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Strike Over, Air France Resumes Flights

The airline is slowly returning to normal but some passengers should anticipate delays.

Thursday’s Air France strike involving the carrier’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff has ended, and as of today, the carrier’s operations are slowly returning back to normal, according to a statement on its website.

The one-day strike disrupted the travel schedules of thousands of Air France passengers all over the world and will likely continue to do so for the next day or two, according to Michael Holtz, the owner of SmartFlyer, a global travel consultancy specializing in airlines.

“It usually takes an airline 24 to 48 hours to get back on track after a strike,” he said.

In the case of Air France, since the carrier anticipated the strike because workers had made clear that they would take action, Mr. Holtz said that it likely held most of its planes in Paris, its home base. “Since the planes are sitting in Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, outbound flights from Paris should be up and running today or within the next day,” he said.

In-bound flights to Paris from long-haul destinations, however, could still be delayed for 48 hours, Mr. Holtz said, because the planes need to fly from Paris to reach those destinations in order to operate the routes. “Air France has a flight from Bangkok to Paris,” he said. “The plane needs to reach Bangkok from Paris, which takes more than ten hours before it can fly the scheduled route.”

In fact, the carrier’s flight on that route is canceled today.

What should Air France’s customers do if the strike has affected them?

Passengers who have an Air France ticket issued on or before Feb. 19, for a flight operated by Air France or its low-cost carrier Joon for travel on Feb. 22, can postpone their trip free of charge. If they choose to postpone their trip beyond Feb. 27, change their destination or origin or cancel their trip all-together, Air France will issue a travel voucher that will be valid for one year; this voucher can be used for travel on Air France, Joon, KLM or Hop, another low-cost carrier, and is non-refundable.

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But passengers who had their flight canceled because of the strike or had a flight delay of more than five hours because of it have the option to get a refund on their tickets. If they bought their ticket directly from Air France, they should go to the Refund section on the airline’s site to apply for one. But according to Air France’s site, if they bought their ticket through a travel agent or another source, they should seek a refund directly from their point of sale.

Fliers can find out about their rights as declared by the European Parliament and Council of the European Union by visiting the Assistance and Compensation section on the airline’s site.


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