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Advice on "better than economy" seats to Rome from Northeast US

Advice on "better than economy" seats to Rome from Northeast US

Old Nov 8th, 2010, 01:34 PM
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Advice on "better than economy" seats to Rome from Northeast US

We are planning a trip to Tuscany and Rome in October 2011. We live in DC, but would be okay with flying out of somewhere else (New York, Philadelphia) if we have better options. We don't want to fly coach. I know that United flies non-stop from DC to Rome and offers buisness and premium economy - business runs around $3500 and premium economy runs around $1100, normal economy is around $900. The extra few hundred for premium economy only buys us a few inches of legroom - not better service and the comfort to sleep on an overnight flight. Do other airlines offer something better between coach and business class for something less that business class prices? (Last time we flew to Rome it was from Toronto and Air Canada had a premium economy that was more like business for only $500 more than coach, it was great but it doesn't look like they offer that anymore). I know Virgin flies to London with an 'in-between' class - maybe it would be worth it to fly there and then connect to Rome?

I'd appreciate any suggestions or insights you have. We want this ti be a comfortable trip without completely breaking the bank. Thanks!!
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 01:44 PM
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I only know that Virgin's premium economy is fantastic. I was never in so much luxury on a flight. However, if you can get a more direct route rather than having to connect in London, it is probably worth it.
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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I have flown on BA Economy Plus and was quite pleased. Separate cabin section in B-777 and staff dedicated to that section. In fact, outbound from Demver to LHR is was upgraded to business class, and I am not even a member of their loyalty program.
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Go to seatguru.com, compare economy classes, apply results of your research.

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

AA once had "more room in coach" too, and that went the way of the dodo.
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Old Nov 8th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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BTW, premium economy is the "in-between class" that fits between steerage and business class.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Thanks everyone! My H and I are flying from the east coast and our friends are flying from the west coast so meeting in London isn't such a bad idea to ensure we get to Rome together. I will be looking into both Virgin and BA. Another option is Alitalia from JFK - they offer a premium economy class from there. I know Alitalia gets poor ratings in general - but maybe this new class is worth a go if the price is right?
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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We flew United's Economy Plus (premium economy) from Dulles to Rome in September. IMHO, the benefits of a non-stop flight far outweigh any other criterion for selection of a flight and the extra leg room was great. I am 5'3" so it really isn't necessary but is nice nonetheless. I have flown Virgin's premium economy to London and don't remember a whole lot of difference. If you can get a direct flight, choose that. Our non-stop arrived an hour early and we had no need to navigate an airport to change planes.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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We like Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy and have flown it many times. Larger seats, separate cabin, dedicated check-in.It's not Business Class but much better than United's Economy Plus.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 10:19 AM
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Have you considered once they serve dinner, you'll have about 5 hours left to sleep, as the total flight from DC to London would only be 7 hours.

If you fly direct to Rome you'll get an extra 90 minutes to attempt to sleep without the interuption of changing planes. Also less likely to face delays and lost luggage.

I'd choose the direct flight in an instant.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 10:31 AM
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Also flying direct avoids the UK's high airport/departure taxes.
The added expense of flying via London may equal a better seat on another airline.
Alitalia is now 25% owned by AF/KLM so is better than it used to be.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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One thing DH and I have done is buy three tickets in the "plus" section. It lets you have more lateral room and you have an extra tray table to put stuff on. We found that much more comfortable. You just have to be sure that if the cabin crew is counting empty seats just before departure, you let them know it is NOT an empty seat, but one you paid for.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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Here is a photo of Alitalia's new "premium economy" seats (2-3-2 instead of 2-4-2) on its new Airbus 330-200s:

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Alita...c6302f97a7fd54

Here is a photo of the "standard" economy seats on the same aircraft:

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Alita...c6302f97a7fd54

Not much difference?
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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treplow - how did you get upgraded to business class on BA. We fly out of Denver to London also, We always upgrade to economy plus.

We just came back from Hawaii and it made a difference for the 7 hr. flight.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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We fly premium economy on BA pretty frequently, and have also flown Virgin's premium economy. Based on your original post about United premium economy just buying a few extra inches of leg room and no extra service, you should be warned that both BA and Virgin PE offers not much more than that either. You are paying for:
- an extra couple of inches in the seat width
- a little more leg room
- a little more pitch
- a rising foot rest. This is the only real advantage, IMHO and, in reality, it's more of a bar and not that comfortable. I put my pillow over it.
- the cabin is smaller than coach, so fewer people.

However in the following ways it is the same as coach:
- Same food
- Same service level
- Same blankets and pillows
- Same video selections
- on BA, same check in line as coach (Virgin used to allow you to check in on the Business line--don't know if that's still the case).

All in all, I find it's only worth it for a long flight and no more than a couple of hundred dollars more.
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Charnee - I have wondered about buying three seats for two persons. Do you put two tickets under the same name? Have they ever given you a hard time about it? Can you do this using miles or miles-plus-cash as well?
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Old Nov 17th, 2010, 08:02 PM
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I'd check Open Skies, an all business class airline flying between Newark, NJ or Dulles (Washington, DC) and Orly (Paris) from which you could connect to Rome.

They have some very reasonable fares.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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I have wondered about buying three seats for two persons. Do you put two tickets under the same name?

I'm curious about this as well -- so sending it to the top.
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Old Nov 18th, 2010, 01:07 PM
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Tom18, you buy two seats for one person. I think it is listed as extra seat under that person's name. They did not give us a hard time -- after all, we were paying for it!! You do have to be sure that you get three seats together, or the benefit is lost for the other person. And be very sure the cabin crew is aware it's not an empty seat!!

I don't know if you can use miles to do this. We did it three times and paid for it each time, as we did not have the miles.

If we have enough miles we buy economy class and upgrade to business class, which is a far better way to use miles, IMO.
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