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When exiting a flight originating from outside of the EU in CDG airport recently, I noted a long queue forming behind a large revolving door, between the exit of the aircraft and the immigration desks. The revolving door did not move in a constant way and had signage indicating for 8 people to enter and then exit, before pausing to allow 8 more passengers through. There was actually a much longer queue behind this door than there was at immigration; the immigration queue was only one minute long. Interestingly, the door also had one 'stop' inside the airside terminal waiting area, and one at an adjacent plane entrance.

This door was the only thing between the airplane exit and the immigration queue. My guess is that such doors are designed to restrict passenger flow, but this seems a bit pointless given that people are queuing for immigration immediately after it anyway, and normally gather in large numbers there.

What is the point of the mystery-door? Did they install a passenger flow restriction door so that the airport employees directing passengers into different immigration queues have an easier job? If so, why is there an inlet coming from airside?

It's a stupid question but I couldn't help but wonder during my long wait to pass through this door.

  • Purely speculation, but it could be to prevent a stampede of people trying to get to immigration first? Or it could be just to control airflow. – DJClayworth Jun 26 '18 at 16:12
  • @DJClayworth that was my first guess also, but they queue up in immigration anyway so it's strange. Plus there are 4 or so desks for what appears to be only 2 gates. The weird giant door seems like a strange investment in that setup! – la femme cosmique Jun 26 '18 at 16:16
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    Is it this? The Flowslide door (their own site seems to have disappeared)? If so, that seems to be a bit different from a normal revolving door: it separates passengers based on where they can/cannot go so nobody skips immigration or security checks. – Zach Lipton Jun 26 '18 at 16:17
  • That's pretty much how it looks, so that's probably it! Still, what they wanted to achieve could have also been achieved with a wall between the secured/airside area and the plane, but I guess it might be useful for airport employees. – la femme cosmique Jun 26 '18 at 16:20
  • I haven't been through one and don't know the exact layout so I won't answer, but I suspect the idea is that it can accommodate different passenger flows from multiple gates, ensuring Schengen and non-Schengen areas don't mix. Your long wait, the fact that other airports haven't jumped to build such doors, and the manufacturer no longer promoting the product is a decent indication that this isn't a great concept. – Zach Lipton Jun 26 '18 at 16:32
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If this is one of the revolving doors I'm thinking about (in CDG 2A IIRC), it's due to the fact that, contrary to many airports, arriving and departing flows are on the same level, while they need to be kept separate.

There's a corridor along the length of the terminal (on the side where the planes are) that connects all gates to immigration. But this corridor needs to be crossed by departing passengers from the departure lounges to the gates.

I believe there's one such revolving door for each gate or something similar. If the gate is not used, the door is in a position where it lets everybody in the arrivals corridor go through (that's probably the reason you think there was only one such door, while I believe there are many more). As soon as there are departures on a gate, it goes into revolving mode, alternating between arrivals-to-immigration and departure lounge-to-aircraft.

The doors are actually visible on the CDG Terminal 2A map, though the map is not really that precise (it doesn't show the full plane-to-immigration-to-baggage reclaim path). Here's part of the map, with the crossing flows (arriving in red, departing in blue) added:

enter image description here

As pointed out by Zach Lipton in the comments to the OP, the door is a Flowside door, and here is an illustration of the flow separation:

enter image description here

Keeping crossing flows on the same level was obviously not the greatest idea, and it was replaced in more recent CDG terminals by separating the arrivals and departures flows on separate floors.

2C has the jetway bridge "moving" ("swinging", really) between the top (departures) and the bottom (arrivals) floors. 2F has double jetway bridges, one for each level (very visible from the outside). 2E L and M gates have elevators/escalators sending arriving passengers to the top floor. Don't quite remember the setup in 2B, 2D and 2E K gates, though 2E K gates definitely has separate floors, and 2B/2D are planned to be retrofitted with a second floor to separate the flows, so it's possible they have the same setup as 2A.

  • Thanks for adding the map. I wonder if these doors were added later, once the requirement for re-screening passengers arriving from outside the EU was instituted for security. My hunch is that those jet bridges just let you out into the concourse before, and this was the best they came up with to retrofit in an area to separate unscreened arriving passengers without major structural changes, but I don't know the history there. – Zach Lipton Jun 26 '18 at 22:42
  • Arriving in the lounge area is common in US airports (except for international flights, of course), but not so much in EU airports where arriving and departing flows are usually well separated. The main exception I know of is CDG T1 where the tunnels between the satellites and the main building are shared with no obvious separation (though the place where security checks are performed has changed over time). I'm not sure if the doors were there at the very start (it's quite possible it was managed using personnel instead originally), I vaguely remember remarking them as new at some point. – jcaron Jun 26 '18 at 22:51
  • Great answers like this to stupid questions like mine are why I'm on Stack Exchange. Thank you :) – la femme cosmique Jun 27 '18 at 10:43

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