Maybe I should change my attitude toward CDG (Paris) airport – what do you think?

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I have not been to CDG for a few years. The last time made me so mad I never wanted to go back (it had to do with my mom and handicapped service that went very wrong). But to be fair there have been a ton of changes going on there.

Air France has new and glitzy advertising on their web site you can see HERE. I would love to get some feedback from readers who have been there recently. I have been told you can now walk from “pod to pod” and not have to be re-screened again. That would be nice (just being connected would be a big plus).

Now more Skyteam news. We know our Delta is getting ever closer (now 40% done) to replacing all its intercontinental long haul birds with “full flat” seats. According to the KLM web site, they are going to follow suit and upgrade to “full flat” seats starting with the 747’s!

KLM’s World Business Class will soon benefit from a redesign by renowned Dutch designer, Hella Jongerius. This update will help to revitalize and transform the KLM World Business Class cabin to fit the new KLM brand values, while emphasizing a sense of pride in the airline’s Dutch heritage.

With a focus on maximizing passenger comfort, the redesign will create an entirely new Business Class look and feel. You can look forward to updated cabin interiors with a range of improvements including:

Full-flat seats
Seat covers
Carpets
Cabin dividers
Curtains
Cushions
Blankets

KLM will begin revitalizing the first aircraft in June 2013.
The Boeing 747-400s will be converted first; a total of 22 aircraft. Further details of the design and the new seat will be revealed later this year.

It will be fun to see what kind of seat KLM chooses to use and if they use the same kind in the 747’s and the 777’s etc. Delta chose different seats due to cabin shape and cost and configuration. KLM may do the same. All this is just GREAT news for me as AMS is like a second home for me on the way to Sweden each year. I love this news – how about you? – René

 

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21 comments

  1. FRA and CDG are airports I try to avoid, but how can you avoid it if the price is cheaper through them?

    Was connecting in CDG last year in CDG to AF flight to YYZ and it was so cramped and hot at the gate. Not many places to eat or even grab a drink. I will try and keep it to AMS or MUC.

  2. I would say it is a work in progress. I’ve been thru there on 4 US->Europe trips this year – Jan, Mar, Jun, and July. On the positive side, all my flights except 1 had a gate and that flight was on Skyteam partner Air Europa to Spain (bus to plane which was a 737 or A320). Last year, only about 50% of my flights thru CDG had gates. The new terminal areas are nice but there are still some long walks when you land in 2E, clear customs, and have to change to 2B. Possibly if you are connecting to pure AF metal (rather than AF codeshare which has been my luck) you may have a more seamless experience. I won’t book a connection thru there that doesn’t have at least a 2 hr window. You still encounter staffing issues at customs, long walks, detours due to construction, sometimes confusing/changed signage, etc. BTW if you are doing an overnight connection at the Hilton, you have to take the CDG VAL train to the station behind the hotel – they say that hotel no longer offers shuttle pickup but they will drop off. (I like connecting this way because I can pop into Paris on the RER to enjoy a nice dinner before heading home…and it is much better than waking up at 4AM to board a flight to CDG and making the connection).

  3. @Erik – WOW! This is the kind of feedback I only DREAM about getting from readers. Thank you and I am sure other Delta Points readers feel the same way. Again, my thanks – Rene

  4. Is there sky priority (fast lane for security clearance) for Premier Affaires Class using Awards ticket at CDG?

    I should be arriving at 9:30 A.M from VIE to CDG in Terminal 2D and departing at 10:15 A.M flight to U.S. at Terminal 2E. Therefore, will have 1 hour 15 minutes to connect. Will I be able to walk fast and go from Terminal 2D to 2 E and make my connection?

    Luggage will be checked through with AF

  5. Erik could not be more wrong about AF metal. I had the misfortune to transfer twice on AF metal in CDG last month, and it is a disaster. The corridors between wings of terminal 2E are not secured, and thus all transfers in E seem to require rescreening. Moreover, access to AFs international departure wing takes you through the connection to the TGV, and thus will always require rescreening.

    Separately, my flight back to the US began boarding about an hour late, but nothing was wrong – the AF reps at customs told us all it would be leaving late because it always does. I didn’t really believe them, but then we got to our double decker plane and 400+ people were standing there in what could loosely be called a line.

  6. It’s just marketing. They already have a remodeled pod for international departures and it looks very nice. The problem is that you still have to walk >1m to get there, pass through several checkpoints, ride the train, and there is no way to go from any pot to another air side.
    The remodeling will also not change AF’s attitude against DL passengers as well as having to take the CDG scenic tour by bus and walk several flights of stairs to de-/board a domestic plane.

  7. nice to hear about the changes, flying thru CDG to Lisbon in business, looking forward to seeing CDG

  8. We traveled to CDG this spring via Air France. We chose the upgraded Economy section, and it was pretty comfortable. We had none of the problems at CDG that we had in the past. The terminal has been totally renovated, and is quite attractive and easy to maneuver. Interesting shopping, comfortable seats, attentive staff. Big improvement!

  9. @ Mike – YES – they will be the last to change over. The old seat is fine. I have a full review of seats HERE and you can see Lisa in one of the seats on the A330! 🙂

  10. I love CDG. Never had a problem there . Where else can you get Billecart Salmon champagne in a lounge other than the AF salons !

  11. I was transiting thru CDG for the 1st time last month. It was confusing and very different to say the least. From the gate, I was told to walk to another “gate” which was really a small area to wait for the bus. Took the bus, transferred to another bus, to a short train ride, then through security. I came in on SQ and took AF out. The AF terminal and lounge where I took my flight did look nice and really new though.

  12. CDG has overall bad customer service and heavens forbid if you missed your connection; it is especially bad when one of the unions is striking —- for the third time this year. I love Paris and therefore cannot avoid CDG but never want to connect there again. By the way Orly is no pic- nic either;

  13. CDG is OK. Not the best customer service in my experience, but it’s often an unavoidable travel hub is you are transiting via a SkyTeam flight.

    I look forward to the Delta fleet’s full scale lie flat configuration. I have been riding the 767-300’s for too long now and while the lazy boy experience is better than coach, lie flat is the way to go!

  14. Reread my post – I said you MAY possibly have a more seamless experience on pure AF metal, obviously Bill did not. There are no guarantees with CDG. For the last 10 years, I’ve averaged about 6 business trips/year and the occasional leisure trip to Europe. Since I’m a DL Diamond, many of these flights have connected via CDG on the outbound, return, or both. Some days everything goes right, other days it is a disaster (just like JFK, BTW). Is CDG better now than it was a year or two ago? Yes, but it is still a work in progress. In my experience, AF flights tend to get preferential treatment as far as gate assignments, etc. but that is not surprising since you are at the hub. You just need to give yourself enough connecting time and have a plan of action in case something goes wrong. This goes for any European airport really. Strikes are a fact of life in the EU, make sure you are checking the news in that country before you leave. If I had a choice, from a Skyteam perspective I would prefer to connect via Amsterdam (easy to navigate and you can you view masterpiece art for free!). For Star Alliance, Munich is great. For Oneworld, the most realistic option is Heathrow. Unfortunately, my budget and the fares determine where I fly. AF frequently has good discount biz class tickets from JFK and IAD, especially since they deployed the A380. Someone asked about Sky Priority, CDG has started to put up the signage but I don’t feel it is consistent yet. The priority security/customs lanes are also labeled “Access No. 1”. Be prepared to show your biz ticket or Medallion status. When speaking to CDG airport personnel, it doesn’t hurt to smile and drop a little “Bonjour” (or “Bonsoir” if evening), “Parlez vou anglais?” and “Merci”. They will know immediately that you are not French by the accent, but will appreciate that you chose not to start the conversation with English. It’s a tiny bit of respect for their culture and the French are all about culture. Will you always encounter perfectly pleasant, smiling people? No, but the same could be said for JFK, ATL, DTW, ORD, etc.

  15. @ erik. Good points and you are right! And just wonder…people are capabLe of smiling at JFK? I never knew! 🙂

  16. I’ve been visiting Paris each year for the past 5-6 years now and this year was the first time I flew Air France. Best airline I have ever flown. Period. From the moment I boarded the plane until the moment I left. Service was top notch incredible…friendliest crew..all smiles and a willing desire to actually make sure you were well taken care of. Every other airline I’ve ridden has attendants with attitude, no ambition, moody, etc. Boarding/ flying in and out of the new terminal at CDG was quick, efficient, and painless. From now on I will only fly Air France to and from. Kudos to them for remembering what customer service is supposed to be.

  17. Went atl to cdg a few weeks after the incident there. On arrival to cdg it was a ghost town and we had 2 hours till flight to Marseille(a zoo at the gate) and the lounge was empty i guess people stayed away but 7 days later Marseille was crowded and lots of checks and military then CDG was an absolute mess it took over 2 hours to go thru security and checkpoints to transfer to get to flight and got there to board immediately a nightmare…, and we were bused to an out area old terminal….

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