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What is the best Airlines to Italy from San Francisco.

What is the best Airlines to Italy from San Francisco.

Jan 19th, 2008, 07:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 74
What is the best Airlines to Italy from San Francisco.

Ciao everyone,

My wife and I and another couple will be traveling to Italy in May 2008. This will be the first trip to Italy for our friends and the third trip for us. We traveled to Italy on British Air both times and had no problems. Our last trip was 2004. Our travel agent advised us not to use Britist Air this time due to lost luggage issues. We have three Airlines to choose from out of SFO to Rome, Italy. Northwest,United,and Delta. Looking for advice to pick an Airlines that have good service. Note: British Air provided pressure socks,eye covers,three meals,free wine and T.V.'s built into the seat in front of you. I don't expect everything that British Air provided on our last two trips. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ciao, Louie and Vera.
Rescue is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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We used United in 2004. The flights were fine, we had individual TVs and no luggage was lost.

Anything can happen on any flight, but our experience with United to Italy was good.
lauraallais is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,520
They are all bad and they are all good depending on the crew that day, the weather, and luck. Pick your flight based on convenience of times and price.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 10:31 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 83
We are going to Rome in mid-Feb on United. We chose them primarily because of price (similar to other airlines), the economy-plus advantage which secures seats with more leg room and because of the connection to a United flight from Dulles to Rome.

I'm not overly impressed with United, but not having to put up with changing planes in Paris, Frankfurt or London steered us to the Dulles connection.
PotenzaRon is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 11:21 AM
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Alitalia has just announced they'll resume their service LAX to Italy. That might be a reasonable schedule.
tourart is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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I thought the connections were very good.
copain1 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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I'd go to www.seatguru.com and look at the seat widths and legroom, for one. I used to like Delta but on a trip to-from Costa Rica we were so cramped in coach on a 5 hour flight that I though I would go mad before we we able to get off the plane. I was not the only one -- people all over were trying to stretch their arms over their heads, standing up and trying to stretch, etc. It was almost impossible to eat the so-called meal without knocking elbows with your neighbor.

I'll never do that again!! However, I don't know how the planes on the transAtlantic flights compare to those they use to Central America. We are going to Italy on Delta in May but only because we had FF miles for an upgrade. Even their business class seats are narrower than usual, though.

We take United to Hawaii and love their Economy Plus seats.
charnees is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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I look for the following when planning a flight to Italy (besides price):

1. No more than one layover with reasonable layover times.

2. For the layover, avoiding such airports as JFK, London Heathrow, and Paris CDG

3. Return flights from Italy leaving at a civilized hour (i.e. not too early in the AM).

dickensdad is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I like Lufthanza (United codeshare). They have a nice flight that goes out on some nights at around 2130 which gets you into Munich around 1800 with quick connection to FCO which arrives somewhere around 2100. Return is also through Munich in the morning and I believe you get back to SFO around 1900. KLM (Northwest codeshare) would be another good choice with decent connections through Schiopol. Munich and Amsterdam are my favorite hubs in Europe. I do not use BA as they do not give miles for economy across the Atlantic and I try to avoid LHR and CDG. I believe Delta connects in ORD or JFK which are also not favorites of mine.
mjs is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The best airline for coach seating from the west coast to Europe is Air New Zealand. They have a 34 seat pitch (3 inches better than the rest) and hundreds of movies to view on your personal screen. Food is so-so.

But they only fly from Los Angeles to London. If you can hop a flight down the coast you won't be sorry.

From London Heathrow you can take your pick of dozens of flights to Italy.

Just a thought.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Thank you all for the excellent information. We will use the information all of you gave to choose the right Airlines for us.
Ciao, Louie and Vera.
Rescue is offline  
Jan 20th, 2008, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Delta connects in ATL, JFK, or CVG (Cincinnatti). American and United use ORD.

Generally speaking, any flight that connects in the US (ATL, IAD, JFK, ...) will leave Italy in the mid- to late morning. If you have to connect through a European airport first, you will need a very early (6-7 AM) flight out of FCO.
tdyls is offline  
Jan 21st, 2008, 07:19 PM
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tdyls...You make a great point. My last two trips to Europe have been through London Heathrow via Air New Zealand.

I solved the early morning flight problem by flying to London in the evening and sleeping at the London (Heathrow) Airport Sheraton the night before my flight back home.

It worked out great. Flights back to the states usually leave in mid-afternoon. That gives me the morning to sleep-in, eat a good breakfast and get to the airport without rushing.

I realize adding another night is not always possible for many people...but it really saves the day.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 10:32 PM
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I think the ANZ flight idea as a way to get from SFO to FCO is not a good idea. I do like that particular flight as ANZ has more room in economy than any other airline I have flown recently and is similar to the UA economy plus in that regard. Food is ok and drinks are free. Cabin crew are also nice. Decent individual video. The cost is also usually quite good. If i lived in LA and had to go to England in economy it would be high on my list.
The problem with this plan is cost and time and complexity. You can fly on one ticket from SFO/LAX/LHR with UA and ANZ but every time I have looked at this combination it has been expensive. Ticket prices however change all the time and you never know when you might find an unusual deal. There is also no Star alliance airline that flies directly from LHR to FCO so getting an inexpensive SFO/LAX/LHR/FCO ticket will be difficult and will take longer than a one stop journey. More connections also increase the possibility of missing a flight or losing luggage.
If you decide to make this trip with discount airlines like Southwest or Ryan etc the cost will be more reasonable but you will have to leave more connection time so you do not miss a nonrefundable flight and will not have baggage check through as well as possibly having to change airports in Europe if you are using Ryan etc. If your flights are all on one ticket the airlines are responsible for getting you to your destinations even if there are significant delays.
I know a lot of people like to do a one stop connection in a place like ORD, DFW, IAD, ATL,LAX etc but I do not for several reasons. First I prefer flying on an international flight to a domestic flight. Videos are usually better and they will at least feed you food and drinks. I also prefer the seating arrangements on the 777 and similar airbus to many shorter haul planes. Check in at SFO international is much easier than SFO domestic unless you are flying business or are Premier or Gold etc. The International terminal is also less crowded and security easier to deal with.
If you miss your connecting flight in Europe there are also a lot more choices for a later flight than if you are connecting within the USA. Lot more flights going from AMS, LHR, CDG, etc going to FCO each day than from IAD, ORD etc. Flights from the west coast also tend to connect in Europe in the morning so if you miss your connection there is the rest of the day to get another flight to FCO. Connections in the US tend to be later in the day or early evening. Lastly I find it easier to get some sleep on one long flight than on two shorter flights.

mjs is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2008, 10:53 PM
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If you believe your travel agent's witterings about BA, forget the Air New Zealand advice.

BA's not particularly bad at luggage transfer: Heathrow has had a serious problem about baggage transfers between terminals.

Most flights from SFO to Italy via Heathrow on BA don't involve a terminal change, and from April none will involve a change. Flights via Air NZ do require your bags to be transferred between terminals, at any rate till later in the year.

Your TA's advice is ill-informed (well, it's a TA: what do you expect?). But if you accept their sloppy ideas, you must avoid any change at Heathrow other than an all-BA route.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:34 PM
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Ciao all,

There is a Northwest Airlines flight out of Sacramento that stops in Minn. 2hr layover then goes to Amsterdam (Airbus 330, newer plane) 1hr layover then off to Roma arriving 3:55pm. I like the 12:00pm return flight that leaves Venice. This allows us to not have to rush in the morning. We have done that twice before using British Air and it makes for a very long.....day going home. We haven't booked this flight yet, Does anyone have any experience with Northwest Airlines? Thank you all very much again for all the great advise.
Grazie, Louie and Vera.
Rescue is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:48 PM
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I live in Minneapolis. A couple weeks ago we flew from MSP to AMS to FCO on Northwest. The flights have personal tv screens, 2 meals between MSP and AMS, and free wine. But, this is after all coach class with all its accmpanying issues. What more can I say?
julies is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:42 PM
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Can you give me a little more information on the Northwest service, and was the plane clean. Was the food ok? Did they offer at least 2 or more movies for the long flight? We are not big people so is the seating ok for someone under 6' tall. Any information would be very helpful. Ciao, Louie and Vera.
Rescue is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:10 PM
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Rescue-if you can have only two segments(SFO-ATL/JFK or CVG then nonstop to FCO) why would you hassle with connections at Heathrow(horrible in my opinion!) or Amsterdam. I agree with tdyls that that is the only way to go with less stress.
Delta gives basic amenity kits,free wine,two full meals each way with a basket snack and ice cream service snack in economy on international.
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:19 PM
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The planes seemed acceptable. There was a large selection of on-demand movies. I don't know what else to say. We've flown transatlantic on US Air, KLM, NWA, & Delta. US Air is definitely our least favorite. Schipol is a very nice airport if you have to spend a little time hanging around an airport.
julies is offline  

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