Friday, May 22, 2009

Ground Air France

Were you thinking of flying into or out of France this summer? If you are, I would advise you either not to fly at the weekend, or use a company that is NOT Air France.

Just for a change, we are to endure yet another strike. This time it's the pilots and they plan to do this on the weekends between 10 July to 3 August. Mind you, they've only indicated that they intend to strike. If their demands are met in the next two months, they may deign to withdraw the threat.

What demands? you may ask. More pay, better security, fewer hours, longer tea-break, higher overnight stay standards, 'personal assistant' at every airport, nicer luggage, comfier seats? No, none of that. Well, they are very well paid and have already taken much action for the hours they work so it's neither of those sticky issues.

No, what they want is to have a specific union representation. Yes, you read that right. According to new rules, unions have to represent 10% of total employees, but the pilots only make up 5% of Air France, so they will no longer have their own voice.

I can understand that this is a major blow and should be rectified somehow, but threatening to sabotage the vacation time of blameless passengers is NOT the way to do it. I hardly think many passengers will be sympathetic to their demands, either. If they were striking their way out of filthy mucky working conditions or 5-min tea breaks or crappy airline luggage or unattractive cabin staff one could understand it.

But more union power? I don't think so!

I am not too worried as I hardly ever travel on Air France, and certainly not to the UK. I always take Eurostar and SNCF. By the way, did you know that you can reserve Eurostar tickets on the SNCF website now, at 3 months in advance too? Well played both companies for getting their act together and making passenger bookings and thus lives easier.

I used to have to wait to make the Eurostar reservations which were only open 2 months in advance and so lose out on the cheapest SNCF tickets which came on sale 3 months in advance. This year I've saved 100Eurs on summer transport tickets. Am I happy? You bet!

So beware Air France this summer, and if it's not them, it'll be the air traffic controllers and if it's not them it'll be the baggage handlers and if it's not them it'll be the ground staff. In fact, it's a brave person who opts to fly in July and August; one who enjoys living on the edge in a high-risk environment. It's a bit too much for me. I'm all for a quiet life, a low carbon-footprint and more than 15kg of luggage.

Fingers crossed that SNCF don't let me down...

1 comment:

  1. I'll be incoming by air in July, but NOT on Air France. We're taking the dreaded RyanAir to Girona and driving in from Catalunya.


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