Connection times

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Mar 10, 2015
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#1
So I started to look at flights and costs for our summer vacation to France to visit family (which we do most years). We've used Delta the last several years.

This year, every single flight option contained 2 stopovers instead of the 1 we usually have. typically, we fly from Philadelphia to X to Marseilles. But this year, all the flights had an additional US-based stopover, at what I presume is a Delta hub.

And virtually all of the offered flights had the stopovers only 1-2 hours. That just seems incredible. In my experience, 2 hours is the absolute minimum I'd accept for a stop over, and with any flight going international, I'd prefer 3. Maybe the stopover at the Delta hub could be done in 2 hours, but still tight, imo, since no doubt there'd be a change in terminals from a domestic to an international, and you usually have to be at the international gate at least 45 minutes before the flight leaves (as that's when they usually start boarding). And then in France, a 2 hour layover at CDG, with passport control, and changing terminals, that's ridiculous. Last summer, we had a 2-3/4 hour layover in CDG and barely made it to our connecting flight.

So not really happy with the choices being offered by Delta this year.
 
Likes: jsn55
Apr 10, 2017
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#2
If you're willing to fly AA there are several options for flights with only 1 connection. You can choose either LHR or MAD. I don't know if these flights would work for your dates but it could be worth looking into.
 
Mar 10, 2015
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#3
AA would be one of my last choices. Flew them 3 years ago from Europe for a work thing because they were the cheapest (had a different flight to Europe) and it was the absolute worst I'd ever had.

Might have consider flying out of Newark. They have a 1-stop through CDG, but the choice of stopover times are 2 hours and 5.5 hours. Well, guess we can get lunch in the airport.
 
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Sep 19, 2015
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#6
I just looked at Lufthansa, and the connection through Frankfurt is either very short (less than 90 mins) or very long (8 hours) -- which are not great. One of my friends is from Phiily and lives overseas, and she often flies into Newark so as not to have many connections -- she takes a car service to and from EWR airport.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
So I started to look at flights and costs for our summer vacation to France to visit family (which we do most years). We've used Delta the last several years.

This year, every single flight option contained 2 stopovers instead of the 1 we usually have. typically, we fly from Philadelphia to X to Marseilles. But this year, all the flights had an additional US-based stopover, at what I presume is a Delta hub.

And virtually all of the offered flights had the stopovers only 1-2 hours. That just seems incredible. In my experience, 2 hours is the absolute minimum I'd accept for a stop over, and with any flight going international, I'd prefer 3. Maybe the stopover at the Delta hub could be done in 2 hours, but still tight, imo, since no doubt there'd be a change in terminals from a domestic to an international, and you usually have to be at the international gate at least 45 minutes before the flight leaves (as that's when they usually start boarding). And then in France, a 2 hour layover at CDG, with passport control, and changing terminals, that's ridiculous. Last summer, we had a 2-3/4 hour layover in CDG and barely made it to our connecting flight.

So not really happy with the choices being offered by Delta this year.
Time to get creative! Newark is probably a great choice for accessibility and good itineraries. Car service from your house, or drive over the day before and spend the night at a 'park & fly' hotel. Possible to take a train? Other airports within a 3-hour drive?
 
Mar 6, 2018
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#8
Have you considered taking a nonstop to RDU, then catch the nonstop from RDU to CDG? From Paris there are nonstop high speed trains to Marseilles. There are a number of nonstop flights to RDU from PHL, shouldn't be hard to make the 5:40PM to CDG. Probably best to book the legs separately, and manage your own luggage transfer, even better if you don't check luggage from PHL to RDU. The nonstop train takes 3 1/2 hours, multiple departure times. It will take a little research to figure the best way to get from CDG to the Disneyland Paris station, but it's all out there on the Web, and I'll bet there are both bus and rail options. High speed trains in France are great. There is a new provider we've not tried yet, Ouigo, that is listing Euro 10 one way tickets from Paris to Marseille right now. Single class, bring your own food, but that's a ball. We've done this a number of times, pack a lunch, bring a bottle of wine, and you're in business. The trains on Ouigo look like they're all duplex - double deck trains. Try to get on the upper deck, it's very difficult to look out the window from the lower level going 180 mph - tough to focus. I like Trainline to book rail in western Europe https://www.trainline.eu/ . Some sites charge extra for purchasing your tickets in dollars, Trainline does not.
 
Jun 27, 2017
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#9
We also noticed TIGHT (as in impossible; unless first flight is very early and connecting flight is very late) with Delta. We could not use them for a number of trips, because the connections were only 45-55 minutes, and one of the 55 minute connections was in Atlanta, Delta's major hub. Heck, it takes 20-30 minutes from touchdown to get out of the plane into the lobby and to the next flight, often in another terminal, where they would already be boarded and the door would be shut.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
Have you considered taking a nonstop to RDU, then catch the nonstop from RDU to CDG? From Paris there are nonstop high speed trains to Marseilles. There are a number of nonstop flights to RDU from PHL, shouldn't be hard to make the 5:40PM to CDG. Probably best to book the legs separately, and manage your own luggage transfer, even better if you don't check luggage from PHL to RDU. The nonstop train takes 3 1/2 hours, multiple departure times. It will take a little research to figure the best way to get from CDG to the Disneyland Paris station, but it's all out there on the Web, and I'll bet there are both bus and rail options. High speed trains in France are great. There is a new provider we've not tried yet, Ouigo, that is listing Euro 10 one way tickets from Paris to Marseille right now. Single class, bring your own food, but that's a ball. We've done this a number of times, pack a lunch, bring a bottle of wine, and you're in business. The trains on Ouigo look like they're all duplex - double deck trains. Try to get on the upper deck, it's very difficult to look out the window from the lower level going 180 mph - tough to focus. I like Trainline to book rail in western Europe https://www.trainline.eu/ . Some sites charge extra for purchasing your tickets in dollars, Trainline does not.
Booking separate tickets from PHL to RDU and RDU to CDG could easily backfire; if there is a delay or cancellation with the PHL to RDU flight the RDU to CDG flight will not be protected. And if one checks luggage on the PHL to RDU separate flight from transatlantic and the traffic does not make it-- well that would be a mess.

I am a fan or European train travel; there is a high speed train from CDG to Marseille, but that can add almost four hours onto the trip and if one has already done an overnight flight, it can be tiring. OUI trains are a new low cost fast train from SNCF -- but the cost savings of a Euro 10 ticket from Marne la Vallee to Marseille may not be worth it when one factors in the cost and hassle of traveling from CDG to Marne la Vallee -- it is close to 90 minutes and will cost over Euro 15 -- and there will be a need to change RER trains, it is not direct. And OUI trains, following in the low cost airline model, are strict with the amount of baggage one can take and charges for more than carry on size. They even charge to use an outlet to recharge the phone.

The OP seems to want to minimize connections and hassles, which is why EWR with one change sounds like the most convenient way to get to Marseille
 
Dec 26, 2014
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#13
I too am one of those frequent flyers that always tries to get as much time for connections as possible. When a plane lands at 3:00pm it may take 5-10 minutes to get the boarding door open. Then, how many passengers have to deplane before it is my turn. I allow about 15 seconds per passenger, so now I have an idea of how long it will be before I actually get off the plane to the jet bridge. (some people are quick, but not everyone is) Then, if I am on an airline that gate checks the bags (small regional type of plane) I need to allow as much as 15 minutes before my bag comes up. Then I check to see where my connection gate is, do I have to take a tram? is it walkable? Do I need to use the restroom before boarding my next flight? Finally, although the departure time may be 4:15PM, the boarding door will typically close about 10 minutes before that stated time. So, if I assume I am on a 737 plane and carried on my luggage adding it up it can take me: 10(for boarding door to open) + 4 (for 15-18 people ahead of me on the plane) +6 (to walk to next gate) = 20 minutes give or take. That means it is now 3:20pm, and I might even have time to use the restroom as long as there is not a long line. As you can see, even when there was nothing that went wrong, that alleged 1.5 hr layover in reality does not exist. I have also watched my layover time disappear while sitting on the plane waiting for a gate to open up for our plane.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#14
I too am one of those frequent flyers that always tries to get as much time for connections as possible. When a plane lands at 3:00pm it may take 5-10 minutes to get the boarding door open. Then, how many passengers have to deplane before it is my turn. I allow about 15 seconds per passenger, so now I have an idea of how long it will be before I actually get off the plane to the jet bridge. (some people are quick, but not everyone is) Then, if I am on an airline that gate checks the bags (small regional type of plane) I need to allow as much as 15 minutes before my bag comes up. Then I check to see where my connection gate is, do I have to take a tram? is it walkable? Do I need to use the restroom before boarding my next flight? Finally, although the departure time may be 4:15PM, the boarding door will typically close about 10 minutes before that stated time. So, if I assume I am on a 737 plane and carried on my luggage adding it up it can take me: 10(for boarding door to open) + 4 (for 15-18 people ahead of me on the plane) +6 (to walk to next gate) = 20 minutes give or take. That means it is now 3:20pm, and I might even have time to use the restroom as long as there is not a long line. As you can see, even when there was nothing that went wrong, that alleged 1.5 hr layover in reality does not exist. I have also watched my layover time disappear while sitting on the plane waiting for a gate to open up for our plane.
Very well said, CTP. I think that most of today's travellers have no idea that the airline may not do much for them if there are issues, especially when booking through an online booking service. People have no idea that things have changed so radically. Back in the good ol' days, miss a connection and you'll arrive late, or the next day. But you WILL arrive, and it won't cost you $5K. These days, lots of shrugging and empty "sorry" from the agents. I believe that members with status, or biz/first class passengers still get some assistance with issues, but the rest of the tavellers ... "Just go away, I can't help you". We get posts like this every week and we can usually guide someone to being successful with some compensation, with a great deal of effort. But how many others are out there who got creamed by an airline agent and just slinked away in shame? If you're Joe Blow flying in coach, you can't expect any care and compassion any more, and I think people are having a hard time grasping this.
 
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Mar 10, 2015
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#15
I was reminded by my husband of another reason we need a decently long layover in CDG. The last couple of times we've flown through CDG, we've landed at one end of the airport, have a good 10-15 minute or so taxi to the other end of the airport, then onto a shuttle bus, back the other way, for another 10-15 minutes. And our connection is then some distances from passport control (which can be 30-75 minutes depending). CDG is not the best for the international connection.

Looks like family wants to come from France to the US this year, so we won't be flying. Maybe next summer will be better for us.