Most reliable airlines - DC to Rome?

Old Aug 8th, 2022, 10:51 AM
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Most reliable airlines - DC to Rome?

We are looking at flights from IAD in Washngton DC to Rome for next June, and the flight price fluctuations are pretty significant. Trying to balance saving money on the flight versus booking with an airline that might cancel last minute or that has abyssmal ratings. I was leaning towards Aer Lingus until I read some horror stories on cancelled flights with little notification and no help with rebooking. TAP / Portugal Air also has some scary reviews. We will be traveling economy or economy plus with just carryon luggage, but of course would prefer to sit together, and prefer an overnight flight that arrives in Rome early. Anyone have success with a "no name" or less familiar airline?

Any suggestions on airlines you've had success with in economy, or ones to absolutely avoid? Mostly worried about missed connections and cancellations, as well as price. We will fly back from Venice, and more willing to deal with flight delays on the way home...
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 11:28 AM
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I would encourage you to try and book a non-stop flight as there will be less chances of missing your connection if one flight is delayed or cancelled. I like to check kayak.com to see what options there may be and then usually book directly on the airline website. I see United, Lufthansa, and Brussels Airlines have non-stop flights from IAD to Rome. I used to like Lufthansa but they have had a lot of problems this summer with flight cancellations and strikes. Lufthansa says they don't have enough staff post-Covid so this may all be resolved by the time you are flying.

Of course, if you decide a fare with a stopover is worth the savings, don't book your first flight with one airline and your second with another but keep them on the same ticket. If there is a cancellation or a delay, having all the flights on one ticket gives the airline more incentive to help you rebook your other flight.

If you are flexible with your dates, check the fares surrounding your optimal flight dates. Sometimes there is quite a difference in fares between booking, for example, on a Sunday versus a Tuesday.

It is still pretty early to book flights for next June so you might just keep checking and hope there will be a drop in fares.
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 11:30 AM
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I think you're asking the impossible... No one can tell you which airline on any given day on any given route won't have a problem that leads to flight cancellation, delay, etc. It's the risk of traveling these days. One airline analyst has said the staffing problems facing all the airlines and airports and causing most of this year's chaos won't be completely behind us until some time in 2024/25.

FWIW, I probably wouldn't be comparing/looking now at fares in June 2023. It's too soon to know what the economic conditions will be that far into the future, and fares will go up and down, flight times will change and change again and again...

FWIW#2, you can find horror stories about any airline. And you will also find reasonably good reviews about the same airline.
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 11:38 AM
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^^^ Ditto re Jean's post. Now is waaaaaay too early to be looking at flights for next summer. Schedules, equipment and even entire routes are changing monthly (sometimes daily)

" I was leaning towards Aer Lingus until I read some horror stories on cancelled flights with little notification and no help with rebooking. TAP / Portugal Air also has some scary reviews."

EVERY single airline has had to cancel flights at short notice . . . sometimes even after passengers have boarded the plane.

I would wait until December at the very earliest before looking at flights, fares. Anything you book now is likely to change several times in the months ahead. There is no benefit at all to book this early (unless one is booking with miles on a very popular route that has little award inventory)
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 11:48 AM
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I second the recommendation to fly non-stop. Only United flies from IAD to Rome. Brussels and Lufthansa are star alliance members so you might find a codeshare, but it would be a United flight.

On the return, there are no non-stops from Venice to IAD so you'd either have to connect at a hub in Europe, or somewhere in the US like Newark (also on United) or JFK (Delta).
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Old Aug 8th, 2022, 07:31 PM
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Agree you can find horror stories about virtually any airline, especially right now with post COVID rebound demand and staff shortages.
Agree your best bet would be nonstop flights, which from IAD means United (though you may see some code share flights sold by Lufthansa or Brussels but operated by United). We are almost exclusively UA flyers and have been fairly well satisfied, including service to Rome. Is it possible you could fly IAD-FCO-IAD? You could spend a couple days in Rome, use high speed train to Venice for a few days, then back to Rome - maybe stop off in Florence overnight - for another couple days and return flight. Would let you avoid having to deal with the usually early morning departures from Venice as well as being able to go all nonstop.

Also, agree it is probably too early to start booking for next June. Do keep your eye out for any sort of pop up sale which might offer favorable prices and if you see a really good deal, jump on it. But otherwise just wait until late Fall/early Spring to start looking in earnest.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 07:14 AM
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I agree w/all above that it is TOO EARLY to think about booking. I have other threads about our upcoming trip to France/Italy in November -December this year; we are using miles so we booked last month to assure ourselves there would be seats ( frequent flier seats are limited on some routes) and we are flying Delta. We have already had TWO itinerary changes - one outbound, one return.

I agree with Seamus about IAD-FCO-IAD. My experience has been that the flights to/from Venice have a much higher chance of changes/delays/cancellations simply due to the relative size of the airport and the volume of passengers they have to handle - particularly during peak season. There are quite a few flights to/from Venice, some non-stop and a few thru Bologna which worked well for me. And as Seamus mentioned, high speed trains are a viable option...MUCH less likely to have delays. And whenever you are dealing with planes/trains/automobiles you deal with changes. Just part of the game.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 08:45 AM
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I also agree with most of these. Nowadays is a whole new ball game with cancellations. I just fly the airlines I like most with the best price, that's all. I usually fly United as I often go to France or Germany, and they have a nonstop IAD to BRU or AMS, I believe, which works for places that you can never get a nonstop to from IAD.

I would never be particularly tempted to fly Aer Lingus or TAP to Italy.

If UAL has as nonstop, I would use them but I have a frequent flyer acct with them and fly them a lot in the US so if I decide to cancel or whatever, I know I will have no problem using the ecredits. I don't believe the LUF flight to FCO is Lufthansa, anyway, I imagine that's really a UAL flight.

I don't think you will ever flnd a nonstop flight to/from IAD to any place in Italy but Rome. If you want to return from Venice, you'll have to go through another city either in Europe or USA. I think UAL flies nonstop to/from Venice to EWR, that's it in the US.

I don't think class of seat makes any difference in terms of whether a flight is cancelled or delayed, I don't understand that.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 09:30 AM
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Even though the United/Lufthansa flight may be more expensive than TAP or Aer Lingus you will want to weigh the fact that you have reduced the chance of delays or cancellations on your departure flight(s) by 1/2 (taking one flight versus two.)

For your return flight, you can decide if it makes better sense to fly out of Venice versus returning to Rome. There are pros and cons to both return flight approaches.
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Old Aug 9th, 2022, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by J62 View Post
I second the recommendation to fly non-stop. ...

On the return, there are no non-stops from Venice to IAD so you'd either have to connect at a hub in Europe, or somewhere in the US like Newark (also on United) or JFK (Delta).
I also much prefer a nonstop flight.

On the return, I would prefer to connect at a hub in Europe, for several reasons.
  • ​​​​​​It's less miserable than waiting for your connection after an 8-hour flight.
  • It avoids having to collect and recheck your bags, after clearing customs, at your American hub.


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