Monday, August 17, 2009

Air France stinks, sucks AND blows!

Last year around this time, I lost a lot of money and had a vacation ruined. The Air France gate agent out of Philadelphia neglected to check my partner's travel documents properly -- so we were turned away in Paris instead of connecting to our flight to Spain. Our vacation may have still been ruined had the gate agent done her job, but I wouldn't have lost nearly as much money.

(It seems Air France has a history of failing to properly screen passengers. This article tells how they let someone board their plane even though his passport was expired and he was listed on the "no fly" list.)

After trying to deal with Air France and being treated like dirt and (unsuccessfully) attempting amateur legal action in small claims court, I learned a few things. Air France's culpability was never the issue. They freely admitted their agent's error. What was very surprising is that Air France is protected from any consumer liability from certain types of negligence by their status as a "common carrier." The rules which say for what they are accountable and for what the consumer is out of luck are spelled out here:
Oh wait, that is the invalid link they sent me in my flight confirmation email. Instead, to find their terms, you have to go to:
Click on "Legal Notices" at the bottom of the page, then click on "General Conditions of Carriage" in the side bar. Page four has the limitations on liability. Most people find out about these limits on liability too late -- after they have had luggage lost or damaged by the airline.

So, yes, I'm bitter. And in the spirit of seeking out other like-minded bitter folks, I tried going to since domain names like that are a common pattern for complaint sites. I was surprised to find that is parked at a domain name registrar in France. I dug a little deeper and found that Air France had fought for and won the domain name from an individual who used it to point to a consumer complaint site where individuals criticized Air France. Nothing like dealing with customer service issues with censorship.

I thought it was hilarious that Air France was the owner of the domain. I tried another combination of unpleasant words and immediately found that was another domain owned by Air France. I went through the full listing of their registered domains and also found that Air France is also worried about their aroma. Yes, they also own