Flying out of Rome (FCO)

Hello, I'm posting a question here that an earlier thread raised for me. I didn't want to highjack that one. I'll be flying out of Rome to the US in November. On another thread a poster mentioned that as a US citizen you need several hours to get through passport/security at FCO due to being bussed from one area to another. I'm flying out on Delta at Noon. I flew out of Venice last year in December on KLA at noon and only needed two hours. Is the general opinion that we will indeed need more time for FCO? Thank You,
Jodi

Posted by Janet
Colorado, USA
506 posts

Last time we flew out of FCO we allowed three hours and needed every minute of it. This was at noon in early September (probably busier than November), but I wouldn't skimp on time.

Posted by Jodi
Mountain House
53 posts

Thanks for the replies. Excellent link Eileen! Normally I would have given myself 3 hours anyway because I always want to budget for the worst time scenario, but I think I'll up it to ensure arrival at the airport by 8am. I would have not known about this whole Terminal 5 thing, so I'm very glad I read the other thread that mentioned it. Now at least I won't be...ahhh....freaking out... when we get to the airport as I now know what to expect. I had forgotten that my flight out of Venice last year was going to Amsterdam and that inter-EU travel made the departure from Venice smoother than straight to the US. I should have also taken into account that I was in a wheelchair which enabled me to breeze through security at all airports.
A whole different game this time!

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5761 posts

Note that the main thing that messed up Ron In Rome in that instance at FCO was that they (his son) had luggage to check. Yet another reason to do carry-on only, if at all possible.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3335 posts

Having a US passport or a passport from Japan makes no difference in the departure time to the US. Also departing from Term 5 has nothing to do with your citizenship. First of all where is your first leg of your flight out of Rome? Are you going directly to the US? or are you connecting somewhere else in Europe. If you connect somewhere else in EU Schengen zone, you must have completed your check in 45 min ahead of departure. So getting there 75 min. ahead is sufficient. If you fly directly from FCO to the US, you must first find out which airline operates your flight. If it's Alitalia you will depart from Term 3. Check in procedures must be completed 1 hr ahead of departure. Since it's a big plane you should be there at least 2 hrs prior to departure. If the flight is operated by a US based airline (US Air, American, United, Delta) you will check in at Term 5 a short distance away from term 3 (via shuttle bus-land side). Term 5 is a check-in and security processing terminal, no planes dock at Term 5. There are no gates there. After you go through check in and security check at Term 5, and enter the "sterile" area, a shuttle bus (airside) will take you from Term 5 (sterile area-airside) the the TErm 3 (sterile area-airside). Once inside term 3, you will join those who don't fly on US based airlines. At that point you take the little people mover to the satellite terminal where all US flights depart from. If you use a US based airline, you may want to give it a little over 2 hrs because of the TErm 5 back and forth procedures.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Fe
24 posts

Just read through all this and I am a bit confused (and maybe getting a tad nervous) Everyone seems to say allow at least 3 hours once arrived at FCO-T5 When I read the Ron In Rome link it says that T5 doesn't open until around 7AM. We have a 9AM departure on Delta to USA So if all of the above is correct, we'd have to be at T5 at 6AM but it doesn't open until 7AM so then we won't have the 3 hours. I want to believe that if they have a 9AM departure schedule then they have it figured out to get us to the plane on time, but then- it's Italy. So...
OK all you experienced FCO-departing-to-USA travelers... are we going to make our plane?

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10881 posts

At 7am you flight will be a connecting flight to another European cities for your direct flight back to the US. You will not go through t-5. Most direct flights back to the US start around noon.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3335 posts

Sharon. RoninRome is correct. Term. 5 does not open before 7. am because the first flight to the US operated by a US based airline departs only at 9:40am. That flight is Delta 241 to Atlanta. You need to post your exact flight so that we can give you better advice.
I don't see any direct flights from FCO to the US at 9.00 am with Delta. Are you sure you are flying directly to the US and not stopping in AMS or CDG first? I see an Alitalia flight at 9:10 am from FCO to JFK which is a Delta Codeshare, but it is operated by Alitalia (Alitalia and Delta are partners). As I explained above if the flight is not operated by a US based airline (in this case it's Alitalia) you will depart from Terminal 3 not 5. If this is your flight you will need to be at terminal 3 for check in procedures approximately 2 hours prior to departure (check in closes 1 hour prior to departure on an intercontinental flight).

Posted by Jeremy
Irvine, CA, United States
107 posts

Glad I read up on this... I was originally planning to take the Leonardo Express. But if my flight (on US Airways) is at 10:50am, do you think I should just take a taxi instead? We're staying near the Opera House a few blocks from Termini. We're not planning on bringing too much luggage. My wife will probably have a rolling suitcase and backpack, and I'll likely be carrying a travel bag on my back.

Posted by Frank
Wilmington, DE
1476 posts

My personal experience at Rome airport (FCO) is more in line with what Roberto says. I arrive at the airport 9:00-ish for an 11:15 departure and am always at the gate well before boarding begins. I check-in online and have only carry-on luggage, which allows me to go directly from the first security desk to the security screening line (i.e. I skip the long line for baggage check and seat assignments). If seats at the gate are scarce, I go to one of the cafes, buy a drink or snack and nurse it sitting at a table. I wouldn't recommend taking up a table for hours, but it does get you off your feet for a while.

Posted by Robert
Liberty, Missouri
96 posts

@ Jeremy IMO It will certainly be easier to take a taxi to T5 than taking the L.E. to the airport and then catching the shuttle bus from where the train arrives to T5. It will be around 20 Euros more but will be from the front door of your hotel to the front door of T5. Many would say that is money well spent for the ease of it all. But it is your choice.

Posted by Katherine
Philadelphia, PA, United States
173 posts

I might also mention that when my husband and I (both in our 80s) flew back with our grandson from FCO on US Airways in November the waiting area had 18 seats for the 200+ people on the plane. People were sitting on the floor all over. We leaned against a wall for two hours. I assume this is because US Airways is a stepchild in FCO's view. Other waiting areas had plenty of seats.

Posted by Cliff
Texas
120 posts

Not to scare you anymore. Just keep patient and all should be fine. I had my id and passport checked at least 9 times from the front door of the airport to the time I got on the plane. It was checked at the gate, halfway down the gangway, and once more for good measure. Must be that great socialist government that pays people to work redundant jobs. We had pre-arranged a private car transfer that once on the highway in Rome literally flew to the airport saving loads of time! All will be fine!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3335 posts

Cliff:
You got checked so much because to the Europeans Texas is a rogue State that sponsors cowboy terrorism.

Posted by Jeremy
Irvine, CA, United States
107 posts

Thanks Roberto! If we do opt to take the taxi for that flight time, what would you say is a good time to leave? And likewise for the Leonardo Express? EDIT: actually, it seems the SITBus is the lowest-priced option. Where does that drop you off in relation to where the shuttle bus to T5 is?

Posted by Cliff
Texas
120 posts

You could be right Roberto. Amazing how people respond when they hear I am from Texas. Immediate questions about Oil wells, pistols, and riding horses and western movies!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3335 posts

@ Jeremy: If your flight is a US Airways flight (to PHL I suppose) you will do the checkin procedures at Terminal 5. The Leonardo Express stops at the FCO station in front to Term. 3. From there (in front of term 3), take the stairs downstairs and take the free shuttle bus to Term. 5. Go through the check in and security, then from the Sterile area (airside) you'll take a shuttle bus that travels through the tarmac back to Term. 3, where you get off and take your flight. The Leonardo express option costs 14 euro per person. If you prefer the taxi, the cost is about 50 euro. Make sure you tell the taxi driver to take you all the way to Term. 5 because they automatically drop people off at term. 3, and then you'd need to take the shuttle bus (then what's the purpose of taking a taxi). If your flight is at 10:50 get at term. 5 at about 8:30 and you'll have more than sufficient time. By taxi allow 30 min., by train it's about one hour, including walking to the station from your hotel in time for getting on the train, train ride and taking the shuttle from term 3 to term. 5. @ Cliff:
If you really want to be popular in Italy, dress like a true Texan, with cowboy hat and boots. You'll have plenty of kids asking to take a picture with you (no pistols, they aren't allowed in Italy).

Posted by Jerry
Lansing, MI
20 posts

This is really good information. My wife and I signed up for our first RS tour, the 17 day Italy tour. We plan to stay 4 more days around Naples before heading home. If we are going back to Rome for one night before flying out would it be better just to get a hotel by the airport? If so does anyone have any suggestions based on personal experience? Thanks.

Posted by Jeremy
Irvine, CA, United States
107 posts

Thanks again Roberto. Yes, this flight goes on to PHL on US Airways. From the looks of the maps on RoninRome's site, it looks like the SITBus from Termini makes a stop just on the left side (front-facing) of Terminal 3. I'm assuming the free shuttle to T5 is either around there or close as well?

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2848 posts

Jerry: Ron in Rome has a VERY thorough discussion about whether it's better to stay in Rome or at the airport for a morning flight. Here it is.

Posted by annette
scottsdale, arizona
50 posts

question please: leaving fco for the states at 930am--should we drop the car off the day night before and take a cab etc to get to the aiport as suggested OR is it rather easy ?? to drop the car off AT THE AIPORT BEFORE our morning flight?
thanks everyone

Posted by Sharon
Santa Fe
24 posts

Roberto- thanks for your reply. We booked our flight through KLM The itinerary sent to us states that we depart FCO/terminal 5.... 23 March on Delta #241 non stop to Atlanta departing at 8:55AM arriving Atlanta 15:10 (duration 11:15 hr) Your info says Delta flight 241 departs 9:40AM hmmmm
what do you think is going on here?

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3335 posts

Sharon, departure times vary depending on time of year. Your flight departs at 9.55 am in February (today for example), at 9:40 am in May (when I checked in the previous post) and at 8:55 on March 23 (your ticket is correct). The 8:55 departure is actually unusually early for a flight to the US. It is due to the fact that the US, since 2007, switches to Daylight Savings Time 3 weeks earlier (in Mid-March), two weeks ahead of Europe. This causes the arrival from ATL tone earlier during those two weeks and therefore the winter departure is 8,55 local time instead of 9,55 like today. On March 23 therefore your flight will be the very first out of terminal 5. I think arriving there 2 hours prior would be sufficient. 2.5 hours is more than you need, but if it makes you feel better, get there at 6:30. You'll probably have extra time to kill. For sure Italians won't be there that early. They already think 1.50 hrs ahead is too much.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Fe
24 posts

Ha! Well, all four of my grandparents were born in Italy and I have lived in New Mexico- the land of maƱana- for 32 years. I'm right there with the Italians.
We'll get to the airport around 7AM. That seems like plenty of time in this situation. Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by Jerry
Lansing, MI
20 posts

Thanks Harold for the link to hotels. That link will be helpful.

Posted by Audrey
Keizer, Oregon, USA
577 posts

Very helpful info on this thread and I now know my party of four should take a taxi from our hotel to Terminal 5. We have a direct United flight from FCO to Newark at 9:50 am. They will want to check luggage. We will be at Terminal 5 before 7 when it opens. Thanks to all.

Posted by Jodi
Mountain House
53 posts

This has all been helpful and thanks for all of the replies!
Roberto, I misstated that it would take long due to being a US citizen. I meant that I was flying straight from Rome to JFK. I've just added "taxi to fco TERMINAL 5!!" as my last itinerary entry for our trip this year.