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How early must one get to CDG?

Northern Virginia
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62 posts
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How early must one get to CDG?

Hello,

I am trying to decide between two flights returning to the U.S. from Paris. There is a flight that departs CDG at 1:30PM and another at 4:40PM and I was wondering which one you guys would recommend -- I will be staying in Montpellier so I will have to take an approx 4 hr TGV ride and there are two - one that arrives in CDG at 10:57AM and another that arrives at 12:29 PM.

1) Is arriving at 10:57am ample time for the 1:30PM flight? Does TGV ever get delayed? and if for some reason I miss the TGV that arrives at 10:57am, will it be too late to arrive for the 1:30PM flight taking the later train that arrives at CDG at 12:29PM?

2) Should I just give myself ample time and go for the 4:40PM flight? If I do that, I will likely take the TGV that arrives at CDG at 12:29PM, which means I will have to sit at the airport for 4 hrs! Not sure I want to do that..

In general, how early does one usually need to arrive at CDG prior to an international flight? Not sure how CDG generally performs with keeping their flights on-time...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated! thanks

Tarragona, Spain
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1. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

If you use the search facility, you will find that the concensus (with some vehement disagreements from time to time, let it be said) is that CdG is "not user friendly."

Louisiana
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2. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

I just got back from Paris. Our flight was leaving out @ 11:40AM. We got there right at three hours early. We needed it-it was crazy. We had VAT tax refund to process also(but that only took 15 minutes). Of course we were there on a Sat (probably not do that again). We only had a coffee break time of about 25 minutes. Of course it did not help one of us had a boarding class with a random code for extra random security checks. Never know when that may happen to you!

New Hampshire
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for Paris
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3. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

If you are flying home to the USA, you should arrive at CDG 3 to 3-1/2 hours ahead of departure.

You have to get from the train station to your terminal. You have to check in for your flight and get a boarding pass. Could be a long line. Then, you have to go through passport control, then security. Much depends on the terminal as to how long this will take, along with how many flights are scheduled around the same time. Then, you have to get to your gate. All that could take an hour or two, or much, much longer.

You need to know cutoff times for checking in, being at the gate to board the plane, etc.

There is absolutely no way you can plan to arrive by train at 12:29 and catch a flight to the USA at 1:30.

It's far better to allow as much time as possible to make this sort of connection than miss your flight. If you do miss your flight, you'll have to purchase another ticket (assuming the flight is not full) at full price, probably with no credit for the flight you missed, and this would be very costly.

Northern Virginia
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4. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

Just to clarify, there is a TGV station at CDG, correct? djkbooks' response made it sound like I would have to get from a train station somewhere else to the airport.

based on your responses, I think I will book the later flight then to be safe. Thanks

Montreal
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for Paris
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5. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

You need to arrive 3 hrs before departure and it's better to get there a bit earlier than later.

I would go for the 4:40pm flight, much prefer to have a bit more time at the airport and to not have to rush very early in the morning.

Edited: 23 May 2010, 16:36
New Hampshire
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for Paris
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6. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

Yes, there is a TGV station at CDG.

CDG is enormous.

Here's a map that includes locations of various terminals and TGV station. Note that walking times are more running times...

easycdg.com/pages/cdg_airport_access_by_trai…

Paris, France
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25,245 posts
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7. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

The 10:57 train sounds fine to me for the 13:30 flight -- but only if your air ticket will be honored for a later flight in case of a rail delay (rare but always possible).

Phoenix, Arizona
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99 posts
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8. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

Agree with djkbooks. I'd give myself plenty of time. A lot of security checks at CDG. Also with volcano your flight might be cancelled as ours was. Making alternate arrangements and then getting to the right gate etc. adds more time. Besides it's the best smelling airport in the world. A little extra time there is preferrable to just about anywhere else.

Northern Virginia
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9. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

Oh dear, is the volcano still affecting flights in and out of CDG? I will not be traveling until late August, so I was hoping I would not have to worry about the volcano.

Detroit, Michigan
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10. Re: How early must one get to CDG?

I went with leaving Paris four hours before departure. CDG is not an efficient place from which to travel. It takes about an hour to get out there if you take the RER train. We waited over an hour to check in, another half hour through security and customs.