French national strike causes Eurostar & flight cancellations

The French national strike has resulted in thousands of trains and hundreds of flights to be cancelled.

Eurostar
(c) flickr/Hugh Llewelyn

UPDATE: Tuesday 17th December

French traffic control staff walkout again forcing airlines to cancel more flights to and from France. Ryanair, British Airways, easyJet and Air France are among the airlines who have been forced to cancel flights.

A National Strike in France began at 7pm local time on Monday and is set to continue until 6am on Wednesday (December 18).

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Thousands of trains and hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the French national strike that began last week. In a statement, Eurostar advised passengers to check the status of their train before travelling to their departure station.

The air-traffic controllers strike meant hundreds of flights had to be cancelled between Thursday and Saturday, and another walk-out is being staged from 7pm local time on Monday to 6am on Wednesday.

British Airways has cancelled four French flights – round-trips from Heathrow to Paris and Toulouse – on Monday evening.

Around 800,000 people protested all over France this week in the largest mass strike in over 20 years. French workers are protesting against planned pension reforms.

So far 80 Eurostar services between London and France, Belgium and the Netherlands have been cancelled affecting more than 50,000 passengers.

Today Eurostar has released a warning that between 9th and 12th December their services will be severely disrupted. Around 30,000 passengers are affected.

Seven trains departing London St Pancras for Paris Gare du Nord and another two departing for Brussels Midi/Zuid were pre-emptively cancelled on Monday (9 December), as well as 11 inbound services.

NOTE: Passengers whose trains are cancelled can exchange or refund their tickets within 60 days. Eurostar though has warned exchanges will be “very limited” and has advised passengers to travel outside the strike period, if possible.

The Foreign Office is warning of “cancellations and severe delays to train, Metro, bus and tram services”. 

“International rail services such as those to the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany may also be affected. Industrial action at ports may cause delays and cancellations to some cross-Channel ferry services.”

However, the only ferry disruptions were on the  DFDS services and these were weather-related on the Newhaven-Dieppe crossing and a technical failure that hit some overnight ferries between Dover and Calais.

French public transport operator RATP has warned travellers to “avoid public transport”, adding:

“Due to planned industrial action, there are severe traffic delays on all RATP networks”.