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Morning flight out of Paris

For a 9am flight out of CDG Paris to Munich (where I will connect to a US bound flight) on a Wednesday, how early does one need to get to the airport? Is it reasonable to assume I can take the RER into CDG or should I plan to spend the previous night at a hotel at CDG (i.e. Novotel).
Thanks.

Posted by
3773 posts

So you do not have to assume, here is the RER schedule: https://www.ratp.fr/sites/default/files/lines-assets/fiche-horaire/rer/fiche-horaire_rer_ligne-b-aller.pdf.
I have taken a 9(ish) AM flight from Paris home to the US via a European hub (London, Frankfurt, Zurich) a few times and I arrived at the airport at around 7 AM for those flights and had no problem. The first time I took one, I arrived 3 hours early and that was a complete waste of time.

Posted by
6629 posts

Check with the airline, they'll probably tell you to be there three hours ahead. It may be "a complete waste of time," unless for some reason it turns out to be necessary and you'll be glad you took their advice.

With a flight that early I'd stay right at the airport. I liked the Ibis, I'm sure Novotel is fine and there are others. Have a nice dinner in the city, take the RER to the airport hotel, and sleep well knowing you're already there.

Posted by
11398 posts

Ask yourself which you would rather do--- have extra time to read or wander the airport shops, or be in a customer service line trying to book a ( pricey) flight.

Posted by
3773 posts

Yes, please check with the airline and if you are flying on either Lufthansa or United, and they will tell you 90 minutes before scheduled departure time (2 hours, tops). The 3-hour rule is for long-haul flights. I wish I had thought to ask like you did instead of showing up at CDG at 6:15 AM for a 9:20 flight to Frankfurt. If you are already in Paris, I am of the view that you should just spend the night in Paris and take the train in the morning. But, I understand the desire to spend the night at the airport and peace of mind of knowing that you are within walking distance of the departing flight. For me, the extra 45 to 60 minutes of sleep on the night before I leave and the afore-mentioned peace of mind is not worth the effort.

Posted by
10308 posts

For internal EU flights, they often won’t let you check in and drop baggage until two hours before the flight. Being overly cautious, I learned this the hard way ad had to wait around the airport a couple of different times until my time slot opened.

Posted by
5687 posts

Paris to Munich is a Schengen flight - no need to pass through immigration in Paris. You'll do that in Munich. So, I would personally shoot for 2 hours ahead if not checking bags, maybe 2.5 hours if checking bags.

Last year, I had a 10am flight from Paris to the US so did have to go through immigration. I got there three hours ahead. There were actually no lines and delays at 7am, so I actually breezed through everything (including a flight change because my original flight was delayed several hours). I was told that an hour later, the airport got much busier, though, and people who got to the airport at say 8 really had to rush and wait in some lines. Paradoxically, then, I had an hour to kill at my gate at CDG but had I arrived at the airport even 30 minutes later, I probably would have barely made it, because lines were longer by then.

I did stay at the airport the night before my last flight out, but one reason I did that was that I added an extra night in Paris than planned. If you'll have a lot of time in Paris, I'd probably stay at the airport the final night, but if not, to take advantage of your limited time in Paris, I'd stay in town and just get up super early.

The RER has worked for me, but don't be surprised if there are unexpected delays. I've had long RER delays a couple of times. In fact, if taking the RER in the morning, I'd add an extra 30 minutes - so arrive 2:30 early without bags, 3:00 if you have bags to check.

Posted by
6629 posts

My apologies, I didn't pick up that yours is a short flight within Europe. So JHK is right, two hours should be enough, but still a good idea to check with the airline, and still a good idea, I think, to sleep right at the airport the night before.

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

Flying out at 9 am, I would stay the night before at CDG, which is what I've done on return flight from Paris to SFO.

Posted by
8889 posts

Paris to Munich is a Schengen flight - no need to pass through immigration in Paris. You'll do that in Munich.

Paris to Munich is a Schengen flight, no immigration (passport check) in either Paris or Munich. The airline will want to see your passport for their ID check. There will still be security of course. 2 hours before departure is plenty OK to arrive at the airport.
As both countries are in the EU, there is no customs either, so after picking up your bags go through the blue "EU" exit.

Posted by
2577 posts

Paris to Munich is a Schengen flight, no immigration (passport check) in either Paris or Munich.

There is indeed a passport check in Munich and I am sure Andrew H. was referring to the check required as one departs any Schengen country for a non Schengen destination.

Posted by
8889 posts

If you are departing a Schengen country for a non Schengen destination, there is a Schengen exit passport check at your point of departure, and a check for the new country at your point of arrival.

If you are departing a Schengen country for another Schengen country, there is no passport control for either country. If you fly, then the airline has to do an ID check (name=name on ticket), and they need to see your passport for that; you also need to show boarding card + ID (ID=passport) to enter the secure area.

Posted by
11398 posts

For a 9am flight out of CDG Paris to Munich (where I will connect to a US bound flight

Looks like this detail from the original post has been overlooked, based on what I see in the past few posts

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

Basically, this depends on your tolerance for risk. Regarding flights, I don't like cutting it close, ie, a 9 am departure, regardless if it is within Schengen or going somewhere else. Regardless of its shortcomings, I don't mind getting to CDG earlier than needed anyway, That's why I choose to stay the night before at a CDG budget hotel.

I know one friend here who had a morning departure from CDG to SFO over ten years ago, took the RER in the morning with ample time to spare. En route to CDR the RER just stopped, no reason given, my friend is fluent in French.

The upshot was that the delay caused by the RER resulted in his missing his flight. By the time RER got there, it was too late...a real fluke, yes, or a million to one chance occurrence; still, he ended up paying another $250 to reschedule a return flight, plus paying another night at a hotel in Paris. Not all that serious but a nuisance you can do without.

Posted by
10308 posts

A delay on the RER is by no means a million in one fluke. It breaks down daily, at least once a day. One of the reasons is the B transports twice as many people as it was built to transport. And the CDGVal from Terminals 1 and 3 to Terminal 2 is also stopped and evacuated every time someone forgets a package or piece of luggage. Same on the RER. The forgotten object has to be exploded before the internal shuttle train or RER starts rolling again. Happened to us this week. Hundreds of passengers and employees, scrambling for a way to get between T1, T2 and T3 . It's not so🌹 and easy.

Or, you could be in a jam behind construction and an accident on the autoroute as we witnessed last spring. Lots of missed flights that day. Our choice this week was to sleep at CDG after joining friends for dinner in town, even though our flight was at 1pm. Full disclosure: we flew in from Nice the afternoon before so took a CDG hotel.

Edit: The intent here is not to discourage people from taking the RER but to let you know that these marvelous transport systems are not always magical flying carpets, as displayed on a certain TV program, but do have glitches.

Posted by
111 posts

Thank you for the replies. I have flown quite a bit throughout Europe and I agree that generally getting there 90-100 minutes ahead of time for flights is fine - you can't check in any earlier and I always fly with carryon so I won't have a bag drop. I just wasn't sure if CDG was in itself problematic. I think I'm convinced now to not take the RER to CDG, but I don't think I want to stay at the airport hotels. Its more expensive this way, but it appears I can take a cab for about 55 euros or a SuperShuttle for 33 euros. There may be other services as well. Does anyone have any experience with SuperShuttle in Paris or have an opinion on a good ride services from Paris to CDG? I am staying in the 13th, near Cite Universitaire station.

Posted by
408 posts

I took the Super Shuttle to CDG one morning when I was in Paris on business the October before my employer transferred me to France, and it was kind of a milk run. I wished I had taken a cab.

Posted by
9 posts

For what it’s worth, I see no reason to stay at an airport hotel.

I’m American and live in Paris, and I take early flights out of CDG often. I never have a problem taking either the train (which I don’t like — have witnessed theft too many times) or the Roissybus (my preferred method, since the streets are dead early in the mornings here).

For a 9 am flight, I would take the first Metro after it opens around 5:30 am and go to the Roissybus station at Opéra.

Posted by
2577 posts

From the 13th arrondissement, I should only consider two options (assuming staying at CDG is not desired):

  1. Taxi at 55€ plus a 7€ reservation fee when calling in the day before to arrange a pickup time. Taxi G7 English speaking operator: 01 41 27 66 99

  2. Nearest métro to the RER B, departing such that I were on the train by 06h30 (being on a connecting métro line by 06h00). Cost 10.30€.

Shuttles have a well earned reputation for poor reliability and shared ride shuttles can take forever to reach your drop off point at CDG. There can be concerns using the RERs but complete shutdown of a line is extremely rare. An complete RER B shutdown is as likely as an accident closing A1 to CDG and making it inaccessible by bus or taxi.

For early morning CDG or ORY departures, I typically use Snapcar. It´s similar to Chaffeur Privé or Uber but with Snapcar, it is possible to schedule pickup in advance (not possible with Uber) and there is never a reservation fee as one pays to a taxi dispatcher.

Posted by
45 posts

Did you book a flight to the US with a stopover in Munich or book two tickets (CDG to Munich, Munich to US)? The reason I ask is that if it's a US flight with a Munich stopover, you will have to go through passport control + the security checkpoint. I believe a CDG to Munich flight only requires a security checkpoint.

If it's a US flight with a layover in Munich, I recommend you plan to arrive at the airport no later than 2-2.5 hours before boarding time (not departure). IMO I'd rather wait an extra hour or so for my flight than be stressed, run to make it to my gate, or hassle with the airline to rebook on the next flight out. (But I'm super risk averse :) )

For morning flights back to the States, my preference is to check-in to a hotel near the airport. I can wake up a little later, have breakfast and not feel rushed. And I'm rested for my Transatlantic flight.

If I don't stay at an airport hotel, I will hail a taxi from my city hotel to the airport. Locals often tell me how easy it is to navigate their public transportation but they're familiar with it. And my lack of familiarity can cost me valuable time when I have a flight to catch.