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June airfare ORD-FCO

I’m hoping to book round trip flights between Chicago and Rome for mid-June 2017 for under $1,200 per person, on United, Delta, American or one of the international partners of one of those airlines. One stop is okay, provided that for the flight over, it has to be in Europe, not the U.S., and I prefer that it be no less than 2 hours or more than 3.5 hours. We want to arrive in Rome before noon. We’ve never traveled to Europe in the summer before, preferring shoulder season travel. I'm not liking June airfare! I’ve been monitoring prices for 3 months haven't yet found flights that meet my criteria for under $1,800. (One day I saw a dip to $1,600'ish on all the Delta partners, but that was still too high, and the next day, all those flights were back up to around $1,840.) I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who traveled to Rome from Chicago in June of 2016 on one of these airlines who got a decent airfare. When did you buy? An app that I’m using, “Hopper,” continues to tell me that prices are going to go down, but when can I reasonably expect that to happen? If I do see an airfare sale and can get tickets for around $1,200, should I grab them, or would continued patient waiting pay off? Hopper says they're going to get as low as $840 by April, but I'm not holding out for that, as my concern is that the flights in that price range may have multiple stops with extremely long layover times.

Posted by
2542 posts

I just put this into Kayak a minute ago and I saw plenty under $1200. Are you set to specific dates? I randomly put in 6/9 - 6/23 and what caught my eye was $999 ORD - FCO direct on British Air, arriving at 9:05AM. Return has a layover in London. British Air is a partner of American. There were also flights on Aer Lingus and Turkish Air

Posted by
326 posts

We have specific dates, 6/16-27. Lowest BA flights on those dates are $1,844 RT.

Posted by
326 posts

Aer Lingus has a 1 hr. 5 minute layover in Dublin (won't do that). I rejected Turkish Air based on reviews.

Posted by
7205 posts

RE: Rejecting Turkish Air, my daughter just flew ATL->IST->GVA on Turkish Air and said it was one of the nicest flights she ever had. She said the food was very good (and she's a hyper picky eater). She said the FAs were all very pleasant. She also said it was the first plane she had ever flown with a window in the lavatory. Sounds odd, but I guess a window in the lavatory might actually be nice :-)

Posted by
6766 posts

I rejected Turkish Air based on reviews.

Why? There have been multiple threads right on this forum full of positive reviews. I flew Turkish more than three times and had a great experience each time. So have many others. I would certainly consider Skytrax reviews before you write it off completely. Turkish is not a 5 star airline (those are considered truly excellent and do not include US-based carriers), but it's in the 4 star category as rated by Skytrax, which is very respectable. http://www.airlinequality.com/ratings/4-star-airline-ratings/
United, Delta, and American are rated even lower - at 3 stars. I know that may come as a surprise. I would take Turkish over any one of those any day.
http://www.airlinequality.com/ratings/3-star-airline-ratings/

I think you're looking too early by the way. Competitive summer fares aren't likely loaded in the reservation systems yet, so you're looking at very high way-in-the-future prices.

Posted by
326 posts

The flight on Turkish Air doesn't meet my criteria. It has a layover in Istanbul in excess of 6 hours.

Posted by
2542 posts

The more limiting criteria you have, the more difficulty you will have finding the best fares. Which is fine - but the convenience of shorter layovers, better times, etc cost money. And for some reason, some combinations of days are significantly cheaper than other combinations - to get the cheapest sometimes you need to be flexible on dates. If you can't, then you may have to pay more. I don't think anyone can tell you with any certainty when fares will drop. My experience is that earlier is better and they rise over time, but I can't say that with any evidence beyond experience. If you see them at $1200 I would buy, no question! When to decide to pay $1500 or whatever is a tougher question.

I buy my flights 8-10 months out, never pay more than $1000 - $1100, and refuse layovers shorter than 2 hours (longer is fine).

Posted by
930 posts

We bought our flight from ORD to Heathrow for June 2017 in August and paid about $1000 a ticket. Keep finagling, you'll find what you are looking for.

Posted by
6570 posts

It's just a shame that Chicago's international airfares are not a little more competitive. And there's no other airport close by with international flights for competition. Boston, New York City, Oakland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami and LAX all have inexpensive flights overseas.
I would suggest you go on ITA Matrix or one of the websites that can post fares out of ORD on a calendar. Sometimes airfares vary greatly within the same month. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday flights are cheapest usually. And spring airfares prior to 5/31 are also a little cheaper--and weather in Europe's better too.

Posted by
645 posts

Have you thought about getting a cheap flight into another European destination and then getting an internal flight into Rome on a budget airline? I just booked tickets into Dublin for June from Chicago at $500 return. And Zurich in July for $800 return from Chicago. You would have to give yourself a good buffer for connections this way. But it would be a huge saving if you are buying more than one ticket.

Posted by
16169 posts

I am seeing flights for $1300 range on Air Berlin and SAS, Air Berlin changes in Berlin and SAS in Copenhagan. I have never flown Air Berlin, but I used SAS to Venice a few years ago. SAS is very nice, and would use them again in a heartbeat.

Posted by
219 posts

I have used the Hopper App in the past and found it to be very unreliable. I encourage you to set up price alerts on Google Flights. The calendar function is also a helpful feature in helping you track best prices. Google flights will send you timely e-mails when fares drop for specific destinations and dates. Watch near holidays. I have found good fares on several occasions in the week leading up to and the week following a holiday. It might be because fewer people are booking then. I really do not know.

Posted by
16169 posts

If you fly to Milan Malpensa, lots of options under $1000. It is only about 4 hours and 83 EUR (full fare) for the train from Malpensa to Rome (train change at Milano Centrale).

Edit - I see from your other posts that you are planning to spend most of your holiday in Tuscany. Milan is almost as convenient as Rome to fly into to visit Tuscany as it sits nearly half way between to 2 cities with frequent fast train service and Autostrada if you go with cars.

Posted by
489 posts

We fly out of ORD also. Have not booked out flight to Paris for late June yet. However, while speaking to my travel consultant she told me that the demand for Italy this next year is at an all time high, while England and France is low. She sees it as the "terrorist syndrome", my term not her's. This is what the travel industry is talking about, so perhaps that fuels the price on those flights into Italy, not sure?
We flew with Turkish air a few months ago and I did not find the trip at all undesirable. The only thing I did not like was the longer flight.
I would suggest look into a quick flight to Amsterdam or Copenhagen direct from Chicago, then look at the flight to Rome. Both airports are easy to get around and not hard to wait more than an hour. I do not think you will make it to Rome by the next morning unless you head very directly into Rome.

Posted by
930 posts

I hear you David. Our other closest airport for international without a layover to London is Minneapolis, but that is a 4 hour drive and Chicago is only 2. I like Milwaukee's airport, wish it had direct international, but I haven't been able to find any.

Posted by
3565 posts

www.itasoftware.com is the most comprehensive website for trans-Atlantic flights (no site covers everything.) It 's run by Google for airlines and does not sell tickets but shows which airlines to look at. It currently quotes plenty of non-stops for your dates for less than $1,200. I went to Delta's own site and found a price of $931 . If you can shift your dates only one day later the price goes down nearly a hundred dollars. Those are good prices for the start of the summer season compared to the last couple of years. http://matrix.itasoftware.com/#calendar:research=CHIROM-ROMCHI

You could safely wait until the start of 2017 to make your purchase. Buying nearly eight months ahead increases the risk that the airline might change its schedule to something you like less. The chances of fares going down much further are slim, but nobody, including the airlines, can say for sure. Another factor is advance seat assignment; the Delta group is more accommodating than BA, for instance.

Posted by
326 posts

Non-stop Delta flights on the dates I've been checking, which were $1,844 yesterday, are $1,386 today. I've been checking for 3 months and hadn't seen anything like this yet! But if we can add one day to the trip, depart one day earlier, the price goes down to $921. I need to quickly contact everyone in our group. Ten of us are traveling together. Thank you to all who took the time to reply, offer suggestions.

Posted by
6766 posts

I would give itasoftware a look, as mentioned by a prior poster. I found many dates in June for non-stop flights costing $812 w/all taxes included (Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, etc.). I used June 11 for 10 nights as a random date. I wouldn't look at individual airline websites - using a comparison site like Kayak, Itasoftware, etc. saves a lot of time and lets you view a lot of choices on one screen.

You have a range of competitive choices flying out of Chicago. I think you're stressing too much, checking too early (and often), and getting overly freaked out by constantly fluctuating prices. Checking every day is like checking your 401k every day - it's a bit much and just causes unnecessary panic.

Posted by
16169 posts

$812 w/all taxes included (Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, etc.).

These all refer to a single flight operated by Alitalia. The others are codesharing the same flight.

Posted by
326 posts

I'm booked on Alitalia flights! For our group of ten, I got 4 tickets at $921 each, then that price level was no longer available but I got the remaining 6 tickets at $1,046 each. I had to revise our departure date by one day, as leaving on a Thurs. saved a lot of money over departing on a Friday. They're non-stop flights with great departure and arrival times! I can't believe that after monitoring rates so long, I finally used this forum to lament that getting to Italy in June is going to be so expensive, and just one day later, a great sale came along! I booked by phone with a Delta reservation agent (no extra charge--they recently waived that) because that was the best way to determine how many tickets they had left at that lowest $921 price. If you're on the website booking, say, 5 tickets, but (unbeknownst to you) they have only 4 left at the lowest price, the website will calculate the higher price for each of the 5 tickets. Now I need to stop looking at rates, because I'm happy with what I got. Very happy.

Posted by
326 posts

Final report for anyone reading this. After booking 4 tickets on Alitalia at $921 and 6 tickets for the same Alitalia flights at $1046, working with a Delta reservation agent, I learned that one can often save money booking directly with Alitalia. It turned out to be true. I was still within the 24 hour change/cancellation grace period. Booked 10 tickets on Alitalia.com for $871 each. Was able to cancel the earlier flights booked on Delta. Now I truly am done checking rates for this trip.

Posted by
6766 posts

Vickie,
Did you pass on the $812 fares on purpose because the dates/ times didn't work out? They were on the Delta website just a few hours ago. A $60 savings doesn't seem like much, but multiplied over 10 people amounts to $600 - nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by
326 posts

Agnes, yes, in reply to your question, we couldn't simply look at the flexible date calendar and pick dates for our trip that had those $812 flights. None of us are retired yet, and there are teachers in our group so we've always planned this to be a second-half-of-June trip. We've had our weeklong stay in an agriturismo booked since January! After planning a June 16 departure date for months, it was radical that we changed it to June 15 on one day's notice to everyone! All were fine with the tweak in dates when they learned about the savings in airfare! Thanks for your concern in trying to help us find great rates!