Is 90 minutes enough to clear customs and change flights in Paris?

My daughter is leaving for a semester in Prague tomorrow and will be arriving in Paris on Wednesday morning. I found this thread on a similar topic, which was helpful but didn’t answer my question. I know she will have to go through customs on arrival in Paris but her layover is only 90 minutes. Is that likely to be enough or should we try to change her Paris-Prague flight to a later one?


Try this website which has a useful calculator for connections. CDG is a huge airport and the times may depend on how far apart the gates are.

European customs are better than the US, but there still can be a wait, especially in snooty Frances largest airport. Is it booked as one trip or 2 different tickets? If it’s booked together there is a good chance that connection would be held, if it’s 2 different tickets then that doesn’t apply. You can check flight aware app or web site and see historically on time performance of both legs each day of those flight numbers, and from that get a idea of the real time you need for that connection and if it appears like the flight to Check is being held if the flight to Paris is delayed.

As for a direct answer, if the flight to Paris is on time 90 minutes should be enough but it’s close.

Thank you both so much! Super helpful. This is all booked as one flight with two connections starting from Norfolk VA. It’s her first time flying alone and she’s nervois enough as it is; I really don’t want her to have that experience of standing in a line watching the time ticking away and panicking. :frowning: I’m going to try and change that leg of her trip to a later one if possible.

This gives exactly 90 minutes as the limit.

As @kanicbird said, a critical question is whether this is all booked on a single ticket. If it is, it’s the airline’s responsibility to get her on a later flight if she misses the connection, so there’s less risk. If the connection is booked on a separate ticket, it’s not the airline’s responsibility at all.

Ahhh, good to know. I just got off the phone with Expedia and they affirmed what was said here. If she misses the connection to Prague it’s the airline’s job to get her on the next flight. So we’ll leave the ticket as is and know that it’s on them to get her to Prague–and hopefully her bag will already be there.

Thanks again!

Yeah, I try to never leave less than two hours on an international connection like that (it’s better for my blood pressure, and I don’t mind killing time at the airport), but in that situation, I guess it would be okay.

If she missed her flight, she would be prioritized over other standby passengers for the next flight. That doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed - there could still be a long wait for another flight if the next one is full. So it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of considerable inconvenience. But it’s up to the airline to figure out getting her there eventually, which reduces the stress considerably.

There are 2 risks you need to think about

  1. The flight to Paris gets delayed
  2. The checked baggage doesn’t make it to the connecting flight because the time difference is small

Other than that 90 mins is sufficient to change planes at CDG

If she doesn’t have to change airports, she should be okay. Paris traffic can be a nightmare at times. Orly and CDG are 20 miles apart.

As the originator of the first thread you linked, here was my daughter’s experience a few months ago, flying Boston->Barcelona->Venice. Note that she was also flying alone for the first time, and didn’t speak any Spanish beyond what you learn from Sesame Street.

She did NOT go through a customs inspection in Barcelona, only immigration, which was very straightforward. Her bag was checked all the way to her final destination in Venice, so she didn’t have to collect & recheck or anything, like you’d do in the USA if you were arriving internationally then taking a connecting flight.

She had to run to make her connection, which was around 1:40 between flights, but she made it.

Her checked bag did not make the connection, and was delivered to her 2 days later.

So I’d say make sure your daughter has all her paperwork in order & ready for the agents when she deplanes in Paris, especially if she’s going on a student visa, so there are no delays. And with that tight a connection, definitely be prepared to live out of her carryon for a few days.

Yep, we have gone over the paperwork and are making sure she packs her carryon with all the necessaries. The good thing is there appears to be many Paris-to-Prague flights throughout the day for both her and her checked bag.

Fingers crossed!

Sounds like your daughter is youngish, so … take this FWIW.

The 90m may be enough. I’ll definitely defer to others with more recent knowledge.

But the older I get, the more I believe it’s better to be early and find a cup of coffee than to be late and stressed.

And as somebody who made his living in Logistics, I like to build in cushion where I reasonably can.

If she wouldn’t lose a lot of time, and it wouldn’t cost you a significant amount more, I’d probably think about a later ex-Paris flight.

I also used to fly a lot for work. Running fairly long distances through airports … well … lost its luster very quickly.

My $0.02. YMMV. Etc., etc. :wink:

Amen, brother. It took the increased security after 9/11 to finally get my wife to stop trying to time airport arrival to five minutes before they closed the door on the flight.

Heh – that’s pretty much my wife, too. She’s slid a little bit more into my airport pace over the years, but when I first met her, it always felt like we were flying through the airport, getting there exactly at boarding time. For me? That’s just too much stress in traveling like that. For domestic flights, I like to be at the airport an hour and a half early (or sometimes even more), so if there is an unanticipated huge line to get through security, I’m not sweating it. As I said above, it helps that I like airports. To me, I’m happy to kill an hour or two or three walking around, having a beer, fiddling on my phone, etc. It mentally (for me) is much more relaxing to stand in line knowing I have oodles of time to spare than checking the time every five minutes wondering if I’m going to make it. Never missed a flight or layover (that comes to mind) yet and I’ve a couple hundred flights under my belt across five continents. And I still like airports and traveling. It’s a time for me to be in a “limbo” zone mentally where I’m neither here nor there and can zone out without any guilt.

That’s definitely an understandable attitude, and one that I subscribe to somewhat myself, but I will state that looking back, I think there was value to what happened to my daughter with her flight. My daughter and presumably the OP’s, are at the age where parents are no longer their 100% safety net. There are lessons to be learned - that you are capable of making it on your own, you can handle problems by yourself, and when problems do occur they aren’t the end of the world. She had a tight connection and made it, but she also learned that losing her luggage for 2 days wasn’t a disaster - an annoyance and inconvenience, sure, but a week later it was meaningless.

CDG is perfectly safe, the most danger the OP’s daughter would be in if she misses her flight is rogue mimes or something. So I don’t see anything wrong with keeping the tight connection and taking the slight risk she may have to get onto a later flight.

I’m with you all when it comes to my own travel. One or two just-in-time arrivals (and one missed flight involving the whole family :roll_eyes:) has ensured that personally I allow PLENTY of time when needed. But I’m reassured that my daughter will be in good hands if she does need any help. She’s a very capable young woman on the first real adventure of her life and here’s hoping all will go well!

I now feel it’s appropriate to let loose one of my mottos from the days when I did travel a lot for business:

If you’ve never missed a flight, you’re spending entirely too much time in airports.


Bon Voyage to her! I hope it’s a great adventure.

My wife and I have been through CDG enough times, with enough cock-ups (last minute gate changes, some obscure Syndicat going en greve (some union doing a 30 or 40 minute mini-strike).

Not necessarily a recommendation but we will always aim for a three hour minimum overlay in CDG. It may turn out to be too long but, like others, we don’t like hauling ass, desperately sprinting through an airport if we can avoid it. And CDG is a unique case in our experience.

I hope she has an awesome semester abroad. And don’t worry, before you know it she’ll be regaling you with tales of her impromptu weekend trips to various cities with her Europass.