Record Snowfall Disrupts Travel in Paris: What to Do If This Happens to You

Recent changes in weather have significantly impacted tourism as well as routine life in Paris and its suburbs recently. For several days in a row, tourists and visitors were turned away from seeing the Eiffel Tower. This is due to the several inches of snow Paris had received in the last month or so.

Travel on the roads is scarce as authorities in the area are urging motorists to stay where they are. Above-ground public transportation for the city has come to a sudden halt. More snow accumulated outside of the city as trams and other modes of transport failed to stay on schedule.

Over 2000 people became stranded on a highway smothered in a mixture of fallen snow turned to ice and snowflakes. Extractions of as little as 900 motorists were only expected to commence today.

Commuters were expressing a cocktail of anger and concern for the authorities’ failure to make a timely public announcement as to worsening driving conditions and road closures.

Due to impassable road conditions, motorists who left work around 5 pm on Tuesday were forced to find shelter and warmth until rescue or an improved driving environment.

According to reports from regional traffic authorities, a record-breaking traffic jam saw the roadways gridlocked extending more than 450 miles in length.

Public officials in affected areas began opening shelters in 46 separate locations. Approximately 700 individuals found shelter from the frigid weather in train stations at both Montparnasse and Austerlitz.

The de-icing of planes and runways have halted flights out of Orly and Charles de Gaulle airport.
The recent cold snap follows on the heels of what was, according to some, severe spring-like weather with accompanied regional flooding.

If you find yourself in a position where you have made travel plans to a destination where the weather has made your trip impassable, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation according to experts.

The first and foremost is to discuss with a travel agent what your travel insurance stipulations are. It’s important because you will want to get the details about how to recoup prepaid costs. Generally, travel insurance covers the unexpected, therefore, you may be covered in the following situations:

  • In the event of cancellation due to washed out roadways
  • If there is a mandatory evacuation as a result of a hurricane
  • You need medical assistance in a time of weather related injury
  • You missed flights due to cancellations or delays because of inclement weather

Second, in the case of flight cancellation due to weather; a large number of airlines will seek to help find alternate travel if they cancel your flight for a reason that is within their control. However, they are not expected to assist if flights are canceled due to reasons beyond their control. Make certain to keep safe information regarding the passengers right to compensation, so you will know who to contact to get the help you need.

To make travel easier and more exclusive, you could avoid commercial airlines altogether and travel via jet charter , which may help to alleviate the burden of dealing with airline regulation inconsistencies.

Third, if you book accommodation at a hotel that is associated with a travelers association and you purchased a travel package like an all-inclusive trip, they will typically have a policy in place that may help to either refund a portion of or transfer your accommodation to another affiliated facility. Additionally, if you prepay with your credit card, the card may offer some protection, but it can be costly to make use of this option.

It’s imperative that even prior to booking your travel plans you research the destinations climate patterns, to stay somewhat abreast of what type weather-related scenario could impact your travel. Although, in the case of travel to Paris, the residents of the city weren’t prepared for the devastation of these storms.

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