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CDG - How much time do we need to change planes? Customs and immigration?

We will be traveling from Seattle to CDG then onto Spain and plan on flying Delta or Air France. There are two possible flight pairings. One is Delta to CDG then Air France to Spain and the other is Air France to CDG then Air France to Spain. Some of the flights have a layover of only 1 hour 20 minutes. Is that enough time to change planes? Will we be required to go through customs and immigration at CDG or will we do that on arrival in Spain?

Thank you for any insights and tips.

Posted by
8624 posts

If you are purchasing this all as one ticket, it will be fine. It’s questionable whether you can make the transfer in 1 h 20 minutes, but the onus would be on the airline to get you on their next flight.

If you are thinking about purchasing these two elements separately, no way is it enough time.

Posted by
9873 posts

If an airline is offering SEA to Spain via CDG as a single ticket then the burden is on the airline to get you to your destination if you fail to make the connection.

If you are doing two separate tickets ( i.e SEA-CDG and CDG-Spain) then the majority here would consider anything less than 3 hrs between flights as unduly optimistic. If you have checked luggage to retrieve and re-check on a 2 ticket scenario, even more time would be advised. You miss your 2nd flight, the cost of a replacement is on you.

Posted by
17977 posts

I would check how many flights Air France has going to your destination from CDG after the flight you plan on taking. That will give you an idea of what will happen if you do miss your intended flight. If there are several more flights that day, you should be fine. If there are no flights, or it is a 10 hour wait until the next one, it could put a serious kink in your itinerary.

Posted by
3898 posts

More factors to consider:

The stated arrival time is when the wheels touch down, not when you are out of the plane. CdG has some particularly long taxi paths.

Also, you may make a tight connection but your checked luggage may not.

Bumping to a later flight at the connecting airport depends on empty seats being available. If the next flight is full, the passenger can have a long wait.

Air France and its partners offer several connections to Madrid with more time, including Amsterdam and even JFK New York.

Posted by
646 posts

If you can, would you consider getting a later flight out of CDG?

Posted by
2088 posts

We had a connecting flight in Paris to Milan from JFK in August. It took us 2 hours from deplaning to be at our gate to Milan. We went through two different check points with lines. I would not have 1 hour and 20 minute layover at CDG.

Posted by
1212 posts

I would not go through CDG with less then a 2 hour layover and that would make me nervous.

Posted by
1042 posts

I just flew through CDG from Italy going to the US on Sunday. CDG is a complete mess. Granted, I was going the opposite direction you are, but we had 1 hour 40 minutes and we were literally running to our gate to make it home. If you can fly through Amsterdam instead, I would highly encourage that route. They seem to have their act together much more so. We flew that route going over and were easily through passport control and to our next gate in only 30 minutes.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you for your thoughtful responses and helpful tips. We were able to book a trip that has a 3 hour 45 minute layover at CDG. Hopefully the airlines won't change the schedules too much between now and our April travel dates.