Air Travel

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Air Travel

Flying time to Rome is 7.5–8.5 hours from New York, 10–11 hours from Chicago, 12–13 hours from Los Angeles, and 2.5 hours from London.

Although the trend on international flights is to drop reconfirmation requirements, many airlines still ask you to reconfirm each leg of your international itinerary. Failure to do so may result in your reservations being canceled. When flying out of Italian airports, always check with the airport or tourist agency about upcoming strikes, which are frequent in Italy and often affect air travel.

Airlines and Airports

Airline and Airport Links.com. Airline and Airport Links.com has links to many of the world's airlines and airports. www.airlineandairportlinks.com.

Airline Security Issues

Transportation Security Administration. Transportation Security Administration has answers for almost every question that might come up. 866/289–9673. . www.tsa.gov.

Airports

The principal airport for flights to Rome is Leonardo da Vinci Airport, commonly known by the name of its location, Fiumicino (FCO). It's 30 km (19 miles) southwest of the city, on the coast. It has been enlarged and equipped with computerized baggage handling and has a direct train link with downtown Rome. Rome's other airport is Ciampino (CIA), on Via Appia Nuova, 15 km (9 miles) south of downtown. Ciampino is a civil and military airport now used by most low-cost airlines that fly both nationally and internationally. There are no trains linking the Ciampino airport to downtown Rome but there are a number of shuttle buses running daily.

Airport Information

Ciampino (06/65951. www.adr.it.)

Leonardo da Vinci Airport/Fiumicino (06/65951. www.adr.it.)

Transfers Between Fiumicino and Downtown

When approaching by car, follow the signs for Rome and the GRA (the ring road that circles Rome). The direction you take on the GRA depends on where your hotel is located. If it's in the Via Veneto area, for instance, you would take the GRA in the direction of the Via Aurelia, turn off the GRA onto the Via Aurelia, and follow it into Rome. Get a map and directions from the car-rental desk at the airport.

A new law implemented by the Comune di Roma requires all Rome taxi drivers to charge a fixed fare of €40, including luggage handling, if your destination is within the Aurelian walls (this covers the centro storico, most of Trastevere, most of the Vatican area, and parts of San Giovanni). To make sure your hotel falls within the Aurelian walls, ask when you book your room. If your hotel is outside of the walls, the cab ride will run you about €60 plus supplementi (extra charges) for luggage. (Of course, this also depends on traffic.) The ride from the airport to the city center takes about 30–45 minutes. Private limousines can be booked at booths in the Arrivals hall; they charge a little more than taxis but can carry more passengers. The Comune di Roma now has a representative in place outside the International Arrivals hall (Terminal 2), where the taxi stand is located, to help assist tourists get into a taxi cab safely (hopefully without getting ripped off). Use only licensed white or older yellow taxis. When in doubt, always ask for a receipt and write the cab company and taxi's license number down (it's written on a metal plate on the inside of the passenger door). Avoid drivers who may approach you in the Arrivals hall; they charge exorbitant, unmetered rates and are most often unauthorized taxi drivers.

Airport Shuttle has shuttles that cost €25 (for one person) and €6 for each additional passenger. This fee also includes two bags per person. Airport Connection Services charges €35 (for one person) and €39 (for two people). The fee includes bags and all taxes.

Two trains link downtown Rome with Fiumicino. Inquire at the APT tourist information counter in the International Arrivals hall (Terminal 2) or train information counter near the tracks to determine which takes you closest to your destination in Rome. The 30-minute nonstop Airport-Termini express (called the Leonardo Express) goes directly to Track 25 at Termini station, Rome's main train station, which is well served by taxis and is a hub of Metro and bus lines. The ride to Termini takes about 30 minutes; departures are every half hour beginning at 6:36 am from the airport, with a final departure at 11:36 pm. Trains depart Termini from Tracks 23 and 24 to the airport starting at 5:52 am and the last train leaves at 10:52 pm. Tickets cost €11.

FM1, the other airport train, leaves from the same tracks and runs to Rome and beyond, serving commuters as well as air travelers. The main stops in Rome are at Trastevere (27 minutes), Ostiense (30 minutes), and Tiburtina (45 minutes); at each you can find taxis and bus and/or Metro connections to other parts of Rome. FM1 trains run from Fiumicino between 5:57 am and 11:27 pm, with departures every 30 minutes; the schedule is similar going to the airport. Tickets cost €8. For either train, buy your ticket at a vending machine or at ticket counters at the airport and at some stations (Termini, Trastevere, Tiburtina). At the airport, stamp the ticket at the gate. Remember when using the train at other stations to stamp the ticket in the little yellow or red machine near the track before you board. If you fail to stamp your ticket before you board, you could receive a hefty fine, as much as €100.

At night, take COTRAL buses from the airport to Tiburtina station in Rome (45 minutes); they depart from in front of the International Arrivals hall at 1:15, 2:15, 3:30, 5, 10:55 am, noon, and 3:30 pm. Buses leave Tiburtina station for the airport at 12:30, 1:15, 2:30, 3:45, 9:30, 10:30 am, 12:35 pm, and 5:30 pm. Tickets either way cost €4.50 or €7 if bought on board. The two stations are connected by Bus 40N.

Transfers Between Ciampino and Downtown

By car, go north on the Via Appia Nuova into downtown Rome.

The new taxi fare law implemented by the Comune di Roma that affects Fiumicino applies to this airport, too. All taxi drivers are supposed to charge a fixed fare of €30, including luggage handling, if your destination is within the Aurelian walls (this covers the centro storico, Trastevere, the Vatican area, and parts of San Giovanni). If your hotel is outside the walls, the cab ride will run you about €60, plus supplementi (extra charges) for luggage. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Take only official cabs with the "taxi" sign on top; unofficial cabs often overcharge disoriented travelers.

Airport Connection Services has shuttles that cost €35 for one person and €44 for two people. Airport Shuttle charges €25 for the first person, and €6 for each additional passenger.

A COTRAL bus connects the airport with the Anagnina station of Metro Line A or Ciampino railway station, which takes you into the center of the city. Buses depart from in front of the airport terminal around 25 times a day between 6 am and 11:40 pm. The fare is €1.20 and tickets can be bought on the bus.

Transfers Between Airports

It's not easy to move from one airport to another in Rome—the airports aren't connected by a railway system or by the Metro. The only way to make the transfer is by car, taxi, or a combination of bus, Metro, and train. The latter option is not advisable because it would take you at least two to three hours to get from one airport to the other.

A taxi ride from Fiumicino Leonardo Da Vinci Airport to Ciampino Airport will take approximately 45 minutes and could cost roughly €60–€70, plus supplementi (extra charges) for luggage.

Contacts

Airport Connection Services (06/3383221; 3921540713 emergency phone in case you cannot find the driver.; 213/985–3045 from the U.S.; 44/2071933062 from the U.K. www.airportconnection.it.)

Airport Shuttle (06/42013469 or 06/4740451. . www.airportshuttle.it.)

Flights

When flying internationally, you must usually choose between a domestic carrier, the national flag carrier of the country you're visiting, and a foreign carrier from a third country. You may, for example, choose to fly Alitalia to Rome. National flag carriers have the greatest number of nonstops. Domestic carriers may have better connections to your hometown and serve a greater number of gateway cities. Third-party carriers may have a price advantage.

For travel within Italy and around Europe, a number of low-cost airlines can get you where you need to go, often at cheaper rates than by train. Because there are too many of these carriers to name, the best advice is to check out a useful website called Sky Scanner (www.skyscanner.net) which will scan all the major airlines and most of the low-cost airlines for you and give you the dates and companies with the most affordable rates. Keep in mind that low-cost airlines offer no-frills service. Any extras, such as meals, fast check-ins and boarding, extra luggage, and even slightly overweight luggage will cost you. Make sure to read all the fine print when booking a flight with a low-cost airline, especially the rules pertaining to boarding and luggage.

The least expensive airfares to Rome are priced for round-trip travel and must usually be purchased in advance. Airlines generally allow you to change your return date for a fee; most low-fare tickets, however, are nonrefundable.

Airline Contacts

Alitalia (89/2910; 0870/544–8259 in U.K.; 06/65643 in Rome; 06/65640 Lost Baggage Claim. www.alitalia.it.)

American Airlines (800/433–7300; 06/66053169 in Rome. www.aa.com.)

British Airways (0845/773–3377 in U.K.; 02/69633602 within Italy; 34/91514 1317 Lost Bags. www.britishairways.com.)

Delta Airlines (800/221–1212 for U.S. reservations; 800/241–4141 for international reservations; 02/38591441 within Italy. www.delta.com.)

easyJet (199/201840 within Italy; 44/8431045454 from abroad; 0843/1045000 from U.K. www.easyjet.com.)

United Airlines (800/864–8331 for U.S. reservations; 800/538–2929 for international reservations; 02/69633707 within Italy. www.united.com.)

US Airways (800/428–4322 for U.S. and Canada reservations; 800/622–1015 for international reservations; 848/813177 within Italy. www.usairways.com.)

Low-Cost Airlines

Blu Express (199/419777 within Italy; 06/98956677 from abroad. www.blu-express.com.)

Meridiana (892/928 call center; 866/751–4499 from U.S.; 0871/222 9319 from U.K. www.meridiana.it.)

Ryanair (44/8712460002 within the U.K.; 899/552589 within Italy. ryanair.com.)

Wind Jet (89/2020. www.volawindjet.it.)

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