Air France Downgrading La Premiere Deal
Chances are you heard about an insane deal on Air France last week. For less that $500, you could fly one way from Algiers to the US in first class on Air France. Considering that this is basically the crown jewel of first class seats, many hopped all over the deal. Well there’s some good news and some bad news on that front.
Air France Downgrades Bookings
First, let’s get the bad news out of the way. This morning, Air France started downgrading bookings from La Premiere to business class. You probably received an email from Air France looking something like this:
You might also notice that the Air France email still shows your original La Premiere seat selection (if you made one). Don’t get your hopes up. If you login to your Air France booking you’ll see that the flight no longer says La Premiere. Instead, it just says business class for both legs of the flight. Any seats you have selected in La Premiere have also been cleared out.
The (Semi) Good News
The good news is, Air France hasn’t outright canceled bookings. If you want, it still looks like you’ll be able to use this deal to enjoy a business class flight across the Atlantic. All things considered, it’s still a solid deal for 10+ hours one-way in business class.
However, I have a feeling the majority of these people were booking solely because of the allure of La Premiere. If you fall into that category, you’ll undoubtedly be disappointed.
What Can You Do?
There are three ways you can go about things. In order of least resistance:
Accept the booking in business class
The work has already been done for you here. Your booking has (or will be) changed to business class automatically. You don’t need to do anything else. If you choose this option, you’ll still be able to enjoy a pretty good business class deal from Algiers to the US.
Cancel the booking
On a positive note, when this fare first popped up, the fares were fully refundable F fares. Expedia stated it throughout the booking process and if you read the fare conditions closely, you’d have noticed the fare was refundable and changeable.
Even if Expedia tries to take your for a ride, this is still an involuntary downgrade. You should be eligible for a refund on this basis alone. It might be a bit of a pain though, given all that’s going on. If you try to cancel through Expedia, you’ll get a screen asking you to complete a form. It might be fine, but it’s not exactly the most reassuring process.
Fight Expedia to honor the fare
This is the most challenging and most unlikely path. However, you’re fully within your rights to try.
For starters, good luck getting in touch with anyone at Expedia right now. They won’t accept contact from anyone who has a booking more than 72 hours out. Even if you are able to get through, they’re unlikely to be sympathetic to your case.
That said, you made a booking in first class – not business class. If your booking isn’t for a while and you’re willing to play the lottery on this one, maybe you’ll have better luck. Based on experience though, once the airline makes the change you’re generally SOL.
While I’m certainly disappointed to see Air France downgrading these fares, it’s hardly surprising. If anything, it’s more surprising they haven’t canceled these fares outright. I’m just thankful they got this out of the way now instead of waiting to do it closer to travel dates.
It was a fun ride while it lasted, friends. Here’s to continuing to daydream about flying in La Premiere.