Trottings: Air France, Ebookers.

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TROTTINGS = Trip Jottings

The Fox Trots: Travel Stories from The Fox.


Trottings: Air France, Ebookers.

Strike out! A cautionary tale on Air France and the OTA Ebookers.


I booked a France domestic flight on Air France (AF) through Ebookers (EB) earlier this month. For complicated reasons, I missed the flight.


Because Air France was on strike, I decided to take up the AF offer for a voucher to use later – because I did not want to be stuck by the strike at the airport for the return sector.


Then the run-around started. AF told me I needed to contact EB. EB checked and told me they had contacted AF, and not only could I not claim a voucher, but my return booking was cancelled – because I missed the outbound flight. Oh, and I couldn’t get a refund either for the flight back.


Recap. AF/EB would not let me travel on the flight I was booked, and for which I had paid, and would not give me my money back either.


The matter is still in process (although there is not much activity…), although it is partly academic in that the date of my return flight has passed. I did not want to risk turning up at the airport and being refused boarding – either because the flight had been cancelled, or because AF or EB had cancelled my booking.


AF says EB cancelled the return flight. EB says AF cancelled it. I asked who has my money for the two flights – AF or EB. I suspect AF, but given the series of half-truths, maybe neither of them really knows.


This is close to theft, not fraud. Of course I will not get anywhere, or ever get any proper answer, and certainly not get my money back. (I am not interested in an apology.) I am thankful that it was only €200 I lost. I am also lucky that it was not a longhaul flight.


Moral? At AF and EB, the customer is always wrong.



The Fox

Remember, I’ll be famous after I’m dead.

Crisis: Aeroflot, Malaysian.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.


Crisis: Aeroflot, Malaysian.

Analysis of news reports from two airlines – Russia’s Aeroflot and Malaysia – both suffering from (different) crises.


[] The Aeroflot group.

Aeroflot alone:

-Seat sales +11.8%, in July, +14.3% YTD. But domestic +32.6%, international -3.0%. Reasons given: stopping block charters; for Ukraine, fewer flights to Kiev and Odessa, and stopping flights to Donetsk and Kharkiv; reclassification of Crimea flights from international to domestic.


-New aircraft delivered this year, all from the west, and possible area of restrictions for spare parts, training etc – 13 A320s, two B737-800s, six B777-300ERs. Three leased B767-300ERs were returned and five A320s transferred to Aeroflot subsidiaries. Capacity, ASKs, +12.5% this year.



Aeroflot Group:

-Seat sales +11.9%, in July, +14.3% YTD. But domestic +25.9%, international +0.5%.


-Dobrolet, a no-frills-airline whose main route was from Moscow into Simferopol, capital of Crimea, had a good start with a 93% seat factor in July, only its second month. But it stopped flying in August, ostensibly because of European sanctions. Complete reasons would be more complex


-Sanctions, or fear of sanctions, were probably also related to Aeroflot’s decision to shut down its dedicated cargo fleet. Or could they be made available for military purposes?



[] Malaysia Airlines.

-In August, Malaysia’s government said the country’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, would buy the 30% of MA that it did not already own. Shortly after, KNB released a “recovery plan”.


–That move indicated there will be a change in management – which would normally devise a recovery plan. KNB should be an investor, not a manager. That said, KNB has not said what its plan is.


-Also oddly, all officials involved call this a ‘privatisation’. It is of course, the opposite – MA will be owned by the people of Malaysia. But this may mean more secrecy; perhaps that is what they mean.


-The disappearance of an aircraft on a Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight in March 2014 “continued to impact” the airline’s financial results, says management. Yet losses in Q2, US$95.9mn (at US$1 to MR3.20), were less than the US$138.4mn in Q1 (when only part of one month would have been impacted by the aircraft loss). And the shooting down of another MA aircraft, over Ukraine, was in July, after the end of Q2.


There thus appears to be factors other than the loss of two aircraft that affected the results.



The Fox

Remember, I’ll be famous after I’m dead.