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Update: French air traffic controllers have called off their strike for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, however the strike will move forward for Thursday.
In the words of the poet Yogi Berra, it’s like déjà vu all over again. For the third time in three weeks, French air traffic controllers (ATC) are going on strike.
The precise timing and impact of this strike will be announced Wednesday, but the ATC strike will affect air traffic across Europe this Friday-Sunday (June 3-5) and again Tuesday, June 14. These four days will mark days #49-52 that French ATC have gone on strike since 2009.
Et Tu, Pilots?
As if those strikes weren’t enough, Air France’s pilots voted yesterday to strike over proposed salary adjustments. While a date hasn’t been set, the union-approved proposal calls for a “walkout exceeding six days.”
Impact on Air Travel
In just the past three months, ATC strikes across Europe have caused “over 2,500 cancellations among [Airlines For Europe] members and more than one million minutes of delay,” according to an Airlines For Europe statement. In 2015, 28 days of ATC strikes reportedly affected more than 10,000 flights.
All of these strikes — and threats of further strikes — come just before France is scheduled to host the European soccer championship (June 10 through July 10) and as many Americans are planning to travel to Europe over the summer.
Want to take action on this situation? Ryanair has launched a petition to “Keep Europe’s Skies Open,” asking the European Commission to ban French ATC from being able to go on strike.
Airline Travel Waivers
If you might be impacted by the ATC strike, check with the airline you booked with to see if it will allow free rebooking:
A one-time ticketing fee will be waived for travel changes if you:
Any customer due to fly to or from any French airport as well as Madrid and Barcelona on Thursday June 2, Friday June 3, Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5, regardless of whether their flight is operating or not can bring their flight forward up to Wednesday, June 1 or move it back to a date up to and including Friday, 10 June. All rebookings are subject to availability.
BA will publish its revised flight schedule for Thursday, June 2 on Wednesday afternoon.
If your flight (or other covered transportation) is delayed, make sure to check the benefits on the credit card you used to book the flight. If you used a Citi Prestige card to pay for your ticket, for example, you may be covered for “up to $500 of necessary expenses” for a flight delay of just three hours.
Will you be affected by these French strikes?
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.