Flights to and from Florence

Sep 16th, 2009, 09:57 AM
  #1  
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Flights to and from Florence

Hi all - I am just beginning to plan a 15th anniversary trip to Tuscany next summer for my husband and me. I have already done lots of research on this board, but know I will have tons of questions.

First thing to do is book a flight - it looks like there are at least two ways to get from Houston to Florence. One is via Paris (on Delta/Air France), and the other is via Frankfurt (on United / Lufthansa). Layover in Paris (both ways) is just over an hour. Layover in Frankfurt (both ways) is just over two hours. Both options arrive in Florence about the same time, and have later flights to Florence if we miss the connection. It appears that if we miss the connection on the way back, we would have to wait until the next day to make the next connection.

So, my question is - is one hour long enough for a layover in Paris? Or is that risking a missed connection? And, which airline is better for overseas flights? We usually fly Continental, so haven't had much experience with any of these.

Thanks!

Carolyn
CStoneTX is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 10:22 AM
  #2  
 
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We've flown Houston - Florence via FRA on LH and liked it fine. Our last 4 trips to Europe have been on LH and we've had very good experiences: efficient, friendly staff, very decent food and plenty of it, free drinks before during and after dinner, and good music selections (but not so great movies). No individual screens but that's not a big deal to us.

IMO, 1 hr isn't enough for CDG, but then I don't like that airport at all regardless of how much time I have.
dfr4848 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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PS - the flights on LH will all be on LH metal. They codeshare with UA, but it won't be a UA plane.

Re your comment on flying the next day on return if you miss the connection - our flight from Florence to FRA was an hr late due to mechanical problem. We thought we'd miss the connection. Got to FRA, an agent met us and took us through the airport to departing flight to IAH - they had held it AND our bags made it too. Nice touch!
dfr4848 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 10:53 AM
  #4  
J62
 
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If you include Pisa in your search you'll find there are more flight options, including non-stop flights from the US (JFK) to Pisa.

You may also want to look into an open jaw ticket - fly into one city and out of another. In my experience this doesn't cost any more than a simple round trip, and will save you from having to backtrack if you're going south to north or vice versa. (i.e. HOU-FRA-Venice then ROME-FRA-HOU), or some other combination.
J62 is online now  
Sep 16th, 2009, 11:37 AM
  #5  
 
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I do a lot of what ifs in this case. If the booking engine offers one hour layover, I don't automatically accept it. I try to see if I can force a longer layover if there is something I want to do at the layover city or at a different airport without adding to the airfare.

I do this often at FRA. I have been able to get up to 22hrs layover at no additional cost. I have used this strategy at AMS but never at CDG.
greg is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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While I prefer Air France aircraft and service to Lufthanasa, I despise CDG airport. It is poorly designed with minimal signage and staff that I have never found to be helpful.

I would allow a minimum of 2 hours for a connection at CDG.

AF does offer individual screens on most international flights and, as one who sleeps very little on planes, this is a factor for me as well.

I believe that DL has either scaled back or eliminated flights from JFK to Pisa otherwise I would suggest that airport if you are headed to Tuscany.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 16th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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I think Lufthansa is a better airline and the 1 hour connection in Paris would be tight and too stressful for me. Go with Lufthansa.

I prefer to avoid connections through JFK. It's fine if you live in NYC, but not for connections. I'd much rather connect in Frankfurt.
zoecat is online now  
Sep 16th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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CDG sucks.

In fact, you can probably search for the terms "CDG" "sucks" and "BigRuss" and come up with about 10 posts.

That's because as a Texan it is my sworn duty to warn fellow Texans (and other Americans, even Vermonters) that, quite simply, CDG sucks. Horrible layout, French efficiency (which is slightly better than Greek or Italian but is about 10 standard deviations below US, German or Japanese) and it has more crowd choke-points than the approaches to the new Cowboys Stadium. It's crowded, noisy, ill-built and subject to the whims of any number of French worker unions who are in a snit and decided to strike. A one-hour connection means pray for your bags to be on the same plane as you after your connection.

When I was in Frankfurt, it was 13 years ago and it did not suck -- clean, bright, pleasant and the Lufthansa flights were very decent considering that I was one of the cattle. Neither Delta nor Lufthansa will be very different, I think, if you are in steerage class. After all, even Emirates treats its proles to cruddy 18-inch wide seats with 30-32 inches of pitch, just like every other flying tin can.

Check seatguru.com for details on your possible planes and the suck level of the seats.
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 04:49 AM
  #9  
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Thanks so much for all the replies. I had considered Pisa, but since we're planning to stay in Tuscany the whole trip (probably 5 nights in Val d'Orcia area, and then end with 2 nights in Florence), the Florence airport seems to minimize driving.

I like the idea of having a long layover and seeing another city, but unfortunately, we have to be back in Texas to pick up our kids from camp - which is why it's important not to miss the connection .

I think the answer for me is clear - fly Lufthansa through Frankfurt. Thanks again for the great advice!
CStoneTX is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 05:17 AM
  #10  
 
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Pisa is only an hour from Florence with regular train and bus service. I don't think choosing Florence over Pisa really makes much difference in driving at all.
kybourbon is offline  
Sep 17th, 2009, 03:42 PM
  #11  
 
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The less you drive on the day you arrive in Italy, the better. You will be very jet-lagged.

And I agree completely about CDG I cannot overstate how much I dislike the place. I have been driven into a rage at least 4 times in 4 flights through there. And one hour layover is not enough! I don't know why the airlines try to stick you with those.
charnees is offline  

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