French Pilot Strike Could Disrupt Travelers’ Plans Next Month

Apr 21, 2019

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Travelers flying on French airlines in early May could experience significant travel disruptions as a result of a possible pilot strike. The New York Times is reporting that the main union representing France’s commercial pilots, Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne, or SNPL, has threatened a week-long strike for the second week of May should a new transport law get passed by the French parliament.

SNPL fears the law will diminish its “powers of representation” by grouping the union with other large trade unions, thus making pilots vulnerable during negotiations with both employers and legislators.

In response, the SNPL has warned that if the legislation passes, it will lead a strike from May 6-11, leading to nationwide cancellations. Nationwide cancellations would not only have significant implications on air travel in France, but throughout Europe as well.

The following airlines would be impacted by the SNPL pilot strike:

  • Air France
  • Aigle Azur
  • Corsair
  • EasyJet
  • Vueling
  • XL Airways

How To Minimize The Effects of a Pilot Strike

First and foremost, travelers with itineraries on the carriers listed above should monitor the airline’s social media channels and website for updates.

In the event that the strike occurs, airlines will likely offer waivers. At the moment, French airlines have yet to issue any travel waivers but in the past, these waivers have included the option to postpone travel through a date set by the airline at no additional cost. However, it’s important to take note of how canceled itineraries will be refunded.

TOPSHOT - Air France employees stage a demonstration during a two-day strike on April 11, 2018 in front of headquarters of Air France at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy, north of Paris. / AFP PHOTO / Philippe LOPEZ (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Air France employees participating in a strike in early 2018 (Image by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

In the event that airlines do not provide passengers with enough advanced notice in order to take advantage of a travel waiver, there are still a few steps travelers can take to minimize disruptions. One of those steps is to utilize the trip cancellation or disruption coverage benefits offered by many credit cards. Passengers should call their credit card companies to find out if they’ll reimburse incidental expenses as a result of a strike. It is also a good idea to plan ahead and book refundable accommodations, as well as research alternate routes to/from your destination.

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Featured image by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy

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