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Air fare from West Coast

We are looking for air fare from SFO (or Oakland) to Venice (Italy), with a stopover in London for about a week on the return flight in mid-June. Is it better to get round trip tickets all the way to Venice with the London stopover, or get round trip tickets to London, and purchase separate round trip tickets between London and Venice. We have a cruis to catch in Venice. Which is a cheapter option? Thank you very much in advance for any advice. Ken

Posted by
5631 posts

Ken, the only way to know this is to price this out. Try using kayak.com or sidestep.com to search for flights.

What I suspect will be the cheapest will be an open jaws ticket flying SFO to Venice and then returning LON to SFO (use the multi-city option). Then price a one-way ticket from Venice to London.

Posted by
80 posts

Steve -

They only have to change airports if they fly into Heathrow.

They could fly into Gatwick, which has plenty of flights from the US.

Best bet, though, is probably going to be open jaw into Venice and out of London.

Get a one way ticket for the middle section on easyjet or similar.

Posted by
3255 posts

Hi Ken,

I think that Northwesterner has a good suggestion--check out Which Budget Airline to determine which airlines fly between Venice and London.

Posted by
508 posts

Ken - British Airways doesn't show up on whichbudget.com but often has very competive prices and they have many flights right out of LHR (non-stop flights from SFO go to LHR). We usually do a stopover in London on the way back so we book our flights either roundtrip SFO to LHR (non-stop) or open jaw into our starting city and returning from London (as Northwesterner suggested). Haven't flown BA from SFO, but they might include a free stopover on the way back.

Last year we saved hundreds of dollars on each ticket, by booking round trip to London and booking our EU flights separately on BA. When coming back into London for your stopover, it doesn't really matter what airport you arrive at because you don't need to worry about an airport transfer.

When you look at the cost of the flight, include any baggages fees and airport transfer fees. For us, our $125 ticket to Istanbul from Heathrow on BA is much more convenient than an $80 flight out of another airport. It does mean we have a four hour layover, but it doesn't seem like that long.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Sharon and Julie, thank you very much for the pointers! Ken

Posted by
16639 posts

The trouble with BA flights to Venice from the west coast is that they involve a transfer to Gatwick for the London to Venice portion. That won't be a problem on the return if you plan to stop in London for a week. But on the way over, it's a hassle after that long flight.

If you want to fly BA and the fares work out, you could consider flying into Milan instead. The Milan flights depart from Heathrow; some go to Malpensa and some to Linate. Once you get into Milano Centrale, it's only 2.5 hours to Venice. I'd go a day early and spend the arrival night someplace pleasant but not far from the airport, maybe on one of the lakes. Then you could train to Venice the next day in plenty of time to meet your cruise ship.

Then you could still fly back from Venice, with the stopover in London.

I always prefer a direct booking to Europe (no stops in the US) and a through booking to my connecting flight on the same ticket. I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and missed flights when flight legs are booked separately, especially on different airlines.

Posted by
1449 posts

I agree with Lola's point; my first priority is finding a flight from the West coast that reaches Europe and connects (if needed) there. Its a lot easier to get flights within Europe than to Europe, should you miss a connection. I've paid a bit more to do this, but for the peace of mind I find it worth it.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you, Lola and Mike, for the info. The option of getting two separate sets of round trip tickets (from SFO to London), and then London to Venice is cheaper by about $250 per person than a single booking from SFO to Venice. However, in the cheaper option, we have to change airline from US Airways to Alitalia, with a window of only 2 hours and 20 minutes. In your experience, is this enough time to change plane (and airline, getting our bags from US Airways and check in at Alitalia within that time frame? Thank you again, Ken

Posted by
80 posts

Ken -

Your post isn't totally clear, but if I understand correctly, you are looking at a RT ticket SFO-LON, and a separate RT ticket from LON-Venice.

Not recommended.

If your first flight is late, and you miss the second flight and the tickets aren't interlined, you're out of luck. Buy a new ticket at the walk up fare.

Additionally, you will have to claim your bags at (I'm assuming) Heathrow, go through immigration, and check in for your second flight.

I wouldn't do it.

Again, look into flying open jaw SFO-Venice and LON-SFO on a single RT ticket with an Easyjet type flight for Venice-London.

If you don't like the fares you're finding through the usual channels, call a travel agent that sells discounted or consolidator fares.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Northwesterner: thank you for the comment. I am indeed concerned about missing the second leg of the journey. Will think through this a bit more. Ken

Posted by
333 posts

SFO to Venice is a tough one. I don't know of any US carrier that offers a direct service to Venice. I usually try to fly into a hub (which tend to have the best deals for airfare) and then take a regional airline in from there. I'm really liking www.skyscanner.net at the moment for regional schedules.

I've flown SFO-IAD-Zurich (which are all United hubs) and then took the hi-speed train from Zurich to Venice the next day. That was actually a very fun trip :)

Edit: Just saw that Lufthansa is offering service to Venice via Munich or Frankfurt. Good sale on if you can change your time to late May ($998 pp)