National strikes in France will cause major travel disruptions for holidaymakers travelling to and from the country. The strikes are due to begin on December 4th and continue until December 8th. Unions across France have joined together to protest against pension plans for public sector workers. Industrial action is expected to affect planes, trains, buses and metro services; Paris’ own public transport services will also be affected.
Eurostar’s railway service has cancelled 78 trains – disrupting travel for more than 50,000 passengers. The majority of cancellations will be across services to and from Paris, but there will also be some disruptions on services to Brussels and Amsterdam. The national train operator SNCF is encouraging customers to ‘privilege other modes of travel’ due to the disruption caused by the industrial action.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised holidaymakers to ‘check services before travelling’ as disruptions are highly likely.
The strikes are also expected to affect airline services with air traffic controllers walking out between 4th and 8th of December – journeys to and from France as well as overflights will be disrupted. According to The Local France, around 20 per cent of flights will be cancelled.
easyJet is among one of the airlines expecting delays and cancellations due to the industrial action – and are currently encouraging passengers to leave plenty of time before flights.
British Airways flights from or through Paris will also be affected – BA are offering customers flexible booking policy for flights between the 5th and 7th December.
France is a popular destination for Britons during the festive period. If you have planned to go to Christmas markets and are due to travel make sure you check how this might affect your journey.
If you have been affected by train cancellations you are entitled to a full refund or have the option to postpone your journey. You will also be able to postpone your trip and travel from 9th December onwards if you have booked to travel on services still running during the strike. If you are booked to travel on scheduled strike days – train companies will be offering free cancellation – if you decide you no longer want to go on your trip.
Contact your airline if you are due to travel to from or within Paris to make alternative arrangements or postpone your trip. If your pre-booked flight is delayed or cancelled due to the strike action, your airline is responsible for re-booking you on another flight at no extra cost – or offering you an alternative. If you have not been offered alternative transport within the standard 12-hour or 24-hour period you may be covered to cancel your holiday under trip disruption – this may also cover any additional costs you may have incurred such as food and refreshments.