It is 8:11AM in the morning, and I am waiting for my flight to begin boarding, and for my worst airport experience ever to end. Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris will continue to be my least favorite airport in the world.
Upon arriving we were ushered off the plane and into the shuttle—standard procedure, of course—and then without any notice or inkling to let us know where we would be dropped off, since many people had connecting flights, stopped at a gate and rushed us off. We arrived at gate 2G, which we found out when we entered the terminal and were given know help or direction as to where we should go or what we should do to make our connecting flights or find out where they’d be leaving from. Luckily, our boarding passes had the terminal on it so we knew what general vicinity we needed to be in.
Since we had an overnight layover, and there are two sections of terminal 2E we were pretty confused as to where we would need to go. After asking multiple people we were finally told that we needed to go to the other section of 2E we needed to figure out how to exit the terminal to take a shuttle to the other one. This took about 20 minutes until someone finally showed us how to get out.
Then we got to the right part of 2E and found out that since we didn’t have visas we couldn’t sleep inside the terminal where our flights were, even though we had boarding passes and were making a connecting flight. So we had to go to the airport entrance to sleep because at this point it was too late to get a hotel, and it was late enough that we couldn’t go explore the city and make it back before the trains stopped. We were stuck.
So, we set up camp in a café area right at the entrance, since there were no other viable places to sleep. As we sat there eating the few snacks we had (at this time it was about 10PM and basically everything in the main airport was closed) we watched homeless people come in from the outside and set up on the opposite side of the eating area with presumably the same purpose. There were other people there that had overnight layovers as well, and it was obvious that we were all equally disconcerted by this. True, all homeless people aren’t dangerous, but when you are in an airport late at night alone with valuable things like laptops, money, and passports, everyone is potentially dangerous.
After a couple hours we were abruptly rounded up and forced to the opposite end of the terminal. Apparently, there was unattended baggage in the check-in area and it had been there unclaimed for quite sometime. Nothing says icing like a bomb scare in an airport. Fortunately for us they removed the luggage—sans bomb—and there is probably some poor schmuck who was so completely confused and disoriented by the CDG airport that he/she forgot their luggage. About an hour later, when we were finally allowed to go back to our sleeping quarters (haha.) we were all pretty over it and just wanted to go to sleep.
Clearly airport security had other things in mind and at about 1 or 2 in the morning came through with a security dog making sure all the people sleeping in the airport were actually passengers. Sure, this made a feel safer, but when we all had to get up early, and had barely gotten to sleep it was a rude awakening in every sense of the phrase. Finally we were able to go to sleep, it wasn’t particularly good sleep, but sleep none the less.
All-in-all, this has probably been my worse experience in an airport, fittingly it was in my least favorite airport, and I hope to god that this is the pinnacle of my bad airport experiences…
Au revior CDG, may we never meet again!