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How long does it take to get out of CDG and how much time to plan for going in reverse?

It has been a few years since my family and I traveled to France. The last time we were there - seven years ago - it didn't take much time to get out of the airport (though we flew in from Spain). For our return flight to the US, we almost missed our flight even though we arrived at the airport 3 hours before departure. There were layers upon layers of security checks because of terrorism and bomb threats. So, I'm trying to figure what the landscape look like given Covid. How much time did it take for you to get through customs, get a vaccine/health pass? Can anyone share what your recent experience has been like? Our flight is scheduled to arrive at 5:30 am.

Then, for the return flight, is getting to the airport (CDG) three hours before departure a good enough time? Too much? Too little? Departing flight is in the early afternoon.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6 posts

I’m interested too in this topic. I have a 7:30 am flight out of CDG connecting through Helsinki to the US. The flight home is the same day as the last day of the tour (so the final breakfast), which I will miss. I’m trying to figure out if I should either stay at the tour hotel the last night so that I can really enjoy the final dinner, and get an early taxi/car service to the airport around 4:30 or should I go stay at an airport hotel the night before so I know I’m right there at CDG. I’d appreciate it if anyone can share what time CDG security etc. even open in the morning. Thank you!

Posted by
2488 posts

There is absolutely no way to know, in advance, how much time immigration and security will take. For transatlantic flights from CDG, I am always at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure. If your departure is to another EU country, 2 to 2½ hours may be sufficient time.

Unless you are arriving CDG to immediately catch a TGV, I would not wait there to convert vaccination information into equivalent French QR codes. I would simply find a convenient pharmacist in Paris.

Posted by
7615 posts

I don't know which terminal you fly from but this fall with a flight out of 2A we decided to stay at the airport the night before. The intra-airport transport was right next to our hotel and dropped us at the terminal BUT the walk to 2A from there was ludicrously long. We this spring will take a cab from Paris which will drop us at 2A.

You need at least 3 hours at CDG -- in the check in line. WE have had it take all of that -- or gotten through quickly. We had an 11:15 flight this fall and when we finally made our way from the shuttle stop with our luggage ot check in there were a couple of hundred people in the check in line. WE had however completed things like uploading vaccination codes and CoVID test results to their air ready site -- and we were able to use a priority line of other people who had completed all this on line and it took us about 20 minutes to check in. It was taking 5 or 10 minutes to check in each person or couple. I would have been worried we would miss the plane if we were in that 100s person line.

It has taken us about an hour to get to the cab line at CDG on arrival lately but we have been in business class and so were out ahead of most of our plane. We had little wait at immigration. That can easily take an hour if you are further back or if there is another plane right ahead of you. The biggest delay is often at luggage; CDG has very slow luggage delivery.