Venice flights

Old Feb 13th, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Venice flights

I am new to International flights. I have a cruise in October that starts in Venice, Italy. I have a great deal on a hotel there too. My TA will not book a flight without book hotel through cruise line. I fly UA and have FF miles. I read a post for finding flights using FF. But I seem to be doing something wrong. I login and have expert checked. But when I place flight for business it come up with price same as no FF. Could someone help me with this? Or at least tell how to find economy plus. I am 60 and a long flight such as this my feet tend to swell. Or at least they do when going from SFO to Washington DC or New York. I am thinking how to avoid this on an over 10 hour flight.

Also, am I searching to early for October? Does it matter if you fly on weekday versus weekend?
Thank you.
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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United doesn't fly to Venice, so you can't search for FF flights to Venice on the United website. You'll have to call--which is better for Europe anyway, as they can check availability for United's partners (and there are many Star Alliance options for Europe). It is possible to search for award availability on many Star Alliance carriers using the ANA (All Nippon) site, but there's no guarantee those award seats are available to Mileage Plus members.

Economy Plus isn't a separate fare class. To sit in Economy Plus, you would need to get an economy award ticket that includes travel to a European gateway served by United such as Frankfurt, Munich, London, Rome or Zurich (make sure the transatlantic flights are operated by United, and then a shorter flight to Venice on one of the partners. Then, you'll need to pay the supplement for Economy Plus, unless you are already eligible for it through United elite status or annual subscription.
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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There are many different routes that you might be able to take from SFO to Venice using United FF miles. However, you should also be aware that those seats, especially in Business class, can be very difficult to obtain.

If you use United miles, then United must issue the ticket, even if the flights are on other airlines. The best way for you to find if flights are available is to call United and ask.

If you really have a lot of FF miles and regular award seats are not available, then you can use the miles to get a 'standard' award from SFO to Frankfurt on United. The standard award lets you fly on any United-operated flight, as long as any business class seats are available -- it costs 210,000 miles round-trip (US to Europe). You could then get a separate ticket from Frankfurt to Venice -- these tickets are relatively very inexpensive.
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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Ok Pac12,

I hope your search is going well. For United miles on Star Alliance, I am showing that it will cost 105K miles for a Saver business class ticket. If you are searching as an expert, this will need to be booked in XC class, which is of course very limited. I suggest that for 30K more miles, you check into booking a Saver first class award, which would need to be booked in XF class. XF class seems to be more available than XC class. (This would still be a lot cheaper than a standard business class award which costs 210K miles.)

I would check to see where there is availability before calling UA to book anything. I don't know your travel dates and origin city, although I believe it may be SFO based on your travels to NYC and IAD from SFO. I found 2 XF seats on UA930 09OCT09 SFO-LHR and 2 XF seats on UA931 20OCT09 LHR-SFO. With this information, I would call UA and have them secure those seats for you while you discuss connection options to get to Venice. British Midland has a nonstop from LHR to VCE, but I believe it is only a one class aircraft. Perhaps you could connect again on Lufthansa via MUC or FRA (in business class) or via Zurich on Swiss. (Or another Star Alliance airlines hub.) The number of connections isn't limited by the award. (Although each additional flight increases the chance of misconnecting.)

You also didn't mention how many people would be traveling. My example above found 2 reservations in XF class. On the same travel dates I found 1 seat available on UA926 SFO-FRA and UA927 FRA-SFO. Again, you would have to call United to secure these seats and check availability on the connecting flights.

My partner and I did this in 2007 on our trip to Italy and went SFO-LHR-MUC-NAP and returned FCO-MUC-LHR-ORD-NAP. (Yes, it was also an open jaw trip.) The return flights made for an extremely long day, but thankfully we made all of our connections. We also had carry on baggage the entire time.

Regarding swelling of your feet, I have the same problem with my feet on long flights. It seems to increase when I have alcohol or salty food on the flight. I suggest drinking lots of water and doing the hokey exercises that are published in the inflight magazine to reduce this problem. Also, wear comfortable shoes that you can still get on your feet when you arrive.

Good luck!!!!
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Oops. Our return flights were FCO-MUC-LHR-ORD-SFO (not NAP!)
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Old Feb 13th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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Pac12

I would have to say that the UAL web site is not that friendly.

Try going to Star Alliance, which is a group of airlines that United is partners with.

http://www.staralliance.com/en/travellers/index.html

Once you are there, put your cursor over the Tools & Services header. You will see below several choices. Click on Downloadable Timetables. This should give you all the information on how to fly to Venice from United and its partners.

One caveat: your cruise is going to end in another city. This means that you will probably want to leave from that city at the end of the cruise.

You can do that without extra charge. This type of flight is called an open jaw flight.

My mother, at age 82, recently cruised from Venice to Barcelona. Her ticket was to Venice and back out from Barcelona. You can do this with any city that flies Star Alliance.

Once you figure out which cities you want to go to / from; call United and they will help you. Most U.S. Airlines won't let you book an international flight online. Also remember that the international help desk does help on the same things many times a day.

I cannot do much for your feet swelling, but I can tell you the difference between Economy and Economy Plus. The width of the seat stays the same. However, there is usually about 3" more between rows. Very helpful if you are a medium to large person.

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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 09:48 AM
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Wow, you guys are the best! Thank you all so much for wonderful responses.

I am looking at Oct 4 leave from SFO and arrive on 5. Hotel for Oct. 5 and 6. I wanted to rest and at least see some of Venice before I board. But that is a Sunday and I got a thought that maybe Oct 2, Friday would be better for flights. Read somewhere weekdays were better.

The cruise starts in Venice (transatlantic) and stops in Florida. The flight from Florida is easiest so many flights. The second short flight from any of Europe's hubs does not look to be a problem.

I been working on the flight from SFO to a European hub for a few weeks and going around in circles.

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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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You do not want to use FF miles for this trip, because UA and most airlines will not charge you half the miles for a one-way trip to Europe. You'll be paying as many miles as someone's flying roundtrip there.

You should look into buying a one-way ticket. Not all airlines offer cheap discounts, so you really should look into the options given by the cruise line.

One airline that does is Aer Lingus. They don't fly from SFO, but right now you can book JFK-DUB (Dublin) for US$268.46 all-in, for 10/4. Aer Lingus DUB-VCE, have to booked separately, is 69.7€ or $90.

SFO-JFK may be booked on Jetblue or Virgin America. Right now, both are only offering flights till September, but their it shouldn't be more than $220.

I'm not saying this is the best way, but it is possible to book a one-way SFO-VCE for under $600. That's probably better use of your 50,000 miles than spending it on a one-way trip to Europe.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 12:56 PM
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If, however, you do wish to use your miles, as you don't want to pay the $$$$ and probably don't accumulate a lot of miles; then you can book an open jaw through Star Alliance.

Outbound - Lufthansa or Swiss to Venice.

Inbound - Miami to SFO.

For some of us FF travelers, we tend to forget that, for a lot of people, this is an almost once in a lifetime trip.

You do have some time, so look around. and check it out. However, the sooner a decision is made, the better the chance of finding the flight you want, and it gets one more worry behind you.

Remember, the UAL help desk is called what it is because they are to help you. If you have to call them several times, so be it.

Try the instructions I gave you above, for downloading the Star Alliance timetable, and play around with it.

Let us know what you decided and how it went. Feedback is always great!
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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rkkwan,

I flew Aer Lingus in October nonstop from SFO to Dublin. I think they operate this flight 6 times a week. You are correct that they offer one way fares too. I believe they partnered with United starting last November but I don't know if all fares qualify for mileage or upgrades though.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Oh yeah, I didn't notice that. It's even better then. $392.46 for non-stop SFO-DUB on 10/4. Add the $90 flight to VCE, it's under $500 for the one-way ticket with just one connection.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 09:46 PM
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rkkwan,
it looks like Aer Lingus has published their schedule at 4 times per week for October. Unfortunately for Pac12, they don't have Premium Economy or Economy Plus.

Pac12,

If you wanted to go Aer Lingus to get to Europe, you could buy a one way fare as rkkwan suggested. I would additionally suggest that you select a seat based on reviews at www.seatguru.com

If you wanted to get to Europe confirmed in (at least) Premium Economy, I suggest you check out Air New Zealand from LAX. (Yes you read that right.) Their AKL-LAX flight continues on to LHR. I checked the price of Premium Economy LAX-LHR for 04OCT and came up with a price of $1321 and you can accrue miles on UA since they are a partner. If you wanted to be ticketed LAX-LHR-VCE then it would cost $1567. (I believe Premium Economy would only be on the Air New Zealand flight though. The other flight would be on British Midland as a code share.) You may wish to be ticketed thru on Air New Zealand so they can rebook you easier if your inbound flight is late.



You would have to get from SFO-LAX though, although there are plenty of options for that.

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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Having done this several times.
First be sure you are on a LH flight (United partner star A)but book with united, just be sure its a LH flight not united as service, room etc far better on LH. Usually from SFO they go to Frankfurt allow at least 2 hours between flights unless you want to be on the run. As you come in in one terminal and by the time you go back through passport control, security etc. and over to other terminal up and down flights of stairs you need that time. I have done it in about 45 min but its a hassle!. Flight to Venice is quick and easy, as is picking up bags etc.
Munich is somewhat better if you can get LH Munich go for that.
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Old Feb 18th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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I will say this again you guys are the Best. As I said before my TA for the cruise will not help with just a flight. She said I have to have flight, hotel and transfer together before the cruise line will help. So I am on my own. I got hotel through Starwood, Westin Europe & Regina, Venice for $150 a night. I know she can not even come close to this for me.

I had looked at Aer Lingus for SFO to DUB. But there is a layover landing at 9am to 4:30pm. A lot of time to sit around I did not care to do. One friend suggest to look at flights from Canada. Than another suggest I look at from JFK, Dullus, or Atlanta. Than I tried others and started to get confused. This is why I decided to post to get help.

Thanks mister fuss, I had not thought of Air New Zealand. Sunday I did more reading about them. Monday I went to see the Amgen Tour as they were going through my town. Yesterday this web site was down. I like their Premium Economy.

Would it be wise to try and use any of my 100k miles to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy? If so, do I call United mileage desk or international desk? I seen a variation on Star Alliance download (thank for this web site). The flight starts at SFO (United) goes to LAX (Air New Zealand) to LHR. I donít care about upgrades on short flights of 1-3 hours, just the long flights.
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Old Feb 18th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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Now it's time to figure out which water bus (vaporetto) to take. You will need to know the vaporetto stop your hotel is on.

Start with this.

http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/...tto_routes.htm

I usually take the quickest way to the hotel. After I dump my bags, I will then take the slowest boat through the Grand Canal. Try sitting up front on one of the seats on the bow. By far and away the best view.
You can take a shuttle bus from the airport that lets you out, I believe at the Piazzale Roma. This where the major vaporetto routes stop. Either study the map there or look for a map ahead of time.

If you're only staying one or two nights, I would suggest buying the 24 hour pass, for unlimited vaporetto use.
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Old Feb 18th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Would it be wise to try and use any of my 100k miles to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy? If so, do I call United mileage desk or international desk?

You can't use United miles to upgrade on Air New Zealand. You can only use them to upgrade on United-operated flights, and only from coach to business or business to first. More importantly, you cannot, as far as I can tell, use miles to redeem for a ticket in Air New Zealand's premium economy section.

If you want to get into a premium economy (or economy plus) product, you only have a few options:

1) Pay for a genuine premium economy product. On most airlines, you get not just more legroom, but also a wider seat, amenities like a footrest, and upgraded meals. You have a few options for this type of product, including both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways from San Francisco to London. Or you could take the Air New Zealand routing through LAX. Or connect through Chicago and take BMI or SAS.

2) Pay for access to United's economy plus section. This is not a true premium economy seat, but rather just gives you 3 to 5 extra inches of legroom. No other amenities beyond that. This costs you $349, allows you to sit in economy plus on all United flights for the full year, and covers both yourself and a companion.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Hi again Pac12,

I just looked at the Air New Zealand site again and looked at the slide show for the premium economy and it looks impressive. The unfortunate thing I just noticed is that the BMI flight from LHR to VCE departs at about the same time the Air New Zealand flight arrives. Perhaps if you did the NZ flight option you could spend the night in London, or fly into Milan instead. (Or take another connecting flight.) I show an airfare of $69 LHR-MXP booked on Lufthansa.com.

Unfortunately United and Lufthansa don't appear to offer one-way pricing but, if you wanted just the extra legroom, you could buy a round trip ticket SFO-FRA-VCE on Lufthansa for about $1365 and add the Economy Plus Access for the $349 and get the extra legroom. (You would perhaps no-show on the return segment.) This option keeps you on the same airline passenger name record (PNR) in case of delays.

Let us know how the planning is going.

Cheers.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 11:20 PM
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FWIW, we never, I do mean never, use the cruise line to book flights and hotels. First is, with flights you never know what very inconvenient departure/arrival times AND multiple stops they are going to stick you with. Second is, the hotels they use cost you 4 times the rate of any other similar hotel. Now, true, the boat will wait for you if you are on the cruise airline and arriving late. But we always go in a day, probably two, early for sightseeing anyway. (And for jetlag recovery).

Is your TA with the cruise line itself? If so, then I understand their position on flights. But if your TA is a travel agency TA, then it is time for a change.

regards - tom
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 08:39 AM
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I agree fully about NOT booking flights or hotels through the cruise line. And actually, there is no guarantee that the ship will wait for you if your flight is late. They may make sure you catch up to the ship at a later port, but the ship doesn't have a whole lot of flexibility on departure time.

We also always fly in at least one day early.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 11:19 AM
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I can not Thank You enough. You guys are right about cruise flights or hotels. The price is at least double or more. My friend book flight with cruise through TA and paid $600 versus mine $350. So with that being said I opt for help on this first time to Europe. I took misterfuss advice and research Air New Zerland Premium Economy. I booked their flight. Staying overnight at hotel by airport and BMI next day to Venice, $1434 for both. Hotel is little less then $100 american. TA wanted between $1000 to $2000 for 3 star hotel at Venice for 2 nights. I opted for Starwood points and cash 5 star for 2 nights at $330 total. I know I give up points but this is the trip I saved them for using. Gee, thanks again to you guys really help me a lot. P.S. I pass this infor to another traveler (TA quoted them $7000 for two for business) but TA would not rebook their cruise at the sale price.
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