Air France: French elegance or just over the top (Part I)

For years I have been travelling on Air France and I have never failed to see endless times how the service seems so out of touch with reality.

What is considered as elegant for the French airline is not always what I would consider good customer service. I understand that this is not always the fault of the cabin crew and having worked in the airline business in the past, I have had some wonderful cabin crews on Air France, I have also had some really bad ones.

On the two flights I took today, it more the actual corporate service rather than individual service that continues to surprise me.

I arrived at Montpellier Airport (MPL) and there was a massive queue. Unlike on many other airlines when a member a staff would be there to filter through the passengers and those with business class, or frequent flyer cards would be directed to the right queue, Air France favours the ‘free-for-all’ method. Let the passengers scramble through the queues and then tell them at them that they are in the wrong queue.

Next hiccup is boarding. Oh my, Air France and it’s boarding policy.
These are small short domestic flights.
Load from the back to the front.

That way those in row 3 are not blocking those who want to go to row 23. Air France have tried, but they seem to be afraid of saying to someone ‘no it is not your turn’. So if anyone tries to jump the queue (god forbid why, the plane won’t go without them) they let them board. Usually it’s the one with the extra big bag that won’t go in the overhead locker and will block the aisle for 10 minutes. Today it happened and guess what ? 15 minutes late leaving Montpellier. On top of that people seem to board with bags that are really not meant for the cabin when travelling to Pars Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). I realise that CDG is not the best of airports either to make a connecting flight or disembark at. Baggage times can vary immensely of up to 45 minutes after a 1hour flight !

Thankfully for me the connection in Paris went pretty well, although I still don’t understand why when transferring from terminal 2F to 2E I have to come out of the the airport rather than a circuit where I remain in the passenger only section, but it is CDG.

After the hassle of checking in and boarding I was just happy to make my connection. After all I was off to Manchester to pick up the boxes and other stuff sent by courier for The Big Move.