FlightAware Discussions

France bans short domestic flights

It was one of the longest debates in the history of the French parliament - but now it has voted in favor of a new climate protection law: Domestic flights will be banned, provided the destination can also be easily reached by TGV.

Original story in German:

That’s just good ol’ protectionism against cheap air carriers from EU (AFAIK most of them backed by Germany funding). Make France Great Again… good for them.

Doesn’t look much like that to me:

The TGV network has routes up to Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne.
Wonder if these are impacted as well as a consequence

That will certainly have a negative impact on business travel. Who would want to spend 2½ hours on a train rather than 30 minutes in the air?

That part of AirFrance needed capital injection anyway, because of smaller competitors. So France politicians decided that instead of spending money there, better to ban everyone’s flights and support TGV (that is in economical trouble too with all the travel bans). The cheapest flights companies are not French:

  • AirBaltic.
  • Air Berlin.
  • EasyJet.
  • Germanwings.
  • Norwegian.
  • Ryanair.
  • Wizz Air.

It’s all politics. When you shut down economy for a year and ban the US tourists from bringing money into the country…

Waiting times inside airports and security checks are at the minimum 1-1/2 to 2 hours. You need to be at the gate at least 30 minutes in advance, even for short flights. And usually the short haul waiting areas are dumps.

My experience with France: I traveled last year (October 2020) trough the short haul part of Charles de Gaulle, coming from international arrivals side (I was going US to Italy) and that side was packed, no seats to sit down, no distancing for CORONA, airplanes packed at full seating.

I must have been fortunate. There was no waiting at security at 6:30 am on a Saturday. My KLM flight from MRS to AMS took a bit over 3 hours total - ½ hour in the terminal and 2½ hours on the plane. (I had no baggage or carry-on.) That was in 2019 and the airports are not as busy now.

Those days sometimes you cannot pass security in 30 minutes, for local flights. Sometimes you get lucky, at smaller airports like the one where I live.
KLM states that check-in closes 40 minutes ahead of a Europe flight. If you have no luggage you can cut it close, but that’s not what most of the people do.


The regular opening hours of the airport check-in desks and the baggage drop-off points at most airports are from at least 2 hours (Europe) and 3 hours (intercontinental) before scheduled departure; the closing times at most airports are 40 minutes (Europe) or 60 minutes (intercontinental) before scheduled departure.

Due to possible waiting times we recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.

But as far as I know, none of those offer Domestic flights and the ban only covers domestic flights.
The only carriers I can find offering domestic flights are all French.

  • Air France
  • La Compagnie
  • Transavia France
  • Corsair International

Maybe it helps with the decision if this or that business trip is really necessary by aircraft?

Beside that most of the people forget the additional time to/from the airport and the fact that you have to be earlier on the airport.
A train can be reached right before departure, that’s not working for aircraft.
Finally the fewest business trips end at the airport far away from the city center.

I made an example some time ago. If i would need to go to Berlin (middle of the city) the time from door to door is the same for train and flight.
And i can work in the train for 3-4 hours continously.

There will be still business trips requiring a flight. But the country can be closer to zero-emission.

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Maybe not as busy but the delays are greater and predicted to get worse:

Perhaps it is a US thing, but 50% to 70% of my business meetings are at an airport conference room. Folks fly in, meet, perhaps stay at the airport hotel overnight then fly out the next day. No rental car needed. I do not consider environmental factors when traveling. Time is everything! That said, US trains are noisy, dirty and slow compared to trains in the EU. When I travel in the EU (several times annually) it is either by car or air. I’ve found that cars are usually as fast as trains for shorter trips. I avoid trains even if they are less costly.

I’m in the UK but suspect it depends on what sort of business you are in.
All of my overseas business meetings involve driving between 50 to 100 miles to an airport, flying to another airport 25 to 50 miles from the meeting, collecting a rental car, driving to a hotel a few miles from the meeting and then finally to the meeting itself at the customer or supplier’s premises. The actual airborne time is usually insignificant compared to the rest.

Yes, everyone’s situation is different. My last travel for a meeting in the EU was from Nice (NCE) to Marseilles (MRS) about 160 km by air and 195 km by road. IIRC train took about 2½ hours or a bit more. I chartered a jet that took only 45 minutes. Flying was a no brainer. I was there and back in the same afternoon. No hotel, no rental car, cost effective.

Maybe, yes

On my business trips we always meet at the partner where we want to meet with.
It’s either them to us or we to them.

Then you are travelling either on routes which are not that busy or outside business hours.
Between Frankfurt and Berin you can get anything between 4 and 9 hours

Just checked Google Maps where we have ground transportation for Europe.

Frankfurt main railway station - Berlin main railway station:
Car: 4:52 hours (without any traffic jam)
Train: 3:52 hours (ICE no train change)
Aircraft: 55 Minutes

But if you add all required times from/to airport and the waiting time, it doesn not beat the train

But beside talking about minutes/hours, the question is if this business trip is really needed or can it be simply done via Internet Conference.

There are business trips where you have to be on site. But i have the feeling that at least 50% can be avoided by using modern connectivity (at least in our company with > 50.000 employees).
Meanwhile our management tries to learn from the situation about our future of travel, because the business is better running than ever without all these cost intensive business trips.