I am scheduled to travel to Belgium to visit my father who was diagnosed with two aneurisms and is facing a fairly complex and dangerous operation later this month. When he had an aneurism 17 years ago it burst and not only did he almost lose his live – he lost his business.
So I made reservations on Air France to go visit, and when I called my parents today with my itinerary I realized that I had made a mistake. I wanted to come back on the 27th and for some reason when I ordered through airfrance.com they booked me a train from Brussels to Parin on the 27th and a flight on the 28th. Now I order stuff online all the time, and if there is an overnight situation I expect the site to alert me to this. I called Air France, hoping that they would rectify the situation, as I do not want to spend a night around the Paris Airport and also need to be back in the US on the 27th. When I heard that they had plenty of room on the 27th, I thought it would be a no-brainer for them to change my reservation – and was even prepared to pay a fine for what surely was their screwed up user interface. But no, they could not change it – I begged, played nice, tried the empathy card – but the answer was no way, non, merde…you lose your ticket and buy a new one (which I did – but on Air Lingus – hoping the Irish are somewhat better).
Now my family has been using Air France ever since the Belgian Airline went out of business 6 or so years ago.
In these bad economic times, you would expect companies whose service are going to be the first to be cut from personal and business budgets to do everything they can to hold on to their customers – especially if it does not cost them a dime to accommodate the change request which would satisfy the customer, and perhaps make up for their deficient product offering.
I am flabbergasted – but should I? You could blame customer service arrogance, something that the French have been accused of, but in the end it has become an industry-wide behavioral attitude.
How do we customers give them the middle finger?