An unexpected apology from Air France

(I wrote this a long time ago but forgot to hit the publish button)

I flew from Paris to Bucharest yesterday on Air France. The plane was late coming in and the turnaround made us about an hour behind schedule.

I didn’t really think much of it, hour long delays are within a reasonable period. Perhaps if there was a connecting flight and I got stuck… But it was just a direct flight.
I wouldn’t say the delay was transparent, it made me hustle from the airport (crawl in traffic is more like it), check into the hotel, and jump on another taxi to the University for the presentation.

So, here’s the point. I received an email today from Air France apologizing for the hour delay; letting me know it isn’t standard and they are crediting my account 2,000 miles.

Let me assure you that the delay you experienced on this occasion was not in
line with the high levels of service we aim to provide.

As gesture of genuine regret for the inconvenience suffered on this occasion, I
am pleased to inform you that 2000 Miles will be credited to your Flying Blue
account within the next few days.
-Air France Customer Support Email

That’s pretty cool. I have never gotten such an email or apology from American Airlines, Northwest, Southwest, British Airlines, or any other that I’ve used.

Thanks A.F.

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Hello Budapest, Romania!

It’s so great to be here in Budapest…

I’m in Romania today to give a lecture to a university group on using Yahoo! Boss for building search applications. Imagine my embarrassment when I noticed the PowerPoint was filled with Budapest instead of Bucharest… arggggh. I feel like a nincompoop.

I tried to prepare for the trip by watching Romanian films. Unfortunately the selection on Netflix was a depressing story about two college women arranging for a illegal abortion during the communist era, a documentary about prostitution at the train station, and a vignette of peasant life in the country before the revolution. Somehow Netflix overlooked the happy go-lucky, feel good movie of the Romanian century.

First impressions of Bucharest

  • Some stretches reminded me of the area between Seattle and Canada, minus the mountains.
  • There are lots of stray dogs and my hotel room has a blurry painting of an angry dog running at me.
  • Everyone speaks perfect English, as well as 5 other languages. Americans speak English and Loud English.
  • There’s a big mixture of architecture. I’ve seen abandoned shacks, Victorian, Romanesque, Classicism, Communist Block, Las Vegas Glitz, and Hollywood ala Sunset and Vine.
  • While everyone tells me there’s no vegetarian food and to look for Indian restaurants, I had a great meal at an old communist soup kitchen type place. I had a sauerkraut/potato soup, polenta, marinated mushrooms, and a rice/vegetable dish. It wasn’t fancy, but tasted great, was inexpensive, and great fun. I’d go back in a minute.
  • There are way too many cars. It reminds me of the song “nobody walks in L.A.” by the Missing Persons.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of the city tomorrow and the art museums on Saturday. Now, if I could only stop calling it Budapest…

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