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Old 01-14-2014, 10:54 AM   #1111
Chirple
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We are taking one of the Med cruises this summer, and I have a few questions about air travel planning. I have been checking nearly every day since we booked this trip and have not found the prices dropping so we will just have to bite the bullet.

We are two adults leaving from one of the NYC-area airports and arriving into/departing from Barcelona.

Q1: Was your flight non-stop? If so, what time did your flight depart Barcelona? We purchased the DCL transfers and one night pre-stay, and I saw on a trip report that they will not schedule you unless your flight is after 11 am. The non-stop flights available to us leave between 10:00 am and 10:45 am.

Q2: If you had connecting flights, did you change airlines? If so, how much of a hassle was it to collect your bags and go through customs at your first stop? Virgin Atlantic’s website states that bags have to be picked up and then checked again at the connecting airline (British Airways) if we chose them.

Q3: How much time did you allow between the flights? I’m hoping that anything over 3 hours will be fine. Some are showing 6+ hours, which I would hope be a safe cushion if you are changing airlines.

Q4: Did you book directly through an airline’s website or use a website like Kayak or Priceline? Using my example in Q3, the price of the Virgin Atlantic flight was $400 more per person on their own website compared to what I saw on Kayak for the same flights, same seats (economy).

Any feedback is appreciated!
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:29 AM   #1112
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We were on the August 2013 sailing out of Barcelona, and flew from Dallas so our experience may not be the same as yours.

Our plane leaving Dallas on was about an hour late due to the cooling system not working while the plane was on the ground (American). That put us late coming into our connecting flight in Madrid. Getting around the airport in Madrid was a nightmare -- it's a labyrinth. When we got to the gate, it was closed. We had to find someone to help us, found out our gate had actually changed and we hustled to get on it before they closed the door. Our flight to Barcelona was on Iberia airlines.

When we left Barcelona, we flew on British Airways to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Dallas on American. There was not a long wait between -- just enough to find Starbucks in the airport. Long flight.

If you can do it at all, I really recommend staying in Barcelona a few days. There is so much to see! We stayed three nights before and two nights after the cruise.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:43 AM   #1113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chirple View Post
We are taking one of the Med cruises this summer, and I have a few questions about air travel planning. I have been checking nearly every day since we booked this trip and have not found the prices dropping so we will just have to bite the bullet.

Q4: Did you book directly through an airline’s website or use a website like Kayak or Priceline? Using my example in Q3, the price of the Virgin Atlantic flight was $400 more per person on their own website compared to what I saw on Kayak for the same flights, same seats (economy).

Any feedback is appreciated!
If I may; I work for a major American airline as a reservation agent and know a few tidbits that might help
Prices rarely (and I mean like .01%) go down. There may be promotions but once a price is set, it usually stays that way. The prices don't go up per say, in the sense of 1 ticket with the price changing, but there are multiple types of tickets all with different restrictions and prices. All tickets start with very low fares with high restrictions. Of course those sell out first because it is the best price. As the flight date gets closer the high restriction (cheaper) tickets are no longer available because 1) You must buy the cheap tickets before so many dates before departure, as per the rules/restrictions and 2) People buy those faster so they may just be sold out.
So, what remains are the higher prices, less restrictive tickets.
To sum up: Buy tickets early, you will get cheaper prices ... unless there is a promotion going on

As for booking through Kayak/Priceline ...
Beware that most online sites have special prices that airlines cannot match and, on some (think the Priceline name your own price ticket), the airline CANNOT TOUCH YOUR TICKET to change. At all. Only the issuing travel agency can.
If you don't have one of those tickets, just keep in mind that if anything DOES happen to your flight (cancellations, mechanical, delays, wanting to change your flights), can be met with extra fees by the airline if you try to change your flight with them. With cancellations, it's just more of a headache and more time.
Though, I have to agree and understand why people choose the agency companies to book with ... much better on the wallet, but not better for sanity if things go wrong.

Just some info, take how you will! But I do hope it helps you
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Old 01-14-2014, 12:38 PM   #1114
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Our flight was non stop from Philly on US Airways. They were great with a huge jumbo jet (2 aisles) & touch screens on each headrest with movies games jukebox flight tracking etc
Our flight home was at 10:45M so we hired a private car service, Barcelona Day Tours, but while waiting for our ride we saw more than one DCL bus leave with a BCN sign in the front windshield. We had plenty of time to get through security but my bp was randomly flagged for additional screening so instead of relaxing at the gate with my family I was held in a separate room for an hour with around 10 others. We still made the flight on time but it was stressful.
We requested a 7:30M pick up but could have easily done a 7:00 am. Luggage was set out in the terminal during wee hours.

Hth
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Old 01-14-2014, 01:03 PM   #1115
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Originally Posted by ruadisneyfan2 View Post
Our flight was non stop from Philly on US Airways. They were great with a huge jumbo jet (2 aisles) & touch screens on each headrest with movies games jukebox flight tracking etc
Our flight home was at 10:45M so we hired a private car service, Barcelona Day Tours, but while waiting for our ride we saw more than one DCL bus leave with a BCN sign in the front windshield. We had plenty of time to get through security but my bp was randomly flagged for additional screening so instead of relaxing at the gate with my family I was held in a separate room for an hour with around 10 others. We still made the flight on time but it was stressful.
We requested a 7:30M pick up but could have easily done a 7:00 am. Luggage was set out in the terminal during wee hours.

Hth
I ready your trip report, and your experience was challenging to say the least.

Thanks for all of the input. We always purchase tickets directly through the airlines. I'm thinking we might go through Heathrow with the extra time in between flights. The ticket prices, even from our area to FL in the "off" season, are expensive lately.

We are on one of the 12-night cruises so we don't really have the extra time to tack on to our trip. I have heard Barcelona is beautiful so hopefully we will be able to get back there to experience it.
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:23 PM   #1116
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Just a little advice that may or may not help. I've been hitting it hard looking all over for better ticket prices. I ended up booking out of Toronto and saved over 700 per ticket! We are closer to Detroit, but after seeing tickets that left out of Detroit and through Canada I expanded my search and found cheap tickets in Toronto. Its a 5 hour drive but for almost 4000 bucks I'll drive 5 hours.
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:45 PM   #1117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpuck1998 View Post
Just a little advice that may or may not help. I've been hitting it hard looking all over for better ticket prices. I ended up booking out of Toronto and saved over 700 per ticket! We are closer to Detroit, but after seeing tickets that left out of Detroit and through Canada I expanded my search and found cheap tickets in Toronto. Its a 5 hour drive but for almost 4000 bucks I'll drive 5 hours.
Wow thats a huge savings. I would drive 5 hours for a lot less savings.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:28 PM   #1118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpuck1998 View Post
Just a little advice that may or may not help. I've been hitting it hard looking all over for better ticket prices. I ended up booking out of Toronto and saved over 700 per ticket! We are closer to Detroit, but after seeing tickets that left out of Detroit and through Canada I expanded my search and found cheap tickets in Toronto. Its a 5 hour drive but for almost 4000 bucks I'll drive 5 hours.
After my last post I checked Air Canada's flights. Still a bit more than for what I was hoping but far less than the other airlines.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:49 PM   #1119
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After my last post I checked Air Canada's flights. Still a bit more than for what I was hoping but far less than the other airlines.
I ended up booking on lufthansas website but my return flight is nonstop on air Canada.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:01 PM   #1120
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Have there not been 9-night Ned trips before? I don't see trip reports on the first page. Thanks.
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:20 AM   #1121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chirple View Post
I ready your trip report, and your experience was challenging to say the least.

Thanks for all of the input. We always purchase tickets directly through the airlines. I'm thinking we might go through Heathrow with the extra time in between flights. The ticket prices, even from our area to FL in the "off" season, are expensive lately.

We are on one of the 12-night cruises so we don't really have the extra time to tack on to our trip. I have heard Barcelona is beautiful so hopefully we will be able to get back there to experience it.
Our experience through Heathrow is that you should leave yourself a 3 hour connect time. It was a confusing maze to get from our arrival gate to our departure gate, and the bags had to be screened again, even though you never leave the international terminal. My daughter's bag was flagged to be inspected, and the screener was in absolutely no rush to get through the line of bags that were stacked up waiting. She took everything out and looked at every item, then left it to us to put it all back in the suitcase. On our way back to the US, our plane sat on the Tarmac for an hour past our departure time, causing us a lot of stress, since this flight had only a 2-hour connection time. They gave us some brightly-colored cards at the gate and told us to hurry. This time there were people directing us through the maze, and we did make the connection, barely. Our luggage spent the night in London.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:21 AM   #1122
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Originally Posted by Chirple View Post
After my last post I checked Air Canada's flights. Still a bit more than for what I was hoping but far less than the other airlines.
We did the Med last year, similar to pduck1998 we are also from MI but drove 4 hrs to catch a flight out of Toronto. I booked approx 60 days out from our departure date on Air France (note that Air France, Delta and KLM offered the exact flight but each had a different price). I booked direct from AirFrance website. Tix at 60 days out were $1078 for adults and $957 for my 11 yr old. We had a 65 minute connection in Amsterdam and I was sure we'd miss it - I had even looked ahead at when the next AMS to BCN flight would be - but we made it!
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Old 01-16-2014, 04:52 PM   #1123
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We did the Med last year, similar to pduck1998 we are also from MI but drove 4 hrs to catch a flight out of Toronto. I booked approx 60 days out from our departure date on Air France (note that Air France, Delta and KLM offered the exact flight but each had a different price). I booked direct from AirFrance website. Tix at 60 days out were $1078 for adults and $957 for my 11 yr old. We had a 65 minute connection in Amsterdam and I was sure we'd miss it - I had even looked ahead at when the next AMS to BCN flight would be - but we made it!
So you like living on the edge! I would probably need a paper bag because I'd be hyperventilating the whole time.

We went ahead and purched our tickets through Air Canada. The good thing is that it is the same airline all the way through (connecting in Toronto outbound and in Montreal inbound) so we won't have to worry about picking up luggage and checking in again. I have flown this airline from my area-Montreal-Vancouver, and we liked their service. Plus they are a United partner so we'll get miles for the trip.

Ranidayz, I don't know the answer to your question, sorry!
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:04 AM   #1124
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We flew through Heathrow on our way to Barcelona last year. Changing planes at Heathrow was not a problem for us. Our problems were French air traffic controllers going on strike and creating air travel mayhem in continental Europe. Heathrow was the best part of the trip! Lol
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:55 AM   #1125
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Naples...beach time?

Hello

Just decided for the 7 day Med trip this June (yay!). My husband and I have been to Pompeii and Sorrento - both really cool.

This trip we'll have my 8 year old. We'd love to go to a nearby beach...if there is one?

Rick Steves recommends doing a tour in Naples since transfers can be iffy. We'd love to go to Capri...but I can't see my boy enjoying the museum. It would be awesome to do a jet boat then beach.

Does anything like this exist at Capri or anywhere else? thanks!
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