Sunday, August 7, 2011

Break-up letter to Air France

Dear Air France,

We've been together for a while now. I even have a Flying Blue number which you share with KLM. We've had some great times and some not so great times. Remember that time the flight broke out in the aeroplane because you let whole chains of people change seats prior to take-off and confusion ensued? I really enjoyed that. That was an especially fun flight because I appeared to be sitting on metal the entire flight. I took comfort from the fact that other people were in worse conditions though - many people's seats didn't go back.

I recently enjoyed my first flight on an A380 with you. That was quite cool - I particularly like the camera mounted on the tail fin. Something I really appreciated about that flight was the fact that the food you gave me actually reached microwave meal standard. Usually, you seem to get away with serving the World's Worst Food (United excluded) and rely on France's reputation for decent food and a silly fancy little 'menu' card as a means of tricking people into thinking the 'food' is actually decent. Oh, how cunning you are!

I was also impressed by the way I got my bag back just 24 hours after my last flight with you! Jolly good job! I feel I should thank you for helping me to ensure that I possess duplicates of many things (like shaving stuff) because I never know when I'll get my bag back. That came in really handy once when my razor battery ran out once! What would I do without you?

Do you remember the time there were not enough shuttle buses at CDG to bus everyone to the terminal? Oh, that was a laugh! I was on the last one and it was completely packed. Your friendly employee yelled into the bus that it is people who are important, not bags and that we should make more space. I wondered if it was a joke and had a little giggle at the insinuation that we should all throw our bags out onto the runway to make space for everyone. I even enjoyed the threat that we would stay there all day unless we made room for everyone who needed to get onto the bus because it was the last shuttle.

Perhaps my favourite time was when loads of flights were cancelled at once at CDG Airport. I make an allowance for the fact that it was the snow of last xmas but you made it super fun by announcing the cancellation of every flight at once, just after two large long-haul flights had just arrived. Oh, how everyone enjoyed the thousands and thousands of bags spewing out onto the luggage conveyor belts all at once. It was like a little adventure playground - bags piled higher than my head and little walkways for us all to wander through searching for our bags. (I have to completely commend your staff on this occasion - they were all, in all seriousness - completely wonderful and doing the best they could following this really, really, really dumb decision - it's no wonder they feel the need for a few days' strike every so often!) My bag only took a few weeks to arrive that time.

I like the way the staff are always threatening to go on strike. I can't decide if that is because half of them are complete saints who get fed up working in such appalling conditions whilst the other half are rude and nasty and don't care anyway, or if it because there is a general lack of acceptance of the fact that companies are actually there to serve people. I can understand why staff might not want to move from Paris to Marseilles (one of the causes of the recent strike threat) but if that is what customers want and you don't provide it then you deserve to go bankrupt - you are no longer serving a social good - and the staff will have no jobs at all.

I could probably go on for longer about the great times we've had together but these are some of the fun moments that have popped into my head just now. I wanted to acknowledge these great times to try to lessen the pain that I might cause when I say - it's not you; it's me. I just don't feel that the time is right for us to have a relationship any longer. It pains me too to say it but I will do my best to avoid flying with you in the future and will happily pay more to fly with, well, anyone else. I hope that you don't take this too badly and I hope that things go as well as can be expected in future.


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