Air France — Boarding Passes
My wife and I recently traveled to Beirut, Lebanon from Poltava, Ukraine. We booked our travel on Air France/KLM that routed us from Boryspil Airport to Paris and then to Beirut. The first leg of the trip to Beirut was on an actual Air France plane. The second leg from Paris to Beirut was via an Air France partner, Middle Eastern Airlines (MEA). There were no problems with the first two legs of the trip.
Before our scheduled return while in Beirut, we were invited by Air France via e-mail to check in for our return flights on-line. We tried, but were blocked and the default message simply told us that the flight from Beirut and Paris required in person check-in at the Airport counter.
When we checked in with MEA, they gave us boarding passes for the Beirut to Paris leg, but advised us that Air France and their other partner, Ukrainian International Airlines, would not allow them to give us seat assignments and boarding passes for the Paris to Boryspil leg of the return flight. We were advised that we were required to check-in at the gate in Paris.
This seemed unusual, but at the time, we did not think this would be a problem. Quite the contrary, it became a very big problem upon arrival at the Paris airport.
Even though we were screened twice through security at the Beirut airport and just walked off an international airliner, we were required once again to go through security screening before being allowed to walk to our next departure gate. The problem was that no one is allowed through security without a "BOARDING PASS." Even though we just walked off a plane and were trying to make our connecting flight and were in "No Man's Land" in the Paris airport, we were not allowed to leave the area to go the main ticket counter to get a Boarding Pass and we were not allowed to proceed to the gate to get our boarding passes and board our connecting flight to Boryspil, Ukraine.
Security in Paris treated us like we were Terrorists or illegal aliens. Our bags were searched, not just X-Rayed, and my wife was required to enter a closed inspection stall where she was required to disrobe and was searched by a female security agent.
We tried in vein to explain that the Airline in Beirut refused to issue us boarding passes for the connecting flight when we checked-in at the Beirut airport, but security did not care. After being detained for approximately 45 minutes, my complaints finally got the attention of a supervisor. She allowed me to use my baggage claim receipt as proof that we were connecting to Boryspil through Paris and that we should be allowed to clear security and proceed to the departure gate.
Air France and their partner Ukrainian International are the two companies that directed MEA not to issue us Boarding Passes in Beirut for the connecting flight to Ukraine. They knew, or should have known that we would be presented with great difficulty trying to get though security in Paris without Boarding Passes for our connecting flight, but they did not care and did not offer any apology for the delay and humiliation and rude treatment we suffered at the hands of the purposely rude and unhelpful French security staff in Paris.
When we finally got to the departure gate, the gate agent working for Ukrainian International was rude, nasty and of course she was French.
At this time, I cannot recommend using Air France and their partner Ukrainian International. The flight crews were good, but their check in system is a nightmare and the gate agents for Ukrainian International just make you want to scream and punch them in the nose because of their condescending and totally rude and unhelpful attitudes. Perhaps it is because they are French, but I am not sure.
On a positive note, the gate agents to MEA in Paris were totally helpful and a joy to deal with. The agents in Beirut for MEA felt very bad about not being able to issue boarding passes for the connecting flights, but Air France and Ukrainian International would not permit them to do so.
I will not book through Air France or Ukrainian International in the future unless it is an emergency and they have the only flight going where I need to go.
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