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Can I make Paris CDG Connection on two flights not connected?

In June my husband and I would like to fly from the states to Paris, train thru France, meet friends in Italy, then fly back to the states from Milan. I'm finding one-way fares to either be quite high or have long travel times/layovers. I found two non-stop flights on different airlines that I could book independently - Milan to Paris CDG and Paris CDG to SFO that are in our budget and time requirements. I have put two hours between the two flights but am not sure if that is enough time to collect baggage in terminal 2C, get to terminal 1, re-check baggage, and go thru security. Do I have to go thru customs since I'm flying to Paris from Italy? Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.

Posted by
8412 posts

The short answer is no, it's not enough time.
CDG is huge. You need to be there two hours early, preferably three. Check in lines can be very long, as well as the passport lines. You'll go through both passport and security at CDG.
If your plane from Italy is a minute late, you'll be out of luck.
Better to bring a good book and endure the long layover.

Posted by
1005 posts

Whatever you decide to do, take carry-on luggage only. That way you don't have to worry about your bags making the connection.

Posted by
110 posts

If it would be possible for you to depart from Rome rather than Milan, there are several flights with only one stop, and you could book a simple open jaw ticket.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks so much for the help. Multi city (open jaw) tickets ran more from Rome than Milan and Milan was more expensive than us buying rounding trip to Paris and then booking Milan to Paris separately. We decided to book two separate flights but are arriving back in Paris the night before we leave there for the states to ensure plenty of time at CDG.

Posted by
8412 posts

Smart move, Cathy. My husband did miss his Verona-Paris-NY-IND connection due to fog but was fortunate to have it all on one ticket, and a wife back in the States monitoring his flights and immediately re-booking him by phone while he was in the air. It would have been a different story with two separate tickets.

Posted by
2020 posts

I have done this quite often and here are my guidelines

  1. Allow a minimum of 4 hours between your connection.
  2. Understand the risk. If flight one gets into CDG late you may be stranded. The airline taking you on home has no requirement to deal with you after you missed that flight. Since these are separate tickets it is considered an "unprotected" connection. I generally do it if I can get a cheap flight to London and go onto someplace, but I am aware that the risk is buying a full fare rail or plane ticket of I miss the connection. Remember that on most airlines if you miss the first flight on your ticket the entire ticket is cancelled