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Au Revoir? Air France Exits Minneapolis for 2023, Cutting Nonstop Flight to Paris

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It appears the days of Air France flying nonstop from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to its hub in Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) are over – at least for now.

Air France has been a fixture in the midwestern hub for nearly a decade and had been scheduled to resume seasonal service in May. But on Monday, Air France's nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Paris was zeroed out from the schedule altogether. In its place, Delta is adding a second daily flight to Paris through the summer and into fall 2023.

Air France did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Delta spokesperson confirmed the airline was adding another flight to Paris, starting April 30 on an Airbus A330-300.

A Minneapolis airport spokesman confirmed the change, adding: “Air France is planning to return to MSP in 2024” – though that's no guarantee. In the meantime, Dutch flag carrier KLM is still scheduled to operate at least four flights a week from Minneapolis to Amsterdam (AMS).

air france plane 

Delta and Air France likely made the decision together to shift Minneapolis routes. Along with KLM, the carriers have a joint venture, meaning the airlines act in concert when making route-planning decisions as well as setting prices.

In this case, flights on partner airlines have long been a sore spot for Delta pilots, who believe more routes should be operated in-house rather than on a foreign carrier. And since Delta also owns a stake in Air France/KLM, they have more power to call the shots.

The route changeup comes as 15,000-plus Delta pilots are voting to approve a brand new contract which has already won tentative approval from their union, the Air Line Pilots Association.

There should be little effect on flyers or prices when flying to Paris, as Air France and Delta were already coordinating. Travelers with an Air France ticket to (or connecting through) Paris this year will likely be automatically moved to a Delta nonstop or a KLM flight connecting through Amsterdam.

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Only Delta flights are scheduled to fly nonstop from Minneapolis to Paris through 2023.

But it still hurts for Minnesota-based flyers to lose yet another international airline and option to cross the Atlantic. Air France launched its summer service connecting Minneapolis and Paris back in May 2013 and has been a fixture ever since.

It's particularly painful when using miles to get to Europe from Minneapolis. Flying Air France or KLM economy for as low as 15,000 miles each way has been one of the best ways to fly to Europe, and that's no longer an option. And booking Air France business class using the airline's Flying Blue miles was regularly a bargain compared to Delta's astronomical award rates when using SkyMiles.

Air France is the second foreign carrier to drop off Minneapolis's flight board in recent years. Aer Lingus also cut its nonstop flight to Dublin (DUB) early in the pandemic, with no concrete plans to resume.


Bottom Line

Air France has removed its Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) flight from its schedule as of Monday morning, leaving just Delta servicing the nonstop route.

Delta is picking up the slack with a second daily flight through the summer, which means there should be few effects for travelers who have booked or planned a trip to Paris this summer. But it's still tough to see another major foreign airline exit the airport.

Lead photo courtesy of Chris Lundberg via Flickr

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9 Responses

    • Same here. I have 6 people booked in business class through virgin atlantic. What do you think will happen? Will they move us to a Delta flight or simply cancel our flights?

  • Air France has been dropping a lot of destinations in the past few years with Amman (AMM) a case in-mind. It’s footprint as a global carrier is diminishing

  • I really don’t see this as a big deal, not news worthy. I actually prefer to fly Delta metal over the pond vs an old cramped AF aircraft. Their 777s are especially dreadful.
    It’s still the nonstop into CDG to connect with their network and now we have two Delta options.

  • Definitely disappointing for this MSP traveler. From a mileage standpoint this means a nonstop in Business class from MSP-CDG just went from 55,000 Flying Blue miles to 320,000 Delta SkyMiles. Anxious to see how they will deal with my already booked flights on this route for this upcoming Summer.

  • My husband and I took advantage of a great deal from MSP to Lisbon in May. We transferred 30,000 points from our Chase Reserve to Virgin Atlantic who code shares with Air France and booked the trip. The first leg of the trip was MSP to CDG and then from there to Lisbon. Well due to direct flights being cancelled there is no way for us to take this trip. I spoke directly to Virgin Atlantic for 45 minutes. There just aren’t seats from anywhere that only use the deal of 30,000 points round trip. We had to cancel the tickets. They will credit us the $84 each in taxes back to my credit card. My huge problem is my husband and I each have 30,000 points with Virgin Atlantic. What in the heck can I do with that living in MSP? This totally sucks. I even asked if there were seats we could upgrade to and gladly pay as a kind of work around even if we have to fly to another US city. They said we could use our points to get to Boston but would have to pay to fly from Boston to Lisbon. It sounded like it was going to be very expensive. So Thrifty Traveler, we need you to help all of us navigate a way to use our points that we are unable to transfer back to Chase or any other credit card others might have used for the great offer that was posted for flights to Europe. Please, please, pretty please. I need suggestions on what to do.

    • Very sorry to hear about this, Julie. It’s unfortunate that Virgin Atlantic was not more willing to help rebook you – we’ve heard from many customers who were automatically rebooked on a Delta-operated flight to Paris or switch to the KLM flight to Amsterdam before connecting onward to your final destination in Europe. If it’s not too late, I would recommend reaching back out to Virgin to see if that is an option.

      Otherwise, rest assured there are plenty of other great ways to use your Virgin points from MSP … including another deal to Europe for 30,000 points roundtrip flying KLM instead of Air France. You can also book the nonstop Delta flight to Amsterdam using Virgin Atlantic points, though it will cost you 30,000 points for a one-way.

      • Sadly it is too late. They issues the point refund to my Virgin Atlantic account that I set up for this trip and are in the process of refunding the taxes back to my credit card. They stated there aren’t any seats available for 30,000 points round trip. I could definitely use some pointers with navigating their website and finding destinations with availability. With the Delta website I can click on the calendar feature and see flights on a month by month basis. I don’t see that with Virgin. Is it possible to use google for this? I’m not sure how your team finds the deals. I’ve had some great adventures with Thrifty Traveler so far but this one is a bit trickier for me to figure out. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. I love you guys and always sing your praises.

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