CDG airport lag


I want to reiterate the warning about changing planes at Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in Paris.

My wife and I flew from Washington, D.C., to Lisbon, Portugal, via CDG on Oct. 14, 2006, and we foolishly accepted the Air France agent’s assurance that an interval of 45 minutes was sufficient to do the flight change. As a result, we (as well as many others on the Washington flight making changeovers) ended up being stuck at the airport for hours waiting for the next plane.

We were transferring from one Air France flight to another. Air France insisted that we could only obtain boarding passes or seat assignments for the second flight once we were in Paris.

Despite the fact that we were in transit, we had to change terminals and go through Immigration, waiting in a long line to show our passports. (We did not have to go through Customs; our luggage was checked through to Lisbon.) This alone takes much more than 45 minutes to do, especially when disembarking from a jumbo jet.

If you must change at CDG, I suggest you allow a minimum of two hours. Better yet, if your schedule permits, consider staying overnight at an airport hotel.

HARVEY LAMPERT

North Bethesda, MD

ITN called Air France and spoke to a representative, who reiterated that the suggested minimum connecting time for international flights at Charles de Gaulle airport is 45 minutes. This applies only to connecting flights that both involve Air France planes and for which the passenger is basically in transit (where boarding passes are preissued and luggage does not have to be picked up and screened at CDG).

However, if the connecting flight is on a different airline, then the recommended minimum time increases to at least three hours (one hour to pick up luggage and go through Customs and two hours to check in for the next flight and pass security checks).