I am flying on single ticket from DTW (Michigan, USA) to Paris and then to Rome on Delta/KLM. It appears I will have to go through customs and security but the flight I am on has only an hour layover in Paris. Should I rebook?
5Quick bit of advice - if you've got a short connection, let the staff on the plane know. They may well be able to call ahead and organise help, give you an airport map, or something similar (I've done this before for short changes in Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi).– user25730Sep 6, 2022 at 2:44
2What is your citizenship and do you have status (frequent flyer with elite status or business/first class)?– jcaronSep 6, 2022 at 7:22
1+1 @user25730 - the airline has sold you the flight with the connection so they are on the hook for costs if you don't make it therefore it's in their interest to help you as much as they can.– deep64blueSep 6, 2022 at 14:02
1Going through customs also means you have to have all your luggage with you. If you have checked bags, you'll have to wait for them to come off the plane before you get to customs. If you're flying carry-on only, once you're off the plane, you've got everything you need and you can go straight to customs/immigration. My wife & I spent 3 weeks in Europe flying carry-on only - you may want to reconsider what/how you pack.– FreeManSep 6, 2022 at 14:52
7@FreeMan: that's incorrect. In the EU (which is different from the US), bags are checked through to the final location. You only pass through immigration at your first port of entry but you collect your bags and (technically) go through customs at the final destination.– HilmarSep 6, 2022 at 15:21
Technically, because the itinerary was sold as a single ticket, then they should not go below the minimum connection times that the airport requires, but that doesn't mean its necessarily enough.
From various sources cobbled together, it looks like for international to domestic at either of Charles De Gualle airport or Orly airport the minimum recommended connection time is 60 minutes.
But what does that mean?
Well, all it means is "how much reasonable time do you need to deplane, go through whatever customs or immigration checks you need to do (as you will be going from international to Schengen, you will pass through immigration and customs), get from one place to another in the terminals and be ready to board your second flight".
What it does NOT cover is "what happens if my inbound flight is delayed?"
So, a 60 minute connection time is cutting it very very fine IMHO. If your flight from DTW is delayed, you almost certainly won't make the flight to Rome. If you are a slow walker, you almost certainly won't make your flight to Rome. If immigration is busy or you have a problem there, you almost certainly won't make the flight to Rome. And so on.
You would probably find the airline helpful to rebook your Rome flight should any of the above events transpire, but why risk it? You might not get another flight for hours or until the next day.
4Probably lots of flights from Paris to Rome for this particular problem though Sep 6, 2022 at 12:04
There is a reason that the French national carrier is nicknamed "Air Chance". Everytime you travel through CDG you take a chance that your baggage will make it to your destination at the same time as you. From my experience as an (ex) EU resident traveling through CDG to the US, you will make the transfer, your baggage may not. Sep 7, 2022 at 16:47
If the airline sold you this connection as a single ticket, they are rather confident you will make it.
It you don’t, they have to rebook you on the next available flight, and if that flight is the next day (unlikely in your case), they have to book and pay for an hotel for you. In some cases (not this one), they would also have to pay compensation for the delay. So they have a strong incentive to only sell connections that are actually doable and to make sure you can do it in time.
However, there are quite a few factors which may affect whether you’ll actually make it or not:
- whether the incoming flight is on time. Today’s DL98 is several hours late, for instance.
- Which gate you arrive at. Terminal 2E has 3 concourses (K, L and M gates), 2 of which (L and M) require you to use a people mover to get to the main building where you’ll go through passport control. But L gates have a shortcut to 2F where your onward flights departs. Hopefully you won’t have to use a bus to get to the terminal.
- How long it takes you do deplane. There’s quite a difference between being the first to deplane (flying business) and the last one (in the last row of economy). Make sure you book a seat towards the front.
- How fast you walk and whether you are “encumbered”. It takes a lot longer to navigate through an airport if you have 3 small children in tow.
- Whether you have status. If you are an elite member of the frequent flyer program of any of the Skyteam airlines, or if you travel business or first (possibly also premium economy, I’m not sure), you get “Sky Priority” which in CDG translates to the purple “Accès N°1” lanes and gives you priority at passport control and security.
- Whether you have an EU/EEA passport or not. Lines at passport control for EU/EEA passengers are usually quicker than the others.
- And the biggest unknown: how long will the queues be at passport control and security.
With a flight on time and status, for a well-travelled passenger this is unlikely to be a problem at all. For most other situations it should not be a problem, but as you see there are quite a few variables.
Note that if the airlines feel the connection is tight (they probably won’t unless the flight is a bit late, but not too much), you are likely to have staff at the gate to assist you and get you through the lines quicker. But the rules for when they do that are a mystery.
If your flight is a bit late, make sure you let the crew on board know, they may be able to get you off the plane quicker or get you other forms of assistance.
Be prepared: check out the maps of the relevant terminals in advance so you know what you should do based on the arrival gate, check the status and gate of your onward flight, have your documents ready.
Also check for alternate flights in advance, so in case you don’t make the connection and they need to rebook you, you know what the choices are.
3Just to add a note, if OP is a EU/EEA/UK/US.. citizen, they can use the PARAFE (e-passport gates), and cut a bunch of time out of immigration most of the time Sep 6, 2022 at 8:26
2If the airline sold you this connection as a single ticket, they are rather confident you will make it. While that's generally the case, some diligence (as OP is doing) is not a bad idea. I had the experience this year where a major airline changed my ticket to include a connection with a 13-minute layover, during which I was supposed to change terminals and go through immigration and security. Sep 6, 2022 at 12:58
Whether the flight from CDG is using a jetway or boarding from the apron is also relevant here, especially because the second case is very common at CDG for flights within the Schengen area. Flights that board from the apron generally start and close boarding earlier relative to the listed departure time than those that board via jetway, because they have to shuttle everyone out to the plane, which can make it harder to make the connection (and airlines often list only the departure time until they give you the boarding pass, so that one hour layover may be a lot shorter in reality). Sep 7, 2022 at 11:59
Rebook. Rebook. Rebook.
From my own experience in Paris
- You're going to be hauling ass & knocking old ladies out of the way to physically get from one end of the airport to the other. There is no tram or tain or bus. There's shanks mare (i.e. your own two feet).
- You'll be in the immigration line with the entire contents of your plane (and possibly multiple others. I have been in the immigration line (the very long, long line) when one of the only two immigration officers on duty went "Oh look, 3 wide-bodies just came in from across the Atlantic. Time for lunch!" And left. The French have a different attitude. Your hurry is not their hurry.
- And that all assumes your flight will land on time. In case you haven't been watching the news lately, I wouldn't count on it.
Personally, I would want a minimum of 2h in Paris & ideally 3. You think that's a long time to hang out in an airport. Wait until you run across Charles de Gaulle to the far end of the terminal only to find that your flight - which is nearly done boarding - has been moved to the other end of the 1/2-mile terminal.
3This is bad advice IMHO. If the flight is booked within the MCT (minimum connection time), the airline will quite possibly charge for a rebook (BA certainly do). If you leave it a few weeks, one flight may move by 5 minutes which puts you outside MCT and will give you the opportunity to rebook for free. But MCT is what the airline thinks you can make, so you might as well at least try (transatlantic flights are often early), given the airline has the legal responsibility to reroute you anyway and there are plenty of Paris/Rome flights.– ablighSep 6, 2022 at 18:37
1OP gave rebooking as an option. I simply advised him to take it. And yes, if you miss your connection they're on the hook to get you another flight. When one is available. I've spent the night at an airport. I've spent the night at an airport hotel, on the airline's bill. In both cases, I'd rather have had my time back. Sep 7, 2022 at 11:57