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Booking FF flights and connection timing, CDG and Detroit

Booking FF flights and connection timing, CDG and Detroit

Aug 12th, 2007, 10:32 AM
  #1  
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Booking FF flights and connection timing, CDG and Detroit

This is a two part question.

My husband and I are going to Spain and France in April-May using FF mileage from Air France. The general idea was LAX-Madrid, hang around Andalusia, then fly Seville to Paris and spend several days there before returning home. I tried to get an LAX-MAD flight on a certain day, but the only one available was 4 days later...which meant only one night in Paris.

Now I'm thinking - what about trying to find a FF just from LAX-CDG, then buy the ticket CDG-MAD? (I need one anyway from Seville to Paris, and it looks like one ways are more expensive than RT). Is this a good idea? And if so, how much layover time should I allow at CDG before the flight to Madrid? I'm reading all these horror stories about terminal-to-terminal connections at CDG.

Second question: got a return flight CDG-Detroit on AF arriving Detroit at 1:05, switching to Northwest, departing at 3:10. I looked, and all these Skyteam flights are in the same new terminal. But will we need to go through customs and security again, and is this enough time to allow?

Third (bonus question): Is it necessarily true that all the flights are gone by now, or do the airlines sometimes hold back flight? I can keep calling for another few weeks, if you think I should. (Realizing that I need to pay $50 for each change of ticket).

Thanks in advance for your experienced input!
Iwan2go is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 12:57 PM
  #2  
 
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1. If you're flying a legacy airline CDG-MAD like AF or IB, you don't need to claim luggage, and these airlines tend to be more lenient if you're late. I'll still allow 2 hours for such a transfer. If you're flying a low cost airline, you'll need to claim bags. Because on those airlines if you no-show or aren't checked in ~40-45 before flight time, you'll totally lose the ticket. I'll give it 3 hours to be safe.

2. 2 hours transferring at DTW is fine.

3. Make sure you have the Flying Blue agent check availability on all partner airlines. Not just AF, but KL, NW, CO, DL and so on (even though you may not want to use AZ). As for your question whether all seats are gone, the answer is no. Airlines may release awards later on in the year; and Continental (one of AF's partner) doesn't release standard travel award until about 4-5 months before flight time, not 11 months like most others.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 12:59 PM
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I'll answer your 2nd question first:

Your port of entry is Detroit, so it is here that you'll go through immigration and customs and baggage claim. After claiming your luggages, you re-check them for your domestic flight. In the domestic terminal, you will go through security again. Your connecting time of 2 hours may be a bit of a stretch but it can be done.

3rd question:
It's hard to know if all the flights are gone now by 2 things are on your side: you are going in fairly off-season and if you are going LAX-CDG, there are many flights going there, so your chances of using FF miles are very high but I suggest you book ASAP.

1st question:

Yes you can certainly do RT CDG-MAD using some of the low-cost European airlines,. In fact, you can get RT fares for as low as £ 78 RT, then just book FF miles, RT LAX-CDG.

Hope I answered your questions. Good Luck.
JoyC is online now  
Aug 12th, 2007, 01:09 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I need to correct:

It's hard to know if all the flights are gone now but 2 things are on your side:
JoyC is online now  
Aug 12th, 2007, 01:24 PM
  #5  
 
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BTW, I also doubt that the problem with your LAX-MAD flight is availability on intra-Europe leg. Rather, they may not have availability on the LAX-Europe leg instead. In such a case, they can't give you LAX-CDG either.

But again, make sure they check all connections - there are plenty of AF and Kl flight a day from various US cities to CDG/AMS. Not to mention DL, NW and others. Insist that they check everything.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 09:01 AM
  #6  
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Thank you both, rkkwan and JoyC. I did get through to the AF frequent flier line this morning, and there are still no available flights, even LAX_CDG...but I am going to keep trying! It's possible that some holds or cancellations might occur - as, for example, mine would change. (Crossing fingers and toes).

For anyone else's information, I'll pass on what I learned from the AF reservations lady this morning about the connections and baggage claim, etc.

If I ticket the flight FF LAX-CDG and continue on a purchased AF flight CDG-MAD, AF will mark the bags to go all the way through. (whew) (LIke you said, rkkwan, a good idea to do - stay on the same carrier) She said to tell them at the check-in counter, and also, once I buy the second half of the ticket, to call the general reservations desk and they will put the connection on the records. So that could handle my problem on the outbound, nicely. Looks like the first flight arrives in terminal 2F and Madrid takes off from 2E - which is at the END of the connecting tram, drat it - but if I allow 2 hours, hopefully that will be enough time. (no luggage to haul, and according to the little AF terminal map it's a "zone Controlee" so I assume I will not need to go through security again).

On the way BACK, when I get to Detroit I need to go through immigration. But my bags will be ticketed all the way through to LA, where I will need to go through customs.

According to her.

So, it looks like I have a few more options to investigate.

Thanks again to both of you for your input! I appreciate it!
Iwan2go is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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The 2nd part is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

All passengers arriving at DTW (and all US airports except for a few specific case at MIA, I believe) have to claim luggage and go through customs, regardless of where the bags to tagged to - whether your final destination is US, Canada or anywhere in the world.

After customs exit, you'll drop off the bags to your airline immediately. This is the way US has done things for ever.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 11:25 AM
  #8  
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Great. So what you're saying, rkkwan, is that I will have to wait to get the bags (down at baggage claim, I assume?), go through customs with them, go through imigration, then go back through security to catch the flight with NW?

I have 2 hours to do it. (Not that I have much choice at this point, unless I want to pay for another ticket change).

Whatdayathink?
Iwan2go is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 12:28 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Get off plane. Go through immigration. Go to baggage claim and get bags. Hand customs form to agent (or get sent to secondary screening). Exit customs. Drop off bags to airline. Reclear security. Go to new gate.

2 hours is fine.
rkkwan is offline  

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