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How to claim compensation over French rail strike disruption

How to claim compensation over French rail strike disruption
Photos: AFP
France's railway system has been hit by massive strike action that is still ongoing - but if your train has been delayed or cancelled you can at least claim your money back. Here's how.

If your train has been cancelled or you choose not to travel because of strike action, you can claim 100 percent of the ticket price back. This applies to all services, even the budget tickets which are normally non refundable, on all strike days.

READ ALSO French strikes cause widespread disruption across transport networks

SNCF, as well as Eurostar and international operators such as Lyria and Thalys, are also offering free exchange of tickets to a later travel date.

If you booked online you can request your refund at the SNCF website, or you can go to any SNCF station and request the refund at the ticket kiosk or at one of the self-service points. You can also use the SNCF helpline – 36 35.

In order to make a claim you will need your ticket, plus your booking reference if you booked online.

If you are travelling by Eurosta, Lyria or Thalys the same applies – make your compensation application on their website.

If your SNCF  train was still running but was delayed you can also claim compensation, although not for the full amount.

The compensation levels vary depending on which service you are on, so people with a cheaper Ouigo ticket can only claim compensation if the train is more than an hour late, but the TGV and InOui services offer compensation for any train that is more than 30 minutes later arriving.

Compensation is paid at 25 percent of the ticket prices for delays between 30 minutes and two hours, 50 percent for delays of two to three hours and 75 percent for delays of three hours or more.

Refunds can be requested via SNCF's website here

Refunds for cancellations should be in you account with 48 hours, say SNCF – although if you have booked using a non French bank account you would need to add the normal transfer time of your bank for international payments on to that. Refunds for delays will be processed within five working days.

If you racked up any extra expenses because of the strike – an unplanned hotel stay or paying out for another mode of transport – you may also be able to claim compensation from SNCF as the operator does run a fund for such claims at times of major disruption, although you would also be able to claim this on most types of travel insurance.


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