Routing Question: Raleigh to Rome

 

Old Nov 20, 12, 12:19 pm
  #1  
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Routing Question: Raleigh to Rome

sending the parents off to Rome next summer to burn off some VIPs (so I'd be upgrading from coach), and trying to find the optimal routing. Because I'm using VIPs, the trans-atlantic leg has to be on AA metal--all 767-300s, so no differences in seats. The differences in costs and times between these options seem to be minimal as well, and they each seem to be around the same flight duration with connections. Yet they each have their pros and cons.
  • RDU-JFK-FCO. Cons: ERJ to JFK, then late afternoon chaos out of JFK. Pros: nicer Admirals Club.
  • RDU-LHR-FCO. Cons: LHR T3 to T5 dance; BA economy on LHR-FCO. Shortest TATL leg (<8 hours, a little short for proper sleep). Pros: T5 BA Lounges.
  • RDU-ORD-FCO. Cons: possibly an ERJ to ORD, and dingier ORD club. Pros: Another option for EVIP availability?

As you can see, they each have their pros and cons. Have I missed anything? Is this just a toss-up among them that it appears to be?
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Old Nov 20, 12, 12:35 pm
  #2  
brp
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Go with whichever has the SWU availability. Period.

Lacking that, look for the most available seats.

All other things listed, IMO, are secondary.

All things being equal in the above, I'd opt for AA metal all the way via JFK, with LHR second.

Cheers.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 12:36 pm
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Have you checked EVIP availability? ORD- FCO can be tough. If it were me, it would be RDU-LHR-FCO. Less chance of weather at ORD or JFK, just get them over the pond. We've done the T3-T5 dance to Rome twice this year. Very easy to do and I am sure they can follow the purple connection signs from T3 to T5.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 12:39 pm
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RDU-LHR-FCO is only AA metal to LHR. It's BA metal to FCO, so your eVIP will only get you so far. So if you want first class all the way, routing through ORD is your only option (assuming you look for an MD-80/737 out of RDU. As you mentioned, it's ERJ only to JFK).

If it was me, I'd go through LHR. 2.5 hours in coach to Rome isn't so bad, and customs is a LOT easier in RDU on the return vs. JFK or ORD.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 1:33 pm
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Thanks all. VIP/SWU availability it is...
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Old Nov 20, 12, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by saucesee View Post
Thanks all. VIP/SWU availability it is...
Yep, that is the way to go but don't forget about connections in MAD (DFW,MIA), HEL(ORD), and probably others.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by tkelvin69 View Post
Yep, that is the way to go but don't forget about connections in MAD (DFW,MIA), HEL(ORD), and probably others.
AA doesn't fly FCO out of DFW... I'd definitely take LHR over MAD
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Old Nov 20, 12, 3:33 pm
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watch out for taxes at LHR. even if you use an eVIP you will pay higher taxes for flying through LHR. upgrades to FCO are very limited so check in advance..
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Old Nov 20, 12, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Duffman
watch out for taxes at LHR. even if you use an eVIP you will pay higher taxes for flying through LHR. upgrades to FCO are very limited so check in advance..
You are not assessed the APD tax on flights connecting in LHR.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 3:58 pm
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I'd include RDU-DFW/MIA-MAD on AA then MAD-FCO on IB in your searches.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 4:07 pm
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
AA doesn't fly FCO out of DFW... I'd definitely take LHR over MAD
Thanks for the clarification. My point was to find any European destination that AA serves where a SWU is available and make a short connection to FCO from there.

I think MAD is fine but it certainly is the size of a small city.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 5:43 pm
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I've done all of these routes (except for HEL), since I travel to Rome several times a year. I think that if you intend to stay on AA metal to use the SWUs, ORD or JFK direct to Rome is best. That way your connection is first, and you arrive in Rome on the overnight. Doing it the other way involves a stopover of a least a few hours while jetlagged and then arriving later in the day. If it were my parents, I would go for ORD, since there is a greater likelihood of not being on a CRJ.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 7:10 pm
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I have done this trip and preferred the ORD option. There are multiple mainline flights a day (the CRJ flights are 2x a day I believe) so you have options for first class all the way through. The flight from ORD is a bit longer so better sleep on the way over.

Another option if SWU availability is proving a challenge is Milan. It would require an extra connection or a train ride, but it is another option. And riding a train through Italy is one of the more pleasant ways to spend a few hours traveling.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 8:02 pm
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I did JFK-FCO and FCO-LHR-JFK in early September. Observations...

1. Upgrade odds were far better on the flights into and out of JFK compared to ORD. When I booked about 2 months in advance the J cabins on ORD-FCO and FCO-ORD were already almost full. SWUs could not be confirmed in advance on any flights to FCO around that time but the J cabins on the JFK flights were much more lightly loaded. In the end, upgrades came through (for me and companion) 2 days out in both directions. If upgrades are available now for any flights you are considering that should trump all other factors.

2. We may have lucked out, but the T5 to T3 transfer at LHR was trivially easy. It is a longish bus ride but we had the bus to ourselves and had a great view of the underbelly of a giant airport. We also had about a 30 second walk from our T5 gate to the bus. I think it was less than 30 minutes from deplaning at T5 to walking into the BA lounge in T3.

3. The FCO-LHR flight on BA was perfectly pleasant. Intra-Europe business class is the same as coach except for an empty middle seat (sometimes) and a hot versus cold breakfast. We sat in the "flexible" part of the cabin that they extend the business class into if needed, so we got the extra seat pitch too. Because the jetbridge in LHR was attached to 2L on our 767 we actually got off sooner than the business class pax.

4. My wife loves to shop at Harrod's in LHR whenever we transit there.

5. I have done connections in Europe on the outbound before and they are a grind. I agree that they should be avoided if possible.
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Old Nov 20, 12, 9:47 pm
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Originally Posted by tkelvin69 View Post
Thanks for the clarification. My point was to find any European destination that AA serves where a SWU is available and make a short connection to FCO from there.

I think MAD is fine but it certainly is the size of a small city.
6.2 Million population is not a small city
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