First-class to Europe?

Sep 14th, 2008, 06:27 AM
  #1  
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First-class to Europe?

We are trying to take a trip to Italy next year and want to splurge and fly first-class which we've never done. But we are having a really hard time finding flights. If we use the booking sites like travelocity, they all say first-class not available but business-class is. If we use the airlines websites, they keep saying no flights available. Is it really that hard to get a first-class ticket from NC to Rome? Any suggestions on other ways to search that I may be missing? And isn't first-class a lot nicer than business class? Or would business class be a nice option also? It's quite pricey, and I'm not sure its worth the extra cost.

Thanks!
debrad149 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 06:34 AM
  #2  
 
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some airlines don't have 1st class anymore, only economy and business. Go to seat guru, and check on the configuration of the airplane, there may only be the 2 classes.
Momliz is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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There are fewer and fewer airlines that offer three-class service from the US to Europe. Business class is the new first class. But, don't get too excited -- its much nicer, but not as amazing as first class on the Middle East or Asian carriers.

thit_cho is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 06:43 AM
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Part of the problem is that, for many airlines, business class is the highest class they offer. BA, Air France, Lufthansa, United, Swiss, and American offer first class, off the top of my head. Delta, Northwest, SAS, Continental, Iberia, KLM, US Air, and Virgin top out at business class. Even among the carriers that offer first class, it is not offered on every flight.

As to whether it is worth it... I'm not sure it is. I usually see price premiums of around $6k to $8k for a trans-Atlantic flight. That is a lot to pay for a bigger seat and fancier food. I've only flown BA First, but did not find it enough better than business class that I would ever pay for it.

What I would do, however, is be careful about who I book with. Among the current business class products, I would avoid US Air. Obviously, flying from NC, this limits options, but they are simply not a quality carrier.
travelgourmet is online now  
Sep 14th, 2008, 07:18 AM
  #5  
Jed
 
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Check out the difference between first class and business:

http://www.seatguru.com/charts/intl_first_class.php

http://www.seatguru.com/charts/business_class.php
Jed is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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Fly business class and use the money you save for great meals and wines when you get to Italy!
dutyfree is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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To the best of my knowledge there is no first class service offered between the US and Italy on nonstop service. You could ride FC as some European hub (London, Paris, Frankfurt etc.) but then business class would be the top class offered from there to Italy.

On American, for example, the direct flights to Rome or Milan only offer business class as the top cabin. However the service one receives in business class on those route can often be as nice as you'd get on first class on routes where it's offered (e.g. London) but the price will be much cheaper.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 14th, 2008, 05:07 PM
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Also, business class on a trans-Atlantic flight generally is significantly nicer than so-called "First Class" on domestic US flights. Many airlines have lie-flat or nearly lie-flat beds on their trans-Atlantic routes.

If you have the time and are interested in a two-country trip, you might also consider flying BA's new Open Skies route from the US to Paris and then flying on to Rome. You can fly business class or "premium plus" (which is a significant step up from economy and a step up from most premium economy seats, offering 52" of leg room). Then fly on to Rome either in economy or business.
frogoutofwater is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 08:31 PM
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debrad149,
You should also consider why you want to fly business class. If it is for better rest/sleep during the night, you want an airline with truly flat seats (like BA, or some others, but not all). If the flight is during daylight hours and your primary reason is good service and food than you need to ask/search for that.
Paulchili is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 09:26 PM
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Gardyloo, United has first class on IAD-FCO nonstops. It is a 767 with the new business class (and new first class).

I checked fares for Jan 28 - Feb 28. First class is a whopping $13,860. Refundable biz is $6500. Lowest biz is $3344.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Sep 15th, 2008, 12:02 AM
  #11  
 
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Gardyloo, United has first class on IAD-FCO nonstops.

And, depending upon where you are leaving from, I don't see why it matters. If you are flying from RDU, you could fly first to London on AA and connect to Italy. Ditto, ex-Charlotte on Lufthansa. With no direct flights to Rome from North Carolina, you are connecting either way.
travelgourmet is online now  
Sep 15th, 2008, 03:25 AM
  #12  
 
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I would make a point of using a lounge service before, between or after the flight. The BA Terrace Lounge, with pour your own drinks was wonderful at the Miami and London airports.
wally34949 is offline  
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