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johnjen

Experience flying back home/LESSONS LEARNED

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With the cruise completed it was time to head back from BCN to CDG then on to IAD on the connecting flight. The security check in BCN was easy enough, a large line but all of the checkpoints were open. Didn't take long at all.

The flight to CDG was smooth. Matter of fact, left BCN 20 mins early, this put our minds at ease as we now had nearly two hours to reach our gate on flight to IAD.

However, what we didn't expect in Paris - seeing 4-600 people waiting to clear TWO of SIXTEEN checkpoints (14 were closed). This didn't make sense to me since we already had went through security in BCN....thought that since this was the EU, only one checkpoint was needed. They were being very slow here.....but it's France. Halfway through this massive snake of a line, still waiting to clear security, we realized we were cutting it too close. After clearing security (it took THIS long and we were even in the so-called priority line), there was no way we'd make our flight as they began boarding already, and we still had to make it all the way over to Hall M and yet had to board a bus. We ran from there after the ride. Thank our lucky stars - the flight hadn't boarded yet due to the cleaners being delayed in getting the plane cleaned up....thank you cleaners. If not for them, we'd have missed our connecting flight.

Lesson learned - If we ever have a connecting flight/stopover, make sure there's a minimum of at least 3 hours in between flights. Paris is ridiculously slow!! Otherwise, next time it'll be direct to Barcelona.

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We have had exactly the same experience at London Heathrow.  As we arrived from Venice there was apparently a security issue.  We were transferring between terminals. There was some sort of security scare.  Lots of 'suits' running about.  We just made our flight.  Others did not.

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Had a similar delay at CDG a few months ago.  The lines were long but seemed to be moving fairly well. Finally we were 3rd in line when a woman with an infant was put in front of all of us because her flight was about to leave. We waited and waited while she appeared to be explaining something to the officer. She had lots of paperwork with her but apparently there was some problem. Finally, they brought another officer up and moved our line to his station. Those in front of us cleared and as we cleared I glanced over and the woman with the baby was still there. Don’t know if she made her flight or if anyone who had been in line behind her missed theirs.

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Posted (edited)

All it takes at any airport,  no matter where,  is a high security alert or a computer outage/ slowdown to bring the inbound processing/transfers to slow or halt.    We still avoid changing planes at LHR.

Edited by iancal

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On 8/1/2019 at 7:16 AM, johnjen said:

With the cruise completed it was time to head back from BCN to CDG then on to IAD on the connecting flight. The security check in BCN was easy enough, a large line but all of the checkpoints were open. Didn't take long at all.

The flight to CDG was smooth. Matter of fact, left BCN 20 mins early, this put our minds at ease as we now had nearly two hours to reach our gate on flight to IAD.

However, what we didn't expect in Paris - seeing 4-600 people waiting to clear TWO of SIXTEEN checkpoints (14 were closed). This didn't make sense to me since we already had went through security in BCN....thought that since this was the EU, only one checkpoint was needed. They were being very slow here.....but it's France. Halfway through this massive snake of a line, still waiting to clear security, we realized we were cutting it too close. After clearing security (it took THIS long and we were even in the so-called priority line), there was no way we'd make our flight as they began boarding already, and we still had to make it all the way over to Hall M and yet had to board a bus. We ran from there after the ride. Thank our lucky stars - the flight hadn't boarded yet due to the cleaners being delayed in getting the plane cleaned up....thank you cleaners. If not for them, we'd have missed our connecting flight.

Lesson learned - If we ever have a connecting flight/stopover, make sure there's a minimum of at least 3 hours in between flights. Paris is ridiculously slow!! Otherwise, next time it'll be direct to Barcelona.

You just did "normal" security at BCN, you also had to do exit passport control at CDG to start your "outside of Schengen" flight, different things,  Yes, I've been there when trying to get through the lines at the Skyteam terminal to catch a flight home from the M pier.  Yes, even with "priority" due to flying in the front, it took a while.  To me, it's not that CDG is ridiculously slow, it is a HUGE hub for Skyteam and that takes time.   Whatever the connecting airport is, I always leave 3 hours for connections when I'm doing international.  If I happen to blow through Immigration & Customs quickly, I will just find the nearest lounge that I have access to and relax. 

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At least you had your "learning experience" on the way home.

Just think if this was when you were lying TO the cruise on the day of sailing?  😱

 

We ALWAYS fly in at least one day ahead of time, and if it's winter (which can cause trouble at our airport or others, including interfering with planes getting to us in the first place, etc.), we try to allow 2 days in advance.

If it's a new city for us, or one we never spent much time in, then it's great... we are just adding another "port", sort of. 

Or we might explore another nearby city in advance, where we aren't all that far away...

 

And now, even on the way home, or outbound with time to spare, we try to get *long* connection times.

We do now have the luxury (most of the time) of traveling in premium cabins - thanks to awards! - so there are usually (not always) a comfortable lounge where we can wait.


But at this time in our lives, "less stress" is a top goal, so we'd still have lots of extra time.

Even at our home airport, we allow a *lot* of extra time, in case of a traffic accident causing traffic backups or delays at the airport due to some kind of security snafu.

 

GC

 

 

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9 hours ago, slidergirl said:

You just did "normal" security at BCN, you also had to do exit passport control at CDG to start your "outside of Schengen" flight, different things,  Yes, I've been there when trying to get through the lines at the Skyteam terminal to catch a flight home from the M pier.  Yes, even with "priority" due to flying in the front, it took a while.  To me, it's not that CDG is ridiculously slow, it is a HUGE hub for Skyteam and that takes time.   Whatever the connecting airport is, I always leave 3 hours for connections when I'm doing international.  If I happen to blow through Immigration & Customs quickly, I will just find the nearest lounge that I have access to and relax. 

Thanks. But, if CDG is a huge hub for Skyteam, why did they only have two checkpoint positions open at 2pm on a weekday?

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3 hours ago, johnjen said:

Thanks. But, if CDG is a huge hub for Skyteam, why did they only have two checkpoint positions open at 2pm on a weekday?

Because they are French and they can,lol.The Channel ferries can be as bad when they decide to work to rule.Really looking forward to driving home after Brexit,not.

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6 hours ago, johnjen said:

Thanks. But, if CDG is a huge hub for Skyteam, why did they only have two checkpoint positions open at 2pm on a weekday?

 

It's France; they aren't known for being the most efficient.  Beyond that, maybe 2pm on a weekday isn't normally particularly busy but earlier weather caused backups for inbound aircraft, causing a jam up, or something like that. 

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I always get to the airport early and give at least 3 hours to connect if connecting.  Flying this Spring  nonstop to BCN the day before my cruise.    Coming home I have to connect.  I chose to connect in the good old USA.  If I have a problem, I'm more comfortable being in my home country.  For me, this a great stress reducer. 😀

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13 hours ago, johnjen said:

Thanks. But, if CDG is a huge hub for Skyteam, why did they only have two checkpoint positions open at 2pm on a weekday?

The checkpoint positions have nothing to do with the airlines - it is the domain of the French version of TSA and CBP.   Don't dump on them "because they're French" - I've been at several US airports where I've had to wait a long time in the lines upon re-entry.   JFK and ATL are also notorious for not having enough lines open for the crowd.  Also, remember that the US doesn't have exit control - you just show your passport to either the counter agent or gate agent.  Other countries do have exit control along with security check.  

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Posted (edited)

I know the feeling.  I have been thru CDG many times; and I never like it.  My company books my reservations and I  try to tell them I need three hour turnaround in CDG.  When booking my own flights I avoid CDG both going and coming.  I have a flight booked that goes from CVG-JFK-ZUR; and then AMS-DTW-CVG.  Sorry you got a little nervous

Edited by AF-1

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On 8/3/2019 at 1:06 PM, slidergirl said:

The checkpoint positions have nothing to do with the airlines - it is the domain of the French version of TSA and CBP.   Don't dump on them "because they're French" - I've been at several US airports where I've had to wait a long time in the lines upon re-entry.   JFK and ATL are also notorious for not having enough lines open for the crowd.  Also, remember that the US doesn't have exit control - you just show your passport to either the counter agent or gate agent.  Other countries do have exit control along with security check.  

Totally no excuses. Sixteen gates there and TWO of them were open during PEAK transfer hours.

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On 8/3/2019 at 6:34 AM, waterbug123 said:

 

It's France; they aren't known for being the most efficient.  Beyond that, maybe 2pm on a weekday isn't normally particularly busy but earlier weather caused backups for inbound aircraft, causing a jam up, or something like that. 

Exactly. I was "chided" earlier on in here for addressing it was in France. IT IS FRANCE INDEED. Horrific! My bad however for not taking CDG's delays into account; I should not have arranged for such a short transfer time.

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, johnjen said:

Exactly. I was "chided" earlier on in here for addressing it was in France. IT IS FRANCE INDEED. Horrific! My bad however for not taking CDG's delays into account; I should not have arranged for such a short transfer time.

Yes, it's on you for saying OK to a short transfer time.   

 

Not sure why people always love to bash France.  I must be lucky that I haven't had horrific experiences at CDG in my years of transiting there.  Even when the terminal collapsed and they had to do temporary arrangements - the connections were difficult, but given the circumstances, OK.  When I transited in a wheelchair, I was treated with respect at the checkpoints when I was "frisked", picked up by the para-assist people on time at the Sheraton.  Queues are inevitable with international travel, especially at large airports .  When I am able-bodied. I always give extra time - lines ANYWHERE in the world can be long (JFK is the worst), and if I happen to get through quickly, I can go to  lounge and relax before flights.   

 

Next time, alert the authorities that you are transiting and see if they can arrange a lane just for you 😉

 

 

And, I don't eat Freedom Fries...

Edited by slidergirl

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3 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

Yes, it's on you for saying OK to a short transfer time.   

 

Not sure why people always love to bash France.  I must be lucky that I haven't had horrific experiences at CDG in my years of transiting there.  Even when the terminal collapsed and they had to do temporary arrangements - the connections were difficult, but given the circumstances, OK.  When I transited in a wheelchair, I was treated with respect at the checkpoints when I was "frisked", picked up by the para-assist people on time at the Sheraton.  Queues are inevitable with international travel, especially at large airports .  When I am able-bodied. I always give extra time - lines ANYWHERE in the world can be long (JFK is the worst), and if I happen to get through quickly, I can go to  lounge and relax before flights.   

 

Next time, alert the authorities that you are transiting and see if they can arrange a lane just for you 😉

 

 

And, I don't eat Freedom Fries...

Regarding France, while waiting in that long line for security check - an American family was behind us and the guy's wife said "We are global entry, we should be entitled to a shorter line...."

But it's NOT just France....just had terrible luck at CDG - but I'd easily compare stateside CLT as being just as terrible.

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2 hours ago, johnjen said:

Totally no excuses. Sixteen gates there and TWO of them were open during PEAK transfer hours.

 

It was YOUR peak transfer hour.  I suspect that it actually isn''t a major transfer time - most flights from North America have already arrived and the returns have departed.  Intra-Europe may be about the same though the day, and flights to Asia tend to leave in the evening.

 

But then, it's your perception that matters, right?  DYKWIA?

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44 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

It was YOUR peak transfer hour.  I suspect that it actually isn''t a major transfer time - most flights from North America have already arrived and the returns have departed.  Intra-Europe may be about the same though the day, and flights to Asia tend to leave in the evening.

 

But then, it's your perception that matters, right?  DYKWIA?

It was extremely busy! AYBAD?

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We are flying a week from today, flights booked thru celebrity,

We are scheduled to leave FLL 1:30 PM to EWR arriving 4:30 PM connecting to CDG at 6:40 PM, all in the same terminal, which is one reason I chose it. 

There was not an earlier choice to leave FLL or I would have chosen that.

I have 2 questions ? Will they hold the flight to CDG if they know 4 passengers will be arriving ? 

Has anyone needed to use the Celebrity Emergency Team for a missed flight ?

BTW..I have been working with celebrity to try and switch to a 10:30 AM flight, United will not make the change.

Also, we are flying business and 2 of us require C-Pap at night, so a coach seat would never work, which is why we booked business.

We have documentation from our cardiologist that c-pap is essential 

thoughts , ideas 

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Because of how transatlantic slots are assigned (there are rules about big buffer zones in terms of timing and spacing because you're outside of radar range) airlines are very reluctant to voluntarily delay transatlantic flights because it can cause them to miss a preferred slot assignment and leave them with a less desirable one.  If your destination is not a hub for the airline, then your outbound from Newark  to CDG is also going to be the inbound flight to Chicago or Boston or back to Newark and the airlines are very reluctant to take actions that could lead to delays on that inbound flight, further inconveniencing even more passengers. 

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So has anyone missed a flight booked by Celebrity? If so what was your experience in being re-booked 

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8 hours ago, Nancycat said:

We are scheduled to leave FLL 1:30 PM to EWR.....

There was not an earlier choice to leave FLL or I would have chosen that.

 

Wondering how that comports with this:

 

8 hours ago, Nancycat said:

BTW..I have been working with celebrity to try and switch to a 10:30 AM flight, United will not make the change.

 

So...if there is a flight at 10:30am, why didn't you book it in the first place?  You can't just make changes without fees and fare adjustments.

 

Asking so that others won't fall into your situation.

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Posted (edited)

The 10:30 departure was not on the list of flights available on the celebrity flights site.

Had it been an option we certainly would have taken it. 

We also always try for 3 hours between flights.

Interestingly, Celebrity changed our return without checking with us first, we were originally arriving back from Amsterdam to IAD, we received an e- mail that we were changed to an earlier from Amsterdam to Houston, then back to FLL.. 

after they made that change I started looking at all the flights and found that United had the earlier flight...it was not an option when we booked !

But again has anyone had experience with the Emergency Travel Desk?

Edited by Nancycat

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12 hours ago, Nancycat said:

 Will they hold the flight to CDG if they know 4 passengers will be arriving ? 

Has anyone needed to use the Celebrity Emergency Team for a missed flight ?

 

 

There is no clear cut answer on whether or not they'll hold the flight.  Sometimes an airline will, sometimes they won't.  And it isn't always within their control.  There may be weather or ATC issues that dictate that they need to go ahead and leave, they may not want to give up their departure slot, and most importantly, they will have many pax on the flight who have connections at CDG and they do not want to jeopardize those connections. 

 

As for others' experience with missed flights, there are anecdotal reports out there that run the gamut.  Some have had wonderful help from Celebrity proactively taking over and getting them rebooked etc.  Others have had to contact Celebrity, but once they did, all got handled.  Others have contacted Celebrity and been told to handle it themselves with the airline because Celebrity couldn't do anything, and some have even been unsuccessful reaching Celebrity.

 

1 hour ago, Nancycat said:

The 10:30 departure was not on the list of flights available on the celebrity flights site.

Had it been an option we certainly would have taken it. 

 

 

 

 

That is unfortunately one of the risks of booking through a 3rd party...you may not be offered everything that's theoretically available.  Or perhaps it's the airline that made a change and the flight truly didn't exist before, but now it does yet the tickets Celebrity booked for you have restrictions that say you can't change it for free just because another flight option now exists.  Either way, it's a risk of booking via a 3rd party.

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5 hours ago, Nancycat said:

The 10:30 departure was not on the list of flights available on the celebrity flights site.

Had it been an option we certainly would have taken it. 

We also always try for 3 hours between flights.

 

Bet you large sums that you could have gotten that flight had you booked it yourself.

 

5 hours ago, Nancycat said:

Interestingly, Celebrity changed our return without checking with us first, we were originally arriving back from Amsterdam to IAD, we received an e- mail that we were changed to an earlier from Amsterdam to Houston, then back to FLL.. 

after they made that change I started looking at all the flights and found that United had the earlier flight...it was not an option when we booked !

 

Path of least resistance??  Just book with the cruiseline?

 

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