Over the weekend we alerted all Mighty Travels subscribers about an Air France First Class fare from Istanbul to San Jose, CR and Sao Paulo that we found. It was bookable for several more destinations on the Air France website and several OTA websites (like Priceline).
The first travelers are now onto their journey and it seems Air France is downgrading ticket holders from a confirmed First Class experience to Economy. I find that unacceptable.
The tickets we highlighted are in the same price range as many Business/ First Class tickets that Air France has been promoting in the past. Not too long ago a much promoted Air France sale had tickets from the US West Coast to Africa for just under $1,000 in Business Class.
Air France ‘signed’ a valid contract (on their website) to transport passengers with a certain level of comfort. For consumers (and experts alike) they can have a valid expectation of a service being rendered as sold.
We have found that most carriers from the US, Asia and Australia typically honor transportation contracts they sell on their website. The European Union is usually very protective with consumer laws (including the delay compensation) but is completely at fault at protecting consumers for sudden cancellations/ downgrades.
Airlines expect consumers to show up and pay for tickets (even if they never make it to a flight ad purchased a non-refundable ticket). Airlines need to be held to the same standard. Consumers typically have 24 hours of ‘cool down’ period with a free cancellation – airlines should get the same and bookings become non-refundable for both sides.