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New winter air routes, bigger ferry: Eight France travel updates

SNCF attempts to solve the problem of forgotten bags, the end of €10 Ryanair tickets and more 

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week Pic: BearFotos | Shutterstock

We look at the stories affecting travel to, from and around France this week. 

Firstly, note that this weekend is expected to be a busy one for travel within France as people set off for a long weekend away with Monday being the Assomption public holiday.

Heavy traffic forecast for this weekend 

People planning to drive on French motorways this weekend should be aware that traffic conditions are expected to be “very difficult” across the country tomorrow (August 13).

Today, state traffic forecaster Bison Futé states that conditions will be “difficult” in Ile-de-France and along the Mediterranean coast in terms of departures from major urban centres. 

In terms of return journeys, it will be “difficult” across the whole country and “very difficult” along the Mediterranean coast. 

Tomorrow, conditions will be “very difficult” in both directions and “extremely difficult” along the Mediterranean coast. 

Congestion will ease on Sunday (August 14), returning to normal across the whole country apart from the south east. The traffic will be “difficult” along the Mediterranean coast in both directions and in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in terms of return journeys.

Monday (August 15) is a public holiday, but traffic should be flowing normally everywhere in the country apart from Ile-de-France, where it is expected to be “difficult” to get back into the capital.

You can find out more about traffic predictions on the Bison Futé website, or through our article below. 

Read more: Tough weekend on roads in France as forecaster issues black alert 

Read more: Why GPS apps will not always suggest the fastest route in France

British Airways adds Gatwick-France winter routes 

British Airways has announced two French routes as part of its Gatwick winter schedule. 

Passengers will be able to travel from the London airport to Geneva and Lyon from Saturday, December 3 until Saturday, March 25, 2023.

It will also be possible to visit Salzburg in Austria from Monday, October 31. 

BA has already extended its Gatwick-Nice flights into the winter season this year. Further details of the flight times and days are expected shortly.

Ryanair boss warns the era of €10 tickets is over 

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has said that the era of €10 flights is coming to an end and that this type of ticket will not be available “in the coming years”.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr O’Leary announced that, as well as losing the lowest fares, average ticket prices will rise by €10 from €40 to €50 over the next five years, to help the airline cope with the increasing cost of kerosene.

"There's no doubt that at the lower end of the marketplace, our really cheap promotional fares – the one euro fares, the €0.99 fares, even the €9.99 fares – I think you will not see those fares for the next number of years," he said.

"We think people will continue to fly frequently. But I think people are going to become much more price sensitive and therefore my view of life is that people will trade down in their many millions,” he added.

Mr O’Leary also said that Ryanair is investing in more ecologically friendly planes, but that this would not have as big an impact as the move to electric cars. 

Commercial flights make up 2.4% of global CO2 emissions, but Mr O’Leary argued that road transport and shipping were more polluting overall.

SNCF issues QR code labels to reduce amount of lost luggage

SNCF has reported that 13 million bags and other luggage were forgotten in its stations and trains in 2021, and has come up with a plan for reuniting these possessions with their owners. 

The operator said that it lost 620,000 minutes to lost luggage in 2021 because when a bag is left in a station or train carriage the authorities must normally intervene to make sure that is does not pose a bomb threat. 

Despite the prevalence of lost bags, Voyages SNCF CEO Alain Krakovitch has said that: “One passenger in two baulks at putting a label on their cases, either out of negligence or to preserve their anonymity.” 

SNCF has therefore begun handing out labels containing a QR code which can be stuck to luggage. Passengers can then scan the QR code and enter their details privately, so that if they do lose their bag, only SNCF workers will be able to see who it belongs to. 

The scheme has been trialled on the Atlantic and southwestern network since July 2 to determine whether it will work.

Corsica Ferries to add new, bigger boat to fleet from October 

Corsica Ferries has announced that it will be adding a fourteenth ship, which is both bigger and more environmentally friendly than its existing vessels, to its fleet from October. 

The Corsica Victoria will be able to carry 450 vehicles and 2,400 passengers, and will be “more respectful of the environmental standards” which will come into effect in 2023, requiring each ship to reduce its CO2 emissions.

The ship is 170 metres long, which means that it will not have issues accessing ports such as Bastia. 

“The boat needed to be big enough to meet our needs, but small enough to enable us to use it on all routes. In Bastia, for example, beyond 180 metres there is no guarantee of access to the port,” said Pierre Mattei, the president of Corsica Ferries. 

Corsica Victoria will serve all Corsican ports, as well as Menorca, Mallorca and Sardinia.

Strike to affect passengers at Lyon Airport this weekend 

A baggage-handler strike is set to affect people passing through the Aéroport Lyon Saint-Exupéry this weekend, which is set to be busy as a result of the Assomption public holiday on Monday (August 15). 

The strike concerns workers employed by Hub Safe, who are expected to strike from today (August 12) until Monday inclusive, calling for better wages. 

Workers are also asking for a bonus to be paid during ADPL (activité partielle de longue durée or long-duration reduced activity) periods, in which firms can cut their staff’s hours.

Unions say that this strike action will be observed by “100%” of the workers they represent.

Transavia extends Brest-Porto route into the winter 

Low-cost Air France-KLM subsidiary Transavia has extended its Brest-Porto route into the winter season. 

The airline currently operates the route twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, and this will now remain the same until March 2023. 

Transavia is the only airline to run flights between the two cities.

Instagram account shares unusual sights on Paris métro 

The weird and wonderful sights of Paris’ métro system are being collected and shared with the public on an Instagram account called Les Gens dans le Métro (People on the Métro).

The page was created in 2016 by Gaëtan, 38, who is originally from Bourgogne, and who soon after a move to Paris realised that the métro was a “playground”. 

Over the years, he has gained 356,000 followers, and accepts images sent to him by other underground passengers. 

Les Gens dans le Métro contains photos of a man setting up a barbecue by a ticket machine, another with his bare foot resting on the hand rail, another playing the bagpipes and a cat napping on a station barrier.

Related articles 

Covid-19: Rules for travel to and from France

Call for Ile-de-France residents to assist in public transport study

A new ferry route, more US flights and six other France travel updates

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