Air France has responded to several public complaints and media reports that Nigerian passengers, who were to board flight AF 104 in Paris en route Lagos were mistreated and neglected, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has said.
The statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, showed that the response was as a result of the investigation on the incident which reportedly happened on July 18
The council said the airline provided ”material cooperation and information in response to interrogatories and requests from the Council”.
“Air France Flight AF I04, operated with Air Belgium, from CDG (Charles De Gaulle, Paris) to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos with a scheduled departure for 14:30hrs and estimated arrival time at LOS of 18:30hrs was initially delayed. Cancellation ultimately occurred at 14:15hrs because of damage to the aircraft during boarding.
“There were 207 passengers on the scheduled flight; 23 business class passengers and 184 economy passengers. At the time of cancellation, there were limited re-routing solutions for the following reasons:
-There were limited flights still departing from other locations in Europe to Lagos the same day and at the time and point the cancellation occurred.
-There were potential visa issues with transiting passengers through other European countries that have transit visa requirements/restrictions.
-There were limited available seats on other carriers as the travel period is considered a busy travel season,” the statement said.
CPC quoted Air France as saying they did all they could to ensure passengers were able to fly to Lagos, the same day or the next, ”on partner and non-partner airlines, considering visa restrictions.”
The airline added that passengers continued or concluded their flights to Lagos ”in a fragmented but organised manner”.
“Some passengers were re-routed to Lagos via London with Virgin Atlantic Airways, on the same day or the next day, subject to seat availability on that airline.
“A significant number of passengers were re-routed through Amsterdam and transferred to KLM the next day, July 19. Others were re-routed through Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca on both July 18, and July 19. Air France’s flight on the next day, July 19, 2018 could only accommodate 65 passengers and same were transferred to that flight accordingly.
“The last ten of the stranded passengers were lifted by Air France on its Paris to Lagos flight (AF 104), on July 20,” the statement said.
The airline also said they made ”credible efforts” to secure visas for passengers who did not have any to facilitate entry into Paris for hotel accommodation.
However, the statement showed that the efforts were largely unsuccessful as the French authorities declined.
”The 134 passengers who had visas were transported at approximately 1730hrs to different hotels where the airline had secured reservations. For the 23 passengers without visas, Air France provided access to its elite waiting lounges for enhanced comfort and convenience.
As compensation, it noted, “Air France has provided information to all affected passengers about eligibility for EUR 800 travel vouchers or EUR 600 in cash, including the process for receiving the cash or claiming the vouchers.
“In the period while the delay/cancellation occurred, Air France provided meals or meal vouchers, and amenity packages to passengers.
“In addition to its customary compensation noted above, Air France represents that it initiated its Collective Apology Process (CAP) immediately with an additional electronic voucher of EUR 200 which is separate and above the EUR 800 and 600 identified above.
“All passengers who complete the cash refund, or voucher redemption processes will receive the stated compensation,” the statement said.
According to the CPC, based on the representations made by the airline, and in furtherance of the investigation, the Council has made a call for comments and/or refutations from any passenger(s) who may dispute Air France’s account of this occurrence, or has experienced difficulty in securing compensation.
The council requested that such information be provided to the Council by email at email@example.com or the Consumer Protection Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).