Air France – GREAT customer service (and not ironic!)Back to Forum
I can scarcely believe I am typing this but here goes.
I have been back-and-forth to Rio a number of times with a new business venture, the last-but-one time with BA 1st via GRU. I just came back yesterday from a round trip on the way out with AF / KLM on the way back. I went via GRU on the way out because AF’s Rio plane is an antique with 2-3-2 config, their Sao Paulo one being 1-2-1. Anyway, two trips in the past 4 weeks I have decided it isn’t worth the extra hassle of GRU as I also have to connect from EDI, so my route is EDI-CDG-GRU-SDU. Yes, a pain indeed. I managed to get a phenomenal fare via AF going to Fortaleza (£1860) and this included GOL to / from Rio. All was well and I was looking forward to flying on the 787 to Foraleza next month when I got an email explaining AF had changed my connection from Paris on the way home. I was to be in CDG for 14 hours, I of course called today to complain, and this is where the story has taken a most unexpected turn.
I called their 0207 number and within less than 2 minutes was speaking to a human. I promise I’ve not made this up, I explained I would be cancelling my flights as the connection didn’t work and would I get a full refund – she said yes. I then asked what the options were to change, she put me there/back on KLM for no charge. None. Oh, I also wanted to change my dates to extend my stay, she did that too! For FREE.
Having just returned from a meeting, turns out I need to change the date again, looked online at it was a £642.00 change, I called and explained I’d made a mistake with my original change because I am still jet-lagged (which is true!) and she changed it again – for FREE! And as a huge Brucie Bonus, I’m on the new 787-900 and not the clapped out 777 I am used to with KLM.
I am in a complete state of shock – calls answered in under 40 minutes, a helpful and understanding agent on the other end of the phone who spoke perfect English (Scottish!) and two changes to a more convenient (and more expensive) flight for nothing. Zip. Nada. ??
My 2020 is off to a fabulous start, hope yours is too!
AOTG.3 Jan 2020
AFKLM have really stepped up their game, especially in terms of customer and ground service. I used to fly a lot of TK, with their elaborate lounges, on board chefs and fancy catering. But when the tiniest inconvenience happened (e.g. lost luggage, cancelled flight, not enough catering happened, etc.), they failed to impress. AFKLM may not be the most eloquent airline in terms of their hard product, but they excell in terms of dealing with disruptions.4 Jan 2020
AFKLM have really stepped up their game, especially in terms of customer and ground service. I used to fly a lot of TK, with their elaborate lounges, on board chefs and fancy catering. But when the tiniest inconvenience happened (e.g. lost luggage, cancelled flight, not enough catering happened, etc.), they failed to impress. AFKLM may not be the most eloquent airline in terms of their hard product, but they excell in terms of dealing with disruptions.
One of the things I love about KLM is their staff/crew. I don’t know if they have all undergone recent and more thorough training, but they are so friendly and customer focused! Coming back on this trip the crew would all have been in their 50’s (I’m being kind!) and all of them could not have been nicer or more friendly.
Also, has anyone been to Schiphol recently? What a transformation, it is incredible and Lounge 52 is absolutely fantastic! Interesting (to me) that an airline which does not offer 1st class is able to invest more in their business class product all the while improving their services and offering ridiculously competitive fares. To be fair to AF, I’ve had no real issues flying with them either and this interaction with them has opened my eyes to sticking with them when flying this route. I’ll be out that way at least another 3 times this year and am now considering AF in 1st for my East travels, maybe it was a one-off (well, actually a two off if I include them changing the 2nd time but I am really very impressed with their response.
AOTG.4 Jan 2020
If AF have upped their game, and are as good on the ground as in the air, then I’m glad to hear that. I haven’t flown them for at least 15 years and don’t really intend to, but the last flights I did with them were CDG-BKK-CDG in J and most ejoyable. Their weak point was always ground service and their truly horrible hub at CDG. I understand that has improved.
I agree about KLM and AMS – it is possibly the second best major airport in Europe after ZRH and VIE. I always enjoy flying KLM but then I am hugely prejudiced as I love the Dutch and the way they do things. I always take take advantage of an AMS stopover to see friends there, or just to go and visit one of the lovely towns which are so easily reached by train from Schiphol4 Jan 2020
I have no reason to fly Air France, but like others, it is nice to read how different airlines problem solve customer relations issue. Perhaps a suitable Friday afternoon thread could be to design the perfect airline. Clearly this Air France review will win hands down, especially speaking to a human within 2 minutes of call. In addition, a human version that has helpful pre programmed..4 Jan 2020
This is now turning into something rather peculiar! I had to call them today for a third time, when they sent me the 2nd changed flights they’d made an error in my AMS-EDI connection and had me on a later flight. I called them and a full hat-trick.
1) Call answered in under a minute (it has a press 1 for flights, then 2 for existing and then a human – on a Saturday morning)
2) Explained I’d changed but they’d put me on a later flight
3) Chap on the other end confirms I want the 15:50 connect and not the 21:35, I reply yes
4) Chap profusely apologises for the inconvenience and will reissue the correct flight within 24 hours
5) Chap thanks me for being a silver member, apologises again and the whole thing is completed in under 4 minutes.
PS As an aside, all call handlers were clearly not native English speakers and I was not asked once in 3 calls to repeat anything I had asked for.
1 user thanked author for this post.4 Jan 2020
My recent experiences with KL and AF have all been good as well – the outcome is I have a Flying Blue Platinum card, and am getting quite slick and getting through Schiphol and CDG fast. CDG is vastly improved from five or ten years ago. I can vouch for the speed and efficiency of the helpline.5 Jan 2020
I’m now in Amsterdam on the very flights mentioned in this post and thought I’d let you know about another service win for AF/KLM.
On the EDI – AMS route it was taking a while for the crew to come to my seat, when the purser eventually came she explained the caterers had not loaded enough breakfasts, I said ok and had a coffee & croissant. (Which was all I was wanting anyway) 10 minutes later she came and asked if I’d like €50 off my next flight or 7000 miles. I simply input my email addy and that was that.
I’m currently in Lounge 52 with coffee, bacon & eggs awaiting my Dreamliner calling to Rio, another good result for me as a customer.
Not been on KLM 1-2-1 yet, I’ll try and do a review on board.
AOTG.19 Feb 2020
I have had an email from AF (no idea why as I haven’t flown with them for many years) stating that they are waiving change fees on all bookings made before 31MAR on travel up to 31MAY, allowing change of destination and class. Fare differences will apply.7 Mar 2020