It's the small things that matter


They say that it's the small things that matter and they couldn't be right.

I'm currently in BCN on my way back to New York.  I flew Delta out and am flying Air France back.

On my departure out of JFK, I learned that Delta does not priority tag companion bags.  It didn't matter that I was Platinum, they just weren't doing it.   This is an issue I've NEVER had with Continental or United, especially when they are on the same record.

Given the recent security issues, I decided to try to get on the nonstop to JFK, even after multiple calls not a single agent was helpful.  They all insisted that I would have to pay the difference in fare and stand-by wasn't an option.  I've always heard that the SMS agents were legendary, but I definitely wasn't feeling the love.  The last agent I spoke to said "Sorry, you'll have to pay the fee and fare difference.  Have a nice flight" and promptly hung-up.

I'm still surprised they wouldn't let me Standby, especially since there were plenty of empty seats.  This is one of the things that makes Continental truly stand-out, the ability to do confirmed standby -- even on international flights.

Yet again, Air France has managed to screw up my seat assignments.  Every time I have flown AF, they lose my seat assignment and I get some awful seat.  They have no recognition for Skyteam Elite Plus and basically told me to pound sand. 

I'm truly speechless that AF doesn't honor Skyteam Elite Plus from Delta, these are the two key members of the alliance and they don't even have reciprocity.  Not only did they refuse to preserve my seat assignment, they also refused to priority tag my bags.  What good is Skyteam Elite Plus? 

All in all, it's times like this that remind why Skyteam is a substandard alliance.   The benefits and customer service from Star Alliance (with the exception of US Airways) is head and shoulders above Skyteam.


Mike January 2, 2010 at 07:37 am

I think everyone already knows that Air France is the last airline for customer service. I am surprised you had a seat assignment at all.

Regarding confirmed standby for the non-stop, I think you are just spoiled by CO. If I called AA and tried the same thing (which I have done) there would have been a large difference in fares to pay just like Delta.

AS January 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Wow. Are you seriously this up-in-arms because they won't add a priority label to your companion's bag? "It's times like this that remind why Skyteam is a substandard alliance." It's that important? Really? Wow.

As to the change / standby, if you wanted the non-stop, why didn't you book that routing in the first place? I can't blame you for wanting to avoid CDG, but that mistake was made at the time of purchase.

Hunter January 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

@AS and @Mike: Agreed. Who gives a damn.

Fozz January 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm

@Mike: You're spot on about AF. I will say one thing though, as horrendous as their ground ops are, their in-flight service always amazes me. They at least have that part down.

As for the Standby, I never realized how great the CO policy was and only now starting to appreciate it. I will say though, in cases of "unusual situations" such as the latest security crap, UA has always been accommodating to work with me, I didn't get the same assistance from Delta.

@AS: It's more than just a simple priority tag. It's been a problem I saw as CO Elite on AF, their is no recognition of Elite Plus, it means nothing. Compare that to Star Gold where it means something on each carrier, no matter where you earned it. Tagging my bag but not a companion bag is just a pain as it means I'm still stuck waiting. On the return, the agent outright refused to tag my bag even though I was an Elite Plus.

The real issue is that while Star has it's member benefits down, Skyteam does not.

As for the routing, I didn't mind the CDG connection. The issue was given the recent security delays, I couldn't afford to get back later than I planned and I was trying to avoid that. So, I was attempting to avert a situation which ended up happening anyways (we ended up sitting on the ground for an extra two hours in CDG today as we waited for people).