Saturday, October 29, 2011

Traveler's Alert: Air France Cancels One in Five Flights Due to Five-Day Strike

Air France was forced to cancel roughly one in five flights earlier today (October 29) as a five-day strike by flight attendants went into effect; wider delays and cancellations are also possible. A spokeswoman for the airline said it aimed to ensure that 80% of the carrier's 1,000 daily flights are staffed; however, the reduction will still have a dramatic impact on passengers.

In a statement posted on its website (http://www.airfrance.com), the carrier said that it had canceled TEN long-haul flights to destinations such as New York, Tokyo, Montreal, Abu Dhabi as well as cities in West Africa. The statement also indicated that other last-minute cancellations and delays could occur.

COMMENT: The strike is scheduled to last until at least November 2. One of the grievances of flight attendants involves a plan to reduce staffing on long-haul flights.

Tuesday, November 1 is a public holiday in France and many people take Monday off to extend the weekend break. It also falls during the mid-term school holidays.

Air France-KLM, Europe's largest airline when measured by revenue, was formed by the merger in 2004 of Air France and Dutch carrier KLM. The industrial action concerns only the French side of the operation.

Another major global airline, Australia's Qantas Airways, grounded its entire fleet earlier today (October 29) INDEFINITELY. See my earlier posting on Qantas' announcement.

Travelers scheduled to depart on Air France flights in coming days should contact the airline as soon as possible to determine if their outbound flights will be affected.

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