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The World's Worst Airport Terminal - CDG 1

The World's Worst Airport Terminal - CDG 1

Aug 29th, 2007, 07:11 AM
  #1  
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The World's Worst Airport Terminal - CDG 1

CDG Terminal 1 is an awful place to land in Europe after a long trans-atlantic flight yet many non-Air France flights do land at this hopelessly congested circular terminal that is the worst of any airport terminal i've seen in the developed world.

Why this monstrosity hasn't been bulldozed and something befitting Paris put up beats me - i guess Air France, who seems to dictate CDG affairs, likes the advantage of their planes landing in the posh sprawling Terminal 2 - one of the nicest air terminals i've ever seen (in spite of a roof collapsing not long ago in one of its futuristsic-looking wings)

So airlines like USAir, NW, etc. are consigned to dumpy Terminal 1.

If several flights land at once as they are want to do in the morning the place is sardine city - bags can take forever to materialize and you have to elbow you way to the belt to retrieve them

then from the Customs exit everyone heads for the nearest elevator to go down to street level for buses, car services, etc. and often only one lift seems to be working - huge lines (even though the least clever folk could easily use the stairs behind the lifts or go over to other lifts!)

There are nearly no stores, etc. in this terminal save a few clustered in a dumpy basement.

And unlike terminal 2 which has its own TGV train station and RER/metro station terminal 1 folks have to board the new VAL people mover to get to the RER or TGV stations. The people mover - a train however is much better than having to forge your way at terminal 1 to the navettes - free buses that until this year ferried folks over to the RER or TGV stations so that's an improvement and saves time.

Well that's my rant on THE WORLD'S WORST AIR TERMINAL - CDG 1

Has anyone seen worse?
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Actually, when we went to Europe this past July we landed at Terminal 1.

Except for a long line for Immigration which could have happened anywhere, we had no trouble at all.

Our luggage came promptly and we walked out the nearest exit and were right where the Air France bus departs.

IOW there was absolutely nothing wrong with Terminal 1 and I've been in much worse situations "in the developed world."
Dukey is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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My son just arrove and departed from terminal 1 and described complete chaos which mirrors my many arrivals there as well.

he was landing July 29 - a hectic travel time in France and perhaps that exaccerbated the crowding.

But i've always thought for a major airport the place was the pits. Just my view.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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jgg
 
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Bob - I couldn't agree more!! We have only flown out of CDG 1 not into, but it was awful. Check-in lines so poorly situated that the line ended up being shaped like a horseshoe, essentially starting behind the makeshift counters they set up. Absolutely no place to even get airport food for a bite to eat. Absolutely ridiculous for a major European city.

I didn't realize Terminal 2 was so much better and limited only to Air France. Interesting.
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Aug 29th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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ira
 
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Hey PB,

> Why this monstrosity hasn't been bulldozed and something befitting Paris put up beats me...

Because it won lots of architectural awards when it was built.

Do you expect anyone to admit it wasn't a good idea?

Dulles (IAD) is another award winner that ain't so great.

ira is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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Terminal 2 is dominated by Air France but not limited to it - other carriers, perhaps code sharers and KLM which merged with AF use it too

as do intra-european flights. But Air France is the 500 pound gorilla that dominates it.

Terminal 2 is so huge and spacious it seems more trans-atlantic airlines could use it rather than the Greyhound Bus depot of terminal 1 - but i think AF may well want to keep them out.

And at terminal 1 twice in recent years my plane could not dock at the terminal itself, but in mid runway and were ferried in by bus.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Ira - i guess the architectural significance has been lost of me because of its congested nature - but yes a 360 degree circle is unique, i agree.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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We fly British Air using Terminal 2B. We have had no problems so far. And we do it again mid-November.
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Aug 29th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Flying in and out on Air Canada, I've been spared the T1 experience for many years. I do recollect reading a year or two ago, however, that T1 was going to be completely refurbished and that all Star Alliance carriers serving CDG would then use it. Does this ring a bell with anyone else or was that just a dream?

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 09:46 AM
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The model for CDG-1 was Tampa airport.

It is undergoing a 5-year renovation project (and removal of asbestos!) which is about 75% complete. Rendez-vous around the end of 2008.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Bob, I'm certain it was just as your son said it was. But to call it "the world's worst" seems a bit extreme.

And Ira, I'm sorry you've had problems at Dulles..planning ahead helps...and then there's Atlanta...
Dukey is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:45 AM
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We haven't been to Paris for a while, but I don't remember any problems at the airport on our previous trips.

Recently we went through Frankfurt Airport, where we had to make plane changes in both directions. Going was fine but coming home was a nightmare. It's beyond my comprehension why any airport would be configured so that enroute passengers must leave the secure area to get to their next gate. Two passport controls and two horrendous security checks later, we barely made our connection. We weren't lost, we were escorted by a Lufthansa gate agent.
Giovanna is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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coach K: you're right - i should have titled it the worst i've been to - there are of course zillions that could be worse that i haven't seen

and perhaps the construction that Jack points out makes it more congested than usual

and i think the number of flights that land at once has gotta make a factor.

hopefully the renovation will improve it

If Tampa airport, which i love and have flown out of many times, was a template for terminal 1 then it should be nice as that when finished. that too is one big circle - but i thought it actually post-dated terminal 1 - at least seems more modern but maybe it replaced an older circular terminal
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Aug 29th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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ira
 
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Hi D,

>Ira, I'm sorry you've had problems at Dulles..planning ahead helps...and then there's Atlanta...<

Does matter how far ahead one plans, Dulles is still Dulles.

As far as ATL: We always arrange to arrive 4 hrs in advance. Sometimes we have a 3 hr wait, sometimes we have to run to catch the plane.

ira is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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I'm for razing LAX (in its entirety). I find it a depressing, old, ugly airport all around.
arewethereyet is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Parts of CDG2 are also very dumpy - like 2A.

Besides CDG1, TBIT at LAX probably should get a recommendation for world's worst. At least at a major international airport.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 11:10 AM
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ATL is sort of a pain the b*tt for those of us who live here, but for transit passengers it's the ideal set up, and as has been pointed out recently (by the new CEO of Delta) ATL is the world's busiest airport precisely because of the transit passengers.

And it's precisely because of all the transit passengers that I can get a direct flight just about anywhere I care to go. So count me among ATL's fans.

Oh, and I agree that CDG 1 is grimy, crowded, and depressing.
Therese is offline  
Aug 29th, 2007, 11:16 AM
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I'll take terminal 1 at CDG over any terminal at Heathrow. Waiting for a flight at T1/CDG is not particularly comfortable, but at least there are always seats. I find the way Heathrom rounds everyone up in the shops area frustrating because if there are a lot of flights and you don't want to shop, there are not always convenient seats available.
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Aug 29th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Pinchme_iam_dreaming
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We're flying American airlines DFW to CDG and it says our Terminal is 2A at CDG. Not all un-European airlines are consigned to dumpy Terminal 1.
 
Aug 29th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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CDG Terminal 3 is not any better. I flew a charter airline (Air Transat) to and from this terminal in July and it was not a pleasant experience. On the plus side, it is a small terminal and easy to navigate.

Like other European airport terminals, we were taken by bus to the Customs entrance. Here we had to enter through automated doors that beeped continually. Inside you we found ourselves in a small rectanglar room with a low ceiling. Here we joined a winding cue to get to the Customs officer. This hall was jam packed, hot and stuffy. I felt extremely claustrophobic here and couldn't wait to get out.

Our flight arrived at the same time as many others. There were only two Customs officers on duty (10:00 a.m. on a Friday morning) yet there was room for at least six. One officer insisted on spending at least five minutes with each passenger. The other officer was there for a bit and left. He did not return. After a while a person who looked like airport security showed up and just looked at passports and ushered people through. As a result, I do not have an arrival stamp in my passport. It took us 2 hours to get through Customs!

On our day of departure, a suspicious package was found in the terminal and the whole terminal was evacuated. Once we were back inside and checked in, we went to get some lunch. There was only one spot to get food in the entire terminal. It was not a restaurant, but rather a sort of kiosk which served ready made sandwiches, pastries and beverages. There were two staff members to begin with and a huge line. Just after noon, one staff member left and was not replaced, leaving the other staff person to cope with a huge lunch crowd.

All in all, it was not the most pleasant airport experience we have ever had. When I booked my flight, I knew that charters flew into Terminal Three and was expecting a difference from the other terminals. It doesn't sound like it is really that much different, just smaller. In all honesty, we didn't feel like we were in a city such as Paris. The terminal felt very much like the small airports we have experienced in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
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