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Which airport would you prefer to transfer at?

Hi. Flying into Florence and for the return home we'll depart from Bologna. My flight options on Delta from Atlanta are through either Paris or Amsterdam. I havent been through either airport. I haven't heard anything about Amsterdam. Everyone I talk to says Paris is bad.
1. Which airport would you go through?
2. How much time is needed for connections?
3. Another option is to go Atlanta to JFK to Milan & take a train to Florence. Is that a viable option?

Thanks for any advice you can give.

Posted by
5652 posts

My preference is AMS. I've made 1 hour connections through Schiphol.

For some reason, with the Delta/KLM/AirFrance partnership, a number of trips have been AMS outbound, CDG return. The CDG connections seem more stressful when a 90 minutes connection is no time to spare.

Posted by
3464 posts

All other things being equal (cost, connection time, etc.) Amsterdam would be my preference. TC

Posted by
3528 posts

Schiphol airport at Amsterdam is my choice too. It's busy and sprawling but the terminal is all one building whereas Charles de Gaulle in Paris is a collection of structures and transit can (sometimes) be complicated.
Regular travelers have their individual rules-of-thumb for connections. My minimum is 90 minutes and I prefer two hours. Others are more daring. Remember, your checked luggage has to be transferred too. It is an advantage if all flights are with the same airline but Delta and KLM/Air France function almost as one airline out of Atlanta. If you miss your first connection to Florence, there will be another within several hours from either of those gateway airports. Going home is a little more complicated as trans-Atlantic flights are not so frequent. That's when I would a prefer two hours (and of course the hop from Bologna is relatively short.)
Your Question 3.) only makes sense if somehow you are saving big money or want a train ride when you are jet-lagged. Why else go through JFK, not the easiest airport, rather than straight to Europe from the major gateway Atlanta?
You can find plenty of helpful info on the official websites for Schiphol and CdG. http://www.schiphol.com/
http://www.aeroportsdeparis.fr/en/homepage
I'd also search for Florence and Bologna airports, both substantial operations, to help make your onward ground connections.
(PS: I love Bologna.)

Posted by
3746 posts
  1. I like the Paris airport, but I know most people prefer going through Amsterdam.
  2. I want a minimum of 2 hours for international connections.
  3. JFK is one of my least favorite airports. There are very limited options for places to eat, and the terminal waiting to fly international is depressing.

Overall, I would take the option that is the least number of hours from your initial to final location which still allows a decent amount of time to transfer between flights.

Posted by
54 posts

Thanks all. I decided to go through Amsterdam both ways and have 2 hr 45 min layovers (a little long, but it's better than short connections). Thanks again!

Posted by
8199 posts

Good choice! On my first trip to Europe in recent times I went thru AMS and I found it very novice friendly. Nearly everyone speaks English or will understand your sign language! If you need an assist with something flight related the folks at the transit desks are very helpful.

Do know that you will go thru passport control to enter the Schengen Zone before you get to the gate areas where the flights headed for Europe are, then directly after that is another security stop. Just letting you know so you can empty your pockets, etc before you approach the Immigration lines and not have to fumble like we did to get off belts, watches, etc.

Posted by
4637 posts

When I fly to Prague my options from Seattle with one change are Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris and this is also the order how I rate them with Amsterdam the best and Paris the worst. Amsterdam is well organized and staff the most helpful.

Posted by
653 posts

. Another option is to go Atlanta to JFK to Milan & take a train to Florence. Is that a viable option?

This would be my last choice. There are far more flights from AMS or CDG to Florence than there are from JFK to Milan, in case your 1st flight is delayed. Worst case you could even take a train from AMS or CDG to Florence, but there are no trains JFK to Milan ;-)

Posted by
796 posts

Amsterdam is somewhat better than Paris because Paris gets frenzied and packed with people. Yes, you could do #3 and the train ride is lovely. You could rest and enjoy the ride after your flight.

Posted by
11613 posts

Amsterdam, good choice. Very easy to navigate.

I will pay extra to avoid JFK.

Posted by
54 posts

Thanks all. Southam - I love Bologna & the Emilia Romagna region too. I spent three months in the area for work a few years ago. I have flown out of Bologna a lot, but it was usually through Munich on Lufthansa. I thought Munich was very easy to get through, but that wasn't really an option for m this time.

Posted by
16847 posts

I find AMS to be more comfortable and navigable than CDG. I also prefer to connect in Europe instead of the USA, since it at least gets me onto the correct continent (and coming from the west coast, the polar route is faster).

Posted by
31271 posts

PJ,

My choice would also be AMS, as it's smaller and easier to navigate. CDG is larger and has multiple terminals so if you arrive at one terminal and depart from another, that's going to be more of a hassle. AMS is a single terminal airport as I recall, and although it's also large (lots of walking), it's easier to get around.

Posted by
2154 posts

I would rather be boiled alive in oil than go through CDG ever again. Ever.

Posted by
10 posts

Amsterdam all the way!
The one time I went thru CDG, I
remember looking at the arrival terminal from
the airplane window, and thinking
"Hamster/Gerbil cage!" LOL