In the wake of the horrifying United Airlines disaster, in which a paying passenger was seriously injured after being dragged by security from his seat, you'd think airlines would be on their best behavior. Alas, that hasn't been the case. (See here, here, and here.) Now, model Coco Rocha is sharing her own story about being the alleged victim of yet another case of flight overbooking.
The 28-year-old Canadian took to Instagram on Thursday morning to explain how flight attendants moved her from first class to economy — without providing a logical explanation. "Air France apparently overbooked my flight home from Paris today," she wrote. "They randomly picked me as the person who deserved to lose a seat. They said my options were to be kicked off the flight entirely or downgraded to economy - That didn't make much sense to me since if they have an economy seat, why do they need mine?"
The memo continues: "Still, I was the lucky paying passenger and my options were made clear by the staff. With a 2 year old baby waiting for me I picked the downgrade. I get no cash back from Air France for this fiasco, just some "credit towards a future flight" with them. So, I guess with this credit I can take my chances that this happens again, on a future @airfrance flight? No thanks." The mother of one concluded, "When will these airlines learn how to treat their paying customers!?"
If Rocha's side of the (as of now uncorroborated) story is indeed how the events unfolded, then the Air France's actions do not make any sense. While she still made it to her destination, the implication here is that the crew deemed somebody else more deserving of a first class seat than Rocha — who, remember paid for that seat. Not refunding the difference seems unfair as well.
Interestingly, Rocha is unusually familiar with the airline business. Not only has she travelled extensively working as a model, but her family works in the industry, as she told the New York Times in 2010. "My mother, Juanita, is an Air Canada flight attendant. My father, Trevor, and stepmother, Allana, both work in the airline industry. My 'auntie' Norah is a flight attendant, too. And my Uncle Stuart was a founder of Air Transat." She also noted in the piece that although flying is "second nature" to her, she doesn't necessarily like it. We can only imagine those feelings have intensified now.
We will update this post should Air France make a statement or Rocha add more commentary.