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Going to France? Airlines Announce Massive Flight Expansions Ahead of Olympics

Going to France? Airlines Announce Massive Flight Expansions Ahead of Olympics

BY GEORGE MWANGI Published on April 03, 2024 0 COMMENTS

 

Anyone interested in travel has likely visited France or has the country on their bucket list. France is famous worldwide for its attractions, including Paris, Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera), Versailles, vineyards, and the French Alps. The most recent data released by UN Tourism about international tourist arrivals found France was the world's most-visited country in 2022, with 79.4 million tourists. Meanwhile, a report by Euromonitor International reveals that Paris received 15.5 million international visitors in 2023, making it the world's fifth most visited city by international travelers.

 

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A plane flying over Paris | Photo: Getty Images

 

Tourism From North America

 

One reason behind France's high tourism numbers is its popularity among American and Canadian travelers. France received 3.1 million U.S. visitors in 2022, making it the fifth most-visited international destination by Americans after Mexico, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, France was the third most popular international destination for Canadians after the U.S. and Mexico in 2022. Visiting France is considered a rite of passage for many people, especially during the summer or through initiatives like semester abroad programs offered by many universities.

 



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A survey conducted by luxury tour operator Scott Dunn in February found that 34% of Americans plan to visit France in 2024, with 12% of those people visiting for the first time. Paris, Normandy, the Alps, Nice, and the French Riviera are the most in-demand destinations. The first two destinations are especially popular since they are hosting special events that will only occur in 2024: the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy on June 6 and the Summer Olympics in Paris from July 26 to August 11.

 

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A plane flying over the French Riviera | Photo: Getty Images

 

Nick Cunningham, Scott Dunn's Destination Manager for Europe, said about Americans' travel preferences in the report:

 

"While travelers are still flocking to the ever-popular city of Paris, many are gravitating towards the countryside, the French Riviera, and lesser-known wine regions."

 

The interest among North American travelers in visiting France can also be seen in data about flight searches. In February, Amadeus found a major rise in searches for flights to France ahead of the Paris Olympics. The U.S. and Canada were among the top five countries doing these flight searches. The Olympics have caused flight searches from the U.S. to Paris for travel dates between July 23 and August 15 to increase by 72% compared to the same dates in 2023. Other French cities also benefit from sports tourism: Lille and Lyon saw a 118% increase in flight searches from the U.S., while Marseille witnessed a 70% rise. 

 

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A plane flying over Marseille | Photo: French Moments

 

Which Airlines and Destinations Have Direct Flights From North America?

 

France’s popularity as a travel destination means that several Canadian, French, and American carriers offer nonstop flights between North America and France. Most transatlantic flights take passengers to airports in Paris and Nice, with several airlines also serving other French destinations. Many international visitors to France also connect through other countries, often to take advantage of lower fares or because they are visiting multiple European countries on one trip.  

 

The following U.S. and Canadian cities have nonstop flights to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on Air France or a North American carrier:

 

  • Canada: Montréal (YUL), Ottawa (YOW), Québec City (YQB), Toronto (YYZ), and Vancouver (YVR)
  • Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US: Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), and Washington, D.C. (IAD)
  • Midwest US: Chicago (ORD), Cincinnati (CVG), Detroit (DTW), and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)
  • Southern US: Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Miami (MIA), and Raleigh/Durham (RDU)
  • Western US: Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), Phoenix (PHX), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Francisco (SFO), and Seattle (SEA)

 

Photo: Michael Hai | AeroXplorer

 

Paris’ world-famous attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, are at the top of many people’s travel bucket lists. The city’s appeal creates enough demand for flights from all these cities, with some of the above airports having few transatlantic flights otherwise. Air France alone serves five Canadian and 18 U.S. destinations. The carrier plans to offer 210 and 60 weekly flights to the U.S. and Canada this summer, respectively.

 

The other French airports with nonstop service from North America are the following:

 

 

Photo: Ricardo Mungarro | AeroXplorer

 

What Will Flights Be Like for Summer 2024?

 

Air France will fly to the above destinations during the busy summer season. The carrier’s routes serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and Québec City are seasonal, most likely because of the cold weather in the two cities leading to little demand to visit during the winter. On March 18, Air France announced a 9% increase in its long-haul capacity, with flights to 85 international destinations.

 



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Air France will make these changes to its North American network this summer:

 

 

Photo: Daniel Mena | AeroXplorer

 

Travelers attending the Cannes Film Festival or the Monaco Grand Prix in May will receive two special flights. Air France will fly passengers from Los Angeles to Nice on May 13 and back to Los Angeles on May 27 using its Airbus A350-900 aircraft with updated cabins. The Cannes Film Festival will occur from May 14 to 25, while the Monaco Formula 1 race will occur on May 26. Air France chose Los Angeles as the U.S. destination for these special flights due to high passenger demand, with the city being a major hub for the film and sports industries.

 

Meanwhile, travelers working in advertising and related fields can visit the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes from June 17 to 21. Air France will fly passengers from New York-JFK to Nice on June 15 and 16 using Airbus A350 planes with the newest cabins. Return flights will operate on June 20 and 21. New York is a global center for the advertising industry, also known as Madison Avenue.

 

Photo: Jacob Smith | AeroXplorer

 

Multiple North American carriers also announced schedule changes to accommodate higher travel demand during the summer. These carriers include Air Canada, American AirlinesDelta Air Lines, and United Airlines. These are the schedule changes:

 

 

Passengers can book flights to France on the airline’s website or through various flight booking websites. Anyone planning to visit France should buy their tickets in advance, especially with flight search data showing that many other people also have the same idea. This summer should be memorable for all types of travelers, even if you are not interested in sports. 

 



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George Mwangi
Aviation writer based in Washington, DC. Visited 21 countries on thousands of miles of flights.

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