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rbslos18

Flights to Rome advice

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Our transatlantic cruise offers the following options for SDF-FCO (Louisville to Rome). What would you advise?

1) Daytime flights with one stop in US (ATL, EWR or IAD) then non-stop to Rome. The flights arrive in the morning. So two flights. vs

2) Late afternoon or early evening flights with two stops...one in the US and one in Europe (AMS, CDG, MUC). The flights arrive in the early afternoon and involve 3 flights in total.

 

The two flight itineraries are less expensive for business class than the three stop itineraries. What would you choose?

Thanks and Happy New Year and travels!

RB

 

 

 

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I'd do the two fights.  One less connection to make and for me, less stress that I will miss a flight.  

 

A few months ago we flew Denver to Chicago and then overnight to Rome arriving at about 10:00 AM. We stayed in  Rome a few days prior to getting on the ship.  In Rome we were able to store our luggage at our hotel and explore a bit before our room was ready.  Once we got in our room, we took a nap 🙂 

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The fewer stops the better. Only problem I have with morning arrival is a late check-in at hotel - try to find a hotel where you can get early check-in - alternatively book from the night before.

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I always choose the least amount of connections, less stress, less opportunity for problems. Most hotels in Rome will hold your bags while you go take a stroll, or join a walking tour. 

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1 hour ago, hallasm said:

The fewer stops the better. Only problem I have with morning arrival is a late check-in at hotel - try to find a hotel where you can get early check-in - alternatively book from the night before.

 

Early check in is always going to be am issue of available rooms. If they were full last night, early check in is not going to happen. Sometimes you get lucky...

 

Have never had a hotel refuse to hold bags for guests who are going to be staying there tonight. Drop your bags off and go for a stroll. Grab lunch. Stay enjoying Rome.

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26 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

 

Early check in is always going to be am issue of available rooms. If they were full last night, early check in is not going to happen. Sometimes you get lucky...

 

Have never had a hotel refuse to hold bags for guests who are going to be staying there tonight. Drop your bags off and go for a stroll. Grab lunch. Stay enjoying Rome.

I can just imagine how tired I will be after a 15 to 20 hours flight - landing in Rome at 7 am. Personally I would arrange for hotel  😴   - but we are all different. 

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2 hours ago, hallasm said:

I can just imagine how tired I will be after a 15 to 20 hours flight - landing in Rome at 7 am. Personally I would arrange for hotel  😴   - but we are all different. 

 

As much as I enjoy having a room to shower after a long flight, it’s too tempting to lay down and nap. If I nap that day of arrival, I’m screwed for many days; however, if I stay awake and move around, get fresh air and exercise, and crash early (day 9pm asleep), any jet lag is cured the next morning. 

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20 hours ago, Zach1213 said:

 

As much as I enjoy having a room to shower after a long flight, it’s too tempting to lay down and nap. If I nap that day of arrival, I’m screwed for many days; however, if I stay awake and move around, get fresh air and exercise, and crash early (day 9pm asleep), any jet lag is cured the next morning. 

I do the same, no matter how long I've been traveling, even to farther flung places like Asia or Middle East. I always just push through the first day. I find once I get walking I get re-energized, then it's usually no problem to enjoy the day. My bar is to try to stay up until 8pm or so, and then take a Sleep gel by Olly, and crash for a good 10 hours. Next morning I'm generally on the new time and feeling pretty good. 

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When flying International Business Class we have a slightly different philosophy then domestic.  As others have said, the few flights (and changes) the better.  The more times you change planes the more the risk of a missed connection, misrouted luggage, etc.  That being said, one does also need to consider price vs benefit.  By the way, we also have a habit of choosing flights where we have more time between flights rather then a tight connection.   With Business Class we generally have access to comfort lounges and we would rather have that extra time to relax and reduce the stress from worrying about a tight connection.  

 

With Business we also pay a lot of attention to the type aircraft and seating configuration.  One can look at SeatGuru.com or the airline's own web site (or both) to get a handle on seating options.   One airlines "business class seat" many not be nearly as nice as another....not to mention service, food, etc.  With International Business we always look for lay flat seats (not near flat).  And why the US major airlines generally lag the rest of the world when it comes to comfy Business Class...we did recently find the exception to that rule.  We had the pleasure (and it was a real pleasure) of flying Business on one of Delta's new A350s (primarily used for flights between the USA and parts of Asia) and really liked the seating (essentially mini-compartments.  But unfortunately, the food was still "Delta food" which really lags the competition.

 

Hank

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the only way to guarantee your room is available before posted check in time is to book it for the night before.  Contact the hotel directly to be sure they understand you won't be there that night, but will be there early in the morning.  

 

I'm with those who book business flights with the longer connecting times.  I have no problem going to the airline lounge to relax and have a bite and a beverage.  I don't like to be hurried during my travels.  

 

Definitely check one of the seating websites to see which seats are best for the airline and plane type!  I found my favorites on Alitalia that way - pretty private pods with no one next door to me...

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59 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

the only way to guarantee your room is available before posted check in time is to book it for the night before.  Contact the hotel directly to be sure they understand you won't be there that night, but will be there early in the morning.  

 

Not entirely necessary.

 

Certain hotels are much more geared around flexible arrivals. For example, I always stay at The Peninsula in Hong Kong and use their arrivals service (met at the jetbridge and escorted through immigration to waiting RR Phantom curbside). Whenever I fly into HK I arrive in the morning, sometimes as early as 6am, and my room/suite has always been ready upon arrival. They now have "Peninsula Time"  which allows for a true 24hrs when booking a one night stay. I have always booked my stays at The Peninsula through either my Virtuoso travel agent, or American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts and they can work these things out with the hotel for you.

 

Now, there is no Peninsula in Rome but plenty of higher end hotels (13 Virtuoso hotels) where getting something as routine as an early arrival accommodated should be no issue.

 

 

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22 hours ago, fbgd said:

 

Not entirely necessary.

 

Certain hotels are much more geared around flexible arrivals. For example, I always stay at The Peninsula in Hong Kong and use their arrivals service (met at the jetbridge and escorted through immigration to waiting RR Phantom curbside). Whenever I fly into HK I arrive in the morning, sometimes as early as 6am, and my room/suite has always been ready upon arrival. They now have "Peninsula Time"  which allows for a true 24hrs when booking a one night stay. I have always booked my stays at The Peninsula through either my Virtuoso travel agent, or American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts and they can work these things out with the hotel for you.

 

Now, there is no Peninsula in Rome but plenty of higher end hotels (13 Virtuoso hotels) where getting something as routine as an early arrival accommodated should be no issue.

 

 

Not every hotel is like the Peninsula brand.  They are the exception, not the rule.  And, most people I read here are not of the level to use Virtuoso and have the AMEX Plat or Centurion to have the FHR Concierge available to advocate for them ("cheap but clean" is the buzz phrase) I've worked at St. Regis where SPG Plats had the "my 24" program.  My reservations director never approved one - it meant a room out of rotation for 2 days instead of 1, and we only were paid for 1 day (or less if it was a points stay).   A hotel that is full can't give you a room before probably at least an hour past posted check out time - Housekeeping has to have time to clean the room (a quality hotel takes about 50-60 minutes per basic room, more for a suite).  

My current hotel does not participate in FHR.  I still have people come up and wave their Plat and Centurion card and say they get special bennies...  

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30 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

Not every hotel is like the Peninsula brand.  They are the exception, not the rule.  And, most people I read here are not of the level to use Virtuoso and have the AMEX Plat or Centurion to have the FHR Concierge available to advocate for them ("cheap but clean" is the buzz phrase) I've worked at St. Regis where SPG Plats had the "my 24" program.  My reservations director never approved one - it meant a room out of rotation for 2 days instead of 1, and we only were paid for 1 day (or less if it was a points stay).   A hotel that is full can't give you a room before probably at least an hour past posted check out time - Housekeeping has to have time to clean the room (a quality hotel takes about 50-60 minutes per basic room, more for a suite).  

My current hotel does not participate in FHR.  I still have people come up and wave their Plat and Centurion card and say they get special bennies...  

 Totally agree. A very small number of higher end hotels act in this manner. Not the average hotel at all.

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On 12/27/2018 at 5:27 PM, rbslos18 said:

The two flight itineraries are less expensive for business class than the three stop itineraries. What would you choose?

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure why this is even a question.  2 flight business class is cheaper than 3 flight business class...seems like a no brainer to me.  Every additional connection just adds the potential of a screw up so why pay more for that option? 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/1/2019 at 12:40 PM, slidergirl said:

Not every hotel is like the Peninsula brand.  They are the exception, not the rule.  And, most people I read here are not of the level to use Virtuoso and have the AMEX Plat or Centurion to have the FHR Concierge available to advocate for them ("cheap but clean" is the buzz phrase) I've worked at St. Regis where SPG Plats had the "my 24" program.  My reservations director never approved one - it meant a room out of rotation for 2 days instead of 1, and we only were paid for 1 day (or less if it was a points stay).   A hotel that is full can't give you a room before probably at least an hour past posted check out time - Housekeeping has to have time to clean the room (a quality hotel takes about 50-60 minutes per basic room, more for a suite).  

My current hotel does not participate in FHR.  I still have people come up and wave their Plat and Centurion card and say they get special bennies...  

 

Fair point about the Peninsula, but having a Virtuoso TA doesn't cost anything (except I did have to tell my prospective TA when I joined them how much I spent on luxury hotels annually), and Amex Platinum is pretty common amongst anyone who travels with any regularity, or at least it should be.

 

Picking a random date some of the Virtuoso hotels in Rome in the low $300s per night. We aren't talking about particularly high bar of entry here. 

 

You don't have to be an FHR hotel for Amex Platinums/Centurions to get benefits. Those and even American Express Golds get some benefits at non-FHR hotels through the Hotel Collection program. When my wife stayed at one of those hotels she was told she would need to show her Platinum Card at check-in.

 

 

 

Edited by fbgd

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1 hour ago, fbgd said:

 

Fair point about the Peninsula, but having a Virtuoso TA doesn't cost anything (except I did have to tell my prospective TA when I joined them how much I spent on luxury hotels annually), and Amex Platinum is pretty common amongst anyone who travels with any regularity, or at least it should be.

 

Picking a random date some of the Virtuoso hotels in Rome in the low $300s per night. We aren't talking about particularly high bar of entry here. 

 

You don't have to be an FHR hotel for Amex Platinums/Centurions to get benefits. Those and even American Express Golds get some benefits at non-FHR hotels through the Hotel Collection program. When my wife stayed at one of those hotels she was told she would need to show her Platinum Card at check-in.

 

 

 

Again, she is using an AMEX program to book.  Not the same as FHR but it can yield some bennies.   And you must book through AMEX or an AMEX TA.  You can't just book yourself somewhere other than AMEX, show up and expect those bennies.   The Hotel Collection didn't exist when I was at St. Regis, so I am not totally up on it.  I have my PLAT, but I book my hotels on the hotel website where I can get my loyalty rate - I always check with FHR if I want one of those hotels.  I don't need upgrades (not in the room all that long), I get breakfast via my loyalty program, I don't use the spa and I don't dine at the hotel (outside of breakfast).  So, for me, FHR or Hotel Collection doesn't really yield much.   OH - interesting point here: at my current hotel, many reservations booked by a guest through AMEX actually come to us via Expedia and is marked as an Expedia res.  I wonder if amextravel.com uses the Expedia pipeline for non-specialty reservations...

 

Many people here on CC aren't savvy enough to know about Virtuoso.  They book on Expedia, Booking, and the like many times.  And, if you read the Italy forums, they are looking for rooms at $200 for the high end.  Your $300 would be out of their price range.  Me?  I'm still mourning the loss of my $89-$98 employee rates at the Westin Rome and Westin Florence... 

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When we fly to Europe, I usually try to find a good British Airways fare, either Premium Economy or Business Class.  We are using points from two British Airways credit cards for Business Class this time:  FCO-LHR in economy, and LHR-MIA in Business Class.  I like them because all there flights go into Heathrow.  We stay over night (or 2), and then fly economy to our final destination.  Cheaper, and all non-stop flights.  Coming back, like this time, it's economy, then business.

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We recently flew from Washington Dulles IAD to Frankfurt, with a connection to Rome.  It was the evening Lufthansa flight and then a flight to Rome on a cramped Airbus.  Maybe all short-haul flights are like that, and maybe all are really cramped during the week between Christmas and New Year's, but I have to say it was pretty uncomfortable.  We love Lufthansa, but if we ever do that same itinerary (DC to Rome) I'd be looking for an alternative.  Also, the connection was a bit frustrating because my husband needed a wheelchair due to back problems.  In Frankfurt, if you ask for a wheelchair, you may or may not get it.  When you get off the plane there, you are asked if you can walk a little bit.  If you say yes, you may get a wheelchair from the plane to the gate, but then you may have to wait for a cart to pick you up to take you to your connecting gate.  (You may also have to board a plane that is out on the tarmac, which means you may end up going up or down quite a few steps.) We waited an hour for the cart - very frustrating.  My husband was told that next time, when asked if he could walk a little, it would be best for him to say he can't.  Then they'll send a wheelchair with someone who can take you the whole way.  We did that on our trip home and the service was prompt and complete.  Frankfurt is a good airport, but when you go from an international flight to a domestic (Euro) one, it can be a bit of a lengthy, confusing process.

 

After the Frankfurt to Rome flight, we didn't have to worry about getting a room early, as it was already close to 2 PM.  However, we stayed over in Barcelona when coming home, and worried a little bit about having to leave our bags at the hotel after we disembarked around 9:30, and going somewhere until our room was available.  However,  the hotel (one in the Room Mate Hotel chain, not cushy but quite comfortable) offered us an open room in a higher category for 15 euros more.  We took that one and that worked well for us.   You never really know what might be available unless you ask....

 

There is a chance that an airline can sell you an upgrade to premium economy or business class at the last minute.  We took advantage of that offer from Lufthansa coming back from Frankfurt, upgrading to business from premium economy.  It doesn't hurt to ask right away when you get to the airport.  

 

As for what flights to choose, I've learned from experience that while 2 hours sounds like a long time between connecting flights, in many airports it isn't.  We hate Heathrow, and don't particularly like Charles de Gaulle.  Frankfurt in the past worked well for us, but this recent experience left us less impressed.  We could have gone to NYC for a non-stop flight to Rome, but decided not to do that, given that the weather in late December might be bad, and we didn't want any surprises. 

 

 

Edited by roothy123

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