Currently considering different options to fly from Spain (Schengen, EU) to Tokyo (non-Schengen, Japan). One of the options is to do a layover in CDG (Charles de Gaulle - Paris). I would like to determine whether body scanners are mandatory in CDG security checks, as this will directly impact my choice of airport for flight connections.

To provide some detail (even when this is not the point of the question): I consider those an unacceptable breach of privacy. Currently some are said to show a layout of the human body and not the whole surface; but still concerned about the initial retrieval and possible leak of raw data, disregarding post-processing techniques. Unfortunately, not flying is barely an option, as this is a work travel.

From the terminal connection page at CDG site, there is the following info:

  • From EU to Tokyo: passport check only (possibly using PARAFE).
  • From Tokyo to EU: arriving at terminal 2E, need to move to 2F (flight back to another country within EU). Moving from 2E to 2F implies passport+security check. I have read that CDG has implemented body scanners, but not sure if those are in this route.

In the website of Aéroports de Paris it also says that "random inspections can be carried out by the security agents, in accordance with the European regulations"; which seems a lax way to say that "anything can happen".

Question: can anyone confirm from first-hand if it is required to go through body scanners at Charles de Gaulle airport when performing a layover in a route between Schengen and non-Schengen countries (and viceversa); and in that case, if opt out is a possibility and what is the alternate screening method? E.g. pat down or something more intrusive.

According to the contact team at Aéroports de Paris, CDG does not have full body scanners that show the entire body and that they use "traditional" X-ray machines (walk-through metal detector). I am however intrigued about whether X-ray are used in metal detectors or if this refers to X-ray backscatter scanners (as I thought X-ray was prohibited on security checks to humans in EU).

  • 6
    Honestly, in terms of privacy, terrahertz body scanners are the wrong tree to be barking up. Offically, we're told that the images aren't stored at all. If they are (through some secret government program presumably) it's hard to see what use they are to anyone, or what threat they pose.
    – CMaster
    Apr 13, 2016 at 8:02
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton: Regarding the imagery, I saw the video at CDG. Could not confirm it yet, but I believe raw images are still "nude" images; and the layout/stick shown is a post-processing image technique with an overlay; thus raw/reconstructed shape images could still be stored or leaked.
    – Kiddo
    Apr 13, 2016 at 9:16
  • 1
    @Shere I don't see how the stick image could be constructed if that wasn't the case, although the "raw" image may never make it to a human-viewable format. So your concern is potential embarrsment in the event that someone chooses to publish a nice long list of anonymous images?
    – CMaster
    Apr 13, 2016 at 9:21
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    As far as I know you can always opt for a pat down (except in the UK). Apr 13, 2016 at 9:33
  • 3
    let's try to answer the OP's specific, clear, question about the two airports, rather than general thoughts on the matter!
    – Fattie
    Apr 13, 2016 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Discussing scanners at France is a moot point; as you are not scanned there - unless you left the airport and are then checking in again. I do not believe this to be case here. So really, you have no concern if there are or are not body scanners at CDG as it does not impact the course of your journey.

You will only be scanned once (when you enter the secure zone) at your departure point - which is Spain.

Here is what will happen:

  1. You and your carry on and checked in luggage will be scanned at your departure airport in Spain.
  2. You may be subject a body scan / x-ray at Spain; I cannot recall the last time I was in Spain (two years ago at Malaga) if I was scanned or not.
  3. You will enter the secure departure zone.
  4. On arrival at CDG, you will follow the transit procedures for flights exiting the EU.
  5. Your passport will be checked and stamped - as you are in the secure area already, you are not subject to any further scans.
  6. Simply proceed to your departure gate, board your flight to Japan.
  7. At arrival in Japan, before you collect your luggage, you may be subject to another x-ray scan for yourself and your carry-on luggage.
  • 3
    That's not accurate for every country. For example, the UK requires all transit passengers to go through scanners (body or metal) once again. Are you sure this is not the case for CDG?
    – JonathanReez
    Apr 24, 2016 at 11:17
  • Yes, I am sure. UK is an entire other story for many things. Apr 24, 2016 at 11:19
  • 3
    Update after the travel: no scan upon arrival (7), and no body scanners during transit (back or forth) at CDG.
    – Kiddo
    Jun 6, 2016 at 4:40
  • This is, by far, not a universal rule. Whether one will have to undergo security again at transit airports depends a lot on the combination of the origin, transit and destination airports, and sometimes even the specific flights. In CDG, there are many cases where you will indeed go through security when transiting. Whether they use full body scans is however a different topic.
    – jcaron
    May 10 at 8:54

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