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Flights chaos as talks continue

Air France expects just two out of five flights – what you should do if you are affected and what compensation is due

AIR disruption sparked by the Air France pilots’ strike worsened today as the French national carrier said it expected only two out of five planes to fly.

Air France said it had sent out 600,000 texts and emails to passengers warning of the disruption and promised anyone whose flight was cancelled would receive compensation and a voucher for a free flight.

However, talks into the night last night failed to reach agreement on the airline’s plans to redeploy pilots and crew to its Transavia low-cost sister company. Airline chief executive Frédéric Gagey said: “The negotiations continue.”

He added that they understood the pilots’ concerns and had tried to reassure them that Transavia was not going to take over Air France, but was intended to help the company compete against other low-cost airlines which dominated the market.

Unions say failure to reach agreement could see virtually all Air France planes stuck on the ground tomorrow as pilots drafted in to replace striking crew must take rest days. However, the company denies this and says the situation could ease considerably.

Provincial airports have been heavily impacted by the strike, with Nice losing 70% of its Air France flights yesterday and an expected 80% today. Lyon and Toulouse were similarly badly hit, although Nice and Toulouse passengers had the possibility of switching to easyJet, which had organised extra flights to take advantage of the dispute.

What to do if your
flight is cancelled
Air France said passengers would be contacted before their flight left and, for long-distance flights, would be warned if their connection was affected. Long-distance passengers would have the choice of continuing to France where airline staff would try to organise alternative flights or onward travel. If they chose not to travel their accommodation costs may be met by the airline.

The company said passengers whose flights were cancelled would receive compensation of €250 for domestic flights, €400 for European flights and €600 for long-distance flights (although this is a generalisation, as it will abide by EU legislation and a Paris-London flight, for example, may not be a distance eligible for the €400 compensation).

If there was no alternative flight available it would fully reimburse the cost of the ticket, no matter what category. It added that passengers would also get a voucher for a free Air France or KLM flight, valid for a year.

Passengers could cancel or reschedule flights online at in the “View / modify my bookings” section,
• on Air France’s mobile websites,
• via Twitter with @AirfranceFR or on,
• by calling the freephone number 0800 240 260 (accessible from France and the French overseas departments) or by calling +33 1 57 02 10 58 (from abroad)

Meanwhile, flights in and out of London City Airport have been badly affected this morning by fog, with delays of up to five hours possible. The Met Office said dense fog - visibility is down to 100m in places - was covering East Anglia, south east England and the East Midlands.

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