As the song says, “love Paris in the spring time, I love Paris in the fall, I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles, I love Paris in the winter…”! And it really holds true for me. I love Paris in every season, for many reasons; the food, the shopping, the history. However, I was saddened on my way to Paris this past weekend while flying on La Compagnie, and further still when attempting to extend my trip.
I’ve flown Business or First Class on multiple airlines, around the world and back again, and never in my life have I been so displeased with an experience in the air and beyond. My family and I boarded the flight and were immediately struck by the unpleasant temperament of all the flight attendants. They were unhelpful and didn’t move to assist oncoming passengers with luggage or seating. They stood in the front and back of the aircraft chatting amongst themselves and ignored the passengers. As our seats were separated we had tried to find an attendant to help us move seats as the flight was far from full, but they would disappear the moment they saw anyone walking towards them.
They then came around with drinks and attempted to hand my 8 year old a glass of champagne, to which I laughed and said, “he will have the orange juice please.” I tried to give the girl the benefit of the doubt. But she basically handed him the orange juice and thrusted the champagne on me. Then two minutes later returned to yell at me about my bag under the seat. I complied and moved it to an overheard compartment for takeoff. Then, while checking the cabin for takeoff and collecting the glasses, I watched as she collected all, but ours and purposefully walked by me as I held my glass out. As it happened, the takeoff was rough, as there was an incoming tropical storm, so bumps and all, my son and I were clutching glasses.
The fun didn’t stop there, unfortunately. Dinner service ran late due to the turbulence (not their fault), but once it began, it was a disaster. My son and I thankfully received our food, however my husband and my extremely hungry daughter watched the cart pass them twice as the seats in front of them and behind them received their food. My daughter crying for food at this point, my husband got up to ask for a roll to hold her over and the attendant nastily replied “I will have to wait to see if we have enough”. Now I ask, if they hadn’t received their meals yet, shouldn’t she be allotted a roll? He wasn’t asking for an extra one, but the one she was entitled to, because they had walked by her twice without even a glance.
When they finally decided to come back to my husband and daughter, they had run out of food and gave them hummus plates, while those in front of them and behind had been given a choice. Exhausted and now only 3.5 hours to Paris we all just tried to go to sleep.
We landed and disembarked and prayed our return flight would be more pleasant. Upon arriving in my favorite city, outside my home city of NYC of course, we were greeted by the beautiful staff at The Plaza Athénée. So lovely, and beyond helpful. They had put multiple bouquets of flowers and balloons in the suite for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. They went above and beyond to make us feel at home and the kids feel special. So much so that we thought about how short our trip was and decided to give ourselves an extra day. So on the phone I got with La Compagnie.
First issue — it took me 3 tries to get an answer. Each time the automated system picked up, I was told I would be answered by the next representative, and would then be disconnected after 15 minutes of being on hold. On the third try after 4 minutes, I received a live representative. I explained to her that I would like to switch my return flight from the 12th to the 13th. She informed me this wasn’t possible, and offered me the 15th. I explained that was too many days to add on and inquired if it was possible to cancel the flight and receive a refund. I was then informed that it was possible, however she could not tell me how long it would take to receive the refund, and offered me a voucher for the 4 tickets. I explained that would not work for me as I could not say when we would be returning to Paris and would prefer the refund. She continued to argue that she recommended the voucher, to which I said I had already told her that it wasn’t in my best interest and if a refund was possible, as she had already said it was, I would like the refund. She continued to argue and I told her that I would speak to my husband and hung up the phone, assuming I still had a flight on the 12th and accepted that a change wasn’t going to happen.
The following morning, my husband received an email that our request for a refund had been received and would be processed in a few weeks. Panic ensued, and we started to scramble to find flights. We booked on Air France, which I have flown multiple times and been very happy with and booked for the 13th. That same evening we received info about our upcoming flight on La Compagnie. My husband by this point is livid. I called again, and they said there was nothing they could offer me, but to take my flight or put it on stand by. I explained that I had received an email stating that my request had been received and was processing, after which we had booked new flights. She very nastily informed me that I wasn’t understanding or listening to her and that all they could offer me was to put the tickets on standby (so now a voucher wasn’t even an option). I told her that I would be sending the email to Amex and hung up.
As I’ve said before, I’ve flown around the world, I’ve rearranged flights, cancelled flights, and I have never encountered a situation quiet like this. In my opinion La Compagnie does not exhibit the merit of labeling their flights business class. The seats fully recline, that is true. They are a bit more spacious, but to truly be considered Business Class, the service should be spectacular and the customer experience should be exemplary, and it was far from. The customer service on the phone, was even worse. As a customer, I would expect a little more respect, and I would also expect some integrity on their part, for which they showed me neither. So in good conscience I cannot recommend this airline, and would stress anyone looking to book with them to exhibit caution and not to be surprised if they are unprofessional or downright nasty.
An enormous thank you to the staff at The Plaza Athénée. They accommodated our switch immediately and helped rearrange cars and room dates with ease. Such a beautiful and pleasant place to stay! Highly recommend them and sorry to have to say goodbye, but I will be back! Come back for part 2 of this adventure!