Italy via Paris and Air France

Sep 26th, 2003, 11:23 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5
Italy via Paris and Air France

Hello! My husband and I leave for Italy tomorrow! We have never been there and have never flown on Air France. The good thing about the tickets is that we got the tickets on frequent flyer miles (through Delta), so they were free. The bad thing is that I've been reading pretty horrible things about Air France and the Paris Airport.

On the way back from Italy, we will have a layover of exactly ONE HOUR in which we are supposed to catch our return flight to the U.S. We have printed out maps of the Paris terminals to help us navigate our way through the airport quicker, but I'm still worried about it (based on what I've heard). So, there are a few questions:

1) How successful do you think we will be in catching our plane? Be honest, please! We'd like to be prepared.

2) Since we are not the most experienced travelers, does anyone know if we'll have to go through customs in Paris? Or, do you just go through customs at your final destination?

3) Has anyone had any GOOD experiences on Air France?

4) I have a really bad back and I might have to ask for some ice during the long flight. Based on what I've been reading, the flight attendants are not very helpful. Do you think I will have trouble getting some ice?

Please share any info you have on this topic. As we're not the most comfortable travelers to begin with, we're getting a little concerned.

Thanks!
melitin is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 11:35 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 59
I am an airline employee for Delta and have flown on Air France many times. You will have to go through customs in Paris before you board your plane to the U.S. The people can be very rude, just smile and be as polite as possible even though it might kill you. The good thing is if you do miss your flight there are many other flights on Delta or AF that can get you back to the states. Just remember it is space available. Next time try to book your ticket with at least a three hour layover. You never know just pray for a delay. the weather is always bad their anyway.
hellokittygeorgia is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 11:35 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
If you've read posts about Air France on here, you've read a variety of opinions, some pro and some con. They seem about equally split to me. I don't know where you are getting your attitude from, but it isn't supported by anything I've read on this board--by that I mean I know some people dislike AF but I've read those threads and many others say the opposite.

I like AF a lot. I've never missed a connection with them even when I've had only 45 minutes in CDG. You aren't going to be alone, most likely, there will be others to follow or help. I will agree in a few places in CDG, things might not be marked as well as you'd like on the transfers -- when going from one terminal to another -- but it's not that terrible and lots of other airports are bad, also.

I think you have a very negative attitude since you keep repeating these things and repeating how you've read them on here. The flight attendants have never been bad to me and never given me bad service. I don't think your plans are the best re the ice -- if this is a serious problem for you, why aren't you carrying around one of those gel ice packs you can buy that just need to be just in the fridge a while?
Christina is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 11:44 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 108
Just did this same thing last week and had NO TROUBLE!!!!!!!!!! Just follow the signs in the Paris airport and you will be fine. That is about the same amount of time that we had. It was more than enough. I was nervous too...but all went well. Like the Delta employee said, they will take care of you. I found the Air France employees to be very nice. I had enough to drink during the flight, but I would recommend carrying a water bottle with you. I am sure they will give you the ice you need. We had a wonderful experience on Air France. You don't have to clear customs in Paris. You can get on a bus to take you from one terminal to the other...just go downstairs. Also, many of the gates are remote, so you will get on a bus at the actual gate and it will take you to the plane. Email me if you have any specific questions. Try to relax...it will all be fine!! You are going to have so much fun.
jal716 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 11:45 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 244
flew italy via AF last month. we were in coach and I thought they were great.

airport was relatively easy as well. signs are very good. customs guy waved us through when we said we were just connecting through france.

no complaints either way.
eschule is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 01:01 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 47
Just got back last night. We flew AF from Miami to Rome, changing planes in Paris. It was our second time flying AF and both times we found the flight attendants and ground service personnel to be extremely courteous and helpful. We encountered no "attitudes." We flew from Miami to Paris and had a little over an hour to make our plane to Rome. Since we were also worried about making this connection WITH our luggage, we decided to go with only carry-ons.

When we got off the plane at CDG there were airport people waiting to direct us to the shuttle bus to get us to the next terminal for our flight to Rome. When we arrived at the next terminal, we did NOT go through customs or immigration but we had to go through another SECURITY line of x-rays and inspections. I don't know if it works the same way travelling in the opposite direction. We did make our plane to Rome just as they began boarding. But I had also been told that if we missed it, there are several flights a day we could get on.

As far as your back is concerned, I will tell you that the plane appeared very old (a 747-400)and the seat cushions had been all worn down. Perhaps you can bring some kind of back support or ask for extra pillows or blankets for cushioning or support.

I wish you a very successful and safe trip.
travler2 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 01:18 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 8
DON'T WORRY !!
If you get home a day late, you get home a day late. Check into the Sheraton and take a long bath...There are worse places to be stranded than Paris. You can take a cab into town and eat a fabulous dinner.
We had 50 minutes to catch our homebound flight on AF. We got in from Athens and they made us go through security again at CDG. We were the LAST people on the plane. The doors closed behind us. It was pretty awful. Bottom line. Be prepared to spend the night, it's not a bad place to be. When you get off your flight, MOVE QUICKLY, but don't kill yourself. Figure out how to say. "My flight is about to leave, Can you please help me?" IN FRENCH. They may direct you to a shorter, quicker line as they did with us. (The only reason we made it was a rudimentary ability to communicate)
The AF employees are NOT rude, and will be happy to bring you ice. My goodness they are just French, not inhumane !
Now STOP worrying and have a ball.
mz
maztoz is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 01:20 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 31
I've flown AF a number of times with few complaints. They are certainly no worse than any of the other airlines and in many cases I have seen their employees go "above and beyond".

I would be more concerned about the very short layover. Depending on the type of aircraft and where you are sitting, it could take you 20+ minutes just to get off of the plane. Hopefully your flight to/from Italy will be in the same terminal building, although I believe AF was planning to move many if not all of their US flights to the new terminal at CDG(is it open yet???).

Regardless, don't sweat it since there isn't much you can do about it at this point other than to have a wonderful time !
BeeGee is offline  

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