FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - The French Connection: A rational discussion on CDG
Old Jan 4, 06, 1:10 am
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 812
I've only flown into CDG twice, but my first trip (Nov 2004, IAH-CDG) absolutely fit right into the stereotype of CDG as the worst European airport.

The flight arrived in the morning. I have no checked luggage, and was able to clear immigration quickly. However, there is then an absolute zoo to clear customs--no clearly marked line, just a mass of people trying to go through customs exit (with maybe 2 inspectors?). This took at least 45 min. The people around me seem to view this as normal operating procedure.

Once past customs, I tried finding an ATM machine. None was obvious. The airport people told me there is one by the post office in the lower level between terminals, and after several failed attempts and retracing of steps, I finally find it. There is a line of 5-8 people waiting to use the sole machine.

The lack of ATMs wouldn't be such an issue if the Roissy bus ticket machines actually accepts credit cards as is advertised on the machines. Of course, they didn't (or at least not US cards) and the ticket counter only accepts cash.

I remember arriving at my hotel and thinking that this was absolutely the worst European airport arrival experience I've ever had.

I don't remember any issues with the return trip (except that the Air France lounge was far from the CO gates, and required several mini-staircases to reach with no elevators available at all! This wouldn't have been a big deal except my carryon was heavy from all the shopping I had done.)

I did another trip to CDG a few months ago, and the experience was MUCH better. However, this was a short LHR-CDG flight on Air France on a Saturday. No lines for immigration and customs, and an obvious ATM machine in the arrival hall. We took the taxi this time, and that also went very smoothly.

I wouldn't hesitate to fly into CDG again for my next trip to Paris (as opposed to taking the train). However, AMS would still be my favored European connecting airport because of the layout and shops.

Last edited by sy7; Jan 4, 06 at 1:14 am
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