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Cincinnati to Paris to Rome with a one-hour layover in Paris - is it realistic?

I booked an Expedia bundle deal and now I'm starting to see why it was a good deal. My family and I (husband and three kids 9-16 in age) are traveling from Cincinnati to Paris to Rome in July. We leave out of Cincy on Delta, then connect to Air France in Paris and head to Rome.

There is only a 60-minute layover from the time we land in Paris until we leave for Rome. We're arriving in terminal 2E at CDG airport in Paris, and departing out of terminal 2F at CDG.

I called Delta, and the agent agreed that this timing looks tight and he talked to his manager and he confirmed I need to go through passport control at the point of first entry into a Schengen country. However, Delta cannot help me since I booked through Expedia on a package deal. I've called Expedia and she says that Delta wouldn't have allowed them to book it if it wasn't enough time. She's checking with a manager, but I don't hold out hope for a good resolution.

I feel like I'm looking at a guaranteed missed flight out of Paris. Am I wrong? Is there any hope that we can make this one-hour connection?

Posted by
7261 posts

That is a tight connection.
The worst thing that will happen if they do not change between now and July is that they will put you on the next flight.
You have 3 months; things may change by then.

Posted by
3699 posts

The Expedia rep is talking nonsense. Airlines offer very tight connections all the time and some of them don't work (twice I managed to make a tight connection but my luggage didn't, one requiring a foot race at CdG). The airline's costs go up if it has to book you on a later flight so don't be suspicious. To add to your worries, the stated times of arrival and departure are no guideline. You still have to get off the plane after landing, sometimes a lengthy process in CdG. And even on domestic flights the passengers are supposed to be in their seats well before the stated time of take-off. Maybe you will be lucky; maybe you will be stuck in CdG for several hours awaiting a later flight. Since Delta and Air France operate as almost one airport trans-Atlantic, I would consider asking an Air France rep for help making the connection as soon as you emerge from the first flight. Or perhaps try appealing to a higher authority at AF to make a change now.

Posted by
131 posts

Thanks for the input. The Expedia agent was no help. As expected. I have sent appeals to higher ups at Expedia (thank you LinkedIn) and we'll see what comes of it.

Posted by
6727 posts

I may find prices on middlemen vendors but I always book with the airline precisely because they WILL adjust things in situations like this. You probably make this, but nothing much needs to go wrong to miss the connection. I'd call delta again and see if you get a more helpful rep.

Posted by
131 posts

I know, I know. But it was $1,500 a person through Delta, and $3,800 for all five of us AND three nights hotel from Expedia. Sigh. I couldn't fathom paying nearly $4,000 extra to book directly through Delta. Not even taking into account the three nights hotel we're getting in Rome.

I should have paid more attention to the connecting times. I will call Delta back and write down names, this time. I'm not done with the situation yet. :)

edited to add: Expedia did offer to change the flights. There's no penalty fee because I paid $271 for travel insurance that allows usto cancel any time, for any reason. But it's still another $300 per person to make the change. I don't want to pay $1,500.

Posted by
16883 posts

If it were me traveling alone, I think I would not change the ticket, just count on the fact that there are several departures per day on that route and hope that they don't all fill. I know that it's harder with the kids along, but if your first flight is scheduled to land relatively early in the day, then you still have a multiple options to continue on the same day.

Posted by
131 posts

Laura, I agree with you. If it were just myself, or my husband and I, we'd deal with it. Goodness knows we've had many missed flights and had to get on the next available flight over the years. It's having the three kids with us that makes it more of an issue. I know they'll be tired after an overnight flight, especially since we're landing at 2:30 a.m. our time back home. So to have several hours of a layover, without knowing for sure when we'll be at our Rome hotel, would be tough on them.

Posted by
2927 posts

I can confirm that you will have to go through passport control. An hour for a connection like this even if both flights were on Air France is tight. It is the minimum connection time at CDG for an intra-terminal connection so you could try that argument with Delta. I do not think that Expedia will help you; it's not like the connection time changed after you bought the ticket so they can argue that you knew the risk and chose to take it for the low price. Delta will probably say the same thing. I don't say this to be downer but to turn to the next step which is what to do to maximize your chances of making the flight.

Have you checked the on time arrival percentage for your flight? I have been on flights that arrived late from the US but usually they arrive early and that could help. You can check the flight's on time arrival percentage at http://www.flightstats.com/go/FlightRating/flightRatingByFlight.do. Also, do you have any premium type status that you can use to get into the priority passport control line at CDG or maybe even just go to it if no one is checking boarding passes at the entrance area. Or just try it because people often feel sorry for families especially when they see that your ongoing flight is leaving soon. If you are assured by Delta that you will be able to check all of your luggage to Rome from Cincinnati, my advice is to limit the amount of carryon luggage that you have in order to facilitate moving quickly through the airport. Your luggage may not make it but that can always get on the next flight and will be delivered to your hotel in Rome. I usually bring just bring a change of clothes in my purse when I am worried about the luggage. The thing that I am most worried about for you is that the next flight will not have five seats. It's happened to us and it is not a good situation to be in.

Posted by
5789 posts

Be prepared in the event that you miss the scheduled connection. That said, 60 minutes is the minimum transfer time for Terminal 2 flights. Note that in addition to passport control, be prepared for security check and carry-on baggage inspection in going from Terminal 2E to Terminal 2F.
http://easycdg.com/passenger-information/connecting-flight-connections-paris-cdg-airport/transfer-terminal-2e/terminal-2e-to-terminal-2f/

Just in case, make note of the later Delta/Air France/KLM flights to Rome in the event of a missed connection. Delta, Air France and KLM are joint venture partners:
Delta & Air France-KLM-Alitalia Joint Venture

Partnering up with Air France-KLM and Alitalia allows us to offer
greater service and convenience via the world’s largest transatlantic
network — nearly 250 daily flights across the Atlantic and service to
almost 500 destinations in Europe and North America. Our customers
also benefit from harmonized ground and in-flight services,
competitive fares, dedicated reservation centers and access to a
worldwide airport lounge network.

Posted by
131 posts

Thanks, everyone! It's totally my fault for not better checking the connection times when I booked it.

I have put in a few emails to higher level folks at Expedia. I have a few travel industry contacts, so I'm hoping something pans out. It made me mad talking to the Expedia manager tonight because at first he said he'd rebook it at no cost, since Delta had told me that 60 minutes wasn't long enough. But then he talked to Delta, and told me that they told him that 60 minutes was fine, and there were no notes from my supposed previous conversation with Delta where they said it wasn't long enough. I didn't like being accused of lying, which was basically what he was doing.

Ah well, live and learn. I couldn't have done a trip to Italy paying $1,500 per ticket, so at least we get to go, even with a bit of trouble ahead.

Posted by
5789 posts

Apparently Delta considers a one hour layover a legal connection at CDG. Looking at July flights booked using the Delta website, one offering is:

DEPARTS Tue Jul 18 2017 | 6:05pm | from Cincinnati, OH

ARRIVES Arrives Next Day Wed 19 Jul 8:15am at Paris-De Gaulle, France

FLIGHT DL 228 | 8h 10m

1h Layover at Paris-De Gaulle, France | You change planes in CDG

DEPARTS Wed Jul 19 2017 | 9:15am | from Paris-De Gaulle, France

ARRIVES Wed Jul 19 2017 | 11:20am | at Rome, Italy

FLIGHT DL 8618 Footnote 1 | 2h 5m |

The Delta website does have a color highlighted "!" mark in front of the 1h Layover line.

Posted by
2927 posts

I just noticed that you can change the tickets for $300 per ticket but don't want to do that. If that is the case, you take the chance. Maybe someone will make an exception and make the change without charging but I wouldn't bank on it. You don't want to pay the cost for the better connection. You don't have to as long as you know and fully accept the consequences. By the way, you got a great deal through Expedia -- basically, $760 per person for a flight to Europe and 3 nights in a hotel.

Posted by
7701 posts

Luckily there are tons of flights every day from CDG to Rome on AirFrance/KLM. It may be a bit more difficult with five of you needing seats, maybe they'll break you into two and three - but you'll get there eventually.

Also, remember to pack carry-on only!

Posted by
131 posts

What's better - a 42 minute layover on a Cincinnati to Atlanta leg, or a 60-minute layover Cincinnati to Paris leg, with both flights connecting to Rome? Delta does have one that has just a 42-minute layover in Atlanta, and then direct to Rome. It would cost me more, but it's only about $100 more a person. I'm not sure if that's just jumping out of the pan into the fire tho. And for $500 if it's even worth it.

I'm surprised so many people act like $1,500 extra to change flights isn't a big deal. I'm not sure how wealthy everyone here is, but where I come from, $1,500 is a lot of money. That's the difference of us hiring a few tour guides and doing extras like a pizza making class on our vacation. I don't take spending $1,500 lightly.

Posted by
43 posts

I will say that immigration at CDG has been very fast the last 5-6 times I have gone thru (last time was October 2015). In fact, it's one of the fastest I have gone thru. It wouldn't hurt for you to try to get global entry (although it may be too late). That can speed up the process somewhat. So, it's possible that you may be fine. It's hit or miss though - so, hopefully, you all will be fine.

Posted by
5789 posts

My thinking is missing a connection at a gateway airport in Europe is better than missing a domestic connection to the Transatlantic flight. Airlines have few Transatlantic flights (often only one per day) while short hop European flights are more numerous. As previously suggested, check for later flights from CDG.

My trips to Europe usually require more gear than I can fit into my carry-on and/or gear that would not be allowed in the cabin for TSA and/or size reasons. Although I have had bags delayed missing short connections when I first started European travel 15 plus years ago, checked bags have not been a problem. Last winter my bags including a ski box made a 50 minute scheduled connection that was more like 35 or 40 minutes because the first flight came in late and was delayed for de-icing. While carrying on essentials is the smart thing, don't worry about checked bags making the connection. The baggage doesn't have to go through the CDG passport control and re-screening.

And the two times my skis missed their connection, they were delivered to my hotel that evening. While having to wait for the luggage belt to stop then register the missing luggage complaint takes time, the bonus is the airline delivers your bag to your hotel and you don't have to carry it onto the train or bus.

If you do have carry-on luggage, avoid items that could appear suspicious in an X-ray image. Thinks like batteries with wires running to a cylindrical object may lead to security sending the bag through the scanner a second time and then requesting permission for a hand search.

I would also note that I can run/walk/move faster with a backpack than pulling wheelie bags. And it's harder to move from row 50 of the aircraft carrying a wheelie down the narrow aisle than a smallish backpack.

Posted by
6727 posts

It will hinge on if the flight is on time. 8 of 10 of my most recent European flights have been late, one by 5 hours but most by 30-60 minutes. On the other hand if you arrive half an hour early you would probably make it. The biggest issue is often getting off the plane and into the terminal; that can take a huge hunk of time. Trying to rebook 5 people is also going to be a big deal; I'd be prepared to go in groups of 2 and 3 and would mentally expect this and then relax about it. You rolled the dice; the deal was really cheap; so make it an adventure.

Posted by
676 posts

It is always a crap shoot. But keep in mind you are just as likely to arrive early as late to Europe. I'll concur on the carry-on if you can do it (I know luggage for five is a lot). Yes they say they'll check your bags through, but because France is your first point or arrival, you'll probably have to claim your bags in France, go through customs with them, and then put them back on the carousel so they get on the flight to Italy (if they or you make it). Good luck!

Posted by
487 posts

One person mentioned applying for Global Entry. I think Global Entry only works coming back into the United States and at security in airports in the United States only. It would be completely irrelevant for a connection in Paris. Don't apply for Global Entry to help you in this situation.

Posted by
1005 posts

I've made a one-hour connection like this at CDG, so don't give up hope. You got a great deal on a family trip to Rome, so don't obsess too much on the details. It will all work out in the end. Here are some things I'd recommend:

If you have checked luggage, make sure that Delta/Air France will check it through to Rome. This is usually the case. I recently made a one-hour connection in Amsterdam, but my luggage didn't, so it was delivered to my hotel in France the next day.

Try to bring as many carry-on bags as you can. Yes, I know it's a hassle with kids, but chances are even if you make your one-hour connection, your luggage won't. If you prepare in advance, you'll have enough clothes and personal items to survive while waiting for your luggage.

Study the terminal maps for Charles de Gaulle, especially if you haven't been there before. Look up what gates your flights usually arrive at and depart from, and map out your route. Here's one website with photos about a 2E to 2F transfer.

When you arrive at CDG, you will go through passport control. There is usually a long line for economy passengers. Go to the entrance to the express line for first-class passengers and show them your ticket for your tight connection, asking the staff member if you can use that line. Every time I've done this at CDG, they've let me through. Especially with a family, I'm betting they will let you through too.

Be prepared to go through security screening before your flight to Rome. I thought I was "airside" the whole time when I did a similar connection between T2E and T2F, but apparently they have tight security at CDG.

Good luck and let us know if you make it.

Posted by
131 posts

Thanks so very much for all the helpful input!

Jane (and others who expressed similar sentiments), I love your mindset: "trying to rebook 5 people is also going to be a big deal; I'd be prepared to go in groups of 2 and 3 and would mentally expect this and then relax about it. You rolled the dice; the deal was really cheap; so make it an adventure."

Definitely an adventure and we will all get there. I'm already breathing more easily. :)

Posted by
1407 posts

Take a deeep breath .......... and relax. Try and not get too worked up about this.

Since this is all one ticket, once you get on the first leg in Cincinnati the airline is obligated to get you to Rome. So I would go with a mind set of hopeful optimism, but also mentally prepared to miss the connection.

Have a strategy in place for this. Five seats may not be available on the next flight out. Decide in advance how you would spilt up to accommodate what is available? If 4 seats are open what are you going to do? In the event that you split up have a communication plan. Do you have cellphones that work in Europe? Do you have international plans for them? Where will you meet up in Rome? Head to the hotel or wait outside baggage claim at FCO?

Having thought through some of the issues and how to respond to them will make it somewhat easier to deal with.

Forgot to add. Check with the head steward or senior cabin staff on board your first flight. Perhaps when you explain the situation they can get you a pass for priority passport control.

Good luck and have fun. You're getting a trip you would not have otherwise taken, so it's worth a little potential hassle.

Posted by
131 posts

Thanks Rocket, all good info. The four seat possibility is one I hadn't considered. I could just send the husband on to Rome with the three kids and stay in Paris myself and gosh, it could take a few days to get to Italy with flight issues and all. hmmmm...whatever would I do with myself with time alone in Paris?

Seriously, I do like considering all possibilities. I'm not a planner. I'm a "hey, let's see how it all works out" kind of person normally. Having the kids along makes this more stressful for me. And then having to actually plan minute details is so against my nature that it's freaking me out a little.

But it will all work out and we'll get a fabulous vacation. We had budgeted about $10K-$11K for vacation this summer, so Italy would not have been an option if we'd had to pay $7,500 for tickets.

Posted by
69 posts

We missed our connecting flight on an Expedia bundle trip-ORD to CDG to Pisa. -they put us on the next flight out- four people three with carry-ons.No problem and checked luggage was at Pisa airport. We had to go to a transfer desk to arrange it but they were helpful.

Posted by
2927 posts

Linda, How long was your layover scheduled to be at CDG? That information could give the OP a bit of guidance on how likely her family is to make their connection.

Posted by
131 posts

Problem resolved.

I sent an email to a Delta executive in customer service and within 24 hours, the problem was fixed. Delta changed my connecting flight to one with a 2 hour, 45 minute layover, what I'd said was my most preferred connection.

I'm very happy with Delta's customer service. Expedia, not so much!

Posted by
6727 posts

Glad it worked out for you. I think legacy airlines which have absurd policies are beginning to soften a bit to compete with the upstarts. I recently booked a wrong time on a legacy by mistake and couldn't rebook as the one I wanted was full; they tell me they will give me a waiver on rebooking fees to use the value of the tickets on another flight this year. Would not have happened a few years ago. You can also buy one way flights at reasonable prices on legacy airlines now when once round trips were often cheaper than one ways. I usually fly Southwest in the states because of the one way booking and the fact that they allow no cost changes.