Dear Air France, we bid thee a solemn goodbye after 11 years because we have principles which differ vastly from yours. We believe in loyalty, responsibility, trust and righteousness. You believe in otherwise so we have to part our ways.
Our Singapore to Paris customer service experience on Air France was nothing short of terrible.
We have been an Air France customer since 2004, flying to Paris once or twice a year. To date, we had never experienced a flight delay with Air France before until this incident.
On 30 Jan 2015, the daily Air France flight from Singapore to Paris was due to take-off at 1.05am and was delayed due to the fact that Air France had not got clearance from air traffic control to fly over Afghanistan or Algeria.
Because of that, all passengers who were on board the flight had to wait in their seats at Singapore Changi Airport for over an hour before the plane could take-off.
Our flight AF259 was due to arrive in Paris Charles De Gaulle airport at 8.05am on the 30 Jan 2015. However, the flight arrived in Paris at 9.30am. As a result of Air France's flight delay and with the luggage only being released at 9.45am, by the time we rushed to the connecting terminal, the plane had already departed.
Because of our previous flight delay by Air France, we had missed not one but two connecting flights for Edinburgh via London at 10.40am.
We had to purchase a new set of tickets immediately in order to reach our destination.
The Pushing and Shoving Away of Responsibilities
In Singapore, we have a term for this sort of illness and it's called Taichi. Essentially what all Air France staff are practising is the art of tai-chiing away responsibilities from one department to another and from one person to another.
The inability to accept full responsibility and take pride in one's job is evidently spreading like a disease nowadays. How many times can you recall when you most need assistance and people just flash you a friendly fake smile, shrug their shoulders and say they can't do anything about it?
That was how we felt at the Air France customer service counter in Paris when a French staff just handed us a slip of paper with www.airfrance.com on it with "customer service" printed out in bold.
"Shouldn't Air France just fold their customer service office already?" was what we thought instantly. Why have an office if you can't deal with any service issues?
Upon arriving back in Singapore, we wrote in to the customer service just as we were told at the Air France office in Paris. Two weeks passed without response
from Air France so we called up the customer service hotline. They said they had no answers to our complaint.
Dissatisfied with yesterday's answer, we called them up again and were shocked to be told that no one had been assigned to handle our case ever since we lodged our complaint two weeks ago. After a lengthy call with plenty of questions thrown in to hopefully speed up the case, we were prepared to wait a couple of days or so for the answer.
The next day, Air France e-mailed us and said that they are unable to accept any liability for any loss due to the "unexpected nature" of this incident.
There should be nothing "unexpected" about a daily routine required for a daily flight from Singapore to Paris. This daily routine failed to be carried out due to the simple fact of human negligence.
Air France has one of the shoddiest customer service (The customer service department is only opened weekdays from 9.30am to 11am and 1pm to 2.30pm. They work shorter hours than some embassies.) and prefers to avoid all blame than admit that they made a mistake, fess up and reimburse their clients for any loss incurred due to the irresponsibility of Air France staff and/or management. Sadly, we can conclude from this incident that this airline does not value loyalty or keeping customers.
Therefore, we are unable to fly with such an airline. Neither would Paris be the anchor destination for any of our future vacation/ plans.