CDG Airport is a zoo.....

May 21st, 2007, 09:12 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 60
CDG Airport is a zoo.....

Hi all,

Just back from two weeks in Spain and France...If you are leaving from CDG airport in Paris, beware....It took a full 3 hours just to get to our flight, the security lines are crazy long and they do a lot more checking than the US airports, then you have to take a shuttle bus to another terminal which took about 25 minutes. Make sure you have plenty of time to get to the gate.

sleitner is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 187
sleitner, thanks for the heads up. We're flying out of CDG twice next month. Are you saying that we need to arrive at CDG more than 3 hours before flight time? Do you think it makes a difference what airline, day and time? Thanks!
rileypenny is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 09:28 AM
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We were a group of 4, two left on Wednesday for a 1:20 flight to Dulles, and two left on a Sunday for a 10:00 a.m. flight to Dulles, we both had the same issues. The security line is the main issue, they seemed to be searching EVERYONE's bag and very slowly. Taking the shuttle to the other terminal which seemed to be very far away also added extra time...The group that left on Wednesday had to be rushed through the security line and had to go straight to the gate and get on board, they allowed for 2 1/2 hours to get through the airport, knowing this, we allowed for 3 hours and barely had time to get water etc. for the flight. If you don't want to be stressed, and would like some time to get breakfast or purchase items for the plane, I would make sure that you are there at least 3 hours before the flight.
sleitner is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 09:30 AM
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It is a very dissapointing airport, the worst I've ever seen, for a major city, that is.
brando is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 09:45 AM
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Last Wednesday, security personnel were staging a slowdown (it was Sarkozy's inauguration day), so it was particularly bad. I had a BA 9:40 flight that day to London and I stood in the security line for over 30 minutes; usually, it's more like 5-10 minutes. Some staff were being particularly picky last Wednesday - part of their job action, I think. At other times, they're not as fussy and I find them less nasty than many American TSA agents. (The French security agents aren't particularly friendly; they're just not unfriendly.)

I fly out of CDG (usually terminal 2) about once a month. Security queues at Terminal 2B (and for some but not all other terminals) are not centralised; they exist for each departure, or pair, of departure gates. (That means you can't really relax in the business lounge, because you still have to go through security before boarding.)

One awful thing at CDG these days is the "not very fast bag drop" for BA flights. It's after Customs, before Security. If you're flying BA out of CDG and don't have elite status, be sure to budget about an extra 20 minutes on top of your normal schedule. The line-ups are a nightmare.

Last Sunday was the end of a holiday weekend in France, which might have had some effect on congestion at airports. (Although I would have expected it to have more impact on incoming passengers at CDG than outgoing passengers.)

Not that I'm an apologist for CDG. It's hideous and run down. It's funny, because I was flying last week to Tbilisi, Georgia and was worried about conditions at that airport and in that country. It turns out that Tbilisi has a brand spanking new international terminal and it's quite spiffy. It was quite a let down to end my journey in the crumbling, leaky parking garage of CDG 1.
Kate_W is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Don't you wonder if there are ANY travelers who don't get frustrated because of CDG?

How about the people who get there FOUR hours ahead?????
Dukey is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Yeeesss! We came out of there about two weeks ago and it was slow. I don't know how many different lines we stood in - first an inital check in line, then an agent asking about bags, then to scan our passports, then the AF counter.....then walking a ways and passport control and security....then the shuttle. Each point was 15 minutes or so and I could not believe how far to the plane! We got to the airport about 2 hours ahead of time .... we made our flight OK but very little time at the gate before boarding. We were on an AF 747 - maybe those are especially far from the main terminal.
suec1 is online now  
May 21st, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Actually my flight took me to T3. Waited for shuttle bus to get us from the plane and take us to the terminal. Going through customs was pretty easygoing - line ups as expected, but once your turn was up, it was just glance and go. The longest part at T3 was waiting for your luggage to be on the conveyance belt. After hearing horror stories of T1 and T2, I think I'll try to just take airlines that lands at T3...
lmlweb is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 11:22 AM
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"Don't you wonder if there are ANY travelers who don't get frustrated because of CDG?"

I'm the guy! In December, we got to CDG 3 hours before our flight. It took Air Tahiti Nui about 15 minutes to check us in.

We did have to wait about 15 minutes in one place afterward because someone had run through security, but at least they didn't empty out the terminal like they do at LAX once a month when someone leaves a paper bag by mistake

It took another 15 minutes to go through security, so within an hour we were sipping coffee and eating one last croissant (well, maybe two or three). Then we used our last euros to buy stuff we didn't need at the duty free store and get some reading material.

As for retrieving our luggage when we first came in, it was certainly no longer than the time it takes to get our bags at LAX (which sometimes seems longer than our vacation) upon our return.

Lucky. Perhaps, but Dukey did ask, and I was not frustrated.

maitaitom is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 348
I was just there two weeks ago - I left the day after the elections. I don't remember it being slow at all. The WORST treatment was at Philly airport, I will not fly through there again.
nbodyhome is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Reading these comments has raised my anxiety level as I'll be traveling to Paris (and back to SFO) on my own.
Would appreciate hearing what your ARRIVAL at CDG was like (I'll be on Air France - T 2).
suzy is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 10:08 PM
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CDG arrival is no big deal--usually takes 45 minutes or so to clear imigration and get your bags. Plenty of luggage carts. Suggest bringing euros with you to avoid fiding the ATM and waiting in line like some do.

Flying out, it would be nice to have a chair to sit on when putting your shoes back on.

RonZ is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 10:29 PM
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CDG arrivals in T2 (or at least T2B): When you get off the plane, be sure to look out for the monitor that tells you where your baggage will be unloaded. There is more than one customs/immigration booth, each of which leads to a different baggage hall. Sometimes people jump into the nearest customs/immigration line-up, which is usually, but not always, the right one.

Arrival procedures and layouts vary depending on the terminal and even depending on which part of the terminal you arrive in. (For example, BA flies into 2B, where you have to clear Immigration and Customs. But last week I landed at 2D from an Austrian Airlines flight, and it was a domestic-style terminal with no Customs/Immigration.)
Kate_W is offline  
May 21st, 2007, 10:35 PM
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My GF loves CDG - at least for airside transfers. Much less stressful than Heathrow
alanRow is offline  
May 22nd, 2007, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I had absolutely no problems coming or going a couple of weeks ago.

Again, Philadelphia was the airport that was terrible! Everyone at CDG was friendly to me - the US Air line was long, but that wasn't abnormal. Security was fine, it wasn't slow for me. I guess it depends when you leave. Coming in was a breeze. I am always amazed when landing how quickly I get through (unlike the lines when coming back).
nbodyhome is offline  
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