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Up to 33% of flights cancelled as French air traffic controllers call May Day strike

France's civil aviation authority has instructed airports to cancel flights on May 1st, with flight schedules at some airports reduced by at least a third, as air traffic controllers plan strike action

Up to 33% of flights cancelled as French air traffic controllers call May Day strike

The next ‘day of action’ in the long-running French pension protests will be Monday, May 1st, but most unions are not calling for strikes – and are instead trying to get as many people on the streets as possible in marches and demos.

However, air traffic controllers have been taking part in rolling strikes, and the Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC) has warned that this will result in disruption from the evening of Sunday, April 30th to 6am on Tuesday, May 2nd.

In a statement, the DGAC said it had asked airlines running flights in and out of Paris-Orly, Marseille-Provence, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nantes, and Toulouse airports to reduce their flight schedules on May 1st by 33 percent.

Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Nice and Beauvais airports will cancel 25 percent of flights. 

It’s also possible that disruptions could hit ‘overflights’ – those flights that pass over French airspace during their journey.

Cancellation and compensation: How French strikes affect European flights

Anyone with a flight booked is advised to contact their airline for more details. 

So far it appears that services including trains – including the Eurostar – and French city public transport will run as normal on Monday. May 1st is a public holiday in France, and much of Europe. 

Demos and flowers: What to expect in France on May 1st 2023

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France’s SNCF announces October date for Christmas rail tickets sale

Mark your calendars, as French rail operators have announced that ticket sales for the Christmas holiday period will open soon.

France's SNCF announces October date for Christmas rail tickets sale

France’s national rail service, SNCF, announced on Friday that tickets for the Christmas period would go on sale starting October 4th. 

SNCF high-speed train tickets typically become available about three months in advance. As of Friday, for example, you could only book with the domestic TGV (high-speed train) service up until November 8th. 

TGV InOui (premium high-speed trains) tickets for the period of December 10th to January 9th will be available here

Intercité (classic) train tickets for the same period will be available here

Low-cost OuiGo tickets will be available for an even larger period, from December 10th to July 5th, and can be booked here

If you are unsure of which kind of train is suitable for your journey (or even just goes where you want it to go), check the SNCF website for further details on prices and itineraries. 

Eurostar tickets for the Christmas period are already on sale. 

What about the rest of the year?

If you want to book tickets from mid-January 2024 and onwards, you are going to have to wait for a little while (unless you are travelling on a OuiGo train). 

Sales for TGV InOui and Intercité services will open progressively for services between January 9th to February 9th. 

If however you want to book trains for the February school holidays, you set a reminder for November 15th, which is the date that tickets for TGV InOui and Intercité services will go on sale for the period of February 10th to March 24th.