Police Pepper Spray Air France Employees

Air France strikes are rarely worth covering. On any given day of course there’s a threat of a strike. They’re French. That’s what they do.

While much of the Air France KLM business has performed well, though not as well as peers, mainline Air France managed just a 1% operating margin in the fourth quarter. That’s despite holding labor costs constant. They have a revenue problem, and labor groups aren’t happy that they don’t have a cost problem too.

About half the mainline Air France schedule was dumped today due to a one day strike of cabin crew, pilots and ground staff despite guaranteeing that 75% of their flights would operate. Without enough cabin crew some flights that did operate capped the number of passengers onboard.

Copyright: radututa / 123RF Stock Photo

Things got a bit out of control today as well.

French riot police fired pepper spray at angry Air France employees who tried to storm a terminal at Paris’ main airport Thursday amid a strike over pay that has grounded flights.

Hundreds of noisy Air France staff demonstrated at the French airlines’ headquarters at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris’ largest, brandishing flares, French tricolor flags and posters.

Around 50 staff protesters got past police to enter one of airport’s terminals, where they marched and set off horns before leaving.

Of course that’s downright civilized compared to some carriers — when employees protest Pakistan International Airlines police use rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was in CDG today when more than 30 vans with Riot police arrive and entered terminal 2E with Riot police while there was chanting going on. I was a little concerned with all the riot police and the chanting, I was just trying to by Laduree Macaroons to take to the office as an apology for breaking the exit door last night. (that is an entirely different story). By the way they love those Macaroons, eyes light up.

  2. Why don’t the lazy and unhappy Air France workers just stay home for the day if they want to go out on strike?

    Why even show up at the airport? Nobody wants to see them or hear what they have to say.

  3. @William C – Presuming your question is not rhetorical, a strike is vastly more effective if the strikers are protesting publicly at the airport, preferably (from their perspective) while disrupting operations as much as possible. They feel that the more of a PITA they are, the more likely they become to have their demands met.

  4. @WilliamC .. totally agree!
    Strikes are also the main reason I switched from Lufthansa some years ago to non-unionized gulf carriers with bosses who actually care of my time and itineraries.

  5. Perhaps the whole European society has a pattern of rewarding agitating, entitled mobs.
    Thank the Lord we would never…. Oh, never mind.

  6. Because I’m a bleeding heart commie, I usually support the labor end of these disputes… but even for me, there’s something unsettling about seeing people who are supposed to be in charge of my safety brandishing torches and storming an airport like it’s the Bastille prison.

  7. Hm. Terminal 1 is looking better. Anyway, my regret is that, since their very long strike several (4?) years ago, AF upgrade space (O) has dried up, and they have not been competitive on price TATL. I don’t sense this is good for them in the long term. I like AF, but they aren’t really competing.

  8. I wished I could have done this … on a cdg-lax leg in J one time , just to get the FA’s to come around one time once before we hit Montana

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