Connecting flights in Paris between CDG and Orly
June 8, 2010 2:58 AM   Subscribe

Connecting flights in Paris: Landing at Charles de Gaulle, taking off from Orly.

I am flying Melbourne-Madrid for a job, and I am being offered a flight that connects in Paris, but with a change between Charles de Gaulle and Orly. The flight from Orly is to Madrid, so it's the short haul leg of the trip.

I would have three and a half or four hours from landing in CDG to takeoff from Orly. What's the cost of doing such a connection in terms of money, time and stress?
posted by kandinski to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
Best answer: If you have any other options, do not do this. Three and a half hours is, in theory, enough time to get from CDG to Orly, but that's if every single thing goes perfectly smoothly. It can take 20-30 minutes to get from your plane to the terminal (I've had to deplane onto the tarmac, then take a shuttle bus to the terminal), and 20-30 minutes to clear customs/immigration. If you've checked bags, that's another 20-30 minutes.

As far as getting from one airport to the other, there is a train but at the moment I can't remember how long it took, or would have taken, I should say -- I opted for a taxi, since I wasn't confident the schedules would mesh and I, like in your situation, didn't have time to mess around. The taxi was ~50 euros, I think. Maybe more.

In a nutshell: too stressful.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 3:12 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Orly is a pain in the arse to get to on public transport. You can get the RER B from CDG, but then have to change and either get a bus or a special train to Orly. You'd also be going through the entire city, North to South, pretty much - it's a lot of distance to cover.

I'd suggest seeing if there's a later second leg, leaving you more time, or seeing if you can do the second leg from CDG.

On the other hand, if you can splurge for a taxi, with 3 hours you could do it. Inter-Europe flights don't require you to be checked in nearly as early as inter-continental ones, and you could even check in online if your carrier allows the day before you even leave Melbourne!
posted by djgh at 3:22 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Here's some info for you on the public transport. You'd be getting RER B from CDG, so it makes sense to get the Orlyval - but it would take ages.
posted by djgh at 3:24 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: If you want peace of mind I think taxi would be your only option. I wouldn't attempt this on public transport, Orly is a bit of a nightmare.
posted by fire&wings at 3:34 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Three and a half hours sounds possible to me. Traffic could get your taxi stuck, and the train will definitely cost less.

The RATP says it will take 1:17 to take the train from CDG to Orly, and this old flyertalk thread gives similar times. You often see people with suitcases on the B, and almost all trains even have overhead luggage compartments. There'll be a long queue at CDG, avoid it by buying your ticket from one of the english-speaking machines. They take foreign credit cards.

Here's a page to compare your options.
posted by stereo at 4:18 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: Heck no. CDG is prone to ridiculous delays and chaos. There are many flights that go to Madrid from CDG. I would insist on that.
posted by wingless_angel at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: If you can, push for a CDG-MAD flight. This is not an easy transfer, the two airports are literally on opposite sides of Paris.
posted by jontyjago at 5:13 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: I'd strongly recommend against doing this using public transport. Sometimes you have to wait over an hour in the CDG station just to buy a ticket to the RER because the automated machines are out of order. Sometimes you have to wait over an hour just to take the RER, because there's a strike and only 1 of 3 trains are running. Sometimes the flight is delayed. Sometimes there's a very long wait for checkin (or security) at Orly. And then there are the delays that hapax mentioned. To get there in 3-4 hours, everything would have to work out perfectly.

If you have to do this, you should definitely take a taxi (which will be expensive). Even then it's not 100% assured, as there might be traffic and other delays. But it should be faster and less stressful than public transport.

stereo, are you sure about some of the machines taking foreign cards? I'm pretty sure that all the machines in the RER terminal at CDG require a card with a "puce" (smart chip), and all of them "speak english" so I don't know what the distinction would be. Some of the machines accept coins though, so if you bring €8.50 in coins with you, you should be able to use those that accept money.
posted by helios at 5:40 AM on June 8, 2010

Response by poster: I just got a different flight with no cross-Paris connections. Thanks everyone for the heads-up!
posted by kandinski at 6:02 AM on June 8, 2010

Best answer: You've got your answer ("don't do that"). But for future posterity, Air France does offer a shuttle bus directly between Orly and CDG. It's 45km so unless traffic is awful (which happens) should take less than an hour. I took it once and it was reasonably stress-free. Still not something I'd choose to do.
posted by Nelson at 9:16 AM on June 8, 2010

For posterity too: Yes, you do need a chip and pin credit card to pay on the RATP ticket machines. Machines that take coins are relatively rare, and I'm not sure CDG has one.
posted by stereo at 5:29 PM on June 21, 2010

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