Feb 01

Air France Surprise and Delight Me Via Twitter

by in travel

I fly with Air France and other airlines that are part of the SkyTeam alliance. I like Air France, but sometimes they screwup. And when they do and you're on the receiving end of the screwup it can be really really frustrating.

However they have been really doing a fantastic job with handling customer service issues via Twitter.

A few weeks ago I realised that Air France had updated my flights for a trip I was taking, but they hadn't informed me. I found out when I was checking the seat assignments and possible upgrades etc., in advance of the trip. Several days later they emailed me to inform me of the change, but the email communication wasn't exactly clear. Long story short, I needed to get one of the flight changes they'd made updated, or I'd have been stuck sitting in an airport in the middle of the US for several hours when I really didn't need to be - there was an earlier connection that I could get ..

I tried to sort this out via their phone service, and they were very obliging. However I wasn't happy about how they'd handled the communications. From my perspective I thought the airline should tell me about a flight change, not the other way around ..

Their social media team reached out to me and we had an exchange via Twitter which they followed up via a phone call. And I was delighted when they offered me a carrot to appease me.

So far so good.

Now for a number of reasons I end up being invited to various events. Unfortunately when I try to get organised early this seems to work against me and I sometimes have to rebook my trips.
This week I ended up rebooking an entire trip which meant that I needed to cancel and ask for a refund for a flight I'd booked with Air France. The fare conditions did allow me to cancel the flight and get a refund, but I knew I was going to lose part of the fare. While I hate losing money I didn't really have an issue with the "penalty'". I was changing the flight due to problems on my end. It wasn't the airline's fault.

However when I tried to ring the airline to cancel the flight and request the refund I hit a brick wall. Their phone lines were constantly busy and I couldn't get through.

So I tweeted to Air France. I was expecting them to reply with a telephone number I could ring. But this is what happened instead:

Handy! So I DMed them the details they needed to find the reservation.

airfrance-customer-service-twitter

But then they followed up with me and I was blown away:

air-france-delighting-customer

Wow! This made my day. So not only did they manage to sort out my cancellation and refund without forcing me to deal with being put on hold etc,, on the phone, but they went the extra mile and waived the penalty.

They didn't need to do this. There was no obligation for them to do it and if I'd paid the penalty I wouldn't have been upset with them - sure I'd have been upset, but the cancellation was my problem, not theirs.

They not only provided excellent customer service by resolving my issues but went further than I was expecting and both surprised and delighted me.

And this explains, in part, why I try to fly Air France whenever I can. 

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2 Responses to “Air France Surprise and Delight Me Via Twitter”

  1. From Marcus:

    Can’t say I had the same experience with AF; they failed me twice on the direct DUS-CDG connection. On the first occasion they denied checkin as I showed up 38 minutes before boarding instead of 40 (hand luggage only), on the second they lost my luggage and needed 1.5 days to finally bring it to my hotel, although they have located it immediately they fly DUS at least three times per day

    Posted on February 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm #
  2. From Michele Neylon:

    @Marcus

    I’ve had plenty of issues with airlines over the last few years.
    However I think it’s important to highlight when companies provide excellent customer service as much as it is to criticise them when they don’t.

    With Air France, for example, I’ve had some “interesting” issues with bags in the past, with me having to spend several days in NYC without any clean clothes. Not much fun, but they didn’t argue with me when I sent them all the receipts for my purchases and reimbursed me fully.

    They’ve also made some potentially horrible situations a lot less painful.

    A couple of years ago I made the mistake of booking a trip to Montenegro via a 3rd party. The connections were, as I discovered, far too short, so I missed my connection in Paris. I presented myself at the Air France desk and they very calmly went through all the options with me, put me up in a hotel nearby overnight, gave me ample vouchers to get a decent meal and then upgraded me to business on the flight to Belgrade the following morning.

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on February 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

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