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Air Travel (domestic)

France - Air Travel (domestic)

There used to be several small airlines operating domestic air services in France, although these have been absorbed by Air France, the national airline. There are some small operators that offer limited services such as Airlinair. One of the main issues with domestic flights within France is that many people prefer the TGV trains. It is only recently that the airlines have begun to compete. Budget airlines such as Ryanair also offer domestic flights within France and Air France are due to increase the number of domestic flights available at a low cost.

The cost is another issue which is important. The introduction of more budget services will be welcomed. The standard cost of a domestic flight in France is much higher than similar flights which are offered in the UK and the US. It is rare to find discounted fares, although if you travel between November and March this is considered to be ‘off-peak’ and is therefore cheaper. Some discounted fares are available if you book in advance or if you are able to find a rate for family bookings. Specific budget airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair are a no-frills service, so you will have to pay extra if you want to have drinks or meals on board but the prices of the flights are often less than half that of a standard domestic flight.

Air France operates between a number of the country’s main airports such as Paris, Bordeaux, Nice and Lyon, although services to and from smaller regional airports tend to be only to and from Paris. Domestic flights from one airport to another in France rarely take more than around an hour and a half, making them a great timesaver although increased security measures can mean longer waiting times while at the airport before you are able to board the flight.

The standards of the domestic flights are generally very good. As these are short flights then it depends on the time of day if you are offered meals on-board and some airlines will charge extra for this. Air France operates a number of services through other airlines and as a result there may not be the same amount of extras available onboard but the facilities that are available will be made clear to you when you book your flight.

Finding the flight that you want is easy as all the airline websites have search and booking facilities. If you are taking a domestic flight from Paris you will find that many of them leave from Paris Orly airport, rather than the major international airport of Charles de Gaulle. The airport is smaller than Charles de Gaulle and this is helpful for shorter waiting times.

There are more than 80 flights each day offered by La Navette, flying from Paris to airports such as Toulouse, Nice and Bordeaux. At busy times of day flights are often scheduled every 15 or 30 minutes. Some airlines do offer a flexible ticket system where you can take an earlier flight if you arrive at the airport early and a seat is available.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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