Italy - Best way to travel to Sicily
May 9, 12, 8:36 pm
This fall, We are going to a wedding in Sicily, near Catania. What is the best way to fly there from the east coast on *A carriers? Any recommendations?
May 11, 12, 1:36 am
I fly in and out of Catania back to the states almost monthly. Since CO switched to Star I have had the pleasure of trying to get connections on them for a few years now and can tell you it is hard, though not impossible.
Your best bet is via MUC on LH, just make sure you avoid the one day a week it is codeshared with Air Malta, they are not star just partners with LH and it can be a nightmare connecting. Usually LH flies the route thrice weekly from MUC on their own or regional metal. I have heard rumours of 4-5 weekly starting later in the summer. In the summers into early fall Austrian flies once weekly into VIE usually Saturday (last year they even brought a 767). Brussels Airlines also does a once or twice weekly flight (I've heard this year will be once weekly on Sunday). I took the BRU flight once heading too Catania and was not impressed but I had no other option.
Going back to the states if I fly via MUC I have to spend the night, in fact to hit Star I often have to spend the night, but I am usually going to Texas, not East coast.
LEaving Catania the other option is a cheap internal flight within Italy to hit an outbound star US flight from FCO or Malpensa. I do that often also.
May 14, 12, 2:18 pm
I would try to get to Rome on *A and then look for the best connection (time/$$) on other carriers. MXP, FRA and MUC are other possible connection options.
May 15, 12, 3:35 pm
+1 to everything FlyingHoustonian said - I booked 8 separate award tickets to CTA this winter, and the *A ticket was by far the most challenging. The connections are really difficult.
Flying to Rome or Milan and then getting a separate ticket to Catania is probably your best bet. The alitalia.it website frequently has lower prices than the US site, and if you watch for sales you should be able to get the round-trip for under $100 per person.
May 15, 12, 6:28 pm
tebfunk offers an excellent suggestion regarding the Italian version of the AZ website. It has fares you won't see on the US site. And if you catch a sale, prices can go really low.
Using the Italian site, I flew Venice-Palermo one-way last spring on AZ for about $30.
May 16, 12, 1:28 pm
+1000 on using the Italian version of AZ
I also fly via FCO and MXP then connect to a Star flight however this can SOMETIMES require a stay in FCO or MXP if you are checking bags and cannot make a tight connection (this is if you do not have flexibility due to booking points or whatnot). I don't check bags normally and can stay in terminal at FCO which helps. Terminal 5 sucks. Or it will require the very early departure from CTA and of course even those early departures sometimes are late at which point you are screwed not being on one ticket.
As I noted before, Star is tough but not impossible especially MUC. Sempre Gumby.
And enjoy your trip to Sicilia!
Aug 12, 12, 11:51 am
My wife and I are flying Star on award tix and we had no problem getting flights into/out of Sicily on LH via Munich. In fact, for 60,000 miles each in Econonmy our routing is as follows.
1). EWR - FRA - TXL & 3 days in Berlin
2). TXL - Munich & less than a 24 hours in the city, so it is not considered a stopover and we get to enjoy Oktoberfest for 1 afternoon/evening.
3). Depart Munich - CTA & Rent a car for 7 days
4). Drop car in Plaermo downtown and stay overnight in the city
5). Fly PMO - Munich with a 2 hour layover or so, and continue on to LHR on LH landing at 4:30 PM
6). Overnight in London and flight home at 4:00 PM on United to EWR = no stopover as less than 24 hours in London (23 1/2 hours though!)
Cost per tix was about 60,000 miles and approx. $200 in taxes I believe and if a non-stop opens up for EWR to TXL, we will take it without any additional cost - acutally probably will cost less as we won't incur taxes with the stop in FRA.
Aug 16, 12, 8:28 am
my husband and I fly out of Buffalo every winter to Milan, then Easyjet to Catania or Palermo...Easyjet has much better rates than Alitalia in our experience....