I'm going from NY to Venice and home from Rome to New York. I have read enough of Alitalia and there problems.I have also read of problems with Delta ........Which airlines would you use if you could or would you just get there on a reputable airline for the cheapest price. Delta is 998 RT non-stop to right now. I have two other choices of Air France or Swiss Air.
We flew Air France from NJ to Munich in "05 and Swiss in "03. Both are very good, although if you need to make a connection (I'm sure you do), I'd definitely go with Swiss Air. Zurich airport is much nicer and much easier to navigate than CDG in France. That's assuming the fares are relatively equal. If not, I'd fly both AF and Swiss again. Lufthansa, Air Canada and SAS are also very good if they're an option.
If you take into account all of the bad things said about airlines, you'll wind up swimming to Europe. Personal experiences can be very anecdotal, I have flown United, American, Northwest, Delta, Lufthansa, Air France, British Airways, Aegean Air, Easyjet, Ryanair, and several more...all with some inconvienances, but overall getting me where I am going. Bad experiences are more luck of the draw than flat out airline issues. Pick the cheap fare and go.
I can either do:
1) JFK to Venice and Rome to JFK --- "Non Stop" both ways on "Delta"
2) Swiss Air and Air France -- Both have stops each way.
I would always choose a nonstop over a flight with stops.
If it makes you feel any better, I flew Continental Seattle-Newark, then Alitalia Newark-Rome (and reversed). The Alitalia flight was code-shared with Delta at least on the Rome-Newark flight. My experience with Alitalia was perfectly pleasant.
The flight attendants spoke English and Italian and were completely professional. The food was generally average. I did love the fish I had on the way to Rome.
I did carryon only going to Rome (the agent at the ticket counter did ask how many bags I had when I said nothing to check, but no one gave my backpack + large purse a second glance), and checked a large duffle bag that made it back to Seattle intact, including a bottle of wine.
The flight over left on time and actually landed half an hour early. The flight back left about 45 minutes late and got there about 30 minutes after schedule, but I still made my connection with time to spare.
Did I just get lucky? Perhaps, but as the prior posters said, it's a bit of a crapshoot when dealing with any airline. The time of year and time of day you fly, and whether or not you check bags, can all be factors.
Generally as a rule of thumb, the fewer stops you make, the less chance something will go wrong. It also depends on your expectation level. I got on the plane with a 'hope for the best, expect the worst' mentality. If you require a little more TLC or the thought of your luggage going astray makes you break out in hives, you might prefer an airline with a bit more solid reputation, such as Lufthansa.
You might also keep your eyes & ears open for any new routes that are starting up in March as a result of the Open Skies agreement. I know of at least two new routes in Seattle and would expect New York to get a couple as well.
I agree with always choose "non stop" if the price is similar. Much less wasted time in the layover airport and less chances of your luggage being "misplaced" between connections.
I live in Atlanta so Delta is our best option. I really haven't had any problem with Delta--in fact I think the service is getting a little better. I'm not sure when you're flying but the $998. airfare sounds expensive from NYC. Have you tried Kayak.com to compare prices? I agree that non-stop is the way to go. Good luck!
I agree. Take the best itinerary which combines price/route. For example, Lufthansa flies from PDX to FRA but for going to Italy last year going through Newark on Continental was $300 less a person.
If you travel enough, sooner or later EVERY airline will do something that will not please you.
Delta codeshares with Alitalia. My Rome airport timetable from 2007 shows that some of the Delta flights between Rome and JFK were on Alitalia planes. You should be able to confirm the actual carrier for the flights you're considering on Delta's website.
My personal favorite is Lufthansa with an Airbus aircraft. Unfortunately, Lufthansa codeshares with United and crappy,uncomfortable 747s.
Patrick... We flew this exact route last May. We flew Delta. Very easy and non-stop.We actually started in Cincinnati. When you get to Venice, which is a very small airport, it is easy to follow the crowd to the boat dock to go into Venice. We rented a car in Venice, drove all over Tuscany and Umbria, dropped it off in LaSpezia, trained to Vernazza, trained back to Pisa and flew Pisa to Rome and Delta home. If you have any connecting flights be careful. Now you can fly directly from Pisa to JFK non-stop, but our Alitalia flight from Pisa to Rome was 3 hours late and we had to run through the Rome airport to make our Delta flight. Since a lot of people were late Delta held the flight. This was perhaps the nicest flight we have ever taken with Delta. They had just come out of Bankrupcy and the crew was very accomodating. If you are going to drive in Italy, a GPS is great.
After hearing all of the dissappointments with Alitalia, we still flew it round trip from Miami to Milan over this past Christmas and thankfully had no issues. I would say that they were no better or no worse than any other airline we have flown. We did check one bag each way. I think that may of the issues may come into play when you have to transfer planes and thus your baggage has to make it to your next flight. I think that using good luggage helps as well. I think alot of bag issues come when your bag gets damaged during handling, as any baggage handler is not going to be very gentile with your bags.
Patrick, I flew Delta first into Rome and then back from Venice in December. No issues at all. Due to air traffic at JFK - you may wait on the tarmac for some time before you actually take off for Venice, but you will get there!
Lufthansa was amazing.. We flew non stop from LAX to Frankfort then on to Venice and we were very pleased.. Attendants walked up and down the aisles making sure we were well hydrated. there is was an open bar for anyone who wished to imbibe. Just couldn't have asked for a better run airline..