Joe Knows… Flying to Italy

As I mentioned in a previous post, travel industy experts are predicting a busy summer for travel to Europe. Yet, seats on planes to Italy always seem to be at a premium during the summer. When it comes to anything airline related, I always turn to my friend Joe Brancatelli of (by the way, members of his site get a special deal on susbcriptions to Dream of Italy). The following are Joe’s tips for securing summer plane tickets to Italy:

  • Look for a connecting flight. Obvious best cases: London, which has immense service from the U.S. and lots of good connections throughout Italy. Dublin is also good in the cities where Aer Lingus flies (Chicago, NY, Boston, LA) because of its flat, fairer fare structure.
  • Delay. Delay. Delay. Avoid the summer months, where travel to the beach destinations and Tuscany are impossible. As you suggested last year, Rome in summer is a bargain, but, as I’ve said, Rome in summer is a tourist trap, not really Rome. I’d wait for the November 1-December 15 window and the Jan 1-March 1, 2007 window.
  • Understand the wacky realities of Italy. Almost all U.S. service goes through Milan and Rome, which are both relatively empty in peak summer months. But the flights are full because everyone headed north or south starts there. So empty big cities in summer do not mean empty flights TO those cities.
  • Fly business class. Continental has already launched its summer sale and it will bring the price of flying to Rome up front under $2,000 roundtrip. Since coach flying could be $1,100 or $1,200 the couple of extra bucks is WELL WORTH the cost.

P.S. – Besides “flying,” Joe also knows Rome. I hope to get him to share some of his latest finds in the Eternal City.