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Fight change at CDG

We're planning a 2.5 wk trip to Italy in Oct, but due to using miles are flying in/out of CDG. We arrive on American at 9:25am, and I'm looking at booking a separate AirFrance flight to Venice at 12:50. Those of you who know the airport, does that give us enough time to clear passport control, pick up bags and go thru Customs, and then check in at AirFrance counter? I don't know the specifics of terminals, etc. Thank you!

Posted by
1070 posts

It might work but I would consider it a very dangerous plan. You do not know the actual arrival time of your inbound flight, how long it will take you to get through passport control (it can take over an hour), time involved to recheck your luggage, or how long the lines will be in security. There are many unknowns and CDG is not the place to push the limits of time.

If you were to attempt this as outlined, have a very strong plan B.

Posted by
5019 posts

It's probably doable as long as most things go fairly well, but once any of them start sliding sideways, the risk goes up and up. First questions I'd ask myself would be, what are your options (and how bad would it be cost-wise) if you missed the flight to Venice? Surely there are lots of ways to get to Venice from CDG in a pinch, but A) how much would a same-day flight cost, and B) if you showed up in Venice X hours later than you had expected, how much would that mess with your plans (one less afternoon wandering Venice, or do you miss a cruise ship departure)?

I'd say your risk on your outbound (to Europe) flight is probably moderate, maybe tolerable. Agree that you should have a solid Plan B mapped out in detail and ready to switch to if needed.

If the same question was asked for your flight home (which would probably have much, much bigger consequences if you missed it), I'd say the risk is probably huge. I'd want a minimum of 5-6 hours to connect at CDG going westbound (since the cost of a same-day ticket home across the Atlantic would be huge).

Posted by
5700 posts

Note that budget airlines close check in about 40 minutes before flight time. I would not be comfortable with this gap although your odds of making it are pretty good. The problem is that planes are often half an hour to an hour late (we had one 5 hours late, but then any non connecting flight is doomed). and while immigration usually takes about an hour from plane through customs -- it is not rare for it to take 2 hours when the stars align e.g. understaffed, work slowdown, 3 giant planes came in ahead of you, some sort of issue with people ahead of you in line etc etc. 3 hours is for when everything goes smoothly -- sometimes it doesnt

So only book like this if you can be philosophical about missing the flight and booking a new one. I am very conservative with travel and so would rather sit in the boarding area reading an extra hour or two than have to be anxious about making the flight.

So your original question? Maybe, probably, okay. But by no means a sure thing.

Posted by
5404 posts

This would be too risky for me, but your appetite for risk may be higher than mine.

Posted by
4 posts

Alrighty then! Was looking at chancing an earlier flight in an effort to navigate Venice with as much daylight as possible upon arrival, but a later [3:30] flight arriving just after 5pm sounds like a better, more comforting option. If this still sounds iffy, please let me know. I appreciate all of the responses!

Posted by
11153 posts

The later flight is a better idea, unless you're much more comfortable with risk than I am.

What I did in a similar situation (US to Rome and Rome to Palermo, on separate tickets) was book one flight for 3 hours after my arrival and a second flight for 10 hours after my Rome arrival. This way, I knew I'd take one flight and miss the other, and the combined price of the two advance purchase tickets was still lower than the last minute price on that day on that route. If you want full flexibility (to get an early flight if everything goes well, and a later flight if it doesn't), that's something to consider, depending of course on flight prices.

Flights from the US on AA arrive in terminal 2A; AF flights to Venice leave from 2F. Don't be fooled that they're "both terminal 2"; each of the lettered sub-sections (A-G) of terminal 2 is itself a mini-airport in size, and it takes time to get between them.

Posted by
991 posts

CDG is my least favorite airport in the entire world. I think your option of the later flight to Venice sounds like a much better option; however, having had major issues with AA in the past, remember that if there's a problem with that flight, Air France will not care if you're late for the flight to Venice.

As long as you're good with that possibility, then the later flight is your best bet.