Flight SF to Naples...

May 22nd, 2004, 01:39 PM
  #1  
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Flight SF to Naples...

Hello -

I have been checking flights religiously over the past couple months, and am looking for the best option for a trip from San Francisco to Naples in September. I notice that most flights go into Heathrow from SF, and most from London depart from Gatwick. I have come up with the following scenario, but having not planned a trip to Europe before, am seeking advice on its feasibility.

Flight from SFO to London (heathrow): United flight arriving at 7am
Flight from London (heathrow) to Naples: BMI leaving at 9:05am
This leaves me two hours in between. Both airlines are star alliance though, which leads me to believe they will transfer baggage. Is that correct? Will there be enough time, or is this foolish? Another option for me is to take US Airways (longer due to a stop) but arrives at 6am, which gives me an extra hour. They are also a StarAlliance airline. I don't know anything about their international service.

I am then planning on having a car pick us up and drive us to Positano (final destination) from the Naples airport. I am also considering a hydrofoil trip, but am curious to get your opinions on that as well, because it may be too much of a hassle after many hours of travel. Any suggestions on this would be helpful as well.

Thanks for your help!
dutti22 is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 01:50 PM
  #2  
ira
 
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Hi dutti,

I suggest that you take the flight that arrives at 6:00. The worst thing that will happen is that you will have to sit and have a cuppa.

For your transfer to Positano:

here is a bus from Naples airport (See http://www.curreriviaggi.it/) to Sorrento. From there you can take the SITA bus to Positano.

If you take the hydrofoil you will need a cab from the airport to Molo Bellevere.

A private car will be about 90E.

We used Renato Cuomo
www.cuomonet.it [email protected]
ira is online now  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:08 PM
  #3  
 
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USAir flies into Gatwick, not Heathrow, from both PHL and PIT.

As far as Heathrow is concerned, United uses Terminal 3, while bmi to Naples uses Terminal 1. So, there's a change of terminal involved. Luggage should be transferred automatically, especially if your whole trip is on the same ticket.
rkkwan is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:26 PM
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dutti22,

What dates and what kind of fares are you finding?
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:51 PM
  #5  
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Ira and Rkkwan -

Thank you for your replies. I did not know there was a bus service from Positano - that may be the best way for us to go. As Rkkwan mentioned, US Airways isn't an option b/c I was wrong about them flying to Heathrow. Therefore, I am leaning towards the 2 hour timeframe that is left for me with the United to BMI trip. If you or others think that is a very bad idea, I will reconsider of course.

AAflyer - I will pay rt $630 SF to London, and another $200 for a trip from London to Naples (and then from Berlin to London, as I am travelling through other parts of Europe). Departing SF on Sept 7, and returning Oct 26.


dutti22 is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:54 PM
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dutti22,

I'm not sure that I follow you... must you fly through London? You could take Air France via Paris or Lufthansa via Munich. I'm sure there are other connections as well.

In any event, I would try to book the whole itinerary on a single ticket, preferably on a single airline or alliance. A single airline/alliance ensures that you can check in all the way through to your final destination (luggage and boarding passes) and with a single ticket you don't run the risk of having to purchase a new ticket because of a missed connection.

Hope this helps,
Andre
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May 22nd, 2004, 02:59 PM
  #7  
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Andre,

I did look at travelling through Paris, but for some reason the flights are much more expensive - and many times they connect in London anyway. I think it is because I am flying from SFO.
Thank you for your advice in checking through. That is definitely something I will make sure to do.
dutti22 is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 03:14 PM
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OK, did a closer check and see that AF would require an overnight in Paris on the way back, so that's not a good choice - sorry about that.

Lufthansa has excellent connections via Munich, but prices do seem quite high (about USD 1000) in September, I would price your exact dates on lufthansa.com.

Hope this helps,
Andre
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May 22nd, 2004, 03:37 PM
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The best I could find is $710 all in, but it also involves switching airports in London on the outbound and getting to Naples late, so I'm not sure it's worth the savings.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Hi, dutti22,

I'd suggest you call United's International number (or any other airline's number) to get the best/correct answer.

Like you, I am flying to Italy via London in September as well (for the same reason you are -- got a great fare to LHR and by not using Star Alliance I don't have to go through Germany on Lufthansa. I got a good fare on Alitalia: $156 r/t to Rome.

United told me they'd check bags through, even on a non-Star Alliance carrier (but you still would need to clear customs in London, which means getting your bag, going through customs and rechecking after you pass through customs). I have 3-hours between flights coming and going, which United said was fine. Changing terminals does take additional time -- 2 hours to get through customs, change terminals and possibly/probably having to go through security again is probably cutting it close.

But I'd call the airline, in any case.

Have fun.

John H.
jh6000 is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 06:09 PM
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You would not go through immigration or customs in London if you're connecting to Italy, because you are only transiting. You never officially "land" in the UK in ths process.
rkkwan is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 06:20 PM
  #12  
tpl
 
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We flew United Business Class from SFO to Rome about three weeks ago. We purchased RT flights from SFO-CDG, and booked our CDG-FCO flights separately on Air France (operated by Alitalia). We booked this way because we planned on spending time in Paris on the way back. United assured us that they would check our baggage all the way through, and affixed "priority" tags to them upon check-in. Even though we had a legal connection through CDG (over 2 hours), our bags did not arrive with us in Rome, and we did not receive them until the following evening. And at the time, Alitalia was not even striking.

jh6000: before departure, United gave me conflicting information over the telephone about customs and baggage (I got a different answer each time I called). In fact, we did *not* go through customs at CDG, nor did we claim our bags there and re-check them (though perhaps that would have helped get them to Rome!). You do have to go through security though. I think the system would be the same for CDG or Heathrow.

In my experience, getting around Heathrow is pretty time-consuming, even slower than CDG, so I would budget extra time there.
tpl is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 06:55 PM
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There is a major difference between transiting in the UK or France.

France and Italy belong to the Schengen common travel zone, with no border controls between those two countries. Therefore, if you fly US-Paris-Rome, you go through immigration at CDG, and the Paris-Rome is like a domestic US flight with no futher passport control.

In contrast, the UK does not belong to Schengen. So, when you change planes at LHR, you won't go through UK immigration there, and you'll enter Schengen in Italy, and have your passport stamped there.

Either way, you won't see your bags until Rome, and you'll go through customs there when you claim your bags in Rome.
rkkwan is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 07:07 PM
  #14  
tpl
 
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rkkwan: good to know the difference. Maybe someone should update United?
tpl is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 07:50 PM
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Hi, rkkwan,

Thanks for the info -- that is very helpful. It has been many years since I transited through Heathrow, so thanks for the update.

John H.
jh6000 is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 08:29 PM
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We fly from SFO-LHR to get to Italy and I think that you will make it with a 2 hour connection, although it will be tight. When you depart the plane and go to the security line, go up to the front and tell them the time of your connectiong flight, they will usually let you go through if it is a tight connection. There are buses to connect you to the other terminals, which are always there and ready and take you in just a few minutes. What is the worst that can happen, you take a later plane or you spend a day in London and leave the next day. Good Luck
susanna is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 09:06 AM
  #17  
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I wanted to thank everybody for their good advice! I have decided to play it safe (booked all legs on the same ticket through BAirways)

dutti22 is offline  

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