Air France, South Korea and missing luggage

Man sitting on an airport

Flying… ugh. Honestly, I don’t love it. Do you?

Here’s my short adventure with Air France going to South Korea.

Barcelona airport Air France is auto-check-in only

So I get to Barcelona airport to start my 2 week trip to South Korea. As I get to the Air France counters a woman in the queue tells me I have to use the automatic machines, apparently everybody has to.

I don’t have much time, around 30/40 minutes before closing the check-in. It should be enough, I thought.

I takes me 20 minutes to get access to the check-in machine, due to the number of people trying to use them. Everybody is super slow and of course, no one is there to assist.

When I finally get my turn and scan my passport the machine says something like: I can’t read the passport. After entering my booking number ID the machine says information is missing and I need to go to the counter.

🤬 Argh! Really?

So I approach the same woman and tell her the issue, she then allows me to stand in the queue for the counter. Please mind you I’m a few minutes away from check-in to being closed and I’m starting to get nervous. I call over one of the workers walking the area to tell them what’s my flight number, they let me go through.

The interaction with the woman at the counter lasts for 3 minutes! That wasn’t so bad, why not let everybody use this? Oh yeah, to avoid having to hire people and paying them salaries. In any case, thank you to the woman at the counter for the speedy process.

“We’ve located your bag”

This is the email message I get once I land 14 hours later in Seoul. I don’t understand it but of course, I have a bad feeling. The email says my bag is on its way to Seoul. But I’m already in Seoul. I’m confused.

I wait in baggage claim until but my bag never appears. As I go to the counter at Seoul airport I’m already a little bit pissed. Way to start my trip.

In the queue, I hear how the woman in front of me is given some bad news. She has to wait 2 days to get the bag. Is that going to be my fate as well?

The man at the counter explains to me my bag will arrive in 5 hours and they’ll have it by midnight to my hotel. Yay! 🥳 Lucky.

After that I proceed as planned, I spend my day in Seoul and as I’m going to bed, around 11 pm, the hotel desk clerk calls my room (as requested when I told them my bag was coming later that day) to let me know it has arrived.

This could’ve been very bad but the customer service after the mistake was great. On the bright side (always look for a bright side!) I didn’t have to carry the heavy suitcase all the way to my hotel, they did it for me. I wonder if the same service would’ve been offered in Barcelona 🤔

Takeaways for Air France

  1. Please have more employees in Barcelona airport for a better user experience.
  2. Your email wasn’t very clear on the situation.
  3. Please have some sort of compensation when these things happen. What about a small seat upgrade? Special meal on the return flight? Priority boarding next time? That would be nice and would have the clients happier and willing to fly back with you.

I don’t think I’ll be flying with Air France again, if I can avoid it, when going to South Korea. I will try Korean Air (as I did in 2018) or Asiana Airlines, both have direct flights from Barcelona to Seoul.

Have you had any unpleasant experiences while flying?


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