Last week I wrote about the one thing that annoyed me about my Air France first class flight.
It was another passenger in the cabin, who staked out two seats for herself, sending her companion to the seat directly across from me when it was originally left empty.
The twist in the story was that I overheard talk of a “staff ticket” while they were checking in next to me (Air France was unable to check in her baggage all the way through because she had a “staff” ticket to Paris and “confirmed” ticket to Zurich). Furthermore, my escort said that one of the passengers was flying standby and her companion had upgraded from a “confirmed” business class ticket.
Based upon those pieces of evidence, I presumed it was some sort of non-rev employee traveling. After posting, many Air France employees let me know that under no circumstances are employees eligible for first class when traveling on standby. Even Air France CEO Ben Smith, cannot standby for first class on leisure trips.
More than one person on the inside did some digging and I received the following info from multiple sources:
- The lady was on a full-fare ticket, her companion was traveling on a discounted business class ticket that was upgraded
- Neither are employees of Air France
- Their assigned seats were 1E and 1F, the two middle seats
Since I was wrong in my initial assessment, this update is warranted. It appears there were no shenanigans: just a rude passenger who claimed two seats for herself. I will say this: the two took seat 1A and 1E for the first several minutes onboard before she verbally commanded her companion to take seat 1F so she could have a seat and a bed. But if she is a regular in first class, perhaps that is just her usual way of maximizing her chances for two seats.
As I said earlier, this did not detract from the flight: I refused to let it bother me once we took off. I am actually quite glad that there was not as much to the story as I originally thought. The amount of feedback I received suggests that Air France very closely follows upgrade and standby protocol. That is a good thing.