Arrival at Paris Airport
I have asked a number of questions before my scheduled May 21st Normandy, Brittany, Paris and Loire Valley tour, and have gotten good information. I am a little confused about sequence of arrival in Paris. I understand I have to go through Passport control after I get off the plane before I get my checked baggage. If it takes awhile to get through Passport control, where will my luggage be? It would appear that it will have already been delivered to the pick up area some time before I get there. Thanks in advance for any clarification.
Won’t it still be on the conveyor belt? It takes a while to unload a large plane, so there is a good chance you may arrive there before you do unless you a very slow walker. We always make a point of walking fast off the plane A good way to wake up the circulation. Just a couple of weeks ago we waited an entire hour for our baggage to come off a plane and arrive on the conveyor belt.
Google is your friend. In response to "what are the immigration, customs and baggage procedures at CDG?" I got this:
If your final destination is Paris, follow signs for arrivals & baggage reclaim (Baggage-Exit) on leaving the aircraft. If you are flying from a Non-Schengen country (e.g. USA), your first stop after arrival will be passport control. You’ll pass French Customs after baggage reclaim, before you enter the public arrivals area. Passengers who have not exceeded the duty-free allowance and have nothing to declare should go directly through the exit doors..
Then there is this bit of info:
How long does it take to clear passport control and customs at CDG?
For a rough average, it takes between 45 and 90 mins. So much can depend on the other flights arriving at that time. Good luck, and if booking any other transportation, land, or air, I would go with 90 min. minimum, between arrival, and departure.
I personally think anything over an hour is unlikely, but you never know. It is France and they have been experiencing "strikes" or "work actions" since they raised the retirement age last month. With 79, France had the highest annual average lost days due to strikes.
The last time through, May 2022, there were plenty of stations at passport control but only a few were manned, so there was a single, long line, that due to lack of urgency on their part and slow facial rec. procedures, moved at what seemed a snail's pace. A few passengers with short connections were getting nervous and asked the line minder about moving to the front. His response was to ask them their departure time, then said, "Ask me again in 15 minutes." As more people arrived and the single line filled more and more wickets (like Disney ) for stations, they opened up an additional station or two, but never enough to really speed things up or cause the line to get shorter. It was a certain length and required a certain amount of time to get through regardless of the number of people, so there was always a substantial line. As our departure time neared, we luckily got to a station, but still had to hustle to our gate. It was so frustrating. I suspect if the line gets "too short" they will close stations, after all you wouldn't want to make things easy on travelers! At least with CDG as your final destination, time isn't a big deal, unless you were hoping to get to Versailles and start touring the estate early. We are headed that way in two weeks.
I seem to remember that at Passport control there was a separate line for US passports. After that my bag was still waiting to be off loaded. It was about 45 min from exiting my flight , walking thru the terminal ,etc. until I met my driver.
To answer your question, you should be able to navigate quite quickly through Passport Control, especially if you are traveling in first/business class. If so, your luggage will more than likely be on the conveyer belt before the other classes of service and passengers arrive. Should there be some unforeseen delay, your luggage will either still be on the belt or placed in an adjoining area by the belt. Enjoy your tour!
In my experiences, there is absolutely no guarantee luggage will arrive on the conveyor belt faster if you book business or first class, so don’t count on it. The same with getting to passport control first, you have to be prepared to walk briskly and not stop off at the bathroom on the way etc.
I agree about walking briskly. I was traveling solo so I was trying to follow someone who knew where they were going. I was in business class and followed a gentleman who was very tall so I could see where he was going. We had 3 moving side walks and at least 2 escalators. There was also a tram. My 5’2 frame was boogieing as fast as I could to keep up.
I just flew to France mid April. It takes time. I flew business class and it did not matter one bit what class I flew. My luggage was marked “Priority” and was one of the last off the plane.😳😱. Maybe priority meant it “it was a priority” that it arrived. The line was very long and it took a total of 2.5 hours to meet the Tauck driver. I arrived in Versailles 1.5 hours later. Good news is my luggage arrived, was easy to find on the carrousel and the Tauck driver was waiting for me. The tour is fabulous! The concierge should have a pass for you to enjoy Versailles. He’ll give you a map and easy directions to get to there. Enjoy, this is a fabulous tour.
First time the check in agent put the "Priority" tag on our luggage I thought "cool". Now my reaction is "yeah, right".
Priority tags mean nothing, in all my years of travel for business and pleasure in first or business I've always had priority tags and my bag has never been the first.
I think Delta's Yellow Priority Bag tags are for show and don't mean a thing!!
During last year's fiasco trying to Greece when our first leg from RDU to JFK was canceled, Delta re-booked us on a later flight, but as a standby. When I asked about our bags, the agent, pointing to a multi-colored tag, said I'll put this tag on you bags along with the yellow "Priority" tag, so if you are denied boarding and not get on the flight, your bags will be sent to baggage claim. I asked twice and was assure by two different agents that it would happen as they described. Well, we didn't get on the later flight (another long story) but evidently our bags did!!! I went back to the counter to see if they knew whether our bags would stay at JFK or continue on to Athens and also ask why they were put on an aircraft that we didn't board in the first place! The agents had no clue, except for one old hand who overheard the discussion and said, "Those tags? Baggage handlers ignore those tags!!!!" Delta has online baggage tracking, but the system didn't know where our bags were. When we finally got to JFK for our flight to Athens which now included a layover/transfer in CDG, tracking still wasn't updated, though an agent there swore our bags were at JFK and would be loaded on our flight. We never found out it that was true. As it turned our bags has somehow made it to CDG, but if we hadn't seen them still sitting all alone on the ramp next to the plane, after all baggage had been loaded, and frantically alerted the crew and captain, our plane would have left for Athens without our bags!!!
So, if they treat "priority" tags like they do other "special" tags, it is no wonder they don't hit the carousel first at your destination. In order for it to work, all baggage handlers must follow the procedure. First, bags with "Priority" tags must be loaded in a special space or loaded last so they are unloaded first. That may go against a lazy or uninformed baggage handler's instinct. Second, when unloaded first they must be loaded on the baggage tram in a priority wagon (I've never seen one of those), then unloaded first and placed on the conveyor to reach the carousel first. We fly Business so get Sky Priority all the time. In maybe only 1 out of 10 or 15 flights have our "Priority"-tagged bags reached the carousel in the first group of bags!!!
Alan - I travel with Delta so I agree. Your story is similar to what happened to me when I went to Singapore last year, Thursday my flight was canceled out of Detroit, the next day we took off but returned to Detroit due to problems, they booked me to LA but my bag stayed in Detroit it took 5 days to get my bag because when it finally arrived in Singapore it got lost there.
I think the slightest wrinkle can cause all the priority stuff to go out the window, especially if there is a last minute flight change.
We'll see how Delta does in 13 days, 4 hours, and 41 minutes- when fly non-stop from RDU to CDG.
If Delta can't get this right, then I'd look for a new carrier of choice. Doesn't get much simpler than that.
I had to travel with American / Qantas to Australia because Delta didn't have flights out of New Zealand, had a priority tag on all the flights and it didn't do any good either. I don't think another carrier is the answer Sam.
I'll see how they do on my next trip starting Tuesday.
I wasn't referring to bags with priority tags coming out first at baggage claim. The arrival at baggage claim is totally random (I believe) based on how the handlers decide to load them on the conveyor. I doubt any of the handlers pay / performance review is based on getting priority bags on the conveyor first. All airlines are the same in this capacity (I believe).
I was suggesting if Delta can't get Alan from Raleigh, NC to Paris on a non-stop flight without losing his bags, etc. then he should consider a new carrier of choice. When his bags get to baggage claim after arrival in Paris is totally random (as it would be for all airlines).
Alan: I am very keen in knowing how your non-stop flight from RDU to CDG on Delta goes and I certainly hope it goes smoothly. I have been thinking about a river cruise down the Seine in 2024 and I thought this would be a great option since it is non stop.
We have taken this Delta flight a few times in the past, but with onward connections via Euro Business configured AF aircraft, which is the reason we try to avoid it. There is only one flight a day and Delta is the only carrier offering a non-stop to CDG. The flight itself is fine, especially now that Delta is using older 767-400ER aircraft that had their interiors upgraded. It has 1 - 2 - 1 seating in Business, almost suites, but no doors. It is still much better than the older 767-300 which used to fly this route and which is being phased out and retired. (FYI American has a daily non-stop from RDU to LHR.)
If we are flying further than CDG we typically fly via JFK or ATL so the international leg from JFK is non-stop to our destination. That sure didn't work out last May on the way to Athens. Due to weather and aircraft positioning, or lack thereof, it took us two days to get from RDU to JFK for the flight to Athens and in the end they changed our routing so we flew via CDG anyway!
The other negative and positive (both, depending on your preference) is the flight is a red-eye but at only 8 hours, is too short to get decent sleep, especially if you have meals. We leave RDU at 6:00 pm and arrive at CDG at 8 am. That gives us almost a whole day to do things (more time if it weren't for the time it takes to get through CDG passport control and traffic to Versailles. Coming home we depart CDG at a reasonable 11:15 am and arrive in RDU at 2:15 pm which is nice for our drive home.
I'll certainly report back how it works out this time.
Thanks for your input, Alan. I agree that for onward travel, I try to avoid CDG. My trip this past April to Lisbon via Charlotte-Newark had numerous delays, flying home was a total nightmare. I will send you a PM about that as it doesn't pertain to Paris.
I go out of my way to avoid CDG, I find the people very unfriendly and because I only go there if there's no other choice I don't know the airport at all.
I have a change of planes in Frankfurt next week, never been there so is it an easy airport to navigate?
gladysorlando984 I went through Frankfurt recently on a trip to Egypt: Jewels of the Nile. 4/28 - 5/10. I chose FRA because of negative experiences at LHR, AMS & CDG. Here is what happened. Routing was MIA-FRA-CAI and reverse coming back. On the outbound flight we landed at Terminal Z and exited via jet way, 10 min walk to a gate to be bussed to Terminal B for next flight. Didn't like the bus part as I like to be in charge of my own destiny and not under the control of a bus driver . However, we had two hours between flights and made the connection to Cairo no problem. On the way back we landed at terminal B and connection to USA was out of terminal Z. De-planed via jet way again 15 min walk to end of terminal B. Train ride to terminal A & Z security check. SLOOOOOW German security, long lines moving with no great speed. another 15 min walk to gate in terminal Z through further passport check. Arrived at gate 10 mins after boarding started. We only just made it. Time between flight in FRA was two hours. I hope you have more than that in your itinerary as your really need 2.5 to 3 hours.
While others may have had different experiences, we've always been pleased with transfers through Frankfurt. The signage is good and I think the staff is trained inhaling people with transfers.
On one trip we were delayed leaving the US and arrived in Frankfurt with fewer than 45 minutes to go through immigration and make the connecting flight. Lufthansa handled it seamlessly. When we were getting off the plane there was a representative holding up cards with our name (and a few others ). They took us down the outside stairs to a bus which took us to a secondary immigration station. We were processed quickly and then taken back by the bus to the connecting flight. We walked up the stairs again, had our boarding passes scanned and made it to the flight with plenty of time. What was most impressive was that our luggage made the transfer and arrived with us at our final destination!
On another trip, we were delayed in the US and missed our connecting flight to Warsaw. We were directed to the LOT desk and were put on the next flight. Fortunately, our tour director (Steven Fisher) was on the same flight and since we had contacted Tauck in the US, he was waiting for us when we disembarked. He gave us his Tauck transfer and got alternate transpiration to the hotel.
Yes, the airport is large but the transfers are pretty good. In both cases we were traveling on Lufthansa. If you have transfers between non-partner airlines, you may have a different experience.
Gladys: I have connected thru Frankfurt several times over the years, but not recently. The only thing I remember is that it is a huge airport, the signage is good but I seem to recall that we had to deplane via stairs and then transfer to a Bus to reach the airport. This was about 10 years ago, so hopefully your plane will actually arrive at a gate. I do have to say that the Airport is very efficiently run. Also, this is the only airport where I had a scary run in with Security. When I passed thru the scanning area, on a return to the US, an alarm went off and two woman security guards walked me, aggressively, into a warehouse type room where I had to remove my clothes while they patted me down and took my clothing to rescan it again. My husband was in another lane and I wasn't able to even alert him to what was going on. One of the security guards did give me a blazer to cover up with while I awaited the return of the 2nd security guard with results. It turned out there was a very thin metal type strip sewn into an inseam of some new jeans that I purchased, I don't think it was a security tag as it didn't set off any alarms at the store. I guess the alarms at the Frankfurt airport were highly sensitive. Plus, I had worn those jeans when arriving in Germany and it didn't set off any alarms. Very strange. It was horrifying at the time, but certainly makes an interesting travel story years later. Just make sure to inspect all your new clothing carefully when packing.
I agree with Kathy M that travelers have had different experiences and I believe that one bad experience does not equate to always having a bad experience, and the same holds true with good experiences. Returning to the topic of this thread, I have traveled to CDG many times, both as a final destination and as an interim point for a connection, the latter being more likely. I have always had a good experience there with friendly and efficient service. Perhaps I have merely been fortunate or perhaps I know the airport well enough to be able to traverse through it quickly.
Regardless, I hope Doglady has a pleasant experience there. If by chance you are significantly delayed for any reason, be sure to call the number given to you and let the transfer service know. Happy and uneventful travels.
We are traveling thru Frankfurt next month to Budapest. We have 5/1/2 hrs to connnect going but only 2/1//2 to connect coming in from Praque. I am looking at using the guide service that Lufthansa provides. Has anyone done this?
The last time I flew thru Frankfurt (pre pandemic) I hired a guide service called “Gate to Gate”. I would definitely look into them for your flight from Prague to the U.S. I would have missed my connecting flight from Moscow to the U.S. had it not been for them and I had 2.5 hours.
I didn’t realize that Lufthansa PROVIDES a service like that. Are you flying first class?
Lufthansa provides the service for a nominal fee no matter which class of service is flown. I have not used it but an acquaintance of mine has and thought it was worth whatever fee was charged. I am unaware of any other restrictions. If interested, check Lufthansa'a website.
We were not aware of such a service until this year. My husband happened to notice when he was checking our flights the day before we were flying, not Lufthansa or Frankfurt, so as not to confuse you. He saw a link and saw that for $100 each we could be escorted off the plane, taken to the back of beyond but missing further security checks and right to our next flight. It worked well for us, but not for our luggage. At least we made the flight and had clothing until our luggage arrived on the next flight. I believed anyone can use this service, you don’t have to be in a premium seat to buy it.
Thank you everyone, I have 1hr 45 mts to change planes in Frankfurt, I'm flying Delta to Frankfurt and Croatia Airlines to Dubrovnik so I'll keep my fingers crossed.