Part of the reason I prefer to fly with Lufthansa as opposed to Air France is because of the main hubs for each. Luft’s hub is Frankfort, an airport I rather like a great deal, while Air France’s connection hub is Paris Roissy / Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), which I really do not like at all.
First off, all of my International connections seem to include layovers of more than 90 minutes. This means I have to hang out at strange airports for quite awhile before I can get to where I am heading. I am not very good at just sitting and twiddling my thumbs. I want food. I want shopping. I want easily accessible smoking areas. Aiiiight?
CDG is like strike 3 you’re out, man. Well, ok so they do have smoking lounges in the terminals, but they are cramped little places which are not kept clean at all. I mean I’m a smoker and I hate going in there… it does not have to be like that. Copenhagen is not filthy at all and it has open smoking. CDG simply doesn’t give a damn.
Shopping? They claim: Fashion accessories, jewellery, clocks, a travel shop, a stationery shop, sound and image electronics, Children’s World, Gourmet Shop, lingerie, fashion, beach wear, perfumes, cosmetics, books, a chemist…shopping in the airport is wide and varied and endless. I say Bull. There is like one place in the terminals. It is Duty Free, but it is more of a kiosk than a store. The selection is barely big enough to keep my interest for 5 minutes, let alone an hour and a half. They very well may have lots of shops outside the terminals… if they do, I could care less. I am concerned with where I have to remain while awaiting my connection. Yanno? Big fat zero in the shopping department.
Food? Nope. Zip. Zilch. Null. Cero. It just ain’t happening. Well ok, unless you like McDonalds. They claim to have L’Escale Parisienne, Cafe Ritazza, Paris Cafe, Brioche Doree, Cafe Corner, Hippopotamus, Bill Bentley Bar and L’autre Cafe. I haven’t seen them. Maybe they think they’ve fed you well enough on the flight over so they don’t need any food stands in the waiting areas. Who knows? I just know that again, CDG sucks in this area. If all those eateries are really there, either they are all well hidden or I was in such a nicotine fit fog that I didn’t notice them.
Another major gripe is the layout. When we fly in on Air France from Miami, we have to like go down, find the tunnel, then go back up again to the terminal that we need. Why? There are no electric carts here, or people-mover belt thingies. It is a long trek. I swear next time I’m whipping out my handicapped ID and playing the wheelchair card. Let them push me all that way since they are too cheap to put in a moving walkway at least for that tunnel part (hey, it might be there and I just don’t recall it because it wasn’t ever running…) heh.
As to Immigration, well, it’s the same guy all the time and he really has no interest in answering any questions at all. This really should be a plus. You hand him your passport, he stamps it and hands it back. No conversation at all, which means no drilling you on where you plan to be and for how long and why and all that crap. Nope. Hand it, stamp it, done. Yeah. Ok. This is a plus. HA!
The main thing here is the feel of the place overall. It just flat gives me the creeps to be in this airport. It’s like something in the air. A general attitude of not giving a crap by the employees I think. Even the chick in that Duty Free kiosk acts bothered if you decide to actually purchase something.
All I’m saying here is that if you can avoid landing or connecting at Paris Roissy / Charles de Gaulle then please do so. I know Paris does have another airport if that is your destination, and I have heard it is much better. As far as International connections like us, there are much better options… like Frankfort.