Paris to Singapore on Singapore Airlines: The Economy and Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 Experience (Review)

Checking-in online and printing out the boarding pass for the return trip back to Singapore was as easy as the trip from Singapore to Paris. The only constraint is that you can only check-in online (at most) 48 hours before the flight actually departs.
  • Getting to Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 via taxi
As the flight was departing at 12 noon, I left Paris at 0830 in the morning and it took about 45 minutes by taxi to the Charles de Gaulle Airport. The taxi fare was 58.90€.

  • Checking-in Luggage at Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1
Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1
Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 Singapore Airlines Counter
Fortunately for me, although the queue at the check-in for Economy Class was long it was completed within 15 minutes. By the time I was in the queue, the people were starting to pile up and the line behind me was only getting longer and longer. Having a printed boarding pass and checking-in online really does help to minimize time and speeds up the process (a little).

Queue to check-in for Singapore Airlines Counter
Queue to check-in for Singapore Airlines Counter

  • Getting VAT Refund (Detax) Process
Tax Refund
Tax Refund
Once the luggage was checked in, it was onwards getting the VAT refund (detax) process completed. The counter for this is right beside Singapore Airlines counter and isn’t hard to spot. One is eligible for detax if you spend a minimum of 175€ in the same store on the same day on merchandise where the tax was charged. When shopping at a store that offers detax, you simply present your passport (or photocopy of it) to the cashier and you will be issued with a detax form that is filled up by the store. You have the option for either cash or credit (card) refund. I opted for the refund to be credited into my credit card. Now all I have to do is to wait for the money to be credited.

That particular day I was at the airport, the queue for detax was not that long. In fact there was hardly a crowd and it was a pretty fast process getting the form stamped. It’s best to pack the stuff that is eligible for detax in bag that you can show the officers, who may want to check your purchases against your receipts before stamping the form.

Tax Refund
Not much of a queue that day
Fortunately for me, I did not buy that much and there was no check of my purchases, which made the whole process faster and smooth. If you opt for the refund into your credit card all that is left is to post the stamped receipts and form. But if you opt for the cash refund, you’d have to get in line again for another round of validation, so more time is spent (wasted?). Also an extra 3€ would be deducted for each cash transaction.

Tax Refund
Mail the stamped forms
A1, who left 2 days after me had a different experience at the airport. According to her, despite leaving Paris early in the morning and arriving at the Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 around the same time as me, it took her about an hour to complete her check-in. Luckily for her she had help with the detax portion, someone helped her queue at the detax counter concurrently. I guess it didn’t help that she bought quite a bit of stuff too. When all was done, she managed to board the plane just before departure (well, the flight was delayed as a whole lot of people were held up at the detax counter/queue as well).

So make sure you allow enough time (at least an additional hour or more before the time required for checking-in at the airport) for Customs and all the other processes.

  • Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 Immigration and Duty Free Shopping
By 1000, I had already cleared immigration and made my (long?) way to the departure hall, but not without browsing through some (not much) of the duty free shops for last minute souvenirs and stuff.

Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1

Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1

If you are looking for T-shirts or more variety of souvenirs I think it would be best you bought them outside the airport, there was really nothing much: even the bags which the shops sold did not have much variety or designs.

The boarding hall was well equipped with 2 Playstations for you to pass your time. In addition to the few here were computer terminals as well as free wifii. Other than that there was nothing much else you can do except to wait for boarding time.

Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 PlayStation
Game anyone?
Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 Computer Terminals

The toilet was pretty clean and the sink was unique in a sense: you would think that the tap is where the water comes out, well, soap comes out of it instead and the other tap is where a sensor senses your hand motions and dispenses the water. And for a toilet, it was the first toilet I have seen decked out in yellow.

  • Boarding Singapore Airlines and the flight
The boarding system at Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1 is much different from the one at Changi Airport, here First/Business/PPS Class are not called in to board first, they have their own gate, and for Economy Class you could basically just board in any order (so it is best you get in line early on to get to your seat faster).

The flight back to Singapore was much more “interesting”, with screaming children and talkative passengers throughout the trip. This time I tried out the KrisWorld entertainment system, and it kept me occupied till mealtime before I drifted off to dreamland. The food was good, no complaints there.

Singapore Airlines Breakfast
Poached Eggs for breakfast ^^

Morning arrival in Singapore was pretty punctual. Compared to Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 1, Changi Airport Terminal 3 has not only more shops (more shopping anyone?) but also more eateries at both the departure and arrival areas.

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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