Saturday, June 03, 2006

Travel Tips – Where are your bags?

Over the years I have traveled millions of miles and maintain top tier status frequent flyer status on several airlines. Today travel prices are increasing. Some of that is from the weakened dollar. Airlines are global so a weaker dollar results in higher prices. Depending on where you live you should think about travel in different ways.

If you do not want to loose your luggage the first thing is to avoid transfers. Should you live in a place like Dallas where there are no direct flights to Italy then make your transfers in Europe with a European based carrier. My experience has been that with millions of miles in Europe and in millions in the US I have never lost baggage in Europe while one out of five trips in the US has resulted in lost luggage. Sometimes the luggage was just late and sometimes it never turned up.

Airlines that have permanently lost luggage are: American, United, US Airways, ATA and Delta. Airlines that have never lost my luggage are British Airways, Alitalia, and Lufthansa. Of these European carriers I prefer Lufthansa and then British Airways. Lufthansa is a bit rigid in its guidelines but its on-time record is incredible. I have never had a cancelled flight and on the few occasions that the flight was late they had everything re-routed before I got off the plane. British Airways is also very good but customs at Heathrow in London is a bit of a hassle.

Food service, if you eat airline food, is generally better. This probably is due to the influences of the European culture. When I first came back to the US, I was disgusted by the frozen sandwiches you picked up on the Gangway before entering the plane. Should a European carrier provide something frozen, the passengers would most likely revolt using the inedible frozen bread as projectiles. This is not to say they are perfect, great and fantastic, simply that you have to fly, even a little less hassle means a great deal with an eleven hour flight.

Check with your travel agent or site and think about your route. The cheapest may end up costing you significantly more and ruin your entire vacation.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

good insight regarding airfare --- :)

12:36 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Kristina - Thanks for your thoughts. I know I should have gone into greater detail about how European carriers price their services in Euro, that they are primary suppliers thus they establish the rates and the US carriers then adapt to the Euro rates and that the dollar has lost 50% of its value over the past 3 years but I was caught up in the emotions of my first trips back to the US where I spent almost 2 weeks in a hotel in Atlanta without any clothing.

Since we have to pay the higher amount anyway and the number 1 objection I am hearing from my readers travelling to Europe is the hassle of airtravel I wanted to give some insight that might save someone else the frustration of a vacation without clothes!

Kristina writes a blog about life.

1:39 PM

Blogger ChickyBabe said...

I had a problem with BA once, due to a transfer where the luggage made it on the next flight. They were a pleasure to deal with and delivered it to the hotel in no time.

12:44 AM

Blogger a.c.t. said...

It's been a while since I've flown with one of the bigger companies - we're pretty lucky in Europe to have budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair. They're so much cheaper and they don't provide food but that doesn't matter for short European flights.

12:33 AM

Blogger Ann said...

Only had one problem with BA, on the way back to Italy from the States, in London Heathrow. They started boarding the plane without making any sort of announcement. Once the everyone had boarded, we were delayed by THREE HOURS due to hydraulic problems. The counter staff at the Milan Malpensa airport were rather rude with my husband, who was just trying to find out WHY the plane was late and to make sure I was on the flight. The counter staff refused to give any information. My husband ended up getting the police, then the counter staff were a little reluctant to give out information

5:40 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Chicky Babe - I can fortunately say that I have never lost luggage with a European carrier, I am not quite sure why.

ACT - 39 Euro Milan to London is not bad.

Ann - Come to think of it, I have never had a good experience with the terminal people at Malpensa. I always fly into Linate and that is highly automated so you have little to do with terminal personnel.

5:49 AM


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