Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

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ericskitei
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Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#1 Post by ericskitei »

Trying to begin planning out Europe trip next summer.

Ideally want to spend 10 days in Italy (Florence and Rome a must but will work another spot or two in), 5-7 days in Paris and 3-4 days in London as I’m trying to accommodate everyone’s desires.

Trying to figure out the best route to take from LA and back. I.E- fly to Italy, then hit Paris and head to London from there? I want to factor in cost but also convenience.

Any help would be appreciated!!

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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#2 Post by M.Kaplan »

Fly to Rome. Train (or drive) Rome-Florence depending if you want to stop along the way. Fly Florence to Paris. Eurostar Paris to London. Fly London back home.
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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#3 Post by JViolini »

You are too far out to book things for next summer & schedules (airlines') will most likely change and probably add flights. I'd just do some dummy bookings for later this year or early next to get a rough draft. Direct flights from the West Coast to Italy come and go with the season and in the last years were the first to get cut from the next season's schedule when things slow down. I would imagine a few more direct flights to Italy next year so my comments below may be moot.

I used to fly about 200,000 miles a year on 30-50 flights so I speak from experience in the "mileage game".
My issue with the itinerary is Italy because it may require a little backtracking from the trip that I would do. I would prefer to visit (in order) London-Paris-Italy in terms of travel ease or do Italy in between the other two cities which may give you the best schedule/price.

1) You're going to be buying multiple tickets. You'll have one ticket for your transatlantic flights to/from LA & then your intra EU one way flights.
You need to be searching as a multi-city ticket LAX-FCO/FLR and LHR-LAX, LAX-LHR and FCO/FLR-LAX and then from there you can get a cheap one way flight from Italy to Paris. Then you can take the train from Paris to London. Honestly it's a shorter time traveling instead of having to go from the center of both London & Paris all the way out to Heathrow or CDG.
The only hiccup is that Italian airlines are pretty lacking when it comes to connections/codeshare/ticketing partners. You're going to be relying on British Airways, Air France or one of the 3 USA legacies to get you from LA to Europe. Lufthansa could get you there but it's going to require more connections and traveling to Germany to and from Europe so I don't think there is going to be a price where it makes it worth the extra travel.

I'd also consider looking at LAX-CDG LHR-LAX or LAX-LHR CDG-LAX to get you to Europe and then forgo the Eurostar and then you'd have 3 one way EU flights instead of 2 + train. London-Italy-France or France-Italy-London. This is probably going to give you the best schedule choices (not having to rely on making a connection to Italy on your transatlantic flight).

Also I would suggest NOT booking "separate tickets" (it may something like that on your search site) if you end up doing something that has a connection after your transatlantic flight. If the first one is delayed and you're on seperate tickets it could create a bigger headache because both airlines may kick your back and forth saying it's not their problem you're not "protected" and they don't have to rebook you. During summer you could get SOL and have a the group split up on a bunch of flights trying to get you from Frankfurt or London to Rome.
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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#4 Post by Ian Sutton »

Hi Eric
I can't help on flights, but would argue that 10 days for Rome and Florence would give you plenty to do and see without wasting precious holiday time spent getting to/from another base. That's not to say you can't incorporate a wine touring day out of Florence, or a day trip to Frascati from Rome, or day trips to places such as Lucca, Carrara, Bologna, Siena, San Gimignano etc. FWIW when planning I like to have day trip 'options' prepared, but usually not booked. Thus when we are in situ, we can make a call on how we feel / what we fancy. We might do one every 2-3 days or none at all.

The trains are good in Italy and trading up to 1st class (booking in advance) can be excellent value and a good experience in its own right.

You can also get the train between Paris and London, going through the channel tunnel (aka the chunnel). This gets you closer to the centre at both ends, so should be easier. Given you are staying in both cities, I would recommend that rather than flying.

Whilst you could also train from Italy to Paris, that's a much longer journey (~8 hours from Torino to Paris IIRC), so based on your destinations, that would eat up much more time than via airports. Still, it's an experience I do want to do, as the ability to move around, take your own picnic and wine onboard, plus easier views etc. means such journeys can be a joy rather than a chore.

If going for flights to the UK, watch out for baggage weight restrictions /charges on budget carriers (e.g. Ryanair & EasyJet). Both are typically unpleasant experiences, but when convenient, I'll still use them (e.g. out of the way airports might be ideal for where I'm going). Note also that Stansted is a fair way from London (though Heathrow & Gatwick aren't exactly close)

In terms of direction, I'd be tempted to reverse the order - London will feel the most familiar in terms of language spoken/written, so might be the best location when jet-lagged / tired from the flight. From there to Paris and then onto the 1st Italian city and then the 2nd one (which you'll fly out of).
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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#5 Post by Scott Jameson »

If you're flying in premium classes, departure taxes can be significant, and vary greatly between airports and countries. We saved about $400 each on a trip this fall by returning to the US from CDG (with a connection at LHR) compared to starting our return home at LHR. This would argue for London first and returning from France or Italy.

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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#6 Post by Adam Frisch »

I've spent my last 25 years on planes and can't give you specific route advice, but I can tell you which airports and airlines to avoid:

Avoid all American carriers if you're looking for service and higher quality. Also, never connect within the US coming back, as then you have re-check luggage - always connect somewhere outside. Out of the Euro-carriers I would avoid most national flag carriers. I know a lot of people think Lufthansa and BA are great, but they're not. Swiss, SAS, KLM, TAP, LOT and Turkish are the only exceptions, in my book. They're pretty good. CDG is hell, avoid connecting there if you can (plus, Air France is on the shit list).

If you have to do low-cost carriers within Europe, EasyJet and Norwegian are the way to go. Never, ever do Ryanair or you will be slitting your wrists or fall into sever alcoholism.

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Last edited by Adam Frisch on July 26th, 2021, 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#7 Post by Eric Z. »

Scott Jameson wrote: July 26th, 2021, 7:55 am If you're flying in premium classes, departure taxes can be significant, and vary greatly between airports and countries. We saved about $400 each on a trip this fall by returning to the US from CDG (with a connection at LHR) compared to starting our return home at LHR. This would argue for London first and returning from France or Italy.
oddly enough I find the taxes/fees to be higher outbound towards LHR vs inbound back to the US from LHR. On an award booking BA wanted $758 per business class ticket for JFK > LHR > JTR (santorini) but if we did the trip the reverse JTR > LHR > JFK the taxes/fees went to below $400/ticket.

Again this is for premium class seats and when trying to use points it hurts to pay $800+. Also at least with award ticketing BA charges seat assignments too. If paying in cash you may have to pay for a more expensive "package" to pick your seats in advance.

It will be a balancing act between saving money vs saving time at each location. Its a balance you need to figure out personally.
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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#8 Post by ericskitei »

Thank you everyone for the advice !!! Lots of great info to think about. As someone indicated above, Flights and Hotels don't appear to be booking next July as they stop in June.

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Re: Need advice on Flying to from Europe with multiple cities

#9 Post by Eric Z. »

ericskitei wrote: July 26th, 2021, 8:16 pm Thank you everyone for the advice !!! Lots of great info to think about. As someone indicated above, Flights and Hotels don't appear to be booking next July as they stop in June.
https://onemileatatime.com/when-do-airl ... ard-seats/

2 year old article and doesn't cover every airline but award seats are released the same time as cash pay seats. So as you can see, each airline has a 3xx day in advance posting of flights. Of course they always add new flights, especially seasonal ones, as the time gets closer to the actual departure time.
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