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Old Mar 22, 12, 3:56 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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SFO to FCO then on to CTA or PMO advice

First time post; not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes. My wife and I are planning Rome/Sicily travel later this year. Likely UA award travel from SFO to FCO and Alitalia to/from Sicily on two separate tickets. We will spend 7-8 days in Sicily and 3-4 days in Rome - either on the front side or back side (probably using points to stay at the Roma Cavalieri). Any advice whether it would be any better to transit FCO with checked baggage coming from the US then on to CTA/PMO or coming from CTA/PMO and then on to the US? How much time is needed? How reliable are Alitalia schedules? Does it matter whether you fly into PMO first and then out of CTA or vice versa? Any and all logistical advice sincerely appreciated.
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Old Mar 22, 12, 5:12 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by grandpadude View Post
First time post; not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes. My wife and I are planning Rome/Sicily travel later this year. Likely UA award travel from SFO to FCO and Alitalia to/from Sicily on two separate tickets. We will spend 7-8 days in Sicily and 3-4 days in Rome - either on the front side or back side (probably using points to stay at the Roma Cavalieri). Any advice whether it would be any better to transit FCO with checked baggage coming from the US then on to CTA/PMO or coming from CTA/PMO and then on to the US? How much time is needed? How reliable are Alitalia schedules? Does it matter whether you fly into PMO first and then out of CTA or vice versa? Any and all logistical advice sincerely appreciated.
Well, Lufthansa flies to CTA, so I would look at that as an option - you might be able to get all the way to Sicily on one award ticket, which would definitely make things easier for you.

I have never flown through PMO, only CTA, but I think that CTA might be a better option, just because Palermo in general can be really difficult. If you're renting a car, I think it's probably easier to pick it up in CTA as well based on the location of the airport. However, it really depends on what you want to do in Sicily. Seeing both sides of the island in a week would mean a pretty hectic schedule, and Sicily is a challenging place for tourists. It's definitely possible (I've been known to go to Palermo for the day from Siracusa), but it depends on what you like your travel pace to be.

In terms of baggage, it doesn't really matter, as your airline *should* be able to interline your bags to Alitalia, even if it's on a separate itinerary. Give yourself a couple of hours for the connection either way - it's a LONG walk from the international gates to the domestic Alitalia gates!

Ultimately, I would look at what your options are in terms of award tickets to help you decide whether it makes the most sense to Rome or Sicily first.

In terms of Alitalia's reliability, I've flown 10 segments with them this year, and all but one flight was on time. We've also had family out to visit us in Sicily and they haven't had any problems either. I think that, as with any airline, it just comes down to luck of the draw!
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Old Mar 22, 12, 5:51 pm   #3
 
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Great advice - I'll check out the Lufthansa option too.Thanks!
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Old Mar 23, 12, 11:00 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by grandpadude View Post
First time post; not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes. My wife and I are planning Rome/Sicily travel later this year. Likely UA award travel from SFO to FCO and Alitalia to/from Sicily on two separate tickets. We will spend 7-8 days in Sicily and 3-4 days in Rome - either on the front side or back side (probably using points to stay at the Roma Cavalieri). Any advice whether it would be any better to transit FCO with checked baggage coming from the US then on to CTA/PMO or coming from CTA/PMO and then on to the US? How much time is needed? How reliable are Alitalia schedules? Does it matter whether you fly into PMO first and then out of CTA or vice versa? Any and all logistical advice sincerely appreciated.

If you're flying from SFO to FCO and onto CTA or PMO, then you're going through MUC (most likely). I have friend's meeting me in CTA in June and they're departing from SFO on a UA award ticket - which is why I bring that up. Check the schedules. Getting to Sicily on one ticket from SFO and a UA award ticket is no easy task. Count on some stops. Also, if you go from SFO to FCO on your UA award and then try to take AZ on to CTA or PMO and then depart from the other (e.g. FCO - CTA [in], PMO - FCO [out]) you'll get hit with some high fares from AZ. I'm flying direct from LAX to FCO in June and then on to CTA later that day - pretty much scratch two days for travel (but really depends on your departure time from SFO and how long your layovers are). From what I hear AZ has got much better, but their checked baggage service is still sketchy - especially coming from UA to AZ. Might want to consider carry-ons. It will make those tight connections easier too - at least you know you have your gear with you. I'll post a TR after my trip to, so hopefully that will help.

Have fun! Sounds like a great trip you have outlined - hope it all works out.
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Old Mar 23, 12, 11:03 am   #5
 
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Hey tebfunk,

Question for you re: AZ - have you flown their new Y+ at all? Any thoughts? I'm on their updated 772 LAX - FCO in June and I am curious how Y+ is.

Thanks!
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Old Mar 23, 12, 1:01 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by JGfromOC View Post
Hey tebfunk,

Question for you re: AZ - have you flown their new Y+ at all? Any thoughts? I'm on their updated 772 LAX - FCO in June and I am curious how Y+ is.

Thanks!
I haven't, but I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

To the OP: AZ's bad reputation for baggage is a little overblown. I think the actual problem is the baggage handlers at FCO, which would still affect you, but it's gotten MUCH better.

For what it's worth, between us and our visitors we've checked almost 25 bags from the US-FCO-CTA in the past few months, and they've all arrived intact and on time, including those that were interlined over on separate PNRs. We might be lucky!
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Old Mar 23, 12, 1:52 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by tebfunk View Post
I haven't, but I'd love to hear how it goes for you!

To the OP: AZ's bad reputation for baggage is a little overblown. I think the actual problem is the baggage handlers at FCO, which would still affect you, but it's gotten MUCH better.

For what it's worth, between us and our visitors we've checked almost 25 bags from the US-FCO-CTA in the past few months, and they've all arrived intact and on time, including those that were interlined over on separate PNRs. We might be lucky!
I'll definitely be sharing a TR - especially since AZ is re-introducing the non-stop 772 service with the new Y+ and biz class. Might actually try to upgrade to biz class on the flight over to FCO since it's an over-nighter. I'm sticking with carry-on bags for the trip over (assuming a small duffel and backpack are ok to carry-on with AZ?)

Depending on how much wine I buy in Etna, I might have to check a bag though on the way back
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Old Mar 24, 12, 6:43 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by JGfromOC View Post
I'll definitely be sharing a TR - especially since AZ is re-introducing the non-stop 772 service with the new Y+ and biz class. Might actually try to upgrade to biz class on the flight over to FCO since it's an over-nighter. I'm sticking with carry-on bags for the trip over (assuming a small duffel and backpack are ok to carry-on with AZ?)

Depending on how much wine I buy in Etna, I might have to check a bag though on the way back
Ciao JG (Orange County? Wonderful area, coming back there this fall :-)

AZ's new Magnifica is definitely a couple of steps above any US Airlines' C class. The Y+ is nice, similar to AF premium voyageur if you tried it, but nothing exceptional.

The flat beds are great for night flights. I always upgrade myself to C when I use that service. Worth the miles/$$$.
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Old Mar 26, 12, 1:22 pm   #9
 
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Ciao JG (Orange County? Wonderful area, coming back there this fall :-)

AZ's new Magnifica is definitely a couple of steps above any US Airlines' C class. The Y+ is nice, similar to AF premium voyageur if you tried it, but nothing exceptional.

The flat beds are great for night flights. I always upgrade myself to C when I use that service. Worth the miles/$$$.
About what I figured. I haven't flown AF before, so this will be a whole new experience for me with AZ's Y+ product. Hoping that there are a lot of C class seats open on my flight out to FCO that AZ would like to sell upgrades for at the gate - for a ok price

Unfortunately, my DL Skymiles are proving rather worthless at getting me an upgrade.
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Old Mar 31, 12, 8:02 pm   #10
 
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Re booking FCO-PMO; CTA-FCO on a single ticket, it's quite possible by using multi-leg on the AZ website, and should cost you no more than 100-105 in total. CTA is a nicer airport than PMO, so I would probably choose PMO for picking up the bags on arrival and CTA for the departure.
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