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Connecting flight at CDG -Time needed

I am trying to decide how long to allot for a connecting flight at CDG to FRANKFURT for an upcoming GAS tour in September. The info on easyCDG website states allow 90 minutes if interterminal, but since I am coming for the US I will have to go through Passport control and TSA, so it that a realistic time? I know at Heathrow, when we did this the last time, it took forever!
We are NOT checking bags and have never been to CDG before. Booking using points so my options are a bit limited.

Arrival is 8:15 on AirFrance
My choices for a connection are an AirFrance at 10:00 am or 12:15 pm
or Lufthansa at 10:30, 11:20 am or 2:20 pm

Thanks in advance!

Nancy

Posted by
3370 posts

From our experience at CDG I would also agree at least a 3 hour connection. We once spent 3 hours in passport control. Delta held the plane for several of us. Take off was delayed by 30 minutes.

Posted by
59 posts

Thank you all for the responses! It is really not a surprise Paris has these issues, given the state of the world right now. I just wanted to make sure I was not over thinking it...Heathrow is a mess too or was at least last time. We were there a week before the Summer Olympics and everything was QUITE strained.

Pricing- The flights are fine for either and for points it hardly matters.

Thanks again!

N

Posted by
286 posts

Agree with Fred and others. Your US-originated AF flight will likely require a switch of Terminals (from 2E to 2F) to connect onto Frankfurt, so in addition to Passport Control you'll need to factor in some time for getting to adjoining terminal and removing shoes/liquids/laptop at that TSA station. Bon chance if you're inclined to roll the dice for 10.00... if it were me I'd take the 12.15 and take the worry out of equation. Stop and enjoy a croissant near your departure gate, and take comfort that the two-hour difference in arrival time still gets you to your hotel well around check-in time (16.00). Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
3112 posts

The layout of CDG and Heathrow (also Madrid) can make short layovers challenging. It's been that way for as long as I can remember, so I always book at least a 2.5 hour layover when flying internationally through those airports. People traveling through them for the first time might even want to be a bit more conservative.

Posted by
21724 posts

I know you are using TSA as a shorthand for security checks but remember TSA is only a US agency. And security rules regarding carry on can vary from country to country. On arrival in Paris you would go through Immigration (Passport control) and Customs. Then on your next flight and a security screening.

Posted by
60 posts

We were at CDG in October of 2017. Had no checked bags, only carry-ons and zero issues disembarking and getting through customs. Finding our way OUT of CDG, and where we could meet an Uber, however, was an entirely different story. I have never been so confused in an airport in my life. The Uber we called left, we couldn't find anyone to speak well enough English to help us find the taxi/Uber area and ended up going with a taxi driver who saw us wandering and looking stressed. We probably overpaid for the ride but we were just grateful to get out of the airport!

Posted by
8628 posts

Are you buying this as a single itinerary from Air France, or piecing together two separate bookings ?

The difference/distinction is important.

If the former, the onus is on the airline to get you to your destination. If the latter, its all on you at your extra expen$e.

Posted by
49 posts

Nancy, I agree the 12:15 might be the better choice. We connected in CDG in September with relative ease because we followed the instructions on easycdg.com. Prior to leaving the US I printed out how to travel from one terminal to our connection terminal. We followed them exactly, even when there was a sign indicating arriving passengers should go another route. We wound up in a smaller security area which was easy to get through. Then we saw the mass of people from our plane standing in the larger security line. Three weeks later we flew home from CDG and that was a nightmare and another story!

Posted by
59 posts

Thank you all for the replies I will err on the side of a long layover just in case!

It is an added flight so Air France does not know about the connection.

On return we are going from Vienna to CDG and staying in Paris then flying out from there so no real connecting going home.

I would love to hear stories just the prepare and plan on easy CDG as you suggest.

Nancy

Posted by
62 posts

I avoid connections at CDG at all costs, after a couple of horrific experiences there. I have no issues flying in or out of CDG if that is my final destination, but for connections, give yourself as much time as you can, because you'll need it. Case in point - we connected once on Air France - IAD-CDG-VCE. At CDG we had to clear passport control, go back in and out of security (walking what seemed like several miles in the process), and then once we got to our "gate" (and after scanning our boarding passes) we took a bus to another gate, where we ended up getting on a plane that was literally at a gate about 50 yards from the gate our flight from IAD had landed at. Yes, I know there is the whole Schengen Zone thing that makes passport control/customs a necessity when you're connecting at CDG from the States to another Schengen Zone country, but we've done that multiple times at other airports and have never had the craziness that we had at CDG.

Posted by
8405 posts

Can’t you get a KLM flight to Amsterdam instead with these miles? It’s a much smaller airport. You’d probably be more comfortable.

Posted by
996 posts

I would not change planes at CDG with less than a 3 hour window.

Having said that, you said that your flights aren't connected on the same reservation? If that is the case, do not forget that if your first flight is late for any reason, you may have no recourse with AF if you arrive too late to reach your second flight.

Posted by
3304 posts

I never would have advised you to go to Frankfurt via CDG. As others have said, it's a mess.

If you must change planes in CDG, make sure it's on the same ticket and that it is in fact a CONNECTION and not two separate flights. This is for your protection.

You mentioned the TSA. They will be your issue in the US.

Posted by
59 posts

You all are scaring me now....

I have the nonstop Air France to CDG from Houston, so I cannot change that, and was looking for connection times. You all sound like I cannot get a connecting flight Air France ticket to Frankfurt, even with a 4 hour window because there are problems, but do not explain what the problems are. I can take lines at security or passport, I get that.

It is days before my tour leaves. I arrive at CDG on the 3rd and my tour does not leave Trier till the 7th! Many of you all state "I would not do that", but do not explain why....?

I am not in a rush, I can pick any time, I prefer to arrive early and have plenty of time, which is why I asked the question initially. I am not checking luggage. I fully get I must go through security and passport control. I get that, and will likely have to also change a terminal. I am good at navigating and have never had a problem at any airport, including Heathrow the week before the Olympics, O'Hare, LAX, Dulles, ATL, Reagan, Dallas, Toronto etc.

I could catch a train but that process looks even worse and takes hours longer, even if I have a 4 hour layover, and I would like to spend a night or two in Bacharach first if possible.

Nancy

Posted by
286 posts

You should be fine with the 12.15 flight, in my experience making similar AF/CDG connections.

My earlier caution was with the 10.00 option. That would be asking for trouble. :)

Posted by
3304 posts

I have the nonstop Air France to CDG from Houston, so I cannot change
that, and was looking for connection times. You all sound like I
cannot get a connecting flight Air France ticket to Frankfurt, even
with a 4 hour window because there are problems, but do not explain
what the problems are.

It is days before my tour leaves.

So you need to buy your intraEuropean flight to Frankfurt and you leave in a few days? Is that correct? It will be a separate flight unless you can get AF to combine the two separate flights into one itinerary. If you haven't done that or AF won't combine those two flights into one itinerary, allow 4 hours cushion to make that flight to Frankfurt.

So take that 12:15pm AF flight and find an AF rep who will interline your 2 flights into 1 itinerary. If you find the first agent you call can't do it, thank that person, hang up, and call back to speak with another rep. Keep doing that until you find an agent who will interline your itinerary to give you protection in case you don't make that FRA flight.

An explanation of problems -- the biggest potential problem is a delayed arrival from IAH. What if it's hours late? Next, if you are seated toward the back of the aircraft, it could take you 15-20 minutes to deboard. Third, if your IAH flight isn't assigned a gate at CDG, it could take you up to an hour just to get to the terminal (it did for us from JFK three months ago --- we weren't assigned a gate) as you'll have to deboard down the aircraft steps and into shuttles. The shuttles probably won't depart for the terminal until the aircraft is empty. Again, that's what happened on my flight from JFK. Fourth, the lines at passport control could be very long. At least you won't be checking bags.