Flight deals, ‘cockroaches on trains’: eight updates on travel to France

The new EasyJet Geneva-Newcastle route will open this winter

EasyJet has announced the launch of a seasonal service between Geneva and Newcastle this winter.

The flights will be available between December 10 and March 25, 2023, with two services per week.

Passengers will be able to travel on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

EasyJet will compete with Jet2 and TUI on this route.

The airline already flies from Geneva to Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Southampton.

The railway workers’ union denounces the unsanitary conditions of the Lyon-Paris train

A French rail union has criticized conditions on board Ouigo trains, saying they are unsanitary.

The CGT-Cheminots Lyon-Perrache branch published a statement co-signed by its counterparts in Bordeaux, Paris Montparnasse and Paris Gare de Lyon.

“With Ouigo trains, the reality is that we are no longer able to ensure decent travel conditions and guarantee that the trains are clean for passengers and, by extension, that working conditions are acceptable for railway workers” , did he declare.

The union said there had been reports of cockroaches, maggots, toilets out of order and air conditioning malfunctioning on some trains, particularly the 774 which runs from Lyon to Paris.

The poor cleanliness of the Ouigo trains is partly explained by the fact that there is less time to clean them.

“Over the course of a day, Ouigo trains cover many more kilometers than conventional TGVs,” said Abdelkader Bensadoun, CGT-Cheminots Lyon-Perrache secretary. BFM-TV.

“These trains are constantly traveling one way or another and they have very short breaks for maintenance.”

SNCF, owner of Ouigo, refuted the allegations.

The group says it is “surprised” by the words of the CGT, which “only fuel a controversy”.

“The problems have been identified, are already resolved or are in the process of being resolved. It’s not as bad as it is described,” SNCF said.

“For air conditioning, the reliability rate is currently 99%. That leaves 1%. In the event of a breakdown, bottles of water are distributed or passengers are moved to another car.

“As for the toilets, there are eight in a Ouigo train, so that leaves alternative solutions if some are closed.

SNCF is to meet with CGT representatives to discuss the issues.

Good, fair or insufficient: to what extent did you find the French trains clean? Tell us at [email protected]

The favorite holiday destinations of the French this summer

Malta proved to be the most popular destination for people traveling from France in July and August this year, according to a new study.

The survey, carried out by a travel agency Opodolooked at the countries or cities where the French have the most reservations over the summer period.

Porto was second, while the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, came fourth. Between them was Ajaccio in Corsica.

Other island cities to make the top 10 list were Bastia (Corsica) in eighth position and Palma de Mallorca in seventh position.

In France, 65% of French people head for the coast, according to an Ipsos survey made in June. Thus, 23% of French holidaymakers book holidays in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 20% in Occitania and 18% in New Aquitaine.

French trains are more often delayed than in the past

The punctuality of French trains has dropped considerably since 1954, when this data first became available, according to a new study by the Authority for Quality of Service in Transport (AQST).

The number of passengers also tripled over this period, while the French population only increased by 52%.

The frequency of delays varies according to the regions of France, Ile-de-France being multiplied by ten, long-distance lines quadrupled and regional trains multiplied by two.

The drop in punctuality of French rail services is partly explained by the aging of the network. For example, in many stations, the signaling system is not equipped to cope with the number of trains currently passing through.

The delays can also be attributed to an increasing number of trains running on the network: French lines are three times busier today than they were in 1954.

For safety reasons, trains must be kept at a certain distance from each other in case they have to stop suddenly, which can lead to bottlenecks. When a train is forced to brake, there is a ripple effect on the trains following it down the line.

Punctuality is also affected by the influx of passengers at stations, who are all trying to access the same service. When people block doors, take a long time to get on and off, and forget their bags, significant delays can occur.

In 1954, there were an average of 200 passengers on each train, while today there are 450.

Finally, the SNCF has drastically reduced its workforce since 1954, when 400,000 people worked for the operator. Now there are 150,000.

The fewer staff there are, the less well a service functions.

Heathrow passenger limits: Ryanair to add 500 flights to Stansted

Budget airline Ryanair has announced that it will add 500 flights from Stansted for the October mid-season holidays to compensate for the passenger number restrictions currently imposed by Heathrow Airport.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the extra flights would make room for 100,000 passengers who can no longer travel from Heathrow “hopelessly”.

This week Heathrow announced it would extend its current cap of 100,000 passengers per day for another six weeks until October 29 as staff shortages prevent the airport from meeting demand.

“While hopelessly Heathrow continues to mismanage air travel, Ryanair and London Stansted will continue to grow and deliver,” Mr O’Leary said.

The airport recently asked airlines to temporarily halt ticket sales for their scheduled flights to prevent terminals from being overwhelmed with passengers and disrupting services.

Read more: British Airways suspends sale of Heathrow-France tickets until August 15

Ryanair said it and Stansted had “more than enough staff to handle these additional flights during the mid-term autumn break”.

French destinations served from Heathrow include: Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Ajaccio and Geneva.

Ryanair flies to cities such as Nantes, Tours, Poitiers, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Brive, Bergerac, Toulouse, Nimes and Nice from Stansted.

Ryanair launches €20 promotional flights to three destinations from France

Ryanair is launching a post-summer promotional offer to three urban destinations from France: Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria) and Tangier (Morocco). Flights will start from €20, although the exact price depends on the day/time.

Offer ends September 5.

“We are delighted to offer our customers 45,000 seats from just €19.99 with over 240 routes to choose from,” said Dara Brady, Marketing Director of Ryanair.

Eurostar closes customer phone lines until end of August

Eurostar has closed its customer service phone lines until the end of the month so that its staff can deal with a backlog of booking queries and changes.

Eurostar bookings fell 95% in the wake of the Covid pandemic, but have since started to recover strongly, especially as UK airports struggle to cope with a surge in demand for passengers after the restriction.

A company spokesperson said MyLondon: “We have made efforts to add 52% more employees to our contact center in the last 12 months and we are making improvements to our digital tools to allow more customers to manage their needs quickly and easily online .

“In August, we will focus solely on online contacts. By doing so, we can respond to the existing backlog of inquiries and better prioritize urgent requests as they come in.

“If necessary, we will call customers directly. We plan to resume telephone contact and will update the schedule as soon as possible.”

Currently, customers who call customer service are prompted to use an online contact form.

Watchdog London TravelWatch said it was “concerned” by the company’s decision and that: “We will continue to liaise with Eurostar and encourage them to reopen their phone lines as soon as possible.”

Air France set to introduce Michelin star menus

Air France announces the launch of new starred menus created by French chefs Michel Roth and Anne-Sophie Pic for long-haul Première and Business passengers departing from Paris.

These menus will include seasonal products, vegetarian dishes, French red and white meats and sustainably caught fish.

Air France has also indicated that it is making it possible to pre-select meals before departure for Business passengers in order to reduce food waste.

It has also pledged to eliminate 90% of single-use plastic on board its planes by 2023.

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