Air France ordered to pay P1.3 million

For a vacation that became a nightmare

November 8, 2009

By Rey E. Requejo

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ordered Air France to pay a Filipino traveler P1.3 million for breach of contract, a failure that caused his overseas trip to become an ordeal instead of a pleasurable one.

The Court’s First Division denied Air France’s petition to reverse a Makati court’s decision finding for the traveler, John Anthony de Camilis, and the Court of Appeals’ decision affirming it.

“Both the Regional Trial Court and the [appeals court] have competently ruled on the issue of respondent’s entitlement to damages and attorney’s fees, as they properly laid down both the factual and legal bases for their respective decisions,” Associate Justice Renato Corona said.

“We see no reason to disturb their findings.”

De Camilis said he went on a pilgrimage to Europe with a group of Filipinos—in what year it wasn’t clear—but Air France’s agent in Paris failed to inform him that he needed a transit visa to Moscow. As a result, he was denied entry to the Russian capital and endured a humiliating interrogation by the police.

He also complained that another Air France agent, a Ms. Soeyesol, rudely denied his request to contact his travel companions to inform them that he was being sent back to Paris from Moscow with a police escort.

Soeyesol even reported him as a security threat, resulting in his being further questioned by the police in Paris and Rome, and canceled his flight coupons for the rest of his trip.

Air France’s agents in Rome also refused to honor his confirmed flight to Paris for his connecting flight to Manila.

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