So...we need to get to Bari from Rome. Suggested that we fly instead of taking the train. Worry is we have our bike cases with us (2) Thoughts on flying Alitalia? Not worried about the weight for the bike, we will be under the 50lb required. Have one carry one bag each, but betting we get dinged for those. Biggest worry is Alitalia LOSING our bike cases between Rome and Bari. Train is 4 hours, air is 1 hour, but then we have to check in, check the bike, get through security again.... Help me!
I've flown Alitalia 3 times within Italy within the last couple of years, most recently June of this year. I flew: Rome to Florence, Rome to Venice, Florence to Rome I did not have any problems on any of my trips. I had checked luggage on all of the trips.
I am a fan of the trains. 4 hours is about my tipping point to fly rather than take the train, but if you are concerned about losing the bikes...take the train where you can control the situation better.
I flew Alitalia last year from Napoli to Palermo. I had to check my carryon because there wasn't sufficient space in the overhead compartment for it (it's 21 inches). I'd suggest taking the train - planes are more likely to be delayed (my flight was, doubling the flying time of the trip).
I flew Alitalia 2 weeks ago from Florence to Amsterdam. I really recommend taking the train. Alilalia phone customer service actually yelled at me when I called them to arrange seat selection (at Delta's instruction, since it was a code share). Check-in lines were unbelievably long/slow in Florence because of only one or two desks open for a large, early morning flight. Gate control was even worse: one agent and she spent a fair amount of the time talking to her coworkers (who weren't helping with getting us on the plane; not sure what they were doing). Consequently, we were 30 or 40 minutes late leaving Florence. The only reasons I made my connection were an escort that by-passed lines at customs, a sprint through much of Schipol, a cart ride the rest of the way to the gate, and the flight being late in leaving --- I was literally the last person who boarded. And my luggage showed up days later, after multiple phone calls and mis-communications (although that issue is certainly shared between Alitalia and Delta).
Take the train!
One other thought: I've taken the train from Rome to an area that I believe is a little north of Bari (I was heading for San Giovanni Rotondo). I found it to be a surpringly pretty and a pleasant train ride. (I did it in mid-winter, so I wasn't expecting much in term of scenery.) You might enjoy the ride.
Ellen, I would strongly recommend travelling by train on that route. Although the air trip may only be an hour, it will probably take longer as you'll need to allow time to get to the airport, check-in, security, waiting, planing & de-planing, etc. and it will be absolutely be more of a "hassle". Contrast that with boarding the train in Rome and enjoying a leisurely ~4 hour ride with some great scenery and perhaps a meal in the dining car. Depending on how large the bikes are, you should be able to store them in the general area of the luggage racks. Happy travels!
Another vote for taking the train! I would also be tempted to fly, especially if you only had a carry-on & didn't have to worry about checking the bikes. But, with the added bike element, I think I would opt to take the train. As someone else posted, you'll get to enjoy the scenery, take a nap, etc. & you won't have to worry about the bikes as much. The lost luggage issue would be of concern to me and since your bikes are an integral part of your trip, I wouldn't want to worry about them getting lost.
Over the course of my life I've travelled on planes more than I really care for. I've flown over the Atlantic nearly 70 times and logged in hundreds of thousand of miles, including with Alitalia. Although I've had my fair share of delayed or diverted luggage, only once did Alitalia fail to have my bag on board. It was in Athens, but it was due to a very close connection at MXP. The bag was promptly delivered to my hotel with the next flight. The only time my bag was lost and never recovered was actually with Air France, in Paris, the City of Lights and apparently of baggage thieves. All of this to tell you that I don't think that with Alitalia your precious cargo is any more at risk than with other Airlines. Having said that, since the train trip from Rome to Bari nowadays is only 4 hours, I wouldn't bother to fly. By the time you include transfers to/from the airports, security procedures and baggage claim waits, your 1 hour flight will have turn into a 4 hour journey. Then, why not enjoy the views through the Appenines abord a much more comfortable Frecciarossa?
Thanks to everyone who commented. We have decided to take the train. The airline flight times just don't work, and we'd be too rushed trying to get to the new ticket counter to check in the bike cases, get through security and to our gate. We have been to Rome a few times, so it's easy for us to get to the main train station and get a train to our final destination. The time waiting in the airport can be used moving towards our hotel for the night. Even if we arrive at 7-8PM, at least we will be there.