My son, aged 20, is coming today to visit us in South Africa for 2 weeks.
We left him in the UK aged 18, he'd not long left home for an apprentiship in Hotel Management in Reading. He visited us here in March last year, we visited the UK in August and December. He got himself a new job at Christmas and moved to Cheltenham, back nearer his dad and my family.
Yesterday afternoon there were messages on facebook from him and his dad to say he was at the airport and the last one read 'Mum, do you want any duty free?'
So all checked in, I relaxed and went off to bed.
This morning I check facebook, twitter and emails...as you do to see an urgent message sent from his Dad on facebook last night at midnight
'Ring me asap!!!'
'Jamis has just phoned and said his connecting flight isnt until tomorrow night?'
3 hrs later I get this
'phone only had 2% battery life when he phoned so i told him to switch it off for a bit while i sort out a hotel texted him the address but havnt heard from him the hotel wont answer there fucking phone so not sure if he went to the hotel'
So panic, I checked and double checked I had booked the right dates, checked on the website. Flight cancelled and he's booked in for tonights flight.
And not another word on the subject.
I messaged his dad back with 'it's the air lines responsibilty to look after him.
Why is his dad booking a hotel? where? did he get to it? who's paying for it? Does he have his luggage? etc, etc, etc
No response from his dad, no reply to my SMS to my son, called Air France in South Africa, they know nothing, the number they gave me for France is unobtainable, Hubby now calling the UK to find out what's going on.
Yes I know my son is 20, he's lived on his own for nearly two years, but still it would be nice to know what is going on and if his Dad went off to bed having made sure our son was ok.
*update one hour later
My hubby has called Uk and been told all passengers were given hotel room and meal vouchers and allowed to make one phone call. they will not tell hubbby which hotel for security reasons.
My ex has informed me Son did not check into hotel he booked for him last night and was told by Air France desk thatI had booked the wrong flight and he was on his own. Have given ex the number hubby rang on so he can ask for message to be delivered to son and for confirmation he was one of the passengers that has been helped, rather than just left to his own devices.
Flight : AF0990 Resa : OK
Departure : 01May, 23:20 Latest check-in time limit : 22:20
I didn't book the wrong flight
AT 11.30AM SON PHONED HIS DAD IN THE UK TO SAY HE MANAGED TO TRANSFER MONEY FROM UK TO PAY FOR HIS OWN HOTEL AND IS BACK ON WAY TO AIRPORT WITH RECEIPTS TO CLAIM HIS HOTEL ROOM RATE BACK, HE IS WITHOUT LUGGAGE AND CANNOT CHARGE HIS PHONE AS CHARGER IS IN HIS CASE.
HE NOW HAS 12HOURS BEFORE HIS FLIGHT HERE AND IS NOT A HAPPY BUNNY THAT AIRFRANCE DIDN'T HELP HIM.
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE
At 12pm today after 150+ hits in half an hour on this blog, Air France contacted me.
At 4.40pm they sent email to say sorry about all of this, they had sent son an email back in March to inform him of cancelled flight, I doubt he's checked his emails for years, I had left my cell number for them to contact also. They are refunding his accomodation and his meals as long as he can provide original receipts.
I'm sure he will accept this, he has been in touch with me on facebook, having bought a new phone charger as his luggage is in holding, located a wifi spot to tell me he was fine, no worries, he had a spare set of clothes, he understood my panic that had been caused by his Dads messages that he hadn't got hold of him since midnight last night. However, I'm still slightly annoyed that no one at Air France in South Africa, Paris or the UK could give any different information other than what I could see on the website...flight cancelled, booked in for tonights flight.
5 hours passed before anyone got in touch with us, around the same time son rang his dad in the UK to say he was fine.
I know he's 20 and an adult, but surely there must be better ways of contacting Air France, rather than on their web page and clicking several links to get local numbers to press a series of buttons, being put on hold and then told 'there's nothing we can tell you'
There is no way now that I'm letting my children (17 & 13) fly unattended now with any airline unless it is a direct flight.
Lesson learnt from this experience?
Always pack your phone charger in your hand luggage.
Nightmare! :( Hope you get in touch with him soon.ReplyDelete
Definitely, that's awful! xReplyDelete
How awful! Hopefully your son gets in touch soon to let you know where he is and the latest news on the flights. It is outrageous that instead of helping first they buck on responsibility.ReplyDelete
What a nightmare. Glad he is ok though. Everything else is just material stuff - his safety is what really matters. Give AirFrance a good kicking thoughReplyDelete
Hope he has a great time when he eventually gets to you.ReplyDelete
Airlines are notorious for dodging their responsibilities in these matters and sadly I am not surprised to hear about the confusion and poor service from Air France. Your son should have been given a leaflet explaining his rights under EC Regulation 261/2004 by the airline representatives. They are indeed responsible for his hotel and expenses incurred in Paris and may also be entitled to pay him 600 Euro's under the regulations in this directive. This does depend on the exact circumstances of the cancellation however.
I had a battle with KLM over a very similar incident (also flying into SA) in which they tried very hard to deny compensation but we eventually received the full amount.
I'm sure its not your priority right now but if you need any advice with this at a later stage do let me know and I'd be happy to help.
thanks for your offer of helpDelete
Such a scary situation. My three (aged 18, 16 and 12) regularly fly on their own long haul back to NZ. It is so worrying waiting to hear that they are ok. Son was detained at the border once on his way back into the Uk but luckily kept his head and was ok in the end. Glad everything is ok your end too. VxReplyDelete
i suppose a direct flight is the only option at least they are stuck in a country that way where there are people that can look after them for the nightDelete
I have a daughter roughly the same age as your son, and a while ago her flight was delayed for hours and with her depression it was not good. I completely feel for you, it sends shivers down my spine just reading what you have gone through. Sending virtual hugs to you.ReplyDelete
i think half the problem for me, in fact all of it, was down to half messages from other parties and then them not chasing it up, leaving me to unravel it allDelete
How scary! However, you've obviously raised a very sensible young man with loads of common sense. Glad everything is OK and hope you have a lovely time when he finally reaches you.ReplyDelete
having a fab time thanksDelete
Good to see he has arrived OK.ReplyDelete
My nephew (17 yrs) flew here unaccompanied to see the world cup games with us. That was a direct flight and you are right its a lot less worry.
Good that they have offered refunds but as they sent notification over 14 days ago with cancellation news they are not bound to offer the 600 Euro compensation.
The only thing left now is too enjoy SA (and not let Birmingham's play off cause too much stress)
you jinxed us re birminghamDelete