Unlike the SWISS First Class award redemption controversy, today’s Air France first class deal was a pricing mistake. I knew it, everyone knew it.
I did manage to book a ticket…from 38,000 feet above the air over Turkey…I’ll detail that tomorrow.
But for now, my first class reservation is still intact. I’m happy about that and would love to fly Air France First Class for the first time, even if it is on the outdated A380.
We are seeing reports, however, that Air France is already cancelling tickets. That is hardly surprising: tickets were selling for as much as 95% off regular price.
The way I generally approach clear mistake fares is the following: airlines should be given the same 24-hour period cooling off period that passengers have, as long as travel is more than seven days away.
That will still allow some people to “unfairly” take advantage, like this–
Well, I guess I’m going to London in Air France First Class for $600 tomorrow….
— Max Prosperi (@unaccompflyer) December 19, 2017
(in the case of Air France, his reservation has already been cancelled)
But will give airlines reasonable protection against unintentional fares. The key word is reasonable. Take the Ethiopian Bangkok to Toronto fare. Ethiopian waited weeks before contacting me and held my money for months before finally relenting and allowing me to fly on the purported mistake fare. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways offered an even better fare from nearby Ho Chi Minh City (advertised as a “Golden Ticket“) and never attempted to cancel my ticket. It is difficult for even a seasoned-traveler to know when a fare is a mistake and when it is not.
That’s why I am willing, as a public policy compromise, to allow airlines the same protections consumers have.
If Air France cancels my ticket within 24 hours and provides notice of its action, I will let the issue go. No lawsuit. Not DOT complaint. I won’t even harbor any bad will against them.
The Difference Between the SWISS First Class Deal and Air France First Class Deal
Some of you may wonder why my approach to the Aeroplan SWISS First Class deal and to the Air France First Class deal are so different.
First, because the SWISS First Class deal was not a pricing mistake. The Aeroplan regular/normal/published price of a first class award between the USA and Europe is 70K miles. That’s exactly what I paid. This was not a 4-mile fare mistake…
Second, because it took Aeroplan weeks to poorly communicate how it was handling the issue. (Let’s hope Air France is swift, one way or the other).
Third, because tickets issued via other outlets (like via united.com) were honored. The issue appears to be less an issue of SWISS accidentally releasing space and more an issue of an internal contract or agreement between Aeroplan and SWISS. Consumers should not be penalized for that.
It appears my quest to fly Air France First Class will have to wait a bit longer, but we’ll see…my ticket is still there.
image: Air France