(This post may come off even more ranty than normally seen here)
Charles de Gaulle Int’l Airport in Paris, France is really bad. CDG is reported to be the busiest airport in Europe. No wonder it sucks. Here is some real life experiences..
- It is a freaking maze to get around in the terminals. Different floors to check-in vs security lines, etc. After landing, I am greeted to a bus to bring me to the terminal..lovely. Then you must stand in line for hours to get through customs. This alone is not shocking but the fact that there are no signs in that airport stating where you have to go makes things stressful. In the course of my 2h50min layover, I barely made my connection flight because I had so far to walk (customs only did take an hour or so).
- After boarding my plane (for my 1h50min flight), we literally taxied for 20 minutes to get to the active runway. As in, we were moving at 10-20 mph, not stop-n-go. The pilot got on the intercom and said that we were stopped because we were #6 in line to takeoff. At this point, I shut my eyes. Then wake up when I hear the engines come to life because I like to watch the takeoff and to my dismay, we were turning around. I checked the time and it was 40 minutes later. By the way, we were still #6 in line because I could see all the aircraft when we were turning. Apparently, they closed the runway while we were waiting.. So, taxi for another 20 minutes to the new runway and finally take off.
- On my return visit back to this crappy place. Same thing, different day. Wheels touch the ground – taxi 20 minutes to the “gate” – take bus to terminal. Walk a mile to get to my check-in spot. Stand in security line for ~50 minutes. Walk a mile to the gate.
- Ohh, goody, finally boarding the plane. *Thinks to self* – “My these gates are awfully close to each other – I wonder how they fit planes between them” Bah. Another damn bus. Taxi 20 minutes to runway, take off.
The moral of this story. Leave at least 2.5-30 hours between connecting flights if it is your first time there and you need to traverse customs, and the maze that is CDG. Oh, and get plenty of rest and try to be in a good mood.
PS. Feel free to take a look [here] and notice the 4 runways in the same direction. WTF.