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Air France Advice

On June 15th I have an Air France flight booked from Edinburgh to Paris for the second leg of my husband and I's very first trip to Europe. The recent strikes have me anxious about our flight to the point that I would almost rather just book another flight. Since we booked through Expedia canceling and taking that cancellation fee is just not an option and changing the flight within Air France doesn't solve the problem. I am considering booking another flight through a separate airline (which is still cheaper than the fee to cancel) to have as a fall back. Is this completely unreasonable considering there have been no actual strike dates announced for June? What would you do in this situation?

I know this is all speculation and no one can know for sure but I'm just in need of some input. I'd appreciate your thoughts!

Posted by
1785 posts

With most flights now days being non-cancellable I am not sure what you can do.
You can book another non-cancellable flight, sure but that is one pricey back up plan.
I suppose booking a flight that is cancellable would be one alternative if you can float the extra money on a credit card but then if forced to use that flight it is going to be a costly flight since the cancellable rates are outrageous.

My understanding of French strikes is they are meant to disrupt but not halt the business, so strikes are unlike in the US where no one goes to work. They are planned out so a flight may not run one day but then has the crew and people for the next day, etc...
Point is you will be able to catch a flight even if the strike continues, it just might mean a day later or so.
I am not sure how often AF runs that flight, but that is something I would look into.
If a couple of times a day I would not worry but if only once every 3 days that would give me pause.
Inconvenient sure, but if the goal is just to get there I would not stress that as much.
If/when your flight is announced as cancelled or rescheduled you should be give the opportunity with AF to cancel without charge.
They won't let you before then.
The compensation for missed flights on the airline's cause is much more generous in Europe than in the US.
United screwed me once in Chicago (as I am sure they have many) and offered no compensation.

Ideally you can have a hotel/lodging booking that is flexible, those are easier to come by so if you cannot make it the first night you are not paying for lodging you are not using.

I am flying with them on July 2nd so also monitoring everything but not doing anything at this time.
Even though you are earlier in mid-June so at higher risk I wouldn't do anything just yet if I were you.

Posted by
6997 posts

You're willing to lose the whole value of the original flight (times two) based on "just in case" speculation? You will always have that option (and they'll have to rebook you for free if they cancel the flight), so why electively pay this huge penalty upfront? No, I would not do this (it is an unreasonable option). Hang tight and wait until you have better information to work with than you currently do. The most I would do is just to have a Plan B ready, but not do anything right now.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for your thoughts! I know it's a costly solution but, outside of my original flight flying as planned, it is the cheapest. I am waiting it out for now but I am such a planner that the possibility of further strikes really bothers me. I am a worrier and the peace of mind of having a fall back is what had me tempted. Like I said, this is our first and dream trip and the thought of losing time in Paris (the second of three 5 day legs) kills me. I know I need to work on my ability to just go with it!

Posted by
5818 posts

Here is the AIG Travel Guard strike list:
Assuming that it is current, it doesn't seem to include Air France work actions.

Travel Guard offers coverage for trip cancellation and interruption if
a trip is delayed, cancelled or interrupted due to a sanctioned union
labor strike for an airline or other travel supplier, as long as the
coverage effective date is prior to when the strike is foreseeable. At
Travel Guard, we consider a strike foreseeable on the date labor union
members vote to approve a strike.

Airline Coverage

Coming into the summer months when the majority of Americans take
their vacation, the news has been filled with headlines about the
airline industry and how they have been struggling with customer
service and other issues lately. The airline industry is not as secure
as it used to be. One main reason to get insurance is to protect
yourself in case the airlines will not or can not honor your ticket
for reasons such as a strike. Depending on the policy, insurance could
cover trip cancellations, trip interruptions, trip delays, or missed
connections. When you file a claim, the policy could help cover your
financial losses or additional expenses incurred.

If an airline can not or will not honor your pre-purchased ticket in
the event of an strike, generally travel insurance will cover you as
long as you booked your flight and purchased the insurance before the
unexpected strike dates were announced. This is why it is important to
buy trip insurance as soon as you book your flight. If a strike is
announced (or expected) before you purchase your insurance, you will
be ineligible for travel insurance coverage for that scenario.

Posted by
6997 posts

When you travel, you have to go with the flow. There is no such thing as perfection and even "dream trips" come with some minor flukes because it's still "life". Things happen and decisions get made without having perfect information. Too much stressing and worrying never changes the outcome. I don't see how buying brand new tickets could be the cheapest alternative. You have to add the value of the foregone tickets to calculate the total loss. Air France is still on the hook for getting you to Paris no matter what, so why not wait until the flights actually get cancelled? We're still almost a month away. I say to just chill and wait. Even if you have to buy on-the-spot alternative tickets, you'll still be able to salvage the value that Air France owes you for the two tickets. If you cancel on your own preemptively, you'll basically forego that.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you! Whether or not the cost of the original tickets could be salvaged in the case of a strike cancellation is what I wasn't thinking of. If we were to be refunded the original amount then buying new tickets now would definitely not be the cheapest option. I'm not crazy about the idea of trying to book a new flight while already on the trip (and in the Scottish Highlands) but I have to try not to worry about that. Last summer we had a connecting flight to Chicago canceled upon our arrival in Columbus, Ohio which ended with us renting a car and driving the rest of the way in the middle of the night. Everything turned out ok so I have at least a bit of experience going with the flow but I can't say it was the most pleasant experience!

Posted by
2372 posts

One consideration for rescheduled or cancelled flights is if you have to be somewhere on a certain day for a meeting, tour, and things of that nature. What is interesting to me is I've flown all over hell and creation doing government work and have never missed an appointment, and I always flew in the day before. Delays, yes, but never bad enough to miss the meeting.

Posted by
451 posts

In the past, I am not sure this is still valid. It used to be if you miss a flight segment, the airline would cancel your entire reservation. It was part of their cartage agreement (fine print) when you bought the ticket. Just something to verify. This far out I would wait and keep calling Air France and looking at possibly some frequent flyer forums that may have info.

Posted by
12053 posts

I'd advise you not to worry (free advice, right?). I'm traveling in June. Air France doesn't seem to announce as far ahead as SCNF. When they do, they seem to follow the same days as the train strikes. As I recall June 17 is a strike day so I'm taking a train from Bordeaux to Paris on SCNF June 16th. If I'm remembering correctly, the 15th will not be a strike day for SCNF and so likely not for Air France either.

Here's the SCNF strike calendar:

This one includes Air France announced days:

I did also notice some days don't line up exactly with the train schedule. I'm flying from Paris to Toulouse on the 4th, because the 3rd is a train strike day. I guess I'll find out if Air France decides to strike that day.

Posted by
50 posts

They've been quiet since the ceo resigned and a new ceo was named at Air France a couple of weeks ago- can't recall her name at the moment. I'm hoping they'll try another round of negotiations with the new ceo before jumping right back into announcing more strikes.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much for all of your input. It's definitely been interesting to follow along with the news and learn about the French and their strikes!

Posted by
1 posts

Air France Unions have announced a 4 DAY STRIKE starting June 23rd. We are scheduled out of Boston to Paris on the 24th.
Just called Air France and were told that they do not have any notices as of yet. Were told to wait until notified(emailed).

Posted by
21 posts

My wife and I were victims of an AF cancellation due to "weather" on June 1 from Amsterdam to Marseille. We were notified 3 hours prior to our scheduled 12:30 PM departure. The sky was blue and sunny. No cancellations from other airlines, but many AF cancellations. AF automatically booked us for a flight the following day that got us in to Marseille at 10:20 PM, too late for us to make the 2 hour drive to a small hotel in the Luberon. My wife, who is French, called AF and was offered no alternatives. The AF agent suggested to my wife that we find another airline which I did. I found a 7:30 AM flight the next morning on EasyJet which worked flawlessly, although I had to hassle with changes to rental car and hotel reservations. When we arrived in Marseille my wife went up to an AF agent to request cancellation of our 1020 PM flight that night. The agent gave my wife a lot of crap and said that our return flight to Amsterdam a week later would be automatically cancelled because we were cancelling the flight, until my wife pointed out to them that it was AF who cancelled our flight and that and AF agent suggested we take another airline. The agent promised to fix things. A few days later I checked our return flight booking on the AF Web site and saw that we were marked as no shows on the June 2 flight and to call AF. My wife did so and the agent said that our return flight which I had already paid for with baggage fees and reserved seats would be cancelled. He said that we should call AF in the US because I purchased my tickets from AF in the US which I did. After several attempts and a long time on hold I succeeded in getting new tickets issued for the June 8 return to Amsterdam. When we tried to check in they AF wanted 80 euro mores for checked baggage that I had already paid for. Fortunately, I had my receipts with me, but we had to see three more AF agents at the Marseille airport before the matter could be resolved. While on the plan the AF cabin staff was the most sullen looking group that I have ever seen. The flight left nearly an hour late. Never a smile from anyone and the captain was never seen and rarely heard from, unlike our experience with KLM from Athens to Athens a week previously. I will try to get compensation from AF as I have done in the past, but I don't think anything will adequately compensate us for the stress and wasted time that we experienced. I believe that AF and its unions are corrupt and the best thing that could happen is for AF to go out of business and start over and pay their employees a fair wage. A French pharmacist friend told me that AF pilots are paid USD 25,000 a month for working only 18 hours a week and they want more money! I will NEVER fly AF again! There are better more reliable alternatives.

Posted by
776 posts

Compared to what misery I've received from Delta, United and American, I'll stick with Air France.

Posted by
60 posts

As you can see, experiences with Air France are like most all airlines .
We just got back from a week in Paris, flew non stop to Paris from Houston. Our flight was flawless, we sat directly across from the stewards seat. She was happy, and talked with us about PAris. We have always flown A/F and always will , we have nothing but praise for their professional attitudes.

Service has always been great. While we were in Paris there was strike headlines all over, nothing ever came of it. I reckon (sorry for the Texas drawl) you will have to do like we all do, take your best shot at it,
and no matter what , make your international travel a awesome trip no matter what issues you face.

Happy Travels !