Feedback on Flights to Italy

Oct 4th, 2007, 09:23 AM
  #1  
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Feedback on Flights to Italy

Just an FYI for people considering flying United and Lufthansa to Italy. We took United flights on the transatlantic portion and connected to Lufthansa into Florence and back from Rome.

Both took us through the Frankfurt airport. I would never recommend any connection that doesn't give you at least 1.5 hours between flights. Even flights that should be on time (like ours) ended up being 30 minutes late because there was a plane at our gate and we had to wait for it to leave. Our friends missed their flight because they had a 1 hour layover. And Lufthansa had already given their seats away by the time they got to the gate.

Frankfurt transfers are not easy. You have to go through several security checkpoints (some of which can be very slow) and navigate a tough airport (in my opinion) to get to the right gate. Furthermore, if you are going to Italy, Lufthansa won't give you seats in advance for their intra-Europe flights. On our trip, United was able to confirm us seats when we checked in in the U.S. But our friends could not get their seats. Getting to Frankfurt without seats is a nightmare. It's unclear which line to get into and can add to the delays getting through there.

A 2 hour layover seemed comfortable for us on the return. Even a 3 hour layover isn't that bad in the end. (after all the walking and security checkpoints, 3 hours turns into 1-1.5!)

I think next time I may consider finding a nonstop from a US airport directly to my Italian destination. (not possible for Florence but is possible to Rome) That way I can navigate my way through a US airport. Even though I hate connecting through Chicago and IAD. (only for delay reasons) At least they speak good English.
cheersman is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 10:50 AM
  #2  
 
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I agree that Frankfurt is difficult. My husband is literally a rocket scientist, and we had a heck of a time figuring out where to go and ended up backtracking several times. This is even after we finally found a map. And I don't think I've ever even had to try to find a map in any other airport.

We flew Lufthansa to Rome via Frankfurt. We flew back from Florence via Munich, and it was a totally different and better experience.

In the future, we will try to avoid Frankfurt for transfers, but it wouldn't be a dealbreaker. We would certainly allow a few hours to be safe though.

Glad to see we're not alone.
lauraallais is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 10:57 AM
  #3  
 
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Thanks for posting. I'll have a 5.5hr layover in Frankfurt enroute to Rome next month and now I'm looking forward to getting lost, slow security checkpoints, walking miles and backtracking @ 5.30am. The joys of travelling!

I guess forewarned is forearmed...
highflyer is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:10 PM
  #4  
J62
 
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I travel through FRA frequently.

The biggest variable is always the on-time arrival of my flight from the US.

I've made 40min schedule connections without issue numerous times. Without rushing, without worry. Bags made it fine as well. Connecting from international arrivals to domestic/schengen departures has always been a snap. Sometimes a long walk. Perhaps that because I've arrived on Lufthansa, where international arrivals are located right above departures.

I've also missed 2hr connections due to late departures from home.
J62 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 12:42 PM
  #5  
 
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cheersman,

I am going on this same type of flight - United/Lufthansa out of Detroit in November - flying into Florence and flying out of Rome via Frankfurt.

We have a 2 hours and 20 minute layover to Florence, but only 1 hour and 20 minute layover from Rome which according to your post may be tight.

My question is, given that I obviously will have connected through Frankfurt on my way to Florence and made my connecting flight via security, passport control, etc. will there be anything that would not seem clear when I am coming back from Rome since I have a tighter connection (something different than what I experienced on my way there?

I'm hoping that the experience I gained on the way there will help me get to my connecting gate faster on the way home(although late arrival, lines for security, etc. cannot be controlled).

I'm not so worried about missing my connection on the way there (although it would cut my time in Florence), at least there are more flights later to Florence, but if I miss the connection to Detroit, I think I may be stuck in Frankfurt for the night.
Thanks for any info,

Flyergal

Flyergal is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 01:29 PM
  #6  
 
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highflyer,
One nice thing about Frankfurt for a long layover is that they have showers. We took showers during our layover, and it was great to be able to freshen up after a long flight from California.

When we landed in Rome after the quick flight from Frankfurt, we just checked into our hotel and were ready to start sightseeing.

The airport Web site says the showers are in the terminal 1 departures area, but we had a tough time finding them (and everything else). Here's an airport map: http://tinyurl.com/zrkpg

lauraallais is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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yes frankfurt airport is busy and a minimun of 2 hours is advised to vatch another flight. have been thru there several times on the way to india and have no problems. the 2nd time and after is a lot easier. lots of good restaaurantsa and shopping to kill time in
petertherabbitt is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Have done transfers through Frankfurt several times - and find it;s always as easy as pie- compared to Heathrow or CDG.

The key to any transfer is leaving yourselves enough time - don;t take the airlines word for it - pick your own flights. (SInce most US flights come in fairly early in the am you can count on the airport being crowded then - and leave yourself enough time - or take a flight that arrives later in the day.)

And yes - if given the choice I always go for a non-stop from NYC to wherever - unless there are none at all. And, I'll even train or drive from the landing airport to avoid a transfer flight.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:29 PM
  #9  
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J62: I assumed that it must be possible to make a 40 minute connection since the airlines allow it. But if you are transferring between airlines (like United to/from Lufthansa) it can be difficult sometimes. Especially if they don't give you seat assignments before arriving in Frankfurt! And a lot of times if the airlines are different, the walks are longer. Obviously I didn't do a Lufthansa-to-Lufthansa connection this time around.

Flyergal: Regarding missing your flight to Florence. I hate to make you worried. But our relatives actually missed their connection (as I posted). I didn't post the rest. Lufthansa has (I think) 4-5 flights/day. It seems like they cancel one of them randomly each day. And the rest (at least on the Saturday we were traveling) were COMPLETELY full. Standby was a joke. They give priority to frequent travelers and dignitaries. And if the ticket is issued by United Airlines, Lufthansa won't do diddly for you if you miss their flight. You have to go right back to United to get them to fix it. My relatives had to book a flight into Milan since there was no way they could get to Florence that day with packed flights the rest of the day. (this actually worked out for them since they had a friend there they could stay with for a few days) For the return, if you have seat assignments, 1:20 is not a big deal. Especially if you get in on time. Our walk from the Lufthansa Rome-to-Frankfurt flight to our United flight to SFO was a VERY long one. From the very end of terminal A to terminal C. And what's up with them asking for your passport and boarding pass every 100 feet?

cheersman is offline  
Oct 4th, 2007, 05:37 PM
  #10  
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Flyergal: I forgot to mention one other thing. When you check in for your first flight in the USA, make sure they assign you seats on that Frankfurt to Florence flight. Two of our three groups got United to give us seat assignments for that Lufthansa flight when we checked in in the USA. But the other couple was told by the United agent that they couldn't do it because the "systems were not compatible" or something retarded like that. And of course they were the ones with the tight connection and missed it. (actually they got to the gate 10 minutes before it took off -- but Lufthansa had already seated everyone! arrghh)

In the end, if your tickets are already booked, don't sweat this before you go. Whatever happens happens. I just know a little bit more about how to book my flights for my next trip.

Have a great time! Italy was awesome. I cannot wait to go back.
cheersman is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 05:32 AM
  #11  
 
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lauraallais
Thanks for the map and advice. We decided to get the train from Rome to Florence the day we arrive so a shower in Frankfurt would be wonderful!
highflyer is offline  

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