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:

While they may be pleased to provide us with the following information, I think you may feel a little differently. Expedia also sent out similar emails.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Has your booking been downgraded too?

Author: Stephen Hoechst

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  1. Air France is not the Crown Jewel of anything.

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    • La Premiere is widely considered one of, if not the best first class in the world. Google “Air France La Premiere review” and try to find one bad review.

      Post a Reply
      • Fly Cathay first. Or JAL. Air France may have a better lounge, but the best in the sky? I’m unconvinced.

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  2. Now is the not the time to be jumping on what are obviously error fares. It’s hard enough getting a refund for involuntary cancellations so why someone who want to potentially tie up more of their money with an airline like Air France that has a history of not honoring fares like this is beyond my understanding.

    Post a Reply
    • These fares were valid into 2021 and fully refundable. It’s not like they were for next week. It’s up to you to take all the factors and decide whether that’s a chance you want to take.

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  3. I agree that it will be hard to get a refund through Air France. My Air France flight in 2 weeks to Europe was cancelled and instead of a refund, they’ve only offered a voucher that’s good for a year (and if I have not used it by the time it expires, then am eligible to get a refund then.)
    Regardless, I think $500 for a one-way TATL flight is still a pretty good deal…. though I hope this was an April fool’s joke from AF? I doubt it though.

    Post a Reply
    • On a positive note, the flights were fully refundable at the time of booking. If you decide to ditch the booking, you’re entitled to a full refund – not a voucher. If you don’t get a refund, file a chargeback on your credit card.

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  4. I booked this fare over a month ago, long before you bloggers put the word out and it went viral on FT. Thanks to Gilbert Ott who heard about it from an early booker and infected the rest of the bloggosphere, you guys picked it up and ran it into the ground. Thanks. The first rule of glitch fares is there are no glitch fares!

    Post a Reply
    • Don’t blame Gilbert for this, or any blogger really. If you’re going to blame bloggers, stop reading flyer talk and bloggers all together, because obviously not a single blog provides you with any valuable piece of information, ever, in your life.

      Post a Reply
  5. I booked the fare AND selected my seat. It was obviously downgraded to a business this morning. However…

    When I log in through Delta, while the ticket now shows as Business Class, my seat still shows as 1A.

    Any chance it sticks?

    Post a Reply
    • Chances are it’s just taking some time for the systems to match up. There have been quite a few reports of the delta “006” tickets getting canceled and swapped over to Air France “057” stock. Fingers crossed you’re the exception though!

      Post a Reply


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