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CDG airport- how much time for security flying back to US?

We will be flying back from CDG to ORD airport in late October. Wanted to see if anyone could tell us how long it's taking to get through security at CDG? We didn't know if arriving 2 1/5 hours ahead would be adequate. Thanks!

Posted by
10298 posts

All airlines tell you to arrive at CDG 3 hours ahead of time.

Having flown from that airport about thirty times, I think you should do as the airlines suggest, even if it gives you extra time before boarding.

Posted by
287 posts

3 hours is highly recommended, especially if you are checking luggage and/or cannot check-in with your airline online (some third party sites like Kayak don't allow online check-in for certain airlines) and thus you have to check-in at your airline's ticket counter. It's always better to be too early rather than too late and CDG is a big and very busy airport.

Posted by
5258 posts

Becky,
It's recommended to arrive at CDG at least 3 hours prior to your flights departure.
CDG is a very busy airport & you may have to wait in several lines prior to arriving at your departure gate.

We arrived to CDG almost 4 hours prior to our flight & didn't realize we'd had to wait in so many lines!

Posted by
11507 posts

As everyone says , 3 hours is best HOWEVER if you are flying out of terminal 3 you can do 2.5 hours there as it's much smaller terminal and we have never encountered long lines there

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

When I fly back from CDG to SFO, I get there 3-3.5 hours prior, having stayed the night before at Roissy at the Campanille hotel.(It's a French chain). Waiting at the airport is no problem.

Posted by
2466 posts

It can also depend on what time of day you're leaving.

If you're getting to the airport via taxi, and are going before 7:00 AM, allow 40 minutes to get there. After that, I'd allow at least one hour to get to the airport.
IME, the first flights of the day can often include huge tour groups, so I would allow between 3.5 and 4 hours for check-in time.
You didn't state which airline you'll be using, but here's a map of the terminals in CDG, as well as things to do while you're waiting around:

http://easycdg.com/airport-guide/

Posted by
3772 posts

Also, I have found that if you are flying business class, 2.5 hours is more than enough time unless you have to go to detaxe.

Posted by
2059 posts

Thanks for the replies. We decided to fly CDG to DFW (we're flying on AA buddy passes). We fly out of terminal 2A at 11:30 am. We'll be returning a car at CDG first.

Posted by
131 posts

Where are you coming from with the car? I know that I'd want to be at the car rental return by 7:30 - then hopefully in line at the airline check in counter by 8:30.

Better yet, would be returning the car the night before, if possible.

Posted by
2619 posts

With CDG more time is always better, it can be a frazzling zoo of commotion and confusion--I've encountered that twice.

Posted by
11507 posts

If returning a car leave LOTS of time as its very confusing there

Posted by
788 posts

I believe it was someone on this forum who said, "You can be stressed or you can be bored."

Posted by
2466 posts

I would recommend returning the car the day before. Then take the Roissy bus/RER back to your hotel - or you could stay in a hotel at the airport.

Posted by
451 posts

Just flew out of CDG on Tuesday. We left Paris at 7 arrived at terminal 2E at 8 for 11 am flight on Delta. Passport and Security lines were long. Only 2 windows open. Had time to buy some Toblerone and use the restroom then it was time to board. Wouldn't arrive less than 3 hours early. Hotel said less but we were glad we decided to follow the advice of those on this forum.

Posted by
9 posts

Becky,
We flew out of CDG a few days ago (Terminal 2A), arriving at the airport three hours before our flight--and I'm glad we did. Here's why: I was questioned and/or searched no fewer than three times during the security process. That was in addition to waiting in lines, putting our bags through xray, etc. First: I set off the magnetometer (I have metal implants), and had to go back through it a few times. I then had to wait to be physically searched. Second: My carry on bag was set aside to be searched after going through xray. Another wait. Third: I was pulled out of line (with a number of other passengers) while boarding my flight to be questioned directly by airport security. For each of these events, I had to wait my turn to be searched, questioned, etc. That was in addition to waiting in line for general screening, etc., and while the lines weren't excessively long the day we flew, I could easily envision long lines contributing to the delay. Airport security in France is understandably tight (which protects all of us), and it was good we allowed enough time so that we weren't frantic while all this played out.

Posted by
345 posts

We always stay at either the Novotel at CDG or at Roissy. We return the rental car the night before our flight so we don't have to do that in the morning. It is fairly easy to go from the Novotel to the terminal. I don't remember which terminal we use when flying Delta.

Plan at least three hours. I would also rather have a little extra time for all the lines that feeling rushed. If you need breakfast, you can get it at the airport. I always have something to eat at the hotel so I can take my meds but then I plan to get yoghurt and croissants at the airport.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
23431 posts

We had a 11.30 United flight, terminal 2, last Tuesday and three hours was generous. But we were flying Business first so we received priority treatment all the way through from check-in to security. Sailed through in less than an hour. Process is -- Check-in first, then immigration with so so lines, duty free, and finally security at the gate that with a min line. We had planned on three hours but spent two in the United Club.

Posted by
10298 posts

If you're flying business, you're in a different world. Not only do you have humans beings taking care of you, but the red carpet is getting plusher and plusher. One time in business the passport line was so long for economy with people about to miss their flights but we were ushered through a side aisle, giving us plenty of time to do nothing more important than stuff our faces in the business lounge. On the other hand, last trip we flew economy and had to check ourselves in at CDG and wait in a long line for the one human when our reservation refused to show on the computer. Same thing for the detax, and the passport, and security. Few humans. In economy, no only do you not have a carpet, but you have run the gauntlet. There's no comparison anymore.

Posted by
3772 posts

Bets, Are you saying that there is a special line for business class passengers at detaxe? There is definitely a shorter line for check in and passport control upon arrival at CDG. I was not aware of a shorter line for detaxe, security and passport control upon departure. Or does the "same thing" refer to the lack of sufficient staffing?

Posted by
10298 posts

Detaxe refers to it being automated machines now without a human to help. After the machine you may be selected to see an officer. Business class has no short cut at detaxe. Yes, there is a special business class line for passport control upon exiting the country.

Posted by
3772 posts

Thanks, Bets. I see that you are referring to the lack of human contact in detaxe but a special line for passport control for business class passengers -- two different concepts but now I get what you were saying. I have found the Pablo machines to be faster than before when everyone had to wait for a customs officer. As to the shorter passport control line for business class passengers leaving the country, I have not seen that and did not know that it existed, but I will look for that next time I am in CDG.

Posted by
8171 posts

frank we are flying United and cdg shows Terminal 1 for United---it was T2 for you? we need to be sure to get it right.

Posted by
681 posts

We flew out of CDG this morning. We were flying business class, so we had access to the much shorter Priority lines. We got to Terminal 2 3 hours and 10 minutes early, planning to have a leisurely breakfast in the lounge and do some shopping after checking in. The Priority line was short and it looked like it would be a breeze, but the agent could find no record of our reservation. Forty-five anxiety-laden minutes later, she was finally able to pull it up. Relief . . . until we went around the corner for passport control and saw the huge hallway FULL of people. Again, thankfully, we could use the Priority lane, but there were probably over one hundred people in our line and only two agents to check our passports. That took another 45 minutes and I can't imagine that the people in the main area could have gotten through in less than two hours. In the middle of our wait, the police removed a woman, kicking and screaming all the way. Not understanding French, I don't know what that was about, but I could kind of relate to her at that point.

Next, was security. All phones, tablets and laptops had to be charged before passing through security and they were each taken away and checked. Bags were being opened and stuff strewn all over the belts. Finally made it through in time to have a quick breakfast but, sadly, no shopping. We were very glad that we had allowed 3+ hours before our departure.

Posted by
7400 posts

What an experience Nancy had! We flew back home to Seattle two weeks ago from CDG. We arrived at CDG 3 hours before our flight, and I have Sky Priority from Delta. Our flight left around 10:30am. We stopped for a croissant and coffee before heading through lines. No issues and plenty of time to have a Starbucks and wait around at the end of the process before boarding. We don't check luggage, had our boarding passes printed the night before, and only electronics were a small iPad and phones.

Posted by
12172 posts

My recent experience was on WOW air, not sure it applies to other airlines. I spent most of my time waiting to check in. I only had a carry on but didn't check in online before going to the airport. The line took between an hour and an hour and a half. Security itself was quick except for a couple who seemed to have all kinds of trouble complying with directions in front of me. I ended up switching to a different line but it didn't take long.

I didn't see any kiosks for checking in without luggage at CDG (again maybe only for my airline) as I expected so I would have been much better off checking in before going to the airport.

I think 2 1/2 hours is adequate in most cases but it's probably worth it to be earlier. The downside of arriving too early is you spend a little more time waiting at the gate. The downside of missing your flight is much worse.