Can't figure out CDG

Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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Can't figure out CDG

I've taken several flights on AF, connecting through CDG to get to Italy, Spain, etc. because I like the nonstop SFO-CDG leg.

AF as everyone knows schedules some really aggressive connections, especially on the return leg and I got bit on that last March on a return from BCN where I ended up stranded in Paris. Then in May, on a return trip from FLR, I made sure to make my connecting CDG-SFO flight but my checked bad didn't make it and AF delivered it the next day. No big deal for me.

Besides the aggressive connection times, the bigger problem is CDG's constant reconfiguration of security protocols and construction. Obviously some of the security issues are driven by outside events.

But CDG seems unpredictable when it comes to trying to figure out how to make your way from one terminal to the next.

Last March, the problem was waiting for buses to get between terminals. In May, it seemed to have improved greatly as I was able to walk between terminals without taking any buses. So I figured they'd progressed in their construction and I could expect to make my way between connections without being dependent on ridiculous airport configurations.

Well I just flew SFO-CDG-ZRH and GVA-CDG-SFO. I had no concerns about the outbound leg and between the GVA-CDG and CDG-SFO leg, I had 90 minutes so I thought I was safe. Well I did make it but just barely.

In the outbound, we land near 2E and we have to go down into the tarmac (another inconsistency, you can never tell whether your plane is going to the gate or be taxing all over the place and ending up in the boondocks, where you will have to be bused to the gate), get bused into 2E. I never had to go through passport control and nobody ever takes the landing card I completed for the EU. I take the bus to get to 2F for my connecting flight and it takes a good 10-15 minutes since all other terminals come between 2E and 2F. But I made the connecting flight, although with very little time.

On the return leg, we land from GVA at 2F and I'm able to get to 2E by going down, taking the conveyor belt, then going back up. Passport control and then a security check.

Then we wind though a lot of corridors and back down and we're herded into a bus again. To get to gate E82, which appears to be part of some annext to Terminal 2E, we wind through runways where the bus is navigating through intersections waiting for airplanes, some trucks, some luggage transporters and other service vehicles. It is about 10 minutes.

By the time we get into the annex building, the flight is starting to board. In all, just over 30 minutes since deplaning from the first flight to get to the gate of my connecting flight.

Then after scanning boarding passes, we're held at the door. They are letting like 10 people go outside at a time (yes we go out to the tarmac again for a transcontinental flight), watching to see that the last are up the ladder into the plane. It's about a 100 meter hike where we have to cross some other service vehicle roadway.

The upshot of all this is each time you go THROUGH CDG, they have some new setup which is impossible to predict. Maybe that is done for security reasons and we should be grateful.

But it makes planning trips almost impossible. I like the nonstop flight to Europe so maybe it's time to look at KLM and AMS rather than AF and CDG (it would have to be Skyteam to accumulate Skymiles).

So am I the last holdout on CDG?
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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Well said. It's the unpredictability that makes it so bad. One traveler can post here saying how easy it is, while another's experience can be horrible.

Such thing doesn't happen at places like AMS.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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It has been said many times that if you're flying direct to Paris, you're fine, but if you're connecting in Paris CDG, well, good luck! If I'm going anywhere that requires a connection in Europe, I'd try for the Amsterdam connection, and try to avoid the CDG connection.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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They dont change the way things work every time. It works the same every time. It just depends on if you are going shengen to shengen, shengen to international or shengen to international. Each type of connection has a different method. It also depends on what terminal and if your plane has a jetway or bus. Air France gives you a very detailed guide on connecting flights when you connect at CDG and it is all fairly clearly explained.

I do agree that the buses and different connection methods can seem confusing. This will improve in 2008 with the full reopening of terminal 2E , the completion of renovations on terminal 1 as well as the completetion of a tram that will connect all terminals.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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MorganB - Sometimes you get a gate at 2E, sometimes you get a bus. Someone here that says "Oh, my 1-hour connection at CDG is so easy" because he gets a gate, means nothing to one that has the same connection but has to bussed in. Even though they fly the same routes, using the same terminal.

And last time I flew into CDG on AF, we were supposed to get into 2E, but we actually pulled into 2F, with no announcement made (at least not in English).
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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donīt count on gettimg "miles" from your skyteam partner all the time...

my last four flights on AF at great fares turns out have given me NOTHING.

They have a policy for certain fares not to give delta share code points AT ALL.

sob..sob.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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This is getting off-topic, but if one cares about FF miles and elite-qualifications, one must absolutely understand fare classes and find out which class earns how much in what program before booking.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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I've always been flying International to Schengen into CDG and then connecting to a Schengen to Schengen flight.

But the last 3 times, it's been a different path each time. What is so bad is that 2E and 2F are adjacent to each other and clearly, sometimes you're able to walk between them and other times you aren't.

Also note the inconsistencies in checking passports. One time I got bumped, one of the windows was manned by this woman who was laughing and taking her time while there was a queue of over 50 people.

Some of these convoluted paths makes you wonder, with all these people who keep checking your boarding passes and passports, herding you through buses, whether it's just some way to keep all these people busy and employed.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Hi wc,

I think the best way to navigate CDG is to arrange for transfer time of about 2 hr or more.

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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Why did you expect to go through immigration at CDG if you were flying to Zurich?
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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I have before when I connected through CDG on the way to Spain or Italy.

Maybe because Switzerland is Schengen but not EU, there's no immigration?

I didn't go through much when I landed in ZRH either.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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I don't think Switzerland is officially part of the Schengen common travel area yet. They've signed and ratified the treaty, but hasn't implemented it.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Last time I went through CDG for a connection to Nice we along with everyone else from two flights were met by a security check, half way up the stairs in the stairwell leading from the bus into the terminal.(we had been dropped off on the tarmac)

We then had to go through the regular security check again in the terminal itself. We did not make the flight.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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I posted this at Flyertalk and there's some informative replies there.

Supposedly you have some choice on making the way between halls of Terminal 2.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...45#post7158245
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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intrigued by your header..Don't try to figure out CDG..NO one can!
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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I'm a little rattled by this post. We're scheduled to connect through CDG to Turkey this summer with only a 90-minute layover. Will we have to go through passport and immigration control in Paris since Turkey is not EU?
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Weadles - Turkey is not in the Schengen common travel area, so you don't go through immigration. And no customs either.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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Thanks, rkkwan!

Out of curiousity, are you a travel agent? You seem very knowledgeable about the travel business.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:15 AM
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Weadles - No. Just an independent traveler. I also help my parents and some relatives arrange their trips.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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rkkwan,

That's funny. I do the same thing- arrange most of the trips for family and friends. Anyway, thanks for the excellent advice on transiting CDG.
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