Airline prejudice against under 2's?(20 Posts)
I'd be grateful for comments from anyone with experience with this problem I had ; I was flying from Charles de Gaulle with my 5 year old and 18 month old last sunday. I was unable to check in online prior to the flight because of the baby being on my lap. When I got to the airport about 2 hours before take off I was told that I was on the waiting list as my flight had been oversold.
They said they couldn't do anything as I was one of the last to check in.
Although I understand airlines policy about overselling flights, although I dont agree with it, what I can't accept is that this happened to me purely because I was not allowed to check in online. The desk attendant said that if I had got there 3 hours earlier then I probably would have got on, but my point is that this is not necessarily the case because everybody else could have checked in online and that even if i had slept at the desk waiting for her to come I might not have a seat and had had no opportunity to have one.
I just find it hard to believe that this is Air France's policy, as it is completely unfair. I did not have the same opportunities as the rest of the passengers.
Even when I explained that I was travelling on my own with the two kids, and apart from the fact that that airport is a nightmare with a buggy, they said they couldnt do anything and that they couldnt even guarantee me to get on the next flight.
Before I write a letter to Air France about this to get some sort of an explanation, I was hoping that someone on here could even just let me know if this had ever happened to them and if it is just something that we have to accept?
I usually fly other airlines and this was my first time with a baby via Air France.
I did get on the flight by the way, at the very last minute - it was quite stressful to say the least.
I would contact customer services at the civil aviation authority and get their thoughts on this.
I don't see how they're being prejudiced. The baby being on your lap stopped you checking in? How? You had a pushchair to plonk them in to free up your hands
That's really strange. I fly with KLM a lot and they're the same organisation, with KLM you can check in online with an infant. I also think it's bad practice to waitlist someone flying with two kids, rather than ask for volunteers.
No, MN, she was not able to check in on-line because she was travelling with a non-paying infant on her lap ie she had to check-in at the desk in the airport.
I'd be very unhappy about this, teddycat, and have not come up against it. Not even with Ryanair and they are shite .
I don't know what regulations would relate to this situation, but I would most certainly send a disgruntled letter to Customer Services.
This does seem somewhat unfair I agree. If Air France wouldn't allow you to check in online because you were carrying an infant (despite EasyJet being quite happy for me to check in online with a baby) then try and bump you specifically because you hadn't checked in online, this does appear to be rather ridiculous. If they had offered an alternative like phone check in, that might be easier to understand.
I work in the travel industry and heartily recommend throwing the biggest strop possible in these circumstances. Don't shout or threaten, you need to wail, flounder, faint and cry. Attract as much attention as you can and you'll soon find yourself back on the flight. It's the wallflowers that get bumped. Sorry. Shouty people get extra bumped and threateners get bumped into the following week.
I would check to ensure that this was the case and then speak to their customer services.
that made me laugh MN, thanks - I can actually just picture her going "no no no" with me attempting to type in reference numbers.
Do you know I have never actually had a problem per se with Ryanair, they are what they are and they dont mess around.
I have to send a letter even if its to get it out of my head, it just makes my blood boil still. Will definitely contact the civil aviation authority see what their take on it is.
Am I reading this right? You paid, in advance, to book a seat on a flight; but you weren't actually guaranteed to GET that flight.
Wow. Do all airlines do this? I'd be spitting nails. If I pay for something, I expect it. What if Amazon said every 50th book order wouldn't be sent out? It would be unthinkable.
We were able to check in online with a 9 month old with ba so i would complain.
she agreed that I couldnt check in online but I had better check that I couldn't have phoned in to check in, hmm I didn't think of that at all.
i did cry at one point but obviously didn't have much effect, probably a cross between wall flower and potentially shouty, so no chance then.
yes gemma4d I think its quite normal for flights to be oversold and unlucky if you are actually put on the waiting list.
I have never not been able to check in online with any of the others either.
gemma, I think it is common practice for flights to be overbooked, the airlines counting on some passengers not turning up. I have been on flighte were they asked for volunteers to wait for the next flight, usually with some sweetener thrown in like use of the First Class lounge or something.
I cannot believe they would potentially leave a lone parent travelling with 2 small children behind though... just seems ludicrous.
I slag Ryanair off, but use them all the time and as you say, teddycat, they are what they are. Just amazing how depending how good individual cabin crew's people skills are, flying with them can be absolutely fine or The Absolute Pits . I have travelledwith them with 4 DSs under 8 on my own and am here to tell the tale .
I was intrigued enough to check on AF's policy and you're completely right, you can't check in! You could have possibly checked in your other child hence meaning they would be travelling unaccompanied if they were to be accepted (which isn't allowed) but they would have probably bumped all three of you.
A letter to AF would be well in order, asking what you could have done in the circumstances but for other travellers I'd suggest turning up extra early if travelling with kids on AF. Or just fly with EasyJet or Ryanair.
thanks queenofthepirates, I just looked again but couldn't find it - It was only went I went to check in online at the time that I realised so i'm glad that it is actually their policy.
In a way I wish I was missing something as at least that would explain it, I just can't bear things being unequal. Definitely wont be flying Air France again, you live and learn I suppose....
The CAA will tell you your rights, as they are the licensing authority (because that airline obviously fly in and out of this country). You will get an unbiased opinion and they may even take up the complaint on your behalf. If you have any rights, then you will get a better outcome if you go to them first.
Sorry I am very very sleep deprived and misunderstood entirely! In that case, you definately need to kick up a massive stink, that's not on at all.
Had exactly this happen to us with BA but this was about 8 years ago, they do allow online checkin with infants now. In fact brought it in a couple of months after I bombarded them with a series of complaints about the incident .
Their excuse was that it was a problem with possibility of assigning seats next to emergency exits to those with infants, as these seats require an able bodied adult to sit in them. I pointed out to them that other airlines at the time managed to deal with this, and that they were just being lazy about amending their online check-in software. They then went ahead and got the software amended.
Hope you got a lot of compensation at the airport for being bumped - we got over £600 in cash.
I would send strongly worded complaint letter to AF head office pointing out how out of date their procedures are compared to other airlines. Threatening to write to newspapers to publicise the issue wouldn't hurt - I bet they will not want to risk the adverse publicity this would bring them.
thanks everyone - i will write and post back if I get anywhere, even if its just to make other people aware.
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