Pilots for France's flagship airline carrier, Air France, have begun a week long strike this week, in an attempt to combat looming job-outsourcing, and wage decreases, as the company begins to develop its low-cost subsidiary company, Transavia.
Following in the footsteps of rival carrier, Lufthansa, and in an attempt to compete with the many low-cost alternative airlines, like Ryanair and EasyJet, Air France has planned to double the size of its budget airline fleet, a move that would effectively cut costs, but at the expense of employee salaries and benefits.
By Tuesday, September 16, Air France had estimated that a minimum 60% of all flights will be cancelled, with a potential increase if the strike persists throughout the remainder of the week. Already this week, 85,000 passengers have had to face flight cancellations or delays, with Air France sending email and text notifications to more than 520,000 passengers scheduled with flight reservations for upcoming days, inviting them to delay or cancel trips, offering full refunds and compensation for the hassle.
Most of the delays caused by the strike are isolated within the borders of France, the most heavily effected airports being Lyon, Nice, and Marseille, though many flights to neighboring countries have been cancelled as well. Currently, Air France executives are doing everything in their power to maintain as many reservations as possible, while simultaneously bargaining with pilot unions to bring an end to the strike, and return to business as usual.
Until an agreement can be met between pilots and Air France, travelers can expect heavy delays or cancellations when traveling within France by airline. If you're planning to travel via domestic flight, consider taking advantage of Auto Europe's guarantee of the best rates, and pick up a car rental in Paris, avoiding airline travel woes altogether as you cruise through the French countryside, undeterred, on a schedule that suits you best.