Dulles Int'l Airport is great, after all...
Last time I was in Dulles airport, I was desperately seeking for an international newspaper, french, british, spanish or even swedish to read. Nothing, nada, rien, niente, ingenting, gor nicht... Today, back at Roissy-CDG for the second time in two days, I was looking for some swedish newspaper, knowing that SAS also flies from terminal 1, like United. Rien, que dalle, peau de balle, nothing.
But in fact Roissy-CDG 1, the worst european airport by far, deserves a more complete description...
- it's a big cylinder, not extensible; it's now more than overloaded, and Aéroports de Paris will probably have to shut it down some day and destroy it. I wonder if terminal 2 is currently extended these days for that purpose.
- it's incredibly small, undersized for Paris, first world-wide touristic destination
- it's a total mess, bars are undersized, restaurants are almost impossible to find
- it's not directly connected to the subway, you have to take a shuttle
- the shuttles sometimes leave the passengers on the right hand side - meaning in the middle of the car traffic - while the building is on the left hand side
- the checkin podiums are undersized, totally unadapted to correct security checkins
- the customs/police area is so tiny it is unbelievable... There are often only TWO immigration lines for FOUR planes landing at the same time. There are supposed to have at least two flows, one for passengers with european passports and others but that's only theory. In practice, it does not work.
- the baggage claim area is the worst in the universe... Given the shape of the building, the luggages come from the basement of the building to the first floor through a very complex system. That system cannot carry too heavy luggage, or strollers. It's often broken, and it's quite common to wait more than 40 minutes for a single luggage!
- finding his way to the subway, buses or various shuttles to Paris is a real adventure
- the waiting area, for people waiting for incoming passengers, is about 30 meters by 15 meters... Imagine the mess in the heart of the summer!
- there are in fact 3 different exits... Gates 2, 34 and a last one I forget. The exit gate for a given plane is displayed, but you really never know if a passenger is not going to appear through another gate.
- the only bar in that waiting area has about twenty small round tables, that's all
- after checkin, passengers have to go to "satellites". In those "satellites", there is almost nothing. Only a mini-bar with maxi-prices. The restrooms are often OUTSIDE of the security area, which means you have to take your passport and boarding pass with you to go the toilets, are go through the security line once again to re-enter the area. This means you just can't to the restrooms if the boarding has started. The nursery for babies is also outside of the secured area.
Of course, Air France flies from terminal 2, not terminal 1... Seriously, that's a very good incentive to fly Air France. Among other things, of course : quality of food, politeness of the multi-lingual crew, international papers. Yeah, that's a bit more expensive than United. But not that much, in particular if you book long in advance. And if you compare Business classes, Air France wins easily over american airlines, and most european airlines too. Singapore Airlines is much better, but unfortunately, they don't fly from Paris to San Diego
(Note to self: never ever travel again with a laptop having its network driver horked, no CD drive, no local copy of the drivers, and without network cable.)