Monday, October 31, 2011

Traveler's Alert: Air Frances Cancels 15% of Flights

Air France will still be feeling the effect of a five-day strike by flight attendants that will end on November 2, resulting in a cancellation of roughly 15% of its flights on Monday (October 31). To keep as many planes in the air as possible in the middle of a holiday period, the airline has limited short-haul flights to 100 passengers on Saturday and Sunday so that numbers of flight attendants could comply with safety requirements. Unfortunately, that also meant that many flights were flying "light," while passengers were being turned away.

One of the union's main grievances is a plan by Air France to reduce flight attendant staffing on long-haul flights.

COMMENT: Disruptions at the main Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, were limited to an extent by advance warning that 20% of around 1,000 daily flights would be canceled.

Unlike Australia's Qantas Airways, Air France was much more systematic in its effort to satisfy its passengers, whereas Qantas permitted anger with the unions to drive its abrupt shutdown of its entire fleet on Saturday (October 29). As reported earlier, an emergency arbitration hearing has forced Qantas back into the air while negotiations with the unions continue.

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