I am traveling to Italy & France this summer (May 19-23 to July 13-19 - these are flexible dates). I will be flying from Toronto to Rome and departing from Paris to Toronto. I have been researching so many sites for many hours (mostly in the evenings), looking for reviews on airlines and good fares. I have been looking into Air France, Air Canada (flew with them last year - it was okay. I felt crammed); British Airways, and Lufthansa. I read some recent negative reviews about Air France, British Airways (mostly their meals) and Lufthansa. I was surprised about Air France and Lufthansa b/c I thought that they would be up there but I guess it depends on what flight you are on.
What airlines would you recommend?
What sites would you recommend for getting great flight deals? I have been on Expedia.ca, Travelocity,ca, Orbtiz, Cheaptickets, CheapOair, trip advisor, mobissimo, and fare compare. I also go directly to the airlines website but I haven't received anything cheaper than what is given to me through the discount sites. I read a few postings by people recommending the airline websites b/c they are cheaper but I don't find that they are. Do you?
I'd go by train. Distances in France and Italy aren't too large, there are good discount programmes, it's less polluting, plus you get to see much more of the countries you're visiting.
Only a week for such a long distance? I guess if you are only going to visit Rome and Paris - and you will need at least a few days to experience each - then you could try one of the partner airlines to whichever one you are using to get to Europe, to see if you could get the Rome - Paris fare for a nominal add-on. I've forgotten which airlines are members of which partnerships though. It should be listed on the respective websites.
Whoops, just realised that it is not a week, but two months, in which case I'd second Bentivogli's suggestion about travelling by train. From your side of the pond Rail Europe is probably the best bet re putting together an itinerary.
Well, all meals will come from the airport catering service in Toronto, Rome or France if you fly economy. So food will be pretty much identical on all airlines. (Don't stress about it, there is nothing you can do.)
What you can do is look up what sort of craft the various airlines will likely use to fly the route and what kind of seatpitch the airline uses with this craft on this route.
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Apr-2009, at 13:28 by t_maia ]
As far as airlines between YYZ and W. Europe go, let's list the possibilities and weed out the bad ones:
to Rome I would avoid Alitalia, Iberia and all US carriers. You will get no bargains for those dates - that's PEAK! I also imagine you want a nonstop to Europe from Canada? If not, you could include many more options from Chicago and New York. I have always liked BA personally. You should price the difference between an open-jaw ticket into Rome and out of Paris vs a roundtrip fare YYZ to LHR, CDG or FRA with connections on LCC's to your final destination. Cheapest is normally LHR and FRA because these are the largest markets in EU.
I went to Mobissimo and Whichbudget and found a good fare - about $730. for a nonstop YYZ-CDG/Paris on Air France - this is roundtrip.
from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Rome Fiumicino - AIR BERLIN OR VUELING (approx 40EU each way) - this is also a very nice overnight train trip - probably more expensive than flying these days.
You're always going to find complaints about even the best of airlines. I've never been on AF, but it is 4*. AF give you slightly more seat room than BA. My choice would be AF for comfort and non-stop flights.
I went back and checked YYZ-ROM for that period and it was actually cheaper than RT to Paris! AF was approx $666. - all flights to Rome are by connection/1 stop except for the dreaded Alitalia!
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Apr-2009, at 16:56 by Daawgon ]
Thanks for your help. I have been looking at Air Transat for about $700 (multi-city flight) and Air Canada. I have been told by several people to stay away from Alitalia. I found that my flight with BA was long and that I would have to stop in one airport (Heathrow) and take another flight from the other airport (forget the name!).
I need some help with my itinerary. The first has to do with places to visit and the second has to do with the order.
I'm having a bit of a tough time planning what cities to see b/c many cities are full of museums, churches, and other historical buildings that I don't feel, would want to spend all of my time seeing on this trip. I don't mind going through a few historical buildings and churches but I think b/c of the way I feel, I'm looking for some things to do like cooking class and spa in Tuscany, hiking in Cinque Terre, sitting somewhere and observing people, the locals. Actually, I would love to be around more of the local areas rather than waiting in line for 2 hours to get in somewhere or being around a lot of tourists.
I'm looking forward to Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Positano and Island of Capri. I wasn’t really interested in going to Rome or Florence but have received quite a few messages from other people who were quite surprised that I wasn’t visiting these places. I guess I see these cities as being busy and full of tourists. I thought that I could take a day trip to Florence from Tuscany. I may choose that over Rome. I have been to Rome twice in the past and seen the Vatican and all of the major sites. Mind you, it's been 11 years but do you think there are parts of Rome that are worth seeing and being?
A lot of people have suggested that 5 days in Venice is too long. It's ironic b/c my sister and her friend were there for almost 2 weeks! I don't know how they did it but they enjoyed being there. Mind you, some days, they just hung out and didn't tour. I don't mind doing things like this either. I could do journaling, reading and meditating - not sitting there with my legs crossed, and my palms facing up and "humm". lol. More like just walking around, sitting outside somewhere, under at tree or by the water. Some people have suggested going to Padova or Ferrara while visiting Venice. Has anyone been there?
I was told that if I start in Paris, I can get an international train ticket which will save me money in Italy - for trains. However, someone suggested that if I go to Paris first, it will be really hot in Italy by the time I go there. Hmmnn?
Fly into Paris (stay 5-6 days) visiting a few other towns (is this a good time frame)?
Fly or take train to Rome or Venice (the majority say Rome) lol. I thought that if I go to Venice first, then I'm working my way down, right?
Let's use Rome in this example.
Sorrento - Amalfi Coast - Positano - Island of Capri
Cosenza (back to family; breaking up my visit with them by going to Sicily and then back)
Tuscany - Florence (day trip?) - Umbria, Siena, Assisi
Wait! I forgot Venice! I don't know where to put this in since its further north. Would it make sense to go to Venice after Cinque Terre? And from Venice to France?
Fly into Paris.
Take a train or fly into Rome (I'm not sure yet if I will be staying here. However, this is the airport where I will be picked up to visit family in Formia).
Cosenza (see above)
Venice and depart home from here.
P.S. I will check out those flights that you researched.
Try Air Transat or Canadian Affair (who fly on Air Transat. Those were the cheapest airlines I've found, lately.
You can also try out Kayak to search fares. They're pretty thorough.
I thought that I could take a day trip to Florence from Tuscany.