“Air France business class passengers were taken to a hotel during our overnight stay at the airport”

“Air France business class passengers were taken to a hotel during our overnight stay at the airport”

Last month, when an Air France plane “went into tech” in the Caribbean, business class passengers were given hotel rooms while those in the budget seats had to sleep at the airport.

On December 9, Air France flight AF499 was scheduled to fly non-stop from the Caribbean airport to Paris from the island of St. Martin. Instead of going direct, the Airbus A330 flew 160 miles southeast to Pointe-a-Pitre Airport on the island of Guadeloupe.

The reason given: the need to refuel the 22-year-old jet due to adverse winds on the transatlantic crossing.

Night view: Camp beds at Guadeloupe airport after an Air France plane ‘went into tech’

(Laura, passenger)

One passenger, Laura from the north of England, gets the story: “We landed in Guadeloupe around 6pm and were told it would take an hour to refuel, so we’d be in Paris in about 90 minutes. [than scheduled].

“After a while, we were informed that there was a problem with the electronics and an engineer was working on it.

“We stayed on the tarmac on the plane for five hours. We only got food and soft drinks at 10pm.

“The captain told us that the problem could not be solved and we would deal with hotel accommodation for the night.

“At around 11:00 p.m., they disembarked the business class passengers and kept everyone back. They were sent to hotels. The rest of us arrived at the airport terminal to find camping cots and water bottles.”

Under European air passenger rights rules, Air France was required to provide hotels for travelers in the event of a one-night delay.

Although the airline insists there are not enough rooms on the island for all stranded travellers, some passengers say there is room in hotels – with a number of people booking it on their own account.

“I personally didn’t,” Laura said. “I didn’t want to risk putting myself in a potentially dangerous situation as a lone female traveler with no knowledge of the island.”

There were a handful of staff at the terminal, but they soon left passengers to fend for themselves overnight.

“There were old people and people with children, all without food, without information and without camp beds,” Laura said.

On the next morning’s flight, breakfast supplies were taken off the plane and given to the passengers.

The flight finally left about 24 hours late, with all connections to Paris Charles de Gaulle missed.

An Air France spokesperson said: “At the time of the incident, staff at Pointe-à-Pitre airport encountered an unexpected number of passengers requiring assistance due to the cancellation of an Air France flight.

“To manage the situation, they did their best to find space for all the passengers on the plane. “After hotel accommodation is arranged for those in need of assistance and vulnerable passengers, some business class passengers have a limited allocation of rooms.”

Laura said in response Independent: “I spent the night talking to an eighty-year-old couple – one of whom I had to help get off the plane the next morning because they needed care, and I had to buy them hot chocolate. They should have been given a place to live.”

If passengers are not provided with accommodation, they have no right to claim a fault – unless they find accommodation and pay, in which case they can claim the cost back.

Laura concluded: “I hope that Air France will create contingencies to ensure that this does not happen again.”

He applied to the airline for €600 (£514) in compensation for the delay, but has yet to hear back from Air France.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *