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Time to get through CDG

We are scheduled to arrive CDG at 10:20am on a Monday and to depart on a 2:20pm flight the following Monday. We will be flying in AF business and are US persons. We will not be checking any luggage.

How long should it take to get through immigration on arrival? Is there a fast track lane?

How long should it take to get through check-in, security and passport control on departure? Fast track for these?

A few years ago these were relatively quick, but I'm concerned things have gotten slower in the current covid era.

Posted by
7257 posts

How long should it take to get through immigration on arrival? Is there a fast track lane.

20 minutes to 2 hours. There is no fast track lane to enter the country. If you are sitting in first class you be the first off the plane that is about it. There are a lot less people traveling internationally during Covid as many countries with out of control infections are banned or have to go through a lot of testing just to enter so it does not take that long at arrival. I recently traveled during what is normally the busiest time of the year July and August. The volume is noticeably way down.

How long should it take to get through check-in, security and passport control on departure? Fast track for these?

Arrive at the airport 3 hours before the flight. Do you have a first class ticket? They usually have fast track. Or if you have a disability there is a fast track.

Posted by
2054 posts

How long should it take to get through immigration on arrival?

Anywhere from 10 minutes to over 1 hour.

Is there a fast track lane?

Yes, for first class ticket holders

How long should it take to get through check-in, security and passport control on departure?

I typically plan on being at the airport 3 hours before scheduled departure. Without checking in at the counter, you could possibly trim that time a bit, but the real unknown is passport control, which can easily take over 1 hour. During Covid, I have found these times to be much faster.

It appears you are asking for assurances that no one can give you. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Fast track for these?

Yes, for first class ticket holders.

Posted by
6720 posts

Unless there has been a change, yes business and first class passengers have a fast track line and don't wait in the long long line with US coach tourists and other non-EU passports. I have done this several times and every time have used the line for bus/first and been through to the luggage area in about 15 minutes from the plane. If you do check luggage, business/first luggage is also specially tags and comes off first.

I don't know how COVID issues may have changed all of this.

I will be finding out in about a week.

Posted by
59 posts

How long do you typically allow for transport by taxi from hotel in Paris to CDG? For the life of me, I cannot remember how long I have allowed in the past. Lol

Posted by
517 posts

How much time to allow for a 7 am flight 01/01/2022 - CDG - LHR? I’m trying to schedule a shuttle from I’lsle Saint Louis….would 3:30-4 am be sufficient….? Earlier or later?

Posted by
8493 posts

I've flown over and back in AF biz twice since the pandemic began. A couple of things are slightly different.

First, there has never been a separate passport entry line for biz. 1st class seats get a different treatment, though. AF distinguishes between the two. The only exception was years ago when RBG was in biz with us and she was escorted through a side door. This July, at 7:00 am, both EU and non-Europeans were in the same line. In biz, count on 1 hour because you have very long hallways to walk and a potential jam as the exit narrows near the douane/ declaration of goods area. You'll hit rush hour into Paris.

The good news is that yes, checking in at CDG, AF biz has its own separate check in area, not just a line but a whole area, and you have a passport priority line.
It has always been fast. Because of potential for traffic jams and accidents blocking the autoroute or incidents on the RER line out to the airport, aim for the full 3 hours, 11:30. The AF lounge will feed you and has different apéros and liquors to try.

Posted by
66 posts

@Bets, just to make sure I understand:

When flying into CDG you have to go through immigration/passport control - there is no fast track line for biz? How long would you estimate through immigration for a 10:20 arrival?

When flying out of CDG you have to go through check-in, security and passport control. AF has a separate check-in area for biz and there are fast track lines for security and passport control? When would you arrive for a 2:20pm flight?

Posted by
8493 posts

Arrival: correct, there's no fast track for biz. I'd estimate 30 minutes to an hour, less if it's very deserted, more if several large planes land at the same time. Many passport booths have been shut with less traffic. There are a lot of long corridors to walk. A few escalators.

Departure: yes fast tract for check in and passport but not security. You'll have a full security check, no short cut. I'm cautious and aim for three hours, maybe 2.5, due to the the risk of delays by either road or rail. I've seen both happen. So 11:20- 11:40. The airport is bigger and more complicated than JKF.

Posted by
2054 posts

Arrival: correct, there's no fast track for biz.

This depends entirely upon the air carrier. Some do not have first class and these carriers offer the fast track to the business first class. I typically avoid AF due to their draconian carry-on requirements, their free-for-all boarding procedures, and really do not find their BF or first class any better than what United or American offers.

Posted by
66 posts

If there's a good chance it will take 2.5 to 3 hours from arrival at the airport, then I might consider one of the numerous concierge services that will bring you to the front of lines. AF has one at https://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/aeroport/service_personnalise_aeroport.htm and CDG itself at https://myconciergerieorlycdg.fr/en

They might even be worthwhile to avoid the possibility of a long immigration line when landing, but that seems a smaller risk.

AF TATL F (La Premiere) lets you essentially avoid all lines, last week an acquaintance did gate to car in 20 minutes, but the cost is another order of magnitude.

Posted by
6720 posts

I have flown into Paris three times in Bus Class and every time was given a pass by the airline to use the fast track line. this was on American and United not AF. There was never a real line -- and it took about 15 minutes each time. If three giant airliners disembarked just ahead, of course that would mean a longer wait. First/ Bus class luggage also comes out first so if you check luggage it is faster. although luggage tends to be very slow at CDG.

So maybe this is airline dependent? One thing I have learned with travel is to go with the flow and not get impatient if things don't go as expected. I suspect that will be even useful these days. I will report back at the end of the month when we fly.

United just sent us dire warnings that we will need COVID tests to fly and it isn't tell you get into the fine print that you learn, that, no you don't need the test if you have the vax card -- and of course you can't go as a tourist if you are unvaccinated anyway.

Posted by
8493 posts

This is good to know about.
I like the airport service because they carry your bags, help with Duty Free, which can be a zoo, and say they speed you through passport control. For 2-3 people, the price is lower.
AF says only that it accompanies you.
Lines haven't been long, but it's good for someone who appreciates the personal touch

Posted by
66 posts

We last flew into CDG in Oct 2018 and I'm rather sure we got fast track immigration (Acces No 1), although from recent reports this is no longer the case. I look forward to Janet's report. That flight was on DL which uses the same terminal and other arrangements as AF (both call fast track Sky Priority).

I also remember fast track security on departure. Here's a random post on the subject https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/france-monaco/1985654-cdg-acces-no-1-their-priority-security-passport-control-useless.html

Going with the flow is essential for travel. That being said, if paying a reasonable amount will significantly raise the odds of avoiding hassles, including long lines, it's well worth it. Of course, the definition of reasonable amount is different for different people.

Reportedly AF's meet and greet also brings you to the front of lines.

Posted by
6720 posts

I've never heard of a meet and greet service like AFs. While check in in Bus class is always priority I don't recall that lines for security were. We have Global Entry for the US end which makes both departure and arrival easy but that of course buys you nothing at foreign airports.

We just aim to be 3 hours early and cope with whatever nonsense is dished out. (AA in particular has been outrageously awful in our experience e.g. bringing a big group of passengers in and putting them ahead of people who have already waited in line for an hour. Last time we flew with them though it was a lot more efficient.). We only have business on the flight over and not on the flight back -- premium economy is perfectly comfortable during a daytime flight. So we will be in every long line on the way out.

Posted by
2923 posts

I am leaving for France tomorrow flying business class. Every other time I have flown to France from the US on business class (United and Air France), I was able to use the No 1 Priority line and got out of CDG with my checked luggage in 45 minutes. This was all pre-Covid. We'll see what happens on Tuesday. For arrival, depending on which hotel you are staying at, they may offer a meet and greet package at the airport that will get you through super quickly. In 2018, for example, Pavillon de la Reine offered that specialized airport pick up for, what in my view was, a ridiculous amount. I do not remember the exact amount now but it was several multiples of 100€.

Posted by
66 posts

I wrote to the CDG service and asked about timing from gate to airport exit and from terminal to gate. Their reply was "The transit time from the boarding gate to the terminal exit between 10 to 20 min without baggage claim is for your departure between 15 to 25 min without checked baggage."

Meeting us at the train station would cost significantly more than at the terminal, but I'm fairly confident I can navigate that on my own.

Finding info about the AF service requires a phone call.

Posted by
66 posts

Hotels tend to charge insane amounts for airport transfers. A meet & greet for €150 and a taxi at €54 is certainly better than several multiples of €100.

Janet and JHK, please keep us posted.

Posted by
7691 posts

Every other time I have flown to France from the US on business class (United and Air France), I was able to use the No 1 Priority line and got out of CDG with my checked luggage in 45 minutes.

I am always out the front door of the airport - allllllways with checked luggage — in an hour even from my dinky Economy seat.

Posted by
1124 posts

You are arriving later than we did (we landed at 07:15) but we were off the plane and through customs in 8 minutes. Economy seats, one carry-on backpack each.

Posted by
2923 posts

Arrived this morning (Tuesday) at 10:45 AM, approximately 30 minutes early to the M Gates of Terminal 2E. There was no priority lane and passengers were divided up depending on where they were arriving from. The person who checked my passport did not look at any document other than my passport. I went downstairs and my checked luggage was on the carousel and it was 11:20 AM. I was in Paris near Place de la Bastille at 12:14 PM.

Posted by
66 posts

JHK, thanks for the update. We are scheduled to land at a similar time, so with luck we can get through as quickly.

Enjoy your time in France and please keep us posted on how long it takes to depart through CDG.

Posted by
2923 posts

Departure was not nearly as smooth as arrival mainly because the security system in terminal 2E was a total mess. There was a major shortage of trays. We arrived at around 7:15 AM for 10:25 AM flights (one to New York and one to San Francisco). We had our boarding passes on our phones so we did detaxe upon arrival. That took about 30 minutes because one of my receipts scanned red. Then we dropped our luggage off and headed to passport control. There for some unknown reason, my agent asked me a number of questions like where was I traveling to and how long had I been in France and the reason for my trip. This was so weird to me because I was leaving and also, one could see how long I had been in France by looking at my incoming stamp (I have a brand new passport so the first stamp and only stamp in it at the time was the one that I got upon arrival). By 8 AM, I was at security and I kid you not when I say that it took around 40 minutes to get through the security checkpoint. We spent the rest of the time in the Air France lounge and boarding started at around 9:15 AM for both 10:25 AM flights because we had to load up on to buses and be driven to our plane. That bus boarding process was a bit chaotic and some of the other business class passengers thought that boarding the bus should have been done by zone and kept trying to cut the line. By the way, my Covid test result was glanced at by the agent at the line for the bus and that was the only time that I had to show it until I got home and showed it to my family.

Posted by
6720 posts

We flew business and arrived a couple of days ago on United. In the past there was always a bypass line for business -- not now -- in fact when we came through there were only two windows open, we were the only flight and there was not separation of EU and other passports -- everyone went through the same line. We were in business so exited the plane first and had no wait at all at immigration.

But before immigration all passengers were screened for their CDC cards and matched to passports -- then the very long walk to immigration. Immigration took 2 minutes and we took the very very long walk to baggage. Normally business luggage is tagged priority and off first. When the sign indicated that ALL baggage had been off loaded we still didn't have bags and the same bags were going round -- then just as we were trying to figure out how to report lost luggage ALL of the priority bags arrived. So bags were marked priority and the French baggage handlers decided to offload them last in a big Gallic FU.

We then followed the signs on the floor outside baggage/customs indicating the path to the official taxi line -- it is a fair hike from the exit from immigration. Once at the taxi door we discovered it was locked and blocked and we then doubled back past immigration exit to the only door that was open to exit and then the long trek back up to the taxi line. Once in the taxi line it took maybe 5 minutes before we had a taxi. There was no signingto indicate that the usual taxi door would not be available and so there was a long line of people making the loop up and back to the taxi door.

Glad to be in Paris -- it took us about an hour from docking until we were in the cab for Paris and it took the cab about 50 minutes to our destination in Batignolles.

Loving every minute of being in this great city. CDG has always been the place that seems to hire all the people that make up negative French stereotypes -- they didn't disappoint this time either. OUr experiences of French people everywhere else in France has been almost always lovely.

Posted by
2923 posts

" So bags were marked priority and the French baggage handlers decided to offload them last in a big Gallic FU."
I guess that when the priority bags were the last ones on the luggage carousel for my return trip from France that landed at SFO on September 27th, that was a big American FU.

Posted by
9893 posts

JHK, thanks for the departure update. I’ll allow extra time.

The taxi door situation must’ve been an anomaly. My friend and exited as usual thru the 2E Door 10 to the taxi rank when we arrived on Sept 22 then re-entered and departed through there again on Sept 29 when we went out to meet her husband.

Posted by
6720 posts

Interesting. The door was locked, there was tape across it and a big sign in front that it was closed on Sept 30.
There was no obvious reason other than they were controlling access to the terminal.