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Ferries, planes, trains: Eight updates for travel to and from France

Airlines boost their winter US offering, Brittany Ferries sees surge in bookings and changes to EasyJet’s luggage rules

We take a look at some of the travel news affecting journeys around and from France this week Pic: Rebius / David Peter Robinson / Shutterstock

We take a look at some of the travel news affecting journeys in, to and from France this week.

Air France offers up to 122 US flights per week following border reopening 

The US reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from countries including the EU and the UK on Monday (November 8).

Read more: Air France ramps up flights to US as borders reopen

In reaction to this, Air France has already increased its transatlantic offering, and is planning to “gradually grow its capacity” throughout the winter.

Passengers will be able to travel to New York between three and five times a day, as well as Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle – a route suspended during the pandemic – Houston, Washington DC, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.

The airline hopes to get back to 90% of its 2019 flights, increasing from 50% in the summer.

A recap of US travel rules 

Travellers to the US must be fully vaccinated and must present a negative Covid test taken in the 72 hours before their arrival in the country. 

Children under 18 do not need to be fully vaccinated but must take a test if they are over two years of age. 

Unvaccinated travellers who are exempt from vaccination rules and allowed to enter the US – including those who are allergic to the vaccines – must take a test within the 24 hours before their arrival. 

Airlines must make a record of the contact details of all passengers to facilitate contact tracing. 

EasyJet changes baggage policy 

EasyJet has changed its policy on hand luggage for people who made a booking on or after November 3.

Passengers can still take a small cabin bag on board for free, but bigger items such as wheelie suitcases will cost them between £5.99 and £32.99. This price includes speedy boarding.

The airline has said that the average charge will be £15, which is more than double the £7 that travellers previously had to pay to place larger cabin bags in the hold. This ‘hands free’ option will no longer be available, although anyone who has already paid for it will still be able to use it.

Previously, it was only Up Front and Extra Legroom passengers, as well as EasyJet Plus cardholders and Flexi Fare customers who could take bigger bags on board with them. 

These passengers can continue to do so at no extra cost.

The wheelie case option is currently only available in the EasyJet app, but will be added to the website “in the coming weeks.”

Brittany Ferries sees high demand for summer 2022 

Brittany Ferries has reported a sharp increase in bookings for summer 2022, following two summer seasons heavily affected by the Covid pandemic.

In October, the company received 190,000 bookings for next year, 48% more than were registered in October 2019 for summer 2020.

UK-France reservations were up 40%, while demand for crossings between France and Ireland had risen by 234%.

This comes after Brittany Ferries received a €45million grant from the French government to help it keep going after a cash-flow crisis caused by Covid and Brexit.

Read more: France gives exceptional €45m aid to troubled Brittany Ferries

“The horizon is finally beginning to brighten and I am delighted by the increase in bookings for next year’s season,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries’ managing director.

Around 982,000 passengers normally travel with Brittany Ferries each summer, but in 2020 and 2021, the figure only reached 235,000 and 245,000 respectively.

Toulouse-Barcelona TGV will not resume in 2022

The direct TGV line running between Toulouse and Barcelona will not restart in 2022. 

The service – run jointly by SNCF and Renfe – had enabled travellers to move between the two cities in 3h12 since 2013, but was paused during the Covid pandemic. 

Even before the crisis, the line had not attracted sufficient passenger numbers, partly because of its unsociable departure and return times. In summer 2017, only 55,000 people had used the service. 

Now that the line has been indefinitely suspended, passengers can still travel from Toulouse to Barcelona, but must change in Narbonne, bringing the journey time up to 3h30 or 3h40.

CDG Express airport train project delayed

Paris’ CDG Express airport rail link will not come into service until late 2026 or early 2027 having been delayed by the pandemic and work related to the 2024 Olympics.

The CDG Express, which will get passengers from central Paris to Charles de Gaulle Airport within 20 minutes and run every 15 minutes between 05:00 and midnight, was first conceived as a project in 2019.

In all the project will cost €2.2billion, with €537million going directly into improving the RER B line.

Transavia offers flights between Paris and Ivalo, Finland

Transavia is launching a winter route between Paris-Orly and Ivalo in Finland, with tickets already on sale.

The airline will offer one weekly flight to the Lapland village from January 8 until March 12, 2022 enabling holidaymakers to enjoy its huge pine forests and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.

Ivalo joins Transavia’s other winter destinations, which include Hurghada in Egypt, the Jordanian capital of Amman, Rome, Krakov, Berlin, Stockholm and Cape Verde. 

Air Corsica opens bookings for summer 2022

Air Corsica has begun selling tickets for spring and summer 2022, but its offering is still reduced in comparison to pre-pandemic times. 

Passengers can fly from Ajaccio, Bastia, Calvi and Figari to Paris-Orly, Marseille, Nice, Lyon, Toulon, Toulouse, Clermont-Ferrand and Dole.

Currently, Air Corsica’s only foreign destination is Charleroi in Belgium, while before Covid it also offered flights to cities including London and Porto.

Airbus completes first long-haul formation flight

Airbus has completed the first long-haul demonstration of a formation flight as part of fello’fly, a project aimed at reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. 

One Airbus A350 took off from Toulouse for Montreal on Tuesday, November 9, with another following three kilometres behind. 

Airbus says that this saved more than six tonnes of CO2 for the second plane, which was able to use less energy as it travelled in the wake of the first and avoided areas of turbulence.

This trial confirms that more than 5% of fuel can be saved on long-haul flights carried out in this formation.

In September 2020, Airbus signed an agreement with Frenchbee and SAS Scandinavian Airlines, along with French and UK national air traffic organisations, through which they promised to explore ways in which flights could be organised in order to create formations on a regular basis.

For this plan to become a reality, Airbus must first obtain the permission of the relevant authorities.

Related stories 

EU’s new entry and exit systems problematic, say UK travel chiefs

Autumn demand high for gîtes, Airbnb’s and overseas trips from France

Ferries, planes, trains: 10 updates for travel to and within France

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