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Upgrade canceled. Air France reimbursed Jeannine and René Loucatel. That’s All Folks?

Publié le 04 avril 2024 à 08:54 par Magazine En-Contact
Upgrade canceled. Air France reimbursed Jeannine and René Loucatel. That’s All Folks?

On March 14, at Roissy-CDG, “The caring relationship, an essential component of the trip” had apparently posed a RTT day at the boarding counter of Air France flight AF 258. Bad luck for Jeannine and René Loucatel.

René Loucatel and his mother Jeannine, passengers in March on Air France flight AF 258 from Roissy-CDG to Ho Chi Minh city (Vietnam), were ultimately unable to benefit from the upgrade offered by the company and which they had paid for, less than an hour before their flight. The customer was moved by this on Linkedin, asking for an apology from Anne Rigail, General Director of the company. This is done and therefore simply an unfortunate and extremely rare case according to the company. But René Loucatel tells a different version of his customer journey, of his onboarding.

René Loucatel and his mother, Jeannine, on board Air France flight AF 258

Is a message of compassion, of explanations, provided in software such as Salesforce, in Revenue Management, this profession at the heart of the economic balance of transport companies, in particular?

An upgraded passenger may be downgraded. It’s extremely rare. An Air France spokesperson recalls the facts:
“These customers have purchased a “discovery” upgrade offer that we sometimes offer a few hours before the trip. Unfortunately, for operational reasons, these seats could not be allocated to them and the boarding passes had to be reissued in the Economy cabin, upon boarding. The customers were reimbursed in full by our customer service which also offered, in view of the situation, a commercial gesture which the customer declined.

We renew our apologies to these passengers for this exceptional situation which does not reflect the service we offer to each of our customers.”

What is the passenger experience, premium travelers?
Contacted by us, René Loucatel has since communicated again on Linkedin, writing a lesson on the foundations of a premium passenger and booking experience.

"We had purchased our upgrades less than an hour before, at the airport, after almost 45 minutes of procedures. It is therefore surprising that there were no more available seats, just a few minutes later. But so be it. 'boarding, little cold shower. While my mother suffers from Alzheimer's, is transported in a wheelchair, the staff told us without any word of apology, without any explanation, without a glance, that these two upgrades, each purchased almost 900 euros, were not or no longer functional. It was simply... transactional, we were a rare case and that's it. I was told that I would be reimbursed for the amount of the upgrades.

I then had to fill out the reimbursement request file and received a generic response email indicating that it had been taken into account. And the company didn't call me until the end of March, after you published your article and I published mine. I was offered a box of chocolates, a bottle of champagne. I don't want a box of chocolates. What I had imagined, what I would have found normal, was for the person responsible for boarding, an Air France employee, to have a word, a look, to try to explain. Nothing: you return to economy. That's all. They crossed out the business class boarding passes, adding: VOID. The qualifier on this coupon is self-explanatory.

In the future, I will choose another company, when I can.
Contacted by us, the company and its press service explained to us that contact had since taken place, without confirming the date. “They only did so very recently, on April 2, after my official request for an apology to Anne Rigail, and your article. In the future, when I can, I will choose a company other than Air France. Which is in fact in a passenger experience posture” completes the passenger. When René is asked if he does not have the feeling that this type of complex case management is now the practice of many companies, such as American Express, where he himself worked, he confesses: “I no longer work at American Express, precisely. And in the small business that I am developing, Cocoon Factory, I am convinced of the need to rediscover the common sense and responsiveness of a local merchant”.

Contacted by us regarding this matter on March 29, Fabien Pelous, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, forwarded the file to his press service.

Air France passengers and travelers therefore have every interest in:
— to carefully read the T&Cs, general conditions of sale and regulations which govern the offers, or even to have them confirmed by an agent.
— not to wait too long for a personal message or explanations, when things “go wrong”. The company has been on the Customer Relations Podium more than 8 times.

Contacted by us, Flying Blue customer service* told us “that a downgrade may occur after an upgrade, although the situation is rare”.

Air France service in the 1970s

Customer experience and personalization at Air France vs revenue optimization?
According to our rapid research, more than thirty high-level executives are in charge, within the company, of Customer Experience, Passengers, each specializing in a moment of the customer journey: Lounges, On-board Customer Experience, SVP Customer Care, SVP Customer Experience, UX design etc… Among these:

— Stéphanie Charlaix-Meyer, is SVP Customer Service within the company and manager of Bluelink. On March 12, she spoke during the Salesforce Paris World Tour, during a conference on the theme: “a customer experience is more natural with artificial intelligence”.

— Julie Pozzi is Head of Operations Research within the company: “We are the only company in the world to have developed our own Revenue Management optimization engine on the day and in real time” she explained during a conference on optimizing revenue using data.

— Laurence Garnier-Plat is Exhibition Experience Manager. Alexis Corbasson is customer experience director for international stations. Sophie Privat is Deputy Director of lounges and High Contribution Services. Etc …

The caring relationship, an essential component of the trip. Who has the procedures manual?
On April 2, Kantar and Bearing Point recently awarded Air France, and for the 9th consecutive year, the prize for best carrier. Taking to the podium, Fabien Pelous indicated: “The caring relationship is an essential component of the journey”.

On March 14, it seems, the attentive relationship had posed an RTT day at Roissy-CDG. No luck for Jeannine and René!

A little more :
— Producing a letter of apology is not easy in large companies. CRM, CDP (Customer Data Platform) do not allow this or provide for it. In 2018, a seriously injured EDF customer demanded, after a lot of hassle, to receive a letter of apology from the energy company. We do not have an apology letter form, he was told. Read here.

— The Loucatels can consider themselves happy and pampered. Among many transport and travel players, it is necessary to prove that we have the right and that we are legitimate to be reimbursed. Go Voyages and Expedia are champions of the customer journey made excruciatingly complex, to discourage Internet users.

*Conversation conducted by telephone today with an agent from the Air France call center in Strasbourg.

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