Posted on December 22, 2017
I just returned from a trip to Italy. I've been reflecting on the flights that I took. I won't mention the airlines that I used, but will talk about the experience I had and what I would do differently, as well what I would/won't recommend to clients.
Our first flight, Vancouver to Toronto, then Toronto to Rome. The first leg was uneventful. Smooth flight, good service. We had just over 2 hours, just enough time to land, and make our way to the other side of the airport and quickly grab a drink.
Toronto to Rome - flight was uneventful, service was decent. I had paid for upgraded service, this consisted of seat selection, a comfort kit (blanket, ear buds) and our luggage was supposed to be prioritized (off the aircraft first). However, this did not happen. One suitcase made it to Rome, the other did not. We had to file a claim, this process took approximately 2 hours. We were told that my bag "should" arrive the following day. We got it 3 days later. It may have arrived the next day, however, it was not delivered to my hotel as they wait until they have a few bags to deliver in the same area. Can this be prevented? Not likely. I guess traveling with carry-on only is an option, but we were gone for a month and checked bag it was!
Upon our return, our flight Venice to Toronto was slightly delayed (15 minutes). This is where I would strongly recommend a much longer layover. We again had well over 2.5 hour layover. This was not enough time to go through immigration, collect our bags, drop our bags off again, go through security and make our way across the whole airport to our gate. We hear the announcement "final boarding call for flight #123" as we were going through security, it was a good 15 minute run to our gate from there. This was not a pleasant experience.
For future travel, I know it looks very appealing to have a short layover, but there are just too many things that can go awry. Planes can be delayed. Security is a nightmare in this day and age. It seems that your gate is never the first one, it's always waaaay across the airport.
Yes I know, the airline may put you on the next available flight. But, when is that? It could be within a few hours, or it may be a couple of days. Better to be safe and have a buffer of a couple of hours. Have a nap, eat something. Read a book, surf the 'net. Get access to a lounge, have a shower. Shop. There is lots that you can do in a large airport.