Best premium economy seats MSY to Italy-long

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Travelmom4, Oct 6, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Travelmom4

    Travelmom4 Silver Member

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    I'm just beginning to plan a trip to Italy this summer with my family. I know that many of you serious flyers often travel for business, etc. but I need some advice from people who understand flights and routes and who know Italy. My questions are many and there are few places I'm aware of where I can find so much knowledge in one stop.

    My 4 kids, ages 17-10 (who are great travelers) get out of school early this year so we can depart before the summer rush about 5/25. I'm looking at 2.5-3 weeks and my early thought is Rome, Venice and about 10 days in an apartment/villa with friends in Tuscany or Umbria-not necessarily in that order.
    The first question that I am addressing concerns flights. Our home airport is MSY (New Orleans). One of my goals is to limit connections which is not always easy to do from MSY (major hubs we often use are Houston, NY, ATL, MIA). Second priority is a relatively comfortable economy plus type seat but I don't know what airlines/metal might be best.

    My travel dates are flexible between 5/24 and 6/15. Flying into or out of Rome and Venice seems obvious but I'm not wedded to that and know that some airports are cheaper than others/have more flights/etc. My kids travel well and love trains, etc. so we have flexibility there, too. I'm looking for advice on what airports might be best (considering flight prices and availability and general ease of use), who has a comparably decent economy plus type seat, and any other advice from the travel gurus out there.

    Many thanks for your input.
     
  2. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

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    As far as US carriers, your options are United's Economy Plus and Delta's Economy Comfort products. E+/EC is an additional cost on top of the fare, typically depending on the length of the flight.

    I'm not sure if UA does anything in particular for pax in Economy Plus, but know that, on international flights, DL offers free spirits. On DL, domestic EC only offers more leg room; on international flights, there is more recline and leg room. Also, here is the MP thread on DL's EC: LINK

    If you're looking for more of a "real" premium economy product, British Airways and Air France, among others, may offer something at a greater cost.

    A good search engine for fares (just to look, not booking) is ITA Matrix software - (EDIT) http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ - you can do a calendar view and survey options.
     
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  3. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I fly to Italy for two weeks every year at that time. Delta has extensive non-stop service from JFK (on their own metal and Air Italia codeshares) including both Rome and Venice, so if you connect through JFK you could do the trip with only that connection. They also have a very useful (and, in my experience, uncrowded) direct JFK - PSA (Pisa, in Tuscany) flight if you were to decide to cut out Rome and do only the north.

    The fares seem to be running an insane $1500 plus from MSY at present. Three years ago I paid $500 for my spring flight, last year $1200. In prior years, there was change-of-seasons during the third week of May -- leaving a day earlier could save you hundreds of dollars. That does not appear to be true this year (at least, not during that time).

    Last year, I spent a lot of time trying to find cheaper airports and found that pretty much everything into or near Italy within a hundred dollars of the same price. VCE is, as you note, a small airport. The largest nearby international airport is Milan.

    In my experience, open jaws price out within $20 or so of a simple round trip so into FCO and out of VCE (or vice versa) is possible.

    I don't have experience with economy plus, so I can't help you there.

    You mention trains and Italy is an easy country to travel by train in. You will not want a car in Rome or Venice, but you probably will in the central area if you plan on staying in or visiting the countryside.

    If you want any itinerary or location help, I'd be happy to oblige within my limited knowledge.
     
  5. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    Delta's economy confort is a pretty good option, but tough to get an idea of the exact cost before hand.

    I would suggest two different options depending on how you weigh convenience / comfort.

    If you prefer comfort:
    Take a look at Canadian charter carrier Air Transat. For about $1600 round trip, you can fly from Toronto to Rome round-trip on those dates in their business class. It's more like domestic first vs. international business, but you definitely get more room and your kids will feel very special traveling in the front cabin. MSY to Toronto (YYZ) is about $600 round trip, but you can also fly to buffalo and rent a car for the hour and half trip for and save $300/ticket.

    Pricewise, it's similar to flying British Airway's premium economy (world traveller plus), and with a similar hassle factor (two connections).

    If you prefer convenience:
    I would suggest flying US Airways from MSY to PHL and onto Rome.

    Roundtrip flights are inline with Delta $1500 round-trip for coach. US Airways flies their remodelled A330s on the Phillie to Rome route (i would avoid their 767s if you have a choice). Individual TVs and legroom is quite generous.They don't have a premium economy section, but regular coach is quite nice (especially compared to their own 767s). They do sell upgraded meals for $20 as well.

    US airways also sells status, so you can use their trial preferred program to buy either silver or gold status for free bags, priority boarding and access to exit row seats (keep in mind on the US A330s, the exit rows are blocked bulkheads, and on the 767s the exits don't give you that much more room, so not going to help you on the overwater flights), and potentially upgrades on the domestic legs (you will need to split your PNR). At the end of your trip, you also get enough miles to keep silver status for the year. I would wait until you're close to travelling to purchase as it's a 90 day trial. Gold gets lounge access. The official *Gold rule is that you get 1 guest, but club members are allowed to bring all their kids in. A 90-day club member ship is $120, which maybe useful to restock on water, snacks, juices, wifi, recharge electronics, etc.
     
  6. Travelmom4

    Travelmom4 Silver Member

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    Thanks to you all, that gives me plenty to consider. I'm going to play with the possibilities (on the ita software link) and will probably be back with questions.
     
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