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Rome airport--should I arrive more than 2 hours early?

Rome airport--should I arrive more than 2 hours early?

Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 01:08 AM
  #21  
 
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My husband says I'm always late for everything, while he likes to be early.

I make my decision based on what's at stake. If it's a dinner party, I don't mind being five minutes late, although it's rude to be much later than that. I can be sure there will be others who arrive half an hour late, and I hate sitting around waiting for the late arrivals. I don't even build in time for the unexpected in this situation, because if there's an accident on the highway, I can apologize for the inconvenience, or we can call ahead and tell them we'll join them for the second course.

If it's a flight, being five minutes late is not acceptable to me, while if I'm even an hour early, it's no big deal; I'll find some way to kill the time. I never take the last train that would get me there on time, but at least one train ahead of that.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 03:30 AM
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I'm just sharing my experience last year, around 1st week of September, I flew out of Fiumicino and got left by the plane. It was horrible. Lines were very very long for the security check and for the immigration officer. It was a Saturday morning and I was catching an 12 noon flight to Asia. So it might have been a different terminal. My sister had the same experience, she left on Sunday and she was at the terminal 3 hours before departure and she barely made her flight. Her plane was 30 minutes delayed because most of the passengers have not cleared security or immigration. But I think this is the exception rather than the rule. After this experience, I will avoid flying out of Fiumicino again.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 05:26 AM
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<i><font color=#555555>"If it's a flight, being five minutes late is not acceptable to me"</font></i>

Again, point missed. You can't be "five minutes late" if the counter crew doesn't show up for work two hours before your Sunday morning flight. If you have luggage to check, all you can do is stand and wait for the counter crew to show up. Passengers are stuck with their luggage standing and waiting. There are no seats near the airline's check-in counters. If you want to sit and wait, you have to go where the seats are and wait to hear the announcement in Italian that the counter is open (if they even announce it). If you do take a seat and happen to hear the announcement, you'll be last in the counter line when it starts to form.

The counter crew at luggage check-in is the same crew that will show up at the gate's counters. So even if you have no luggage, all you will do is wait, wait, and wait for the front crew to finish their job and come to the gate to load the plane.

No matter what any airline rep in America will tell you on the phone, the counter crew in Italy show up in the morning when they show up, and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it. Precision timing in the morning is not their thing. It is not unusual for the counter crew in Italy to show up 1 hour before the first morning flight. Yes, it's anxious mayhem when this happens, but only on the part of the passengers. The Italians stay calm. They manage to get everyone on the plane quite quickly, with no respect for lines or seat assignments, and often take off less than 20-minutes late. My flights usually arrive in NYC 10 minutes early, so they make up the time in the air. These days, I'm flying United, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, and/or Air France, mostly because I have a routine itinerary that I enjoy most.

I can't speak to flying Italy to Asia, I've never done it. Perhaps Asian airlines treat their customers differently. I can't tell you how many times my plane to NYC just sits at the gate and the announcement is "we're waiting for more passengers." The plane crew has the passenger manifest and they know when a passenger is stuck somewhere in the airport process. It is often the case that late passengers (those who arrived on time but got shuffled to the end of the lines) get airline rep escorts to the gate. At CDG, I've had many escorts and quickly grew tired of that nonsense. I learned the hard way.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 05:37 AM
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Things will be open on a Sunday morning as there are international flights departing out of terminal 5/area G much earlier than yours. The Leonardo Express from Rome Termini starts running at 5:50 with train arrival at FCO at 6:22. Trains depart every 30 minutes ( :50 and :22) and travel time is 32 minutes.

It's a bit of a trek from the train to the bus area for terminal 5 which is remote from the rest of the airport (you have to catch a bus in front of terminal 3 to go to terminal 5 check-in area). You may or may not get on the first bus that comes as sometimes there can be big crowds waiting. Check-in, security, etc. and then you must catch another bus to the actual departure area (area G) which is a bit remote from the rest of the terminals as is terminal 5.

Scroll down to page 6 (pages listed on right as scrolling) which will say terminal 5. In the lower left corner is a mini view of all the terminals in blue and a red dot on T5. You can see it's off from the rest of the airport. The other blue square on the left (connected by a little blue line) is boarding area G which is the actual departure area and also remote. Scroll to page 10 for area G.

http://www.adr.it/c/document_library...&groupId=10157

There is a large cafeteria/store combo (Gran Cafe) in area G that is opens at 7am. Ciao Spizzio says it's open 24 hours. Wine and Food restaurant opens at 8. All the stores in area G (Gucci, Furla, Armani, etc.) open at 7am. To see the list of these for area G and hours, select either shopping or eat/drink and then area G. You don't need to select other things before hitting search.

https://www.adr.it/fiumicino-shopping-eat-drink
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:16 AM
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Hey P_M! How ya doin these days? Haven't been around here in ages, but today I decided was the day to say hi. And now I see you're going to Italy! Awesome!

We just returned last week from 7 weeks in Italy, flew home on AA FCO to ORD.

Our check-in time at FCO echos comments of NYCFoodSnob, though it was a Tuesday morning for us, not Sunday.

We took a cab (48 Euros flat rate) from Rome - easy peasy, took us directly to Terminal 5. I'm like you, don't want to cut it short. So we decided to get there 3 hours early.

Check-in agents started hovering in the area about 2 hours ahead of time, talking amongst themselves, but didn't start the check-in process until 90 minutes before flight time.

We then went thru security (take out ALL electronics and put in bags they provide), then boarded bus back to Terminal 3, inside the secured area. This security line was very fast, and the bus was right there, so we still arrived at Terminal 3 with plenty of time. Lots of shops and restaurants in this terminal.

As someone mentioned above, the boarding process was mayhem--not organized at all, no announcement of boarding by class or group number. Just a big huddle, pushing and shoving. Have your passport out again for boarding.

Our flight departed 30 minutes late, but landed 10 minutes early.

Would I intentionally get there that early again? Probably not. But then again, it's travel day, and I'm always anxious to get going (no matter which direction I'm headed), so I don't mind having the extra time at the airports.

Do what makes you most comfortable!

Happy travels!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:49 AM
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>>>>We took a cab (48 Euros flat rate) from Rome - easy peasy, took us directly to Terminal 5. I'm like you, don't want to cut it short. So we decided to get there 3 hours early.

Check-in agents started hovering in the area about 2 hours ahead of time, talking amongst themselves, but didn't start the check-in process until 90 minutes before flight time.

We then went thru security (take out ALL electronics and put in bags they provide), then boarded bus back to Terminal 3, inside the secured area. This security line was very fast, and the bus was right there, so we still arrived at Terminal 3 with plenty of time. Lots of shops and restaurants in this terminal.<<<<

Sorry, but this can't be accurate. Did you type T5 where you should have typed T3 and vice versa? Or did you mean T5 and area G?

T5 is where you check-in for international departures to the states and a few other places. Area G is the actual departure area. They are separate areas and a bus ride apart. Here's a map on Delta that better shows all the terminals at once.

http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_...orts/rome.html

If you are taking a taxi, you could get dropped at T5 (a few years ago you couldn't - only dropped at T3). If you are taking the train (as PM stated), you have to catch the shuttle bus from T3 to T5.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 06:59 AM
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P_M - Here's a link about T5 being a remote check-in only, not a departure area. It shows in pictures (and explains) getting from the train, walkway to T3, T3 outside and bus stop/bus, bus route from T3 to T5 (route map), T5 (interior pics), bus outside T5 to G and G.

http://www.roninrome.com/transportat...minal-5-at-fco
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 07:03 AM
  #28  
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Hi all, thanks for this great airport info, this is all very helpful.

Swisshiker, it's great to see you again, welcome back my friend.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 07:11 AM
  #29  
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ky these are great links, thanks!!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 12:36 PM
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My bad. You are correct, ky. Must be the jetlag is still hanging on.

Taxi to T5, shuttle bus to G.

I only mentioned taxi in case P_M decided on that route.

In any event, have a great trip P_M, no matter what time you get to the airport!
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Old May 11th, 2014, 11:10 AM
  #31  
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*******UPDATE********

I came thru FCO this morning and I thought I would tell you how it all went.

I couldn't sleep so I took the 6:20am train. I arrived at the airport and shuttled over to T5, and I entered T5 just after 7am. The profiling area was open so it took me about 20 minutes to get through the line. At 7:20 I entered the checkin area and they were up and running. I had checked in on line the night before so I used the speedy bag drop service which had no waiting. I then went on to security and I arrived at Terminal G around 7:40am. My flight left on schedule at 9:45am.

The whole process was much faster than I expected and some of you were correct that I could have arrived later, however there was no harm in arriving early and I had plenty of time for browsing and a last minute cappuchino.

I would like to thank you all for your help, there is so much good info on this thread and it was great to know exactly what to expect.
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Old May 11th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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lol - so you were ALL right!
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Old May 11th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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Good information (except the absurd "being scared" BS as well as the rush to get a cup of coffee and look where WE stayed stuff) as I will be leaving from Rome in a few weeks myself.
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Old May 11th, 2014, 06:39 PM
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So sad you are no longer in Italy. Terminal G is not a bad place to kill time and international flights usually start boarding about an hour before departure so I wouldn't think you had that much time to kill even with the early train.
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Old May 12th, 2014, 03:19 AM
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Glad everything worked out P_M!

For others considering WHEN to leave Rome to get to FCO, some thoughts... We've flown out of FCO perhaps 75-80 times, many times to the USA through T5. What's most consistent about these departures? NONE were ever the same - LOL!

I would agree that on a Sunday AM departure there will be ZERO traffic on the roads early in the AM in Rome. (Sundays are great days to drive in Rome because the ZTL's are often OFF and the streets are clear - it's the day I always took my wife out and taught her how to ride our motorino).

So this IS a great day to ride a taxi out to the airport. But if you're riding a train, departing from Roma Termini, Roma Trastevere, Roma Ostiense, or even Roma Tiburtina to the airport... you have to be careful on Sundays.

First, with the exception of the Leonardo Express, fewer trains are operating - so check the schedules, especially if you plan on riding the FR1.

http://www.roninrome.com/transportat...no-fco-airport

Second, because it's Sunday, there are also fewer Metro trains, trams, and buses running... so if you're headed to Roma Termini to get on the LE, give yourself extra time to get there.

And third, because it's Sunday, trains are often late. The LE is generally on time, but once we were leaving from Roma Trastevere on the FR1... and the scheduled train did not come! After 20 minutes of waiting nervously, we bailed and called a taxi.

The longer we lived in Rome, we found ourselves riding the trains less to the airport, and taking more taxis. On occasion we used a car service a friend of ours operated.

One trip we used the car service to FCO and we were about 1.5 kilometers from the airport and traffic STOPPED. We sat and did not move for 5-10 minutes on the multi-lane highway. Our driver called in and discovered there was a Taxi Strike and 100+ taxis were PARKED on the highway entering the airport. So he told us to jump out and walk down the highway to the terminal. We, and many other folks, did. we were early enough to make our flight.

That's certainly an unusual occurrence, but again, NONE of our trips through FCO ever seemed "regular."

T5 has certainly been a benefit - besides getting to it from T3 or the train station - for folks flying US-flagged airlines. Anyone who dealt with T3 before the move in 2008 can relate. Getting on a US airliner before 2008 was ALWAYS a disaster and you wondered if you'd ever make your flight.

Generally, I have moved through T5 quite easily. T5 has many of the newer systems you would see in an US airport, because - with the exception of El Al - these are all American airline companies flying from here.

But I have had one or two glitches there - primarily due to heightened security concerns somewhere else in the world. T5 was built to "segregate" folks boarding US planes, so they can implement - if necessary - more stringent security. We've had that happen to us twice and the lines at T5 reminded us of the pre-2008 T3 fiasco.

We've also flown out on connecting flights from T3. (We seemed to be regulars on the KLM flights at 6.00 -6.30 AM to AMS, then on to the US). And we've done Alitalia a few times through CDG. Read about my son's challenges here:

http://www.roninrome.com/transportat...ci-airport-fco

So the bottom line is... DO WHAT YOU'RE COMFORTABLE WITH.

Me, I've been burned at FCO a few times, so I am in the 2.5 - 3.0 hour crowd, but often that pre-flight arrival time period is determined by day-of-the-week, time of my flight, which terminal, which airline, and how I am getting to the airport...

But I do tend to err on the side of caution. As an Italian friend (who worked for Alitalia) once said to me, "As long as you make your flight, who cares when you arrive... it's when you depart Ron that counts..."

Ah, if only it were that easy!
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