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Waiting for next flight: We’ll always have Paris

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PARIS TRAVEL TIPS Being stuck at an airport is bad. But being stuck in itself doesn’t have to be that big a disadvantage – in fact, the longer stay the better, if you use time right.

Every now and then things do not work out as they where supposed to. Like flights. Like the one just recently. We were planned to travel from Stockholm to Rio de Janeiro, with a change of planes in Paris. One hour on the ground: off the aicraft, rush through the terminal, on the next flight. Away again, without having seen anything of Paris. That was both our’s and Air France’s plan.

But as we waited in the early February morning hours up in Stockholm, it begun to snow. Heavy, big flakes filled the airspace and plowtrucks hade to be deployed to clear the runway. Our departure time, 06:50 AM, came and went. With only one hour between flights at Paris, our schedule was in jeopardy.

And it didn’t work out. Of course it didn’t. We found ourselves being stuck for 13 hours with no bags at Charles de Gaulles international airport outside of Paris. We were desperate, 12-13 hours at de Gaulles is more than a human being kan take. If this was not to be a complete waste of time, we had better to get our bags out of the system and head for Paris.

I’ve done this a number of times where it has been possible, leaving the airport for three, four or maybe six hours and visiting a place where you didn’t plan to go. It’s always worth the extra trouble. The advantage is the feeling that you get something extra, like a bonus. Once, I was traveling to New Orleans via Chicago. With six hours between planes, I got a really good look of the Windy City’s downtown. And while on my way to Mexico City in 2009, I slipped out the doors of Newark, flagged down a cab and did some shopping in downtown Manhattan. It made the whole experience so much broader.

This day in February, after we got our bags and winter clothes out, we took the train into Paris. We surfaced right at Notre Dame, and made our way slowly along the Seine in the general direction of The Louvre. We drank coffee, ate some pasta, took photos, and got a sense of what Paris is like a gray, numb, winter’s day like this – all of which nothing would have happened, had it not snowed in Stockholm that morning.

So, all travelers, be advised: take all chances of using your airport waiting time to something else than waiting. It certainly made our journey richer.

And what about Rio, our destination? Well, as I’m writing this I’m sure we’ll like Rio even better.

But if not, we’ll always have Paris.


Erik Bergin
Editor of the Traveling Reporter

A few things to think about when leaving airport between flights:

– Note which terminal and train or bus platforms you went from leaving the airport. That makes it easier to find your way back.
– Calculate with an extra hour or so when deciding when you need to head back in time for your flight. Remember that rush hour might expand travel time to and from airports considerably.
– Remember that leaving the airport means new security check.






The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.