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Flight amenities on United & transport in Italy

Flying to Rome next month, then will be continuing my trip to Sorrento (as well as Amalfi Coast, Positano, Pompeii)

  • I'm flying from EWR to FCO on United. I've only flown internationally once before and it was on Delta which provided blankets, ear plugs, eye masks. The whole nine. I have my own travel blanket and pillow that can fit into my backpack but it takes up so much space, that I'd love to know if international flights on United (Boeing 767, to be exact) provide the same amenities - or if they at least provide blankets?? I'm always freezing on flights and definitely need one for a nine hour flight.

  • I've read so many posts online about the best way to get from Rome to Sorrento; one of the top suggestions is taking the train which connects in Naples (I've heard iffy stories about this, though, so I'm a little concerned), could also fly from Rome to Sorrento which is less than an hour flight, or train it from Rome to Naples, then get a private car to Sorrento. I should state that I work in Manhattan and take a train every day so I know what to expect in terms of high traffic areas, but as I will be traveling alone and I'm a bit of an anxious traveler, always paranoid of not finding the correct platform and thus missing a train. Plus it sounds like it's a commuter train which would be cramped with luggage and that doesn't seem all that comfortable to me.

I'd appreciate any advice!

Posted by
3477 posts

United only supplies amenities to business and first class. They might supply blankets in coach.

You do get a "free" glass of wine with dinner now in coach.

Posted by
1062 posts

I've done that EWR to FCO and other Italy-bound flights on United several times in the last 2-3 years. They do not offer an eye mask, but they do offer a small pillow and a "blanket." It's a skinny, thin little thing that does not do much to keep you warm. I always - even in the summer - travel with a tightly-rolled up pashmina scarf, that I wrap around me to stay warm on the plane. Re. the trip to Sorrento: check out the RS Italy book; I do believe that there is now a "tourist" train south from Naples that is faster, less populated with pickpockets, and a bit more expensive, than the local Circumsuviana (or whatever it's called) train.

Posted by
935 posts

There really isn't a plane from Rome to Sorrento, unless you are able to charter a seaplane or a helicopter, which would be, I submit, really cool to do.

The closest airport to Sorrento is Naples, so train seems quicker from Rome Termini, which will drop you at Napoli Centrale. You go down the steps to the Circumvesuviana (follow the signs), buy a ticket to Sorrento, and hop on the next train for the trip. Watch your belongings, don't play 3 card monte with strangers, and try to travel from Naples to Sorrento when it is not rush hour. It that doesn't appeal, you can hire a private car.

Check in the RS Italy 2018 or the Lonely Planet guide to Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast for details on travel in that area, or watch these forums.

Posted by
3191 posts

I’m pretty sure that we’ve always received blankets when flying on United from SFO. However, these days, one cannot be sure if the flight is a codeshare or not; and the amenities can vary significantly. I always wear a jacket or sweater for the trip to the airport, if for no other reason than Bay Area summer mornings can be really chilly. That and the thin blanket provided keep me warm enough. The jacket can also be rolled up to form a makeshift pillow.

Posted by
7205 posts

And even if it "is" their policy to provide you these trivial amenities - airlines really don't give a flip about so you're still not guaranteed anything on a flight.

Posted by
1179 posts

United offers a pillow and blanket. That said, someone may take it before you get to your seat. They won’t give you another one if this happens.

Make your own amenity kit. Get a lightweight packing cube and fill it with:

  • pen for customs forms
  • eye mask
  • ear plugs
  • a few OCDs (Tylenol, Imodium, Benadryl, Zicam)
  • a pair of light weight slipper socks
  • lip balm
  • wet wipes
  • hydrating sheet masque
  • inflatable neck pillow

Also bring a light scarf for a blanket. I also like a puffer jacket because I get cold easily.

Another alternative for a blanket is a silk sleep sack. They are compact and light. I only take mine when I think I may have disgusting conditions.

Put this in your seat side bag.

Posted by
8960 posts

They won’t give you another one if this happens.

Not my experience. I fly Untied multiple time a years across the pond, and they usually stuff extra pillows and blankets in an overhead bin in the rear of the plane.

Posted by
1179 posts

It was absolutely my experience. The plane was full. We were coming back from Israel after a multi hour delay

Posted by
21353 posts

If you work in Manhattan and ride the subway, the Circumvesuvianna is a piece of cake. It is a commuter line and jammed around rush hour times but mid morning to mid afternoon is fairly light. Remember stories are stories and sometimes a little extra is added. We have ridden it a number of times with no problems.

Posted by
2507 posts

If you need a and a pillow blanket bring a blanket and a pillow. What the particular aircraft has on hand is very variable we have found. The 767 is an older aircraft with much less storage room for extras. Last we flew with United on this aircraft they had nothing in economy and fewer than needed in economy plus.

Posted by
489 posts

I've always had a pillow and a blanket provided, however I use the blanket on the bottom half of my body and I bring my large scarf to wrap on the top half. I also have a great travel pillow that is soft and partially blows up so it can be smaller when not blown up.
I would add to bring a small package of disinfectant wipes and totally clean all the surfaces you will be touching with your hands. It has been published that the airplanes rarely get a full cleaning, unless it has been sitting over night and I would wonder just how much each seat, and surfaces have been cleaned.

Posted by
7824 posts

I'd appreciate any advice!

Call United and ask them what they provide in whatever class of service you have chosen

Posted by
5101 posts

Don't count on anything from the airlines if flying in coach. You might get a little blanket-thing. If you want anything, be sure you bring it along. The cabin temperature at your seat could vary from below icebox (this is especially true when seated near doors) to steaming hot. Be prepared for anything in between.

As stated above, the Circumesuviano train from Naples to Sorrento is cheap, easy, and no big deal. Not pretty, no frills, and watch your belongings because there definitely are highly skilled pickpockets there, but otherwise safe as long as you keep your wits about you. If you ride the trains in NYC, you won't have any trouble there.

Posted by
3311 posts

Don't count on anything from the airlines if flying in coach.

Delta will always provide in coach: sleep mask, ear plugs, ear buds, alcohol, pillow and blanket in all but exceptional situations. In this sense it is preferable to United.

Posted by
2703 posts

**

And even if it "is" their policy to provide you these trivial
amenities - airlines really don't give a flip about so you're still
not guaranteed anything on a flight.

**

Tim actually had an airline show that it deeply cared about him and his party when a situation outside the airline's control impacted his flight. He was just too busy having an adult temper tantrum to appreciate it. Those of us who read his post and responded to it keep waiting for him to acknowledge this, but it appears he is still too busy sulking about the mean old airlines to respond.

Posted by
950 posts

Dave, thanks for the early morning entertainment...I appreciate it!

And, really, we (and by "we" I mean the flying public as a whole) get the airline service we have chosen with our dollars. Consistently, our buying patterns have told the airlines that lowest fares are what we are most interested in. American Airlines tried giving us roomier coach cabins in some of their planes ("More Room Throughout Coach") and had to abandon it because it was a financial loser. If we want better amenities (more room, better blankets, whatever) we need to start spending differently when we purchase flights. Until we do, the race to the bottom will continue, and it won't be the airlines fault.

Posted by
5101 posts

And, really, we (and by "we" I mean the flying public as a whole) get the airline service we have chosen with our dollars. Consistently, our buying patterns have told the airlines that lowest fares are what we are most interested in.

Hallelujah, Eric - spot on. No small irony that so many of the traveling public heap contempt on the airlines for subjecting everyone to a miserable experience, but that same public shops for flights based on just one criteria: the absolute, rock-bottom, lowest price with no apparent other considerations at all. They love a $49 ticket, but then grouse about the seats being cramped. The $49 ticket crowd is getting what they asked for.

Posted by
2507 posts

Not to pile on but David, Eric you are absolutely right. On this board I read a post where a respondent said he’d sit on an orange crate to save some money. Well, it’s getting close and the newer slim seats are torture on a long haul. For us to enjoy our vacation we now always book the economy plus or equivalent. If we can snag a semi-reasonable business class we will do it. The airlines are responding to the market-cutting amenities, adding more seats with less space. Those who buy at the bottom should expect less and less in the way of comfort.

Posted by
467 posts

Well, I agree with Eric and David to a certain extent. However, the airlines have so significantly decreased the size of the seats on some flights/planes that it borders, in my opinion, on being dangerous, not just uncomfortable. Sorry, but I don't believe that is the flying public's fault.

Posted by
950 posts

Christine, I agree with you about the potential safety impacts of the tighter seating configurations. This is the FAA's responsibility, and there is some movement to have a look at the impact of tighter seating configurations on the FAA's evacuation testing (here's a link to a recent article.) I do believe the FAA's testing is too optimistic. For one thing, if you look at the photo in the linked picture, you will see an evacuated passenger with his backpack--in testing no one is grabbing their personal item (and in real life no is supposed to take these, but clearly they do!)

Having said that, the reason for the tighter seats is the flying public's overwhelming choice to buy tickets based solely on price. Consider it the "Spiritification" of the airline industry. These are for-profit companies, and if a greater percentage of the public was willing to pay more for more space, the airlines would gladly give it to us. As I noted above, American actually took a swing at this for a few years, and it failed for them--not enough people were willing to pay extra for more space.

Posted by
5101 posts

...the airlines have so significantly decreased the size of the seats on some flights/planes that it borders, in my opinion, on being dangerous, not just uncomfortable.

Nope.

I agree with you about the potential safety impacts of the tighter seating configurations. This is the FAA's responsibility, and there is some movement to have a look at the impact of tighter seating configurations on the FAA's evacuation testing

Good luck with that. If you're hoping the FAA will put a stop to the ever-shrinking coach seat out of safety concerns, I have bad news for you.

This is not a safety issue. At all. It's 100% a response to what consumers insist on. The airlines are just doing what the public tells them to do. Stop putting up with seats that hurt, stop shopping for travel with no other consideration besides the absolute lowest price, and the airlines will change.

in testing no one is grabbing their personal item (and in real life no is supposed to take these, but clearly they do!)

If people follow the rules (which are just common sense and reasonable) there's no safety issue. If people are morons, and struggle with bags and personal items as the plane is burning around them, then they (and others) will die (one could reasonably argue that anyone wrestling with bags in an emergency might deserve to). In a real emergency, leave your damn personal items!

Posted by
950 posts

Good luck with that. If you're hoping the FAA will put a stop to the ever-shrinking coach seat out of safety concerns, I have bad news for you.

Hmm, not what I said. Paraphrasing, said I believed tighter seating might make evacuation more difficult and that there was talk to looking at evacuation testing (see linked article in prior post), did not say that FAA would step in on cabin layouts.

In a real emergency, leave your damn personal items!

Agreed.

Posted by
3568 posts

Over the years I have been comfortable with Delta's economy service. It has, however, introduced a "basic" economy rate, probably to fight the discounters. A meal is included and one carry-on bag, but checked baggage and advance seat selection are not. These restrictions are spelled out on the website. Less clear is whether in-flight entertainment costs, or even is available. Flying has become pay-for-what-you-get, item by item, on many if not most airlines, big and small.

Posted by
3568 posts

I should have specified that I meant Delta's international flights; I'm not familiar with domestic service.