Update On Cheap Air France First Class Tickets

Earlier today we saw Air France publish some insanely low first class fares from the US West Coast to London. Tickets were available for ~$1,500 roundtrip, or just under less than half of that for a one-way.

Over the past couple of hours I’ve received some messages from readers indicating that their tickets have been canceled. I’ve been checking my itineraries, but they’ve continued to show as intact. Well, that finally changed as of a few minutes ago, and now my reservation file shows as “empty” when I try to pull it up on Air France’s website.

For what it’s worth, I booked directly through Air France. It’s my understanding that so far Air France-issued tickets seem to be canceled, while Delta-issued tickets haven’t been canceled yet. Delta actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to honoring tickets, so I guess I should have tried to book a ticket through Delta. However, my guess is that they still won’t honor in the end.

While my tickets show as canceled, I haven’t yet been contacted by the airline in any way.

If you’ve booked one of these fares, has your ticket been canceled yet?

Comments

  1. Am happy they got canceled,Air France La Premiere is exclusive and cancelling those cheap tiket keep it exclusive,am spending 160.000 miles for one way CDG/DXB and i would have been outraged to see Air France honouring an error fare.

  2. @Garret: I think you just needed to do a search on Delta.com for SFO-LHR, and AF would come up as one of the options since they are partners.

  3. @FlyerDad but to my knowledge Delta only allows up to business class on partners. When they allow “first class” it’s referring to their own usually domestic first class product (which is a far cry from La Premiere lol)

  4. @jh I see nothing in the way this post is written to indicate the author is pissed off. If anything, he seems philosophical and relaxed. Maybe you need to improve your reading skills?

  5. @Garrett You are confused by award ticketing by delta vs actually paying monies to buy a ticket.
    You are correct that you cannot buy first class on Air France if you were to use skymiles. But Delta sells first class ticket on partners that you can just buy with $$$.

    Cheers.

  6. I think the tone of this article is perfectly neutral. There is no sense of Ben being “pissed off”. Simple.

  7. It’s sort of a smart move to not send any information and just delete the tickets. What are you going to do if the reservation doesn’t exist? Call and rebook? Complain? Try to book another ticket? They can always claim it was all just IT problems and the ticket never actually booked correctly.

  8. For those of us who ticketed and subsequently cancelled, can we also assume that AF will cancel the pending credit card charge, rather than having to request/process a refund?

  9. No one actually thought they would be honoring these ? In a world where the DOT gave the airlines the golden ticket to F*** over customers and where there is no competition or any reason why Air France needs to provide good customers service…why on earth would they honor these? Assume this: Every mistake fare you see will be cancelled. You cannot complain after that you are waiting for your refund.

  10. My reservation is gone but the charge for $1514 still shows on my card. Let’s see how long that takes to go away.

  11. Lmao @mo , talks about keeping it exclusive then openly admits to using miles anyway. To the real first class flyers you’re just as bad if not worse than someone on a cheap fare.

    160,000 miles @ 1 cent per mile is $1600, i.e. the same as this fare … But keep calling yourself a high roller buddy

  12. @DaninMCI — that is kind of hard to do when you have an e-ticket #, which you can pull the record’s for from on other airlines’ systems (e.g. Saudia). It is undeniable that the booking went through and their system published it.

  13. So err… I dont have any experience with how much premium cabins cost and i just saw YYZ-CDG in Air Transat Club class and was wondering if this was an ok fare. I was just wondering, thx.

  14. So err… I dont have any experience with how much premium cabins cost and i just saw YYZ-CDG in Air Transat Club class for $1,200 RT and was wondering if this was an ok fare. I was just wondering, thx.

  15. @ Carlos – when is ur ticket? I think they r going by calendar, cleaning up La Premiere from ppl like us! I fly AirFrance once a month, if they cancel mine, i am going to never fly them again :/

  16. Ben,
    Our tickets were cancelled and the charge still shows as “Pending” on our Chase card. That tells me AF never even processed it.

  17. It is now ok to publish any air fares, and airlines can change their minds to charge u more to screw u later on, because they can get away with it.

    Well done.

  18. I’m feeling real stupid here right now… Ok, so you can get a partner first class ticket issued on Delta ticket stock, but not through Delta.com, correct? When I search, the furthest column to the right is business/Delta One, and I’ve never seen it go any higher. Must be through OTA?

  19. I booked 2 rt’s LAX-LHR, one in OCT and another in NOV…now the NOV one is cancelled while the OCT one is still intact. I would have thought they went by departure dates to cancel these or just bulk cancel all the tickets issued at once?

  20. I think we’ve reached a point where it makes no sense to book these obvious mistake fares anymore. Just a waste of time and energy.

  21. One day I will wake up, tune into OMAAT, and not see a single dickhead comment from a hater. Wishful thinking?

    Keep it up Ben, the vast majority clearly appreciate what you and the team are doing.

  22. @Garrett – correct. Delta DOES issue partner First Class tickets, BUT you cannot do it on their website; it must be done through an OTA or by calling Delta. I know – I’ve done it before myself.

    FWIW, this particular fare will absolutely not be honored and it’s just taking a while for Delta and Air France to talk to one another (people and systems). Don’t sweat losing out on this deal — no one will be getting it — but keep the ticketing process in mind for the future.

  23. Update: I booked 3 tix. 1 (rtn) is still standing, 2 (one-ways) have been canceled (no communication from AF, just can’t pull it up on their site).

  24. I was kicked to the curb on my one way ticket. Expected nothing less, however there should be some recourse for the consumer. Weights and measures in the US would not allow this, sadly the DOT could give a shit.

  25. @Anonymous2, $1,200 would be a great fare to CDG from YYZ if it were with BA, Air France, KLM, etc. Air Transat? – no…

  26. Noticed mine was canceled too. So I called AirFrance just to see if there was any possibility of getting something for canceling the fare. Spoke to an agent who told me she could see the fare on her end as ticketed and not cancelled. She then went to go double check with her supervisor, who also noticed the ticket was showing as valid. I made her triple check. Everyone there said I was all good to go. I then asked “okay, so it’s safe for me to go book non-refundable hotels for those dates?” (obviously not going to do this). She said “YES!” At the end of the day, these airlines should at least communicate better if they are not going to honor published fares. Pretty annoying.

  27. I made one one-way for April for my wife and I. Still intact but imagine it is only a matter of time. Tried to not waste too much time today thinking of what I was going to do in Europe this spring…

  28. I love the blog, but it’s so hard to deal with all this fuckers trying to offend Ben for whatever reason. “Oh, he’s too offended”. “Oh, he’s pissed off” “Oh, I’m glad it didnt work out”. Holy mother! Ppl, get a life and stop being so jealous of him.

  29. On these mistake fares you need to book some wicked prepaid hotel nights so that when they cancel on you they have to reimburse you for the non refundable hotel nights, then make other flights to get there to use your free nights.

  30. Maybe next time don’t publicize it as a mistake fare. If you find it and are one of maybe just several people who got in, wait until it’s fully ticketed before blabbing about it. You’re most likely responsible for your own disappointment.

  31. “I love the blog, but it’s so hard to deal with all this fuckers trying to offend Ben for whatever reason. “Oh, he’s too offended”. “Oh, he’s pissed off” “Oh, I’m glad it didnt work out”. Holy mother! Ppl, get a life and stop being so jealous of him.”

    It’s annoying, and a great example of how shitty social media can get. Any douchebag can kill a vibe with a few key strokes. I attribute it to bad parenting.

    “On these mistake fares you need to book some wicked prepaid hotel nights so that when they cancel on you they have to reimburse you for the non refundable hotel nights, then make other flights to get there to use your free nights.”
    Let us know how that works out.

  32. Am an avid reader of this blog, and I am honestly confused here. There was so much outrage over Swiss not honoring Aeroplan’s erroneous issuance of Swiss first-class award tickets. So where is the concomitant outrage at AF, along with threats to contact DOT? Seriously, I don’t get it. I’ll wait another day.

  33. @Steven M

    Because in this case AF has immediate taken action, and with many knowing that it is quite obviously a “mistake fare” vs Swiss in which situation it wasn’t a mistake fare and took them a while to cancel the tickets when people assumed the ticket was in tact and made nonrefundable hotels etc.

  34. According to the European Union laws (exactly Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council), every passenger who is departing or arriving in a country of EU has all the rights stated here whatever he is an EU citizen or not.
    “Article 10 – Upgrading and downgrading
    2. If an operating air carrier places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, it shall within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), reimburse
    (a) 30 % of the price of the ticket for all flights of 1500 kilometres or less, or
    (b) 50 % of the price of the ticket for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometres, except flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments, and for all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometres, or
    (c) 75 % of the price of the ticket for all flights not falling under (a) or (b), including flights between the European territory of the Member States and the French overseas departments.”

    If you would read whole law, you would know that carriers have no right to cancel tickets. The customer bought it at some price which they have to guarantee. Carriers always cancel because they rely on you are not going to the court. You can send them the pre-challenge call and wait if they will honor. If not, you should go to court as we went in our country in case of British Airways First Class to Mexico on Christmas. A court immediately, according to law stated here, issued a preliminary ruling and BA had to accept our F tickets and pay us also all expenses for lawyers.
    So if it’s worth to you, do not hesitate and go to court, you are in right, not AF! And La Premiére in aF is worth it I guess 😉

  35. Ok, I booked round trip on AF as well & paid $1,460.-
    If AirFrance decided to honor this with stipulation by discounting half off their F fare to the total fare of $4,500.- net.
    I will definitely take it!
    What are your thought on this?

  36. I had a round trip and a one way booked with AF for Feb and it has been cancelled. No contact from AF, but I can’t open the reservation on their website.

  37. @Johnathan
    Yes, the AirFrance US office.
    They were actually nice, they told me that they ‘ll get back to me with an options. I don’t mind paying 4,000++ for the r/t F I think it’s reasonable.

  38. @flyboy
    It’s shorter sector and also, this ‘mistake’ is round trip. I would value FB miles at 1.3 cpm, which tilts it even further.

  39. with regards to the incorrect fares, I think the EU , as thats where AF are of course, may have some laws to say, that they have to make good on, any offer they made. I can understand them AF maybe canceling the tickets, as too cheap, but they should offer, another maybe business class, instead, or and call you, b4 they cancel. You may have pre paid hotel, car hire, if so they will have to pay for this, I would think,I,d cause a stink.

  40. OK everybody reading these blogs, where is the indignation at TPG? When there was that “mistake” fare that had to be triggered by falsely giving your country of residence as Denmark, Lucky told everybody that this was a blatant mistake that could only be triggered by deliberately filling out a form incorrectly, so we should all let it go. TPG had a bunch of posts encouraging people to file a complaint with the DOT and a whole post with detailed instructions on how to file a complaint. DOT received a boatload of complaints, sided with the airline (as they really should have in this case) and then decided that maybe enough was enough with mistake fares.
    Seriously, EVERY time a mistake fare gets pulled back I’d like to see everybody in the miles and points community remind TPG that this is HIS fault. I don’t see nearly enough indignation pointed his way.
    This fare would have been subject to the DOT’s enforcement – Air France might have tried to pull it back but probably wouldn’t have even bothered. Everybody who has gotten their ticket canceled, you can thank TPG.
    If anybody here thinks I’m remembering this incorrectly then please do let me know. If anyone agrees then go let TPG know about it. I don’t read his blog anymore (all the CC shilling of OMAAT without any of the content that makes it worth it) but I intend to go there just to post.

  41. I’d like to add two points:

    One, because of the internet, there is almost instant, widespread knowledge of mistake fares such as this one, resulting in so much exposure that many, many more people are able to jump in and purchase these fares. Hundreds of people, maybe more. If it were onesies or twosies, I think we would see the airlines more willing to honor these fares.

    Two, re the EU law 261/2004, it took me eight months–and lots of dogged back and forth and documentation–to get reimbursed the proper 75% after an involuntary downgrade. In my case, I already had checked in at home in business class and had a boarding pass in hand. When I went to drop off my luggage at the bag check at LAX, I was told that I was being downgraded. Well, I didn’t cause a stink at the time and sat in economy, but I looked up the law and eventually received my due.

    As with many legal matters, large corporations can outwait you and drag things on so long that many people give up. Additionally, I’m not even sure that the EU law would apply to mistake fares–they are not technically an involuntary downgrade (Well, maybe in a way, they are the ULTIMATE downgrade–you are not flying at all!). The European law covers downgrades, delays and cancellations of flights. I don’t recall that it covers cancellation of tickets. It would be worth it to read through it for those of you who purchased the Air France tickets, though. Even if the law doesn’t apply in this case, you will be prepared in future instances.

    If I had known the law at the moment I was downgraded, I would have asked to either be given the option of flying the next day in business class or to be given my 75% of the fare right there at the counter. The law says you should get the $$ in seven days. For me, as I’ve said, it was eight months. But it was a satisfying day, when that check arrived!

  42. @Jiri: You are selectively quoting the EU261 law, and therefore providing incorrect information to most people who booked this fare and had their tickets canceled. The law makes exceptions for flight cancellations in advance. Specifically, not parts (i) through (iii), which follow the word “unless”:

    “Cancellation

    1. In case of cancellation of a flight, the passengers concerned shall:

    (a) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 8; and

    (b) be offered assistance by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 9(1)(a) and 9(2), as well as, in event of re-routing when the reasonably expected time of departure of the new flight is at least the day after the departure as it was planned for the cancelled flight, the assistance specified in Article 9(1)(b) and 9(1)(c); and

    (c) have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Article 7, unless:

    (i) they are informed of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure; or

    (ii) they are informed of the cancellation between two weeks and seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than two hours before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than four hours after the scheduled time of arrival; or

    (iii) they are informed of the cancellation less than seven days before the scheduled time of departure and are offered re-routing, allowing them to depart no more than one hour before the scheduled time of departure and to reach their final destination less than two hours after the scheduled time of arrival.”

  43. LOL.. lesson learned for mistake fare… book same or next day travel (if possible), take a couple sick day leave from work and just do a mileage run just for the heck of it…
    AF is quite efficient in handlling mistake fare compare to VA fiasco last month 🙂

  44. @snic: that is all for canceled FLIGHT, but as far as I understand, the flight is still on, it is just ticket unilaterally canceled by the carrier, without state reason nor schedule/plane change.
    Is there a section of the law that treats carrier canceling the PURCHASED ticket?

    Why are companies allowed to reap all benefits of internet access (like selling tickets without having to increase headcount in their offices nor to have working-hours representation in each destination), but consumer using the internet to his advantage is bad, bad thing?

    Seeing the number of “mistake” fares cancelations, one wonders when will carriers start abusing I-can-cancel-anything-with-no-consequences for any fare they deem (after the fact) it was not good for their bottom line?
    (Or maybe *we* need to wake up that this is already happening?)

  45. @Marija You raise good points. Are there any limitations to a carrier’s ability to cancel tickets that have been issued? What defines a “mistake fare?” What protections do consumers have when they purchase a ticket in good faith? And not all buyers of tickets are experienced enough to suspect a “mistake fare” and, hence, those buyers are not trying to take advantage, or “game” the system.

    The carriers that at least make an effort to work with the consumers to come to a resolution should be rewarded by the goodwill and patronage of us customers. But if we have no loyalty or goodwill, the airlines will sniff that out in a second and take advantage of their leverage. As long as we keep coming back for more…

  46. If we make a mistake at work, we correct the mistake. Air France has done the same. Let’s not be hypocritical.

  47. If a department store tells a customer the price of a product is $x, and the customer arrives and is then told the price is $y, what is the customer’s expectation?

    Right – customer advises the quote and the store sells the product at $x.

    Or if you paid over the phone and you go to pick up the product you get it at $x.

    Why are people so willing to be screwed over by the airlines?

  48. Got an email from Delta saying that they are going to cancel my flight in August and refund the charge. It still appears as confirmed on Delta’s website, but I’m expecting it to disappear soon enough…

  49. @Nate

    Nope you’re exactly right about TPG. Him throwing a giant hissy fit about that was laughable and was part of the reason I don’t read their stuff anymore (the other being that aside from Honig, their content quality has really bottomed out).

  50. Just got my email from Delta saying they are going to cancel my flight and refund the charge. Boo. Wish we could get the DOT to make them honor it.

  51. Does anyone knows what will happen to flying blue points gained on this flight, when reservation is cancelled? all gone as well?

  52. Email from AF/KLM:

    Dear Customer,

    Due to a system error, your ticket(s) for travel on Air France in La Première/First Class which was recently purchased has/have to be cancelled and will be fully refunded, consistent with DOT guidelines and policy.

    We apologize for this inconvenience.

    An Air France representative will attempt to contact you by phone.

    If you have any questions in the meantime, Please feel free to contact Air France.com websupport at 1-800-992-3932 to help you in this matter.

    We thank you for your understanding and wish you a pleasant day ahead.

    Kind Regards,
    Air France

    Did receive a follow up call – but it was clearly from an Indian call center. At least they’ve worked hard to cancel and notify in a timely manner, and check that customer has received notification.

  53. Air France doesn’t have any US Agents. Only Delta/KLM/AF ph lines that try to help steer you to website. You have to call France or UK to talk live w AF directly.

  54. I booked 3 tickets for travel this summer that are still showing as valid on the Air France website. It has been over two weeks and I have yet to make further plans do to possibility of them being cancelled. Should I be in the clear now? I have ticket numbers and am able to see my ticket info on the Air France website. Thoughts.

  55. @PDS I don’t believe AF has an Indian call centre As far as I’m aware their European Center is based in the UK

  56. My tickets were cancelled on Sunday, January 7th. 19 days after booking. I have filed a DOT complaint to recoup the costs I have for non-refundable travel plans I made for positioning flights and for hotel stays in England for 2 weeks. This is proving very frustrating.

  57. I’ve issued the ticket on AF site, paid using paypal. They call me to inform the cancelation. So far I have NOT received a refund on paypal.

    Did anyone paid using paypal ? Have you’ve got you $ back ?

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