousands of people fly with Air France every day, including many with a disability, and I've not heard horror stories like this one before... so my guess is that this was probably a one-off incident. I would also guess that if you were to write to AF senior management they would be horrified to hear of your ideal.

Something went wrong on that day, and you are owed an investigation and an apology... as well as compensation for your husband's missed flight (see reference to EU261/2004 in post 4 above)

AF isn't a bad airline, and I wouldn't discount them for future travel based on one bad experience... but should definitely complain, and get the matter fully investigated. Someone screwed up, very badly.

Edited: 04 August 2014, 07:56
9. Re: Passenger Assistance with Air France

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