The folly of a 60 minute connection in Paris


Back in February Air France and ADP, the Parisian Airport Authority, hosted a media event to show off recent infrastructure projects at Charles De Gaulle Airport. The work focused on delivering a better connecting experience for passengers, something the airport desperately needed. At the time I was both skeptical and distracted. My prior transits through CDG included missed connections due to long bus rides and one trip in which I’m pretty sure we never passed through immigration. Oopsie.

In recent weeks, however, I’ve had two relatively short transfers at CDG, both from the USA to a Schengen destination. That requires clearing security and immigration. Historically connecting passengers would use the same arrivals area as those terminating their trip at CDG. A new connector between terminal 2E (non-Schengen/long-haul arrivals) and 2F (short-haul/Schengen) helps ease that flow. During the media day we walked through it a couple times but that’s a far different experience from landing at noon with a 1p onward connection. I managed to pull that off today, though not without a small bit of luck.

I didn’t think much about the 60 minute connection when booking the flight. I probably would have chosen a different itinerary. But it was the right departure and arrival times and airport and I didn’t really see the connection nor think about it until I checked in last night. At that point it was too late to change so I headed to sleep simply hoping we’d be on time into the gate. We were not.



Our scheduled arrival time was 12:00. Wheels down was 12:04p. We didn’t block in at the gate until 12:18p and I wasn’t off the plane until 12:25. That was decidedly not how the plan was supposed to play out.

Still, I hoofed it to the train that connects the K/L./M piers of Terminal 2E (Yes, CDG manages to name its terminals worse than LaGuardia). From the train it is a brisk but fortunately well-signed walk over to Terminal 2F.

Travelers clear security (11 minutes for me, even using the priority lane) and immigration (no line) there before heading up to the F gates.



Another quick sprint had me into the terminal and at the gate by 12:55, just 51 minutes after my inbound plane touched down and only 30 minutes after I stepped off the aircraft.

The 14 minutes we spent taxiing around to find our gate definitely did not help things. Nor did the extra time we spent waiting for the jet bridge to attach. That combined 20ish minutes almost certainly would have cost me the connection had the onward flight not been delayed. I was definitely late to the gate based on the published cutoff time for the departure.

Still, the 30 minutes from gate to gate matches my prior experience just last month when connecting to Toulouse. In that case we walked a little slower but benefitted from a shorter security line.

All of which is to say that maybe a 60  minute connection at CDG is not as impossible as it used to be. After all, I’ve now successfully managed twice in a row. But I’m still not sure I’d book it on purpose without knowing that there are good backup options available for when you miss.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

16 Comments

  1. I was already a bit sketchy about booking a 60-min connection on CX for JFK-HKG-BOM. Your post is making me wonder anew whether I made the right call. What do you think the chances of making that are if the flight is on-time?

  2. Quick question – why did you rush it that hard? Missing it means lounge access (if you smile and ask politely), a 25€ meal voucher (enough for 2 decent meals at places) and depending on the delay and the flight you came from a 800€ travel voucher… Just wonder 🙂 Exact same situation pays us our next intercontinental premium eco flight for next summer…

    1. I don’t really care about lounge access nor a meal cert and the next flight was an hour later so no comp. Plus, the onward flight was an A318, a relatively rare type to fly in.

      Missing the connection wouldn’t have been that bad, but it certainly wasn’t something I’d try to do.

  3. I spend 8 hours hanging around CDG for a new flight recently after missing a 90 minute connection. I hate CDG and will avoid it whenever possible.

  4. I spent 8 hours hanging around CDG for a new flight recently after missing a 90 minute connection. I hate CDG and will avoid it whenever possible.

  5. I was scared enough of a 41 minute connection at PHL last week between terminal F and A. With my propensity for getting lost at CDG as it is, that is definitely a scary connection!

  6. Just did something similar this week arriving from Houston and departing from L to Pointe noire. No immigration to clear but security was a complete fiasco. Took me forty minutes to get through and that was in business class.

    This is the third time in three months that the security at 2F L has been a fiasco. (No coordination, conflicting instructions , lack of manning , stressed out security staff) .

    I had two hours between flights and it only just made it. Like you the departing plane was late.

    I’m going to start avoiding CDG now.

    1. I prefer MUC for shorter connections. FRA is possible, but tends to be much more walking. Still, easier than CDG for sure.

  7. My family did a 70 minute connection from M50 (off a A380 in coach row 18) to F30. We had to work with an airport staff in the immigration to let them know that we had a tight connection. Then then allowed us to go ahead in a separate line.

    I wouldn’t do less than 2 hours in CDG again if possible. It’s a very big airport too many things can go wrong.

  8. Short connections seem to be a regular challenge put out by AF/KLM.
    Have lost count of the number of times I have had 40 min connections thrust upon me by the itinerary ftom KLM at Schipol regardless of it being a schgen or non connection. Often land at D gates and go out from B gate which is a long treck. Thanks to paying for Privium (well worth the €205 a year if you regularly use Schipol) I usually make it but if I have checked bags they never do!

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