What would you fly?

Old May 30, 09, 6:43 am
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What would you fly?

Going from MAD to ROme and then from Rome to DUS in September. Since these are short flights, I would like to do it cheaply. Does anyone have experience on these routes? I would like to get in to Dusseldorf early and Air Berlin has flights but with stopovers. What is it like to change planes on Air Berlin?
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Old May 30, 09, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by gungadin View Post
Going from MAD to ROme and then from Rome to DUS in September. Since these are short flights, I would like to do it cheaply. Does anyone have experience on these routes? I would like to get in to Dusseldorf early and Air Berlin has flights but with stopovers. What is it like to change planes on Air Berlin?
For MAD-ROM direct you have the following options:

Ryanair, flies to Ciampino airport (CIA) which is actually closer to the city centre than the larger Fiumicino (FCO) airport, although getting there cheaply means first a bus ride and then changing to subway. FCO has a direct train connection to Roma Termini (main) station.

Easyjet who also flies to CIA.

Vueling flies to FCO, as do Iberia and Alitalia/AirOne or whatever sorry wreck it is nowadays called.

I would go with the cheapest option, avoiding Ryanair (they're nasty). Use www.skyscanner.net to check prices for the budget carriers, and Expedia or similar for the traditional airlines. If you need to check in luggage IB or AZ might turn out to be more competetive as the luggage fees on locos can be prohibitive. Of these airlines, only AZ has free service in economy, but that is very minimal anyway so not really a deciding factor.

As for FCO-DUS, go with Air Berlin. It's a very good airline. Even though they brand themselves as a loco they are more like a traditional route carrier that offers connections and even free soft drinks and sandwiches or snacks on board. I see direct flights being available at some days, but maybe not on your specific ones. There seem to be connections available via VIE, TXL and HAM. Connecting with AB is not really different to any other airline, you get all your boarding passes at FCO and simply transfer to your gate at the connecting point - usually you don't need to pass any security on these intra-Schengen flights. Also your luggage is checked through.

As for the above connection points, I would recommend either HAM (a very handy airport that's a breeze to connect in) or VIE (in which case FCO-VIE will be actually operated by Austrian loco Niki, who are an affiliate of AB and offer similar high standards aboard although the crew uniforms are jeans and a silly hat and shirt...). VIE can get crowded, depending on which gates you use, especially the B bus gates that AB and HG usually use are quite a dump and require security rescreening. I would avoid TXL, it is otherwise a decent airport BUT AB uses both the main terminal and the "low cost warehouse" and in a worst case scenario you arrive at one but depart from the other. This requires some outdoor walking and cannot be done airside, plus takes some time. Of course you might get lucky and do it all inside a single terminal in which case it's a doddle.
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Old May 31, 09, 5:08 am
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Thanks for that extremely useful post! You have made my life much easier.
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