It could be another painful weekend in air travel with Air France’s ground crews announcing a strike at Paris’s two main airports on Saturday that coincides with one of the busiest days of the summer holiday travel season.
The one potential bit of good news is that passengers flying out of Charles de Gaulle airport on Friday or Saturday can skip the joy of lugging their bags to the airport as long as they check them in at the Air France office in Paris’s 7th arrondissement (Aerogare des Invalides) a day prior to take off.
It won’t cost anything extra and the luggage is supposed to be taken to the airport and loaded onto the correct plane without passengers having to do anything else besides show up. It could be mean a bit less time in line on a busy day weekend, that’s going to be even more hectic due to the striking workers.
Apparently the industrial action has nothing to do with the programme's timing, or as an Air France spokesperson told financial website Challenges: “the program was put into place before the unions announced their strike.”
And if it works out well, the system could be set up for other high-traffic weekends when the lines to check in your bags can mean many, many lost minutes.
This is not exactly revolutionary baggage management. Air France has tested it out before for some flights headed to Africa and it’s already widely available in Switzerland, where passengers flying out of Berne, Zurich and Geneva can drop their bags off at any one of 50 train stations for transport to the airport.
As an interesting historical note, in the 1970s the Air France office in the 7th arrondissement was the spot where passengers had to drop their bags off before taking a bus out the airfield at Orly. This new initiative could be a return to the good old days.