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charles de gaulle- now required to arrive 3 hours before flight

charles de gaulle- now required to arrive 3 hours before flight

Old Mar 4th, 2008, 11:51 AM
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charles de gaulle- now required to arrive 3 hours before flight

Hi. When we booked our flight to Paris, we were told by AA that we must arrive 3 hours before our flight in CDG. Is this standard? Thanks.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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With the approach of the tourist season, it is becoming standard.

However, if you have absolutely everything in order (boarding passes, seat assignments...), you can do everything in much less time.

The only thing of which to be wary is how long it takes to clear security at certain times.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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CDG is a zoo. We always try to avoid it, but when we can't, we get there three hours early because the security lines can be very long.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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When you get to CDG, you will need to get on a security line at AA, and then another to get your boarding passes and/or check luggage. The line may be moved along by the use of boarding pass kiosks, if they are working.

Once you do that, you then have to go through passport control and security screening. That is usually easy.

But, when you leave the AA counters and go to your right to get to the "airside" of the terminal, do NOT go through the first screening area you see! They are on the wrong side of the immigration area and it is difficult to get around that. Sometimes it is necessary to go up stairs (no escalator) through a restaurant area, and down another flight of steps to get to the AA gates.

Walk further east and go through the second set of screening gates. That will put you close to the AA gates and the Admirals club. If you have more than 90 minutes to wait, you might consider going to the Admirals Club and seeing if they will sell you a day pass ($50 for 2 people in the US) which may be worth it if the waiting area is crowded.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:34 PM
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Who said France didn't understand capitalism? All the revenue from restaurants, duty free stores, etc.; triple what a one hour prequel would generate.

Next thing you know, we'll be forced to go thru the gift shop in order to exit: the Louvre; Eiffel Tower; Versailles; Mont-St-Michel; etc.

After that, gift shops before both the entrance and exit doors to the lavatory.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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For flights to the States - yes this is standard.

The last AA flight I had out of CDG - we arrived even earlier because there was much less traffic than we expected. My friend and I were numbers 4 and 5 in line for check in. Even before you get to check in at the counter there is a pre-screening interview. Well - the 3 men in front of us hit all the hot buttons - from Syria and Kuwait, all going to a scientific conference in Houston by way of Dallas, on last minute tix, not knowing the name of their hotel in Houston, etc etc. (we could overhear all of the various interviewers)

Anyway - at first there was ONE interviewer and she took 30 minutes w/ just the first man and still hadn't cleared him. Then out came another screener to start with #2. Then a supv came out about 5 mins later and joined in questioning #1. Finally a 3rd screener came on duty and started interviewing #3. By then we had been in line for over an hour and were not any closer to the check in counter -- and behind us there were at least 250 people in line.

My friend and I were finally pre-screened more than 80 minutes after queueing up - and we were at the front of the line. They held the flight approx 15 mins and there were folks streaming on and complaining loudly about being in the line the entire time. They sure didn't have time to shop/eat before boarding.

Yes - this was a special case and not typical - but any little glitch can really impact you at CDG.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:12 PM
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Just a hint... if you have an EARLY morning flight call your airline and find out what time they open.

I have arrived at several airports in the wee hours to find that my "three" hours was useless becuase XYX airline wasn't open yet LOL!
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:13 PM
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I've always planned to arrive at CDG 3 hours in advance for years now. I don't think it has anything to do with CDG and capitalism, and suspect it isn't some legal requirement at all by CDG, just advice. Ignore it at your own risk, but if you miss your plane, I think it will cost you a lot.

You never know how long it will take to get through, I've had terrible experience with every airline I've flown out of there at times (AA was the worst, but I've had unexpected delays with both AF and United, also). Lots of airlines may advise you to get to the airport 3 hours in advance, but I've never heard of one saying it was a "requirement" to check-in that far in advance. Is that what they really said? I know they do have time limits that if you aren't there by that point, you can be denied boarding and can lose the value of your fare.

AA has held me up hours and days at CDG due to their incompetence and bad planes, too bad they don't treat their customers better. Last time I ever flew them out of there, I boarded two planes that malfunctioned (two days in a row, they couldn't even get a plane there the same day to replace the first one so we had to stay at CDG overnight). We finally got out on the third plane.

I just viewed the AA website and it simply said 3 hrs is the "recommended" check-in time at CDG, that's all. The official limit is you must check-in 60 minutes in advance, and you must be at the gate 30 min. before departure.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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I thought "3 hours" has been the recommended arrival for international flights for years now, not just CDG.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Three hours ahead of flight time has been standard for years now, and even before it was I always got there 3 hours ahead. Better to end up with time on your hands then hit some glitch, which is easy to do at CDG, and miss your flight.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 09:52 PM
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Anyway, check-in for international flights closes 45 minutes before departure, so that is the real rule.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 10:26 PM
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"I thought "3 hours" has been the recommended arrival for international flights for years now, not just CDG."

Certainly not. At London City Airport, checkin time for international flights remains 10 minutes.

There's precisely one standard rule:

There's no "standard" check in time

Most airlines have different times, even at the same terminal for the same destination at the same airport, for people who've checked in online, for people with no bags to check in and for premium class passengers.

It's the airline that decides. And only they know the answer to your question under your particular circumstances.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 11:37 PM
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"I thought "3 hours" has been the recommended arrival for international flights for years now, not just CDG."

For AA international it is, since they do not allow online check-in for all international flights due to security, whereas other airlines flying to/from the US do not have this issue and allow online checkin. You can use self service machines once at the airport.

Returning from DFW last week, they only had one check-in line for both domestic and international lines, so you got caught up with all the people whose domestic flights were cancelled due to bad weather (to ORD,NYC etc). There was no ticket desk, rebooking for those cancelled flts had to take place at checkin desk. If you used the self service machines, you had to wait until your name was called to be able to drop bags. AA is a most unpleasant airline to fly on.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 12:07 AM
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Certainly at Schiphol 3 hours before is standard for transcontinental flights, and 2 hours for European flights, and has been for a very long time.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 01:51 AM
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Arriving three hours before a flight has been the case for a very very long time when flying from Australia to Europe.

As CdG is an absolute black hole three hours is necessary to get through the ineptitude!
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 02:35 AM
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Give yourself the 3 hours, you'll need it - CDG is a disaster.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Actually, it is less CDG airport itself that is a disaster than the passengers. As the most visited city in the world, it has more than its share of newbies at all times, who don't know if they are coming or going. I have always noticed that it takes me something like 45 seconds to check in while the majority of people seem to take at least 4 or 5 minutes. Some of the check-in agents have told me that the questions range from "what are they serving on the plane?" to "is the movie any good?"
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 05:14 AM
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I booked an AirTransat ticket from
Montreal to Athens the other day.

The AitTransat website says to be
5 HOURS early for the flight!

Your 4 hours sounds not so bad...

Rob
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 05:48 AM
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I don't mean to set off an international incident, but it is not the newbies who are the problem at CDG. The airport is very poorly organized, although the same could be said of many major cities' airports these days- JFK, LHR, etc.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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I would recommend at least three hours to anyone, even if not required. We arrived a bit over two hours early and came VERY close to missing the plane. The level of disorganization and ineffeciency is astounding.
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