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Flight options from Florida to Rome

I finally talked to a travel agent about flights to Rome and from Venice (previously only my mom did that). During the meeting, the TA I talked to provided two options: one from her directly and the other through Insight Vacations. Mom did not book either flight because she has concerns about stopping twice at the beginning of our trip and a single stop would cost $350 more plus parking for 13 days. I also would prefer a single stop. Our return flight from Venice will have two stops regardless of which eastbound flight we choose. So I want to know what other people think of starting a 13 day trip with two flight connections.

Posted by
21849 posts

Need a more info to judge. But we never have more than one stop. Our preference is direct even if slightly more expensive. If I have to have a stop I want the short leg in the US for the long leg is going over so I have max opportunity to sleep. Coming back prefer the reverse. What schedules are you looking at?

Posted by
265 posts

I think we need more details about any limitations you have to meet.
One stop of course is better than two stops most of the time.

I checked Delta.com and found good connections booking direct with Delta both ways and only one stop each way ...to Rome and Back from Venice for $1937 from Gainesville or $1457 if you depart out of Orlando. Both were one stop out of Atlanta. I was using dates this June since I did not know your schedule.

Gainesville via Atlanta to Rome
Venice via Atlanta to Gainesville

Both were departing at reasonable times of the day with good (not really long) layover times.
Two stops for what I can see is doing it the hard way and was not cheaper. So I don't see the problem or I must be missing some details.

Posted by
250 posts

My travel dates are November 17-November 29. The TA said most people do not like driving to Orlando and Mom hated driving home from there once, so we limited our search to Gainesville and Jacksonville.

I will provide more information when I can get my hands on the documents.

Posted by
1810 posts

I've forgotten what airlines serve Gainesville-does Delta have a commuter flight to Miami from Gainesville? If they do, Delta can do a multi-city non-stop in to Rome and back from Venice. That way you'd just have the 1 stop in Miami. I'm guessing you don't want to shuttle bus or Mega bus to Orlando.
Most of us prefer not to have multiple stops because of the time it adds to overall trip.

Have you plugged your itinerary into ITA Matrix? You don't book with them, but it will give you an idea of what are available options.

Posted by
250 posts

Patty, Gainesville serves only two airlines: U.S. Airways and Delta. It is a regional airport. So we can only fly to Atlanta or Charlotte and therefore will be lucky if there are any single connection eastbound flights out of Gainesville.

Here is the flight information we got from a travel agent:

Gainesville to Rome on November 17/18

Depart GNV 1:00 - Arrive ATL 2:20

Depart ATL 5:48 - Arrive FCO 9:20*

Venice to Gainesville on November 29

Depart VCE 9:55 - Arrive Paris 11:45

Depart Paris 1:30 - Arrive ATL 5:15

Depart ATL 7:45 - Arrive GNV 8:55

*Red-eye flight

Posted by
3696 posts

My daughter lived in Gainesville for a number of years, and I live in Michigan, so flew out of Fl. a lot. A few times I did Gainesville, but typically Orlando or Jax. Not sure why someone would object to the airport in Orlando... that is where I usually found the cheapest flights ... I did a one day rental a few times to get to the airport from Gainesville to MCO... that might be cheaper than the 13 day parking. It was about 25.00 for the one way rental.

Another option is that the Sanford Airport is a hub for Icelandic Air. I always thought I would look into that airline as you can typically have a couple day layover in Iceland.

Posted by
5750 posts

FYI, US Airways no longer exists. It was eaten by American Airlines.

Posted by
250 posts

The TA explained travelers don't like driving down I-75 and the turnpike (I-4). Jacksonville is much easier to get to than Orlando. Once driving home from Orlando at night was so bad Mom said, "Never again." What I don't understand is why didn't the TA mention Tampa as another option?

Anyway here is the flight information for our second option out of Gainesville:

Eastbound on November 17:

Depart GNV 2:42 - Arrive ATL 3:57

Depart ATL 5:35 - Arrive JFK 8:00

Depart JFK 10:00 - Arrive FCO 12:35

Westbound on November 29:

Depart VCE 12:25 - Arrive Amsterdam 2:25

Depart Amsterdam 4:45 - Arrive ATL 8:15

Depart ATL 9:40 - Arrive GNV 10:56

Posted by
1810 posts

I haven't flown out of Gainesville since 2011 and I know the airlines are always changing things. At that time, American had a flight from Gainesville to Miami, but that was then and this is now. What is your gut telling you about these two options? I would personally go with option 1, but you may have reasons for liking #2 better.

Posted by
6950 posts

I can tell you the cheapest way to get to Rome. Drive to Orlando and catch Norwegian Air Shuttle's non-stop flight to London Gatwick. You will be on the ground 4-5 hours, but they will connect you to another of their flights to Rome. It's a long wait on the ground, but well worth saving 50% or more of the big legacy air carriers airfares.

Flying out of Venice requires you to take an EasyJet flight or British Airways flight--both priced very inexpensively--non-stop to London Gatwick. There, you can catch Norwegian Air Shuttle non-stop back to Orlando.

We're going to be taking this itinerary next week.

Posted by
9914 posts

I'm not an expert but I'm not sure that transit time in Paris is good enough. I would do the Venice/Amsterdam/Atl/GNV which gives you a bit more than 2 hours.

Posted by
250 posts

I don't like the layover in Paris either. It would be good enough for a domestic flight.

BTW what is the three letter airport code for Paris?

Posted by
250 posts

Looking again at time in Atlanta, my first thought was I misread the TA's messy handwriting because the layover is less than two hours there. I don't like it. Because the other option has a short layover in Paris, that does not appeal to me either.

Posted by
265 posts

The one stop via Atlanta is the best option...however I like flight that leaves at 1PM from Gainesville as it allows more "just in case" wiggle room time between flights.

Then your second option from Venice via Amsterdam is better in my opinion and that of many on this forum. Amsterdam is considered to be an easier airport to make a connection. Also the 12;25 PM departure time from Venice is way better than a 6:30AM early wake up and get to the airport rush. It makes the last night in Venice much easier to enjoy.

Posted by
250 posts

How is Amsterdam easier than Paris to make connecting flights?

I don't know where you got 6:30 from. The Option 1 flight departs Venice at 9:55.

Posted by
11613 posts

The 6:30 am is probably the time you would need to wake up (stated as such in the post). Are you and your mom early rises generally?

Posted by
265 posts

AMS is considered by many to be easier because it is all in one building and all you have to do is walk to your next gate. At CDG there are different buildings you usually have to transfer to and from. (Europe domestic to a international flight). For years on this formum others have commented about CDG needing longer layover times in order to be sure to make your next flight. So I am repeating what to me seemed like the general line of thinking by the travel veterans who visit this site.

Yes 9:55AM flight to CDG is not a bad time to leave from Venice. Sorry, I only looked at flights that went via Amsterdam (as that is my preference) and most of them were at 6:30 and the first later flight was 12:35 and even better time to leave in order to avoid the early early morning wake up call (IMO).

Posted by
6950 posts

Okay, guys. Flying from Gainesville, FL to Rome and home from London, you're looking at $1449 and 20 hours. That means the traveler will be waiting as many as 8 hours in airports for connecting flights to get there.

Norwegian Air Shuttle's service Orlando to London to Rome from Orlando only has prices posted thru October--$328 one way? From London to Orlando, they're quoting $282 flights in October. In my eyes, $610 sure beats $1449, and it's much more efficient. Their new 787 Dreamliners are also very nice.

Posted by
250 posts

Zoe, Mom is an early bird and I am a night owl.

Interestingly the TA said we can get a free water taxi for the 9:55 flight because it is only five minutes before 10:00. Normally travelers need to depart at 10:00 or later to get a free WT. An earlier flight would cost an additional $130 per person for the airport transfer.

Posted by
3794 posts

Take flight 1 option 1:00 pm
And flight 2 option 2.
You can book these yourself on KLM a delta partner.

Have been to Venice several times, and have NEVER heard of a free water taxi!

Posted by
16941 posts

They're free if your brother-in-law is a motoscafi capitano.

Posted by
250 posts

Gerri, the water taxi is free because we are taking an Insight tour, not traveling on our own.

Also, how is it possible to choose half of one option and half of the other? We are talking about open jaw flights, not two one ways.

Posted by
250 posts

MB, Mom can't book flights on her own because we are traveling through Insight Vacations, which offers multiple flight options. So it's not as simple as telling the travel agent, "This is what I want." If she chooses flights offered by Insight that is a big money saver for her. OTOH we don't want to book a cheaper flight that has short layovers.

Posted by
21849 posts

I don't think we getting the full story and it is getting a little frustrating trying to respond. I have tried to follow this and your other postings. Every time you ask a question, you get good responses but come back and say, " I cannot do that because of this or the TA or the tour package." What the purpose of asking the questions if your options (that we are unaware of) are limited. How about a complete description of your trip - tour? - so we can response more accurately. And understand your options.

Posted by
250 posts

Sorry for the confusion Frank. It is hard because I never traveled through a tour company or overseas before. In the past travel agents were not needed for booking anything except cruises and even then we could book our own flights.

Insight Vacations is a tour company that does everything for us except book flights, which Mom can get big discounts from if we like a flight they offer, and lunch every day. We do have one free day in each big city (Rome, Florence, and Venice) and free time after tours. They give us tickets for some must-sees like the Vatican Museums/St Peter's Basilica tour, Leaning Tower, Duomo, and Doge's Palace and handle luggage. The itinerary Mom chose is called Easy Pace Italy. (Sorry Rick Steves fans, his tours are not offered by AAA.)

Here is the Easy Pace itinerary:

3 nights in Rome
A few hours in Pisa
3 nights in Florence
A few hours in Verona
3 nights in Venice

We will fly to Rome two days early and back home on the last day.

Posted by
16941 posts

I still think you are missing the boat (no pun intended) by not driving down to Orlando. United (actually all legs operated by Lufthansa) has flights into Rome and out of Venice with a single change in Frankfurt in the $1400 range. You can get a park and sleep deal for about $100. And there is the Norwegian plan already outlined.
I've felt your pain on the Gainesville-Orlando highway. In January it took about 3 hours northbound and no let-up in the bumper-to-bumper until we got clear of Gainesville. But when you combine all the Disney traffic with 3 weekend bowl games, I guess it is inevitable.

Posted by
250 posts

Sam, I suggested flying out of Orlando if the total cost of the flight + parking is less than a flight only out of Gainesville. Mom agreed to consider that option. I don't understand why the travel agent is against flying out of Orlando.

Because our fights are on a Thursday and a Tuesday football games will not be an issue. Mom just does not like driving home 2 hours after an international flight because she was tired when we did that. Driving to the airport is not a problem for her.

How much does it cost to park in the cheapest off-site lot for 13 days?

Posted by
6950 posts

You can book cheap parking all around Orlando Airport at a number of online websites. We usually park at the Holiday Inn Express--1 mile away for maybe $4 a day.
We'll be there next Saturday resting for our 10:10 p.m. flight to London Gatwick on Norwegian Air Shuttle.

Posted by
16941 posts

I long ago gave up flying out of my local airport as they made the planes tiny and expensive and unreliable. So I think nothing of driving 3 hours to Chicago for international flights. I use an off-sight parking lot with door-to-door valet service for about $6/day. I expect Orlando has similar services. You can also use a park-sleep-fly hotel near the airport. Spend one night in the hotel and they let you leave the car there for up to 30 days free. Use the hotel shuttle to get to and from the airport.

Posted by
3794 posts

So what you are telling us is that these flights are the ones available from Insight, that would work with your connecting flight from Gainesville. Also to book the vacation without flights would cost 350 more if booked by you.

There must be a drop down menu on the Insight site that would allow you to choose Orlando, Tampa, or Miami. The problem might be that there are no connecting flights from your airport. Really think Atlanta is your best bet.

The solution TC gave you to rent a car just for the trip to Orlando and another one for your return was a good one.

My previous solution was a multi-city booked on your own.

Let us know what you choose, and have a great trip with your Mom.

Posted by
250 posts

I am sure Insight offers some flights out of Orlando. Mom's bad memory about driving home from MCO at night is the reason she does not want to consider it. The only way to avoid that problem is fly out of GNV, unfortunately. I will look at MCO flights and hope she has enough sense to change her mind if flights are better.

Now I am confused about the flight information we got at AAA. If only the TA typed Option 2 before printing Option 1 I would know if a set of numbers is correct. Looking at the same flight details on Kayak, I found a 2 hour 24 minute layover in ATL eastbound and under 2 hours there westbound. That is the one with a stop in Amsterdam on the way home.

Posted by
1810 posts

I can understand your mom's reluctance to drive home from MCO after traveling all day. What would the cost be to spend the night after landing? Would you make up that cost in lower/more desirable flights?

Posted by
250 posts

It is not possible to stay overnight in Orlando. That idea never crossed our minds because we need to get home ASAP. I'm sure that is an option for other people, just not us.

Thank you for understanding the situation.

Posted by
3794 posts

I think at this point your best option would be to call Insight directly.

Ask them if you can take the 1:00 flight from Gainesville and substitute the return flight through Amsterdam. Tell them of your concerns. Even if they charge for the change, it should be less than if you booked flights yourself.

There are other ways to get to the airport other than a private WT. the easiest would be the aliaguna. Price is about 15 euro. Takes around 1 hour.
Also keep in mind you need to be checked in and at your gate 1 1/2 hours before departure.
Your tour guide should be able to help with the logistics.

Looked briefly at your tour, and it appears you have free breakfasts, not lunch.

Posted by
250 posts

That is correct Gerri. We are on our own with lunch because some people skip it, others want panini or snacks, and then there are big meal eaters. So it would not make sense for Insight to include lunch in the booking price.

I will ask Mom's regular travel agent (we had to see a different lady last week) about playing mix and match. She handled the booking. It would be a shame if we can't do it and have to start over, but I am not holding my hopes up too high.

Posted by
250 posts

The word I am getting now is if we fly out of Gainesville, booking it through Insight guarantees it will have two stops. I am wondering if that is just because GNV is the "home" airport and we would have better luck by looking at flights out of MCO, JAX, or TPA.

No matter what other flight options are offered, the next AAA meeting will be when Mom books our flights. I can't wait.

Posted by
250 posts

I found a good flight on Kayak for $1,380. The price is $1,393 on Delta's website. Why is there a $13 price difference?

There is one stop in Atlanta before we arrive in Rome. On the way back, we stop at FCO and JFK. The only short layover is at FCO. It's doable if our flight out of VCE is on time, but I am not sure about having only 1 hour 10 minutes at that airport. What do you think?