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Travel Disrupted in France by Protestors

March 29, 2006

Travel Disrupted in France by Protestors
March 29, 2006 – Air, rail and bus travel was disrupted in France on Tuesday when more than 1 million people protested a proposed change in labor laws. Even the Eiffel Tower was forced to shut down.

The U.S. State Department issued a public announcement on France, advising Americans in the country to "avoid areas where crowds are expected to gather, to exercise caution, particularly during evening."

A third of the nation’s flights were canceled with roughly 15 percent of flights canceled at Lyon airport, 30 percent at Rennes airport and 10 percent in Toulouse.

Also, a third of all fast and regional trains and 60 percent of regular trains were canceled nationally. Service was guaranteed on only half of Paris-area trains during rush hour. Eurostar trains to Britain and other trains to Belgium and the Netherlands unaffected.

USA Today reported that public transport was disrupted in 70 percent of France’s cities, with service reduced by as much as half in cities including Nice, Marseille and Lille. In Bordeaux, more than half of buses and 39 percent of trams canceled; in Rennes and Clermont-Ferrand, 70 percent of buses canceled. In Paris, subways ran at about 70 percent of normal, buses at two-thirds of normal, half of commuter trains canceled.

According to Travel Weekly, EasyJet canceled 44 flights on Tuesday and is allowing customers to either rebook travel to the same destination within 30 days or to cancel their booked flights and receive a full refund.

Ryanair is allowing customers on the affected flights to either cancel the ticket for a full refund on the unused portion or rebook the ticket with no change fee for travel through April 7 or from April 25 through 30. Tickets must be rebooked by March 29.

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