AMS versus CDG connections for TATL connecting to EU and vv

Discussion in 'SkyTeam' started by MSPeconomist, Feb 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Many destinations give you a choice of connecting through either AMS on KLM or CDG on AF when you're connecting TATL to some other EU destination. This thread concerns that decision in general, independent of your particular destination, assuming that it is served from both hubs.

    Some general considerations:

    schedule--convenient arrival and departure times?
    price (and fare restrictions)
    FF miles--does the fare earn 100%, etc.?
    feasible connecting time
    connecting time not too long (unless you want to see Amsterdam or Paris)
    general "style" of the airline, service, attitudes of FAs (personal preference, YMMV)

    Other issues:

    AMS is generally an extremely efficient and pleasant airport, CDG unfortunately less so

    If TATL flights would be KLM versus AF, consider aircraft types, age of planes, seating, AVOD, etc. Also,
    ---KLM lets one buy economy comfort seats (Y+) from any fare, free to FB elites, discounts for DL elites
    ---AF has separate PV (Y+) cabin/class on most flights; these fares can be upgraded into Affaires (biz) class using DL SWUs, although they can be more expensive than the KLM Y fare plus buy-up
    ---SkyTeam upgrades with miles generally require a full fare ticket (check rules and availability before purchase)

    If flying "business" class on intra-European flights:
    ---KLM seating can be 3-3 in front of the curtain, generally fairly heavy hot meals
    ---AF uses 2-2 seating, turning the middle seat into a table/armrest, but the seats themselves and the pitch is the same as coach.

    Others: please amplify and suggest additional criteria.
     
  2. WearyBizTrvlr
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    WearyBizTrvlr Active Member

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    KL is phasing out the much-derided "Europe Select" product and replacing it with something closer to a semblance of business class. The food in the last few years only included hot meals on the very long flights (such as Moscow). On all shorter flights one was presented with an absurdly pretentious "meal box" whose contents were an unintentional parody of fine dining...
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The new AF Europe services are not special in any way IMO. The general complaints about bus gates add to the dismay.

    Connecting at CDG is very pleasant if you know the system and fast if you use the #1 line. The Duty Free options are everywhere near every international departure and usually have decent prices too. Lounges at CDG are everywhere you expect them and have good selections of papers, magazines and snacks/drinks. All the lounges can get crowded, but never so crowded as in many US locations.

    I like CDG transfers and the ease of finding new flights on the rare occasions when I miss one.
     
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  4. travelgourmet
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    travelgourmet Silver Member

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    I've come around on CDG. It still has it's quirks, but if you pay attention and follow the signs, it is more efficient than it is given credit for. Still, there are a lot of long walks, and if you have to connect to 2G, the bus ride seems to take forever. Food options generally stink. Duty free shopping is good in 2E, though very up-market.

    I think AMS has also slipped a bit. The lines seem longer, the whole place seems more crowded, and it is just generally less pleasant. The dining options remain weak and the boarding pens on the non-Schengen side are no fun. Duty free shopping is not as nice, IMO, as at CDG. The KL lounges, while nice, are also generally more crowded than those at CDG.

    All in all, I'd still give AMS the edge, but I don't think it the slam-dunk that some make it out to be, and I don't hesitate to use CDG.
     
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  5. bodory
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    bodory Silver Member

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    At CDG, it mainly depends on the terminals you are connecting from/to. Connecting from 2E/F to 2E/F or vice versa is not really a problem IMO, specially if one has not to enter immigration. 2C to 2D/G is another story.

    The thing I hate the most in CDG is the immigration when several long haul arrive at the same time and there are only two desks. In that case, even the Elite fast track is useless.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Part of my general optimism about CDG is that I am nearly always between these two terminals. I also am lucky enough to rarely be bussed. Thus it is a breeze for me.

    It is sad that ADP do not devote more investment to updating the intra-Europe piers so that there are fewer bus gates.
     
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  7. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    CDG has improved considerably in the past two years, and I've found it has become a painless pleasure to connect there.

    Also, they are very good about the access 1 orange priority lines, so if you have skyteam elite plus status you can breeze through customs and security. (not sure if standard elite status gives you that benefit)
     
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  8. Gnopps
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    Gnopps Silver Member

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    Nice thread! The discount is for all Skyteam Elite Plus members.

    I travelled through CDG last autumn 2D to 2E and it was unfortunately as painful as ever and thus I still try to book at least 2h in CDG.

    However I still prefer AF to KL even though the hub leaves much to be desired.
     
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  9. AMS over CDG always. KL used to be a great airline, not so much anymore, but the airport is still one of the best in the world. You never have to change terminals, there are at least basic services in all the piers, the signage is good. On the downside it is getting more crowded, but that's what happens when something is better than the rest. CDG is crappy even if you're not connecting.
     
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  10. mrsmortis
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    mrsmortis Silver Member

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    Personally I'd rather transfer at AMS becuase I know that there is a higher chance that my luggage will actually arrive a the destination with me. CDG has an annoying tendency to forget to put my luggage on the plane I'm transferring too.

    Admittedly it's been a while since I've flown through CDG but I reguarly fly through AMS with a 50 min transfer time and it's never been an issue.
     
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  11. Prefer AMS.
     
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  12. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP.
     
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  13. Thanks!
     
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  14. Bob Smolinsky
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    Bob Smolinsky Gold Member

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    As others, AMS used to be far and away better for ease of transfer....but it has declined....but still edges over CDG due to the lovely CDG immigration staff....

    This for one person travels.....for family, AMS is still easier........less walking/bussing/ etc.
     
  15. MSPeconomist
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    Unfortunately the passport control lines between schengen and non-schengen in AMS for non-EU passports have been growing IME. I wish they offered some sort of an elite line, as I don't go through AMS enough to justify the fees for the eyeball scan system.
     
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  16. GenevaFlyer
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    Hi,

    There is a line for business and elites, at least for Schengen to non-Schengen. Can't remember whether they have the same on the other side (although I presume they do).

    Cheers,

    GenevaFlyer
     
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  17. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    When did this start and where is the special line? I have never seen such a line and I have missed flights due to the long wait in the "all other passports lines." I'm talking about the schengen to non-schengen and vice versa connections. I know there are special elite lines now for passengers originating in AMS, although this wasn't always true; at one point, the attitude was that this was Dutch government and had nothing to do with one's ticket cost of FF participation.

    Also, does having Global Entry help anything now in AMS? I know it's a US government program, but I'm asking because I know there's an office for interviews in AMS.
     
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  18. GenevaFlyer
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    Hi,

    The elite/business class line is also available for connecting passengers and has been for +/- 18 months. Going from Schengen to non-Schengen, it is on the left, next to the Privium line.

    As for GE, no, it doesn't bring anything. The GE office in AMS no longer exists either, they only had it when the partnership with the Netherlands was new.

    Cheers,

    GenevaFlyer
     
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  19. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    I prefer AMS over CDG, although I seem to make it through CDG more quickly when there are not extended bus rides involved between terminals.

    I flew through AMS a few weeks ago. On the outbound, the queues non-Schengen to Schengen gates was insane! Being a DM gave me access to the priority line, but it still took 20-30 minutes or so in the non-EU lane. Part of the problem was clearing security after passport control - this caused numerous backups for the passport control lanes. On the return, I used the priority lane again to go to the non-Schengen gates, and it took about 15 minutes. This was early afternoon on a Sunday.

    :)
     
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  20. ShopAround
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    ShopAround Silver Member

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    I agree, it's much better than it used to be. Between the convenience of the access no. 1 line and the arrivals lounge, I don't dread CDG as much as I used to. I just make sure to have a lengthy connection time - I'd rather kill a couple of hours relaxing in a lounge than racing from 2E to 2somethingelse.
     
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  21. Albert
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    Albert Gold Member

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    I had 80 minutes to connect through CDG two weekends ago going from Schengen to 2E to get back to the US. I had totally forgotten about the bus and then the lackadaisical crowds as I try to get out of 2D, then running off through the long walk that is Terminal 2E. I barely made it, having to clear through Custom, then the train and then security. Make sure you have at least 90 minutes to get between the 2 terminals.
     
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  22. MSPeconomist
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    Welcome to MP.
     
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  23. TRAVELSIG
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    This is really a competition of the worst... However (and I cannot believe I am writing this) CDG is now the better choice. If you have any choice at all however, go with MUC/FRA/DUS/CPH/ARN before either AMS or CDG.
     
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  24. Bob Smolinsky
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    90 mins? I would say 2 hours at least to be safe.
     
  25. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    I also am of the two hours + persuasion at CDG. I can live with 90 minutes at AMS but there it always seems that where I am going requires a three hour stop. :rolleyes:
     
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