Air Canada to Rome

Old Oct 17th, 2005, 12:59 PM
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Air Canada to Rome

What experiences have people had flying Air Canada to Europe? AC currently has the lowest fares I can find to Rome for March. We would go through Toronto, which also has me a little concerned about possible weather problems, but we are coming from Boston, so I guess we just have to take our chances with that. Given that most flights are just something you have to put up with, does anyone feel that AC is any worse than any other trans-Atlantic airline? I've never flown them and don't know anything about them.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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We had one of our best trips ever on Air Canada. I got the tickets on Priceline, and when we got them realized that we had an 8 hour layover in Toronto. We took the bus in and had lunch, and then we returned to the airport. The plan was almost empty, so we struck up good conversations with the flight attendants who were very nice. They were laying over in Paris for the long weekend. On our return the plane was full, but we had the same flight attendants. They took very good care of us! I think my friend still gets a Christmas card every year from one of them.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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If you can wait until our return on November 13th I will be able to tell you about our travels with Air Canada. We are flying from Baltimore through Toronto to Rome because they had the best fare prices.

We booked July 29th for our November 1st departure. About a month ago they eliminated our return flight and gave us the option to return a day later or a day earlier. Another small problem was that originally we had paper tickets and then by the time our flight was eliminated and we were rebooked on another flight they were using etickets so we had to return the paper tickets at our expense.

Inconvenient but now we are spending one more day in Italy

Their customer service agents have been very helpful unlike my many phone conversations with USAIR for our next trip to France. Deborah
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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As Canadian teachers from Toronto and teaching in Italy for the past few years, all our (many)flights were with Air Canada who had (have?) a reciprocal agreement with Alitalia.

AC/Alitalia were always competent and courteous. We never lost luggage. We arrived on time and without difficulty except for one spectacularly bad trip returning from Rome when the plane (an Alitalia 747) had problems. Then we were put up in a hotel overnight and received food vouchers and later financial compensation of $200 for our delay which lasted 24 hours.

Not a bad track-record for what I estimate must have been about 12 round trips all told. And as an aside, I don't honeslty think the weather is much different in TO than it is in Boston...just don't route via Buffalo which is in the snow-belt and could impact your trip if planned January-March.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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Air Canada flies 767-300 on their YYZ-FCO flight. These planes are old and their interior are in bad shape. No personal video screens in coach.

Also, you need to clear Canadian immigration/customs when you transit in Toronto, which adds to the hassle and time.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 02:59 PM
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Hi Nonna,

I'm a Canadian who flies to Europe every year with Air Canada (I'm just back from a three-week stay in France). I would say that the service is fine, the flights are on time and the food is so-so. I think they're at par with American airlines.

Hope this helps.

Ginny

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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 05:56 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your helpful comments. I don't care about the video screens; never watch the TV anyway (would rather listen to my iPod or read if I'm not sleeping). The only thing that does concern me a little is the code sharing with Alitalia. I hope that doesn't mean that if Alitalia goes on strike then Air Canada wouldn't fly. After a particularly horrendous experience with an Alitalia strike, I vowed never to fly them again.

I did see that apparently Air Canada is not including food now in their prices; you have to pay extra for meals. Again, I really don't care too much about that. Especially coming home from Italy, I'd rather stock up on some Italian goodies to eat on the plane!
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 06:55 PM
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We've travelled to Europe several times and AC is the best airline yet.I wouldn't worry about the weather. In March, the weather in Toronto will probably be better than in Boston.
Stay away from British Airways... unless you like cramped seats, poor in flight service, agents that mislead you and flights that don't leave on time.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 08:33 PM
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I don't believe AZ codeshare with AC on AC's YYZ-FCO flight. An Alitalia strike will not affect AC's flights.

And I don't believe AC charges for food on trans-Atlantic flight.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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Have a look at www.airlinemeals.net and see what the food is like.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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We flew AC to Madrid, via Toronto, two years ago. I thought the onboard service was pretty good and the comfort level was comparable to other carriers (in economy). A couple of observations:

-They were very strict about weighing carryons. Even though our flight from Toronto to Madrid was almost empty, they insisted on checking our rollaboards because they were a couple of kgs over the published limit.

-I don't know what kind of presence AC has in Rome, but they were fairly small in Madrid and that translated into just a couple of very slow check-in stations. It was a good thing we arrived early at the airport; we stood in the check-in line for about an hour.

-As rkkwan noted above, we found the immigration/customs process on our return through Toronto to be a big hassle, but then we were connecting from AC to United, which were (are??) in separate terminals. Essentially, we had to deplane, go through Canadian immigration, collect our checked bags, go through Canadian customs, recheck the bags, exit the terminal and take a bus to the other, reclaim the bags AGAIN, go through US immigration/customs, recheck the bags AGAIN, go through security, and then find our gate/flight. Perhaps the new terminal has made it easier if you have an AC/AC connection, but we needed well over an hour for all that.

All that aside, I wouldn't hesitate to fly AC again for a good price.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 01:35 PM
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Nonna: AC does not charge for food on trans-Atlantic flights.

Ginny
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Flying AC will be a bit of a hassle on your way back to the US, for the reasons noted by ms_go, so make sure you've got a long connection. AC has a snazzy new terminal (T1) and a pretty good new mid-field terminal for international flights (you get bussed from T1 to mid-field). Seat pitch is better than average on AC metal long-haul planes (as compared with, e.g. BA or Virgin trans-atlantic flights).

Weather in Toronto in March is unpredictable. There is usually at least one more big winter storm that happens some time between late Feb and late March (although Toronto is snowless most of the year), but they're prepared for it and well-equipped for winter weather.

If it's a really good price, I'd take it. Otherwise, the hassle factor of the connection might not make it worthwhile.
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Old Oct 20th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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We flew Air Canada to London last year from PDX via Vancouver. The 767 to London was typical, nothing fancy, nothing terrible. The flights were on time, the service was fine. Nothing to worry about. We would take them again.

Actually, we were going to Rome, but the cost for a direct flight was prohibitive. I booked seperated flights to Milan and then Rome on the same day. It made for a long day, but we only spent $600 to get to Rome. Air Canada (PDX-LHR) was the best airline of the day followed by Air One (LIN-FCO), then Alitalia (LHR-MXP).
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