Our plan was flying into Rome and taking a cheap flight to Sicily but a different route was suggested.... would it be cheaper to fly else where like London and then on to Sicily? Are the hopper flights purchased the day of travel? Charlotte NC to Sicily dream trip, any travel suggestions would be helpful, Thanks
Well, first make it easy on yourself and search for flights from Charlotte to Palermo. This will at least give you a baseline. Possibly, possibly there is a cheaper deal where you fly into, say, London and travel to another airport where a budget airline flies to Sicily. I assume this is the sort of deal you are thinking of. Just remember that you'll have to clear immigration, get your bags, get everything to the other airport, and go back through security to get your flight. If your first flight is delayed so that you miss your flight you will be out of luck, and there are usually strict bag limits on the budget flights. But of you can find something that beats the baseline through flight, it may be worth it.
I'd start by using Kayak.com to search flights in various combinations. We flew from Atlanta to Catania with a layover in Milan - we flew home from Palermo. Check flights from Charlotte to either Palermo or Catania. Unless you find a really great deal to London or another city, it really doesn't seem like you save much by flying there first once you add in transportation costs to your final destination. That worked well when there were low airfares to those cities - not seeing so many of those these days. You'll enjoy Sicily!
>>Are the hopper flights purchased the day of travel?<< No, unless you want to spend a lot of money, and risk the flight being sold out completely. If you are going to fly trans-Atlantic on one ticket, then change to an intra-European flight on a separate ticket, buy all the tickets in advance. I agree that you should first price Charlotte to Palermo or Catania (Sicily's two main airports), then see how much cheaper it is to fly elsewhere. Don't forget to add in LOTS of time to change planes if you're flying on separate tickets, and the time and hassle needed to change airports (budget flights from London mostly use different airports from trans-Atlantic ones). If you buy a separate ticket from Rome to Sicily, at least you'll probably be in the same airport (Fiumicino, although Rome also has Ciampino Airport - be careful). The issue: if you're booked on one ticket with a connection and miss your second flight, the airline is responsible for getting you to your destination (they usually put you on the next flight there). If you are booked on separate tickets and miss your second flight, you are responsible, both logistically (you have to figure it out with no help from any airline) and financially (last minute air tickets, as I said above, can be very expensive). So, I wouldn't do this, particularly on the return, unless I wanted to spend a day in London between planes.
I'm not going to do it, I didn't like the sounds of it from the start. With all your helpful comments I won't even waste my time thinking about it. LOVE THIS SITE!!!
It is s great idea to use Kayak, etc to find the best flight and price to anywhere "over the pond", then book a separate flights on one of the lo-cost inter-EU airlines that you can find on Skyscanner or Whichbudget.com. We do this all the time and NEVER had any problem making connections. The key is to allow plenty of time!! on your return transfer, and to ensure that your lo-cost inter EU airline flys into and out of a major airport. (We have also used Ryan Air with great success; but you must really understand how to access their wacky airport sites, and read about all of their restrictions/fees.) Yes, you want to first look at fights into and out of Catania and Palermo, but we have done flights into and out of Rome/ Naples, etc, and then booked separate flights into and out of Sicily. Don't forget to check "open jaw" flights; into one city and out of another; into Catania and out of Palermo, etc. We just came back from Ireland a couple of weeks ago. We booked flights into London, then used a commuter airline to fly to Dublin, rented a car, and returned home from Shannon.
Good for you, Jo, for asking questions here before you buy tickets!!! I wish I had used this site before my ill-starred European trip in 2007. Instead of flying direct to Paris, we flew to Manchester, England and then bought separate tickets on easyJet from London Luton to Paris. Ridiculous, and everything went wrong as if to prove our stupidity. Luggage never made it to Manchester and we spent so long filing claims that we missed our train (with advanced-purchased tickets) to Luton and then we missed our easyJet flight to Paris. I have learned the hard way to pay more and fly direct. You are learning the easy way to do that!
Sarah, That's such a valuable experience to share!!!! Your pain might save several people!
I would go via Rome. Maybe stop in Rome for a day going and coming back if you can't find anything decent in one ticket deal (only Alitalia seems to fly to Sicily among the major airlines). US Air has a non stop from CLT to FCO. From Rome there are many options to Sicily, besides Alitalia, including low cost airlines such as Ryanair from Ciampino (CIA) to Trapani Birgi (TPS) or PMO.