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Air Transat vs Rouge (Italy flight) - and automatic car rental

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Air Transat vs Rouge (Italy flight) - and automatic car rental

Looking at direct flights to Italy (Marco Polo, Venice), to visit with family. We've always chosen the cheaper charter routes well in advance, so it's always been Air Transat. However, I'm booking later this time. The only 2 direct options are AT and Rouge. I have never flown Rouge. Most recent price check, Rouge was roughly $50 more per person. Also, I like the travel days/time better with Rouge vs AT. Is Rouge comparable, or actually an improvement on AT? Seats wider, etc?

Also, I need to rent a car for my trip. How difficult is it to get automatic car rentals (Don't know how to drive stick)? This is the first time I will be driving, instead of other family members. I know I need to get an international permit from CAA, and I have no issues actually driving there. I imagine the only available automatics will be larger (and more expensive) vehicles?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.
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Both Rogue and Transat are charter flights so, if you suffered Transat for that long flight you will survive Rogue.

As far as renting an automatic, yes, they re available but at a higher charge.I use www.autourope.ca for the best rates. They are amalgamators and use several rental agencies to get you the best price. The cars are the same size as the others, you have a choice in vehicle type and size. Be aware of what insurances you have on your credit card, personal insurance and if they cover you in Italy....some don't.
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seatguru.com to compare seats/IFE/upgrade options, should be comparable between AC Rouge (767?) and AT (A33x?)
not sure, but ACr should be able to accommodate you better in case of delays/cancellations as they have more frequency (??) or they can route you via AC/*A routes

don't know about Automatic car rental .. check online, like sixt.com . Auto does cost more
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Pete_Coach wrote: Both Rogue and Transat are charter flights so, if you suffered Transat for that long flight you will survive Rogue.

As far as renting an automatic, yes, they re available but at a higher charge.I use www.autourope.ca for the best rates. They are amalgamators and use several rental agencies to get you the best price. The cars are the same size as the others, you have a choice in vehicle type and size. Be aware of what insurances you have on your credit card, personal insurance and if they cover you in Italy....some don't.
Thanks Pete.

Yeah, air travel has never been about comfort for our family, so 'suffering' through those long flights was always to be expected. :) BTW, if you could get a bigger/more comfortable flight, but with 1/2 stops, would you choose that over these low cost options? They appear to be hundreds more per person. Have you ever flown Alitalia? They don't go direct to Venice (need to double check, probably stop at Rome). Is an economy flight with these options even worth a few hundred more per person?

Thanks for the tip on the car rentals. I'll verify if the rental insurance coverage applies in Italy as well (TD Visa Infinite Travel).
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Like Jerry said, other than additional options for routing in case of delay there is not much difference.

Flew Rouge to Ireland last year and hated it. Awful flight, cramped, no AC, disgusting food ( not that you fly for the food). I actually missed air transat. just my opinion. I would go rouge again for savings, but my husband has said no, never (we will if it is considerably cheaper).
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If I had to choose, I would probably book AC Rouge and pay for the bigger seat. But my first choice - if available, would be a stop to avoid either.

Alitalia would absolutely NEVER! be an option for me - been there, done that.

We always booked cars through autoeurope - as posted by Pete_Coach. The price we paid for an automatic was not that much more than for a standard, but we did book well in advance. If you look on the website you will see the various types of cars offered.

We always took out every insurance offered. Our credit card insurance would not cover everything in Italy. You need to fully explore this with emphasis on the Italy part. Actually, when we rented cars in Italy it was either take the insurance offered by the rental company - or don't take the car.

Good luck with the driving - we won't drive in Italy any more due to the fines that have become practically a cottage industry.
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jerryhung wrote: seatguru.com to compare seats/IFE/upgrade options, should be comparable between AC Rouge (767?) and AT (A33x?)
not sure, but ACr should be able to accommodate you better in case of delays/cancellations as they have more frequency (??) or they can route you via AC/*A routes

don't know about Automatic car rental .. check online, like sixt.com . Auto does cost more
snow00774 wrote: Like Jerry said, other than additional options for routing in case of delay there is not much difference.

Flew Rouge to Ireland last year and hated it. Awful flight, cramped, no AC, disgusting food ( not that you fly for the food). I actually missed air transat. just my opinion. I would go rouge again for savings, but my husband has said no, never (we will if it is considerably cheaper).
Was Rouge terrible because you were comparing it to the regular Air Canada flights, or was it terrible compared to Air Transat? I don't recall AT having spacious seats either, and seat guru tells me Rouge is 1" wider for instance (though 1" less leg room). Yeah, the food, forget it. :)
Blanche123 wrote: If I had to choose, I would probably book AC Rouge and pay for the bigger seat. But my first choice - if available, would be a stop to avoid either.

Alitalia would absolutely NEVER! be an option for me - been there, done that.

We always booked cars through autoeurope - as posted by Pete_Coach. The price we paid for an automatic was not that much more than for a standard, but we did book well in advance. If you look on the website you will see the various types of cars offered.

We always took out every insurance offered. Our credit card insurance would not cover everything in Italy. You need to fully explore this with emphasis on the Italy part. Actually, when we rented cars in Italy it was either take the insurance offered by the rental company - or don't take the car.

Good luck with the driving - we won't drive in Italy any more due to the fines that have become practically a cottage industry.
Where were you driving though? In all the years, we never really had an issue. I do drive with a local, if that matters. Same family member (local) will be in the car with me, just not driving this time. Helpful when you get stopped for no reason, though. :) Also, since family is in the north, not much city driving, mostly Autostrada, and small local town driving, and to/from airport.
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onlineharvest wrote: Thanks Pete.

Yeah, air travel has never been about comfort for our family, so 'suffering' through those long flights was always to be expected. :) BTW, if you could get a bigger/more comfortable flight, but with 1/2 stops, would you choose that over these low cost options? They appear to be hundreds more per person. Have you ever flown Alitalia? They don't go direct to Venice (need to double check, probably stop at Rome). Is an economy flight with these options even worth a few hundred more per person?

Thanks for the tip on the car rentals. I'll verify if the rental insurance coverage applies in Italy as well (TD Visa Infinite Travel).
I like to travel non stop but one stop is not so bad. Personally, I hate Rogue (never flown Transat but have never head anything good). If you start to upgrade to bigger seats etc then you are very close to a regular flight with the overseas flight amenities.
Alitalia does fly into Venice but it depends where you connect with Alitalia. On my innumerable trips to Italy, I avoided Alitaia if I could, service sucked and the planes were...well....suspect (I am/was in the aviation business). Trip from Canada to Venice can be a 15 to 18 hour day with 9 or 10 of those in the fuselage of an airline...you need to decide what level of comfort you would like. me, it would never be in one of those new slim line seats on Rogue or Transat.
I have TD Infinite and at one point they would not insure in Italy. My last 3 trips (pleasure not business) I did not rent and used trains and local transportation.
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Pete_Coach wrote: I like to travel non stop but one stop is not so bad. Personally, I hate Rogue (never flown Transat but have never head anything good). If you start to upgrade to bigger seats etc then you are very close to a regular flight with the overseas flight amenities.
Alitalia does fly into Venice but it depends where you connect with Alitalia. On my innumerable trips to Italy, I avoided Alitaia if I could, service sucked and the planes were...well....suspect (I am/was in the aviation business). Trip from Canada to Venice can be a 15 to 18 hour day with 9 or 10 of those in the fuselage of an airline...you need to decide what level of comfort you would like. me, it would never be in one of those new slim line seats on Rogue or Transat.
I have TD Infinite and at one point they would not insure in Italy. My last 3 trips (pleasure not business) I did not rent and used trains and local transportation.
I don't see THAT many airline options (September travel) and I'm curious, which airlines do you choose for your innumerable trips to Italy?
I see Lufthansa, but that is 'operated by Air Canada Rouge', and then nothing else until you add $300-400 per person, and I don't even know how much better they are.

Ummm, so don't fly Alitalia. GOT IT (in the aviation business, and "suspect", yeah, let me avoid that please). AT/Rouge are just uncomfortable, right, nothing to be 'suspect' about? ;)
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onlineharvest wrote: I don't see THAT many airline options (September travel) and I'm curious, which airlines do you choose for your innumerable trips to Italy?
I see Lufthansa, but that is 'operated by Air Canada Rouge', and then nothing else until you add $300-400 per person, and I don't even know how much better they are.

Ummm, so don't fly Alitalia. GOT IT (in the aviation business, and "suspect", yeah, let me avoid that please). AT/Rouge are just uncomfortable, right, nothing to be 'suspect' about? ;)
Yeah, Rogue has taken over quite a few routes from regular Air Canada flights, even the code share flights. It will require more flight checking and I have no qualms with using star alliance flights and going through the US. Of than connecting in the US gets you to your destination non stop. If you want to fly cheap, that is unfortunately your only choice. If you want to fly comfortable, it will cost more. That is the way of the industry. Personally, i will pay more to be comfortable and get the schedule and flights I want. the extra 3 or 400 will not stop me from having my vacation and enjoying all of it, including the up to 20 house in an air recirculating tin can :)

Rogue use regular Air Canada aircraft, albeit the older ones but the maintenance an safety is excellent. Transat, on the other hand has a lot fewer aircraft and are a bit older and more importantly have a lesser fleet. if something goes wrong with an aircraft, they very often do not have an alternative but sit o the ground till it gets repaired. I have herd far tmany stories of long delays for maintenance (jsut a week ago my Son was stuck in Cuba at the terminal for 10 hours).
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onlineharvest wrote: Was Rouge terrible because you were comparing it to the regular Air Canada flights, or was it terrible compared to Air Transat? I don't recall AT having spacious seats either, and seat guru tells me Rouge is 1" wider for instance (though 1" less leg room). Yeah, the food, forget it. :)

I was comparing to regular AC flights, and less so but still against AT. I just don't remember having such a crappy flight on AT, but memory fades and is replaced by memories of the destination in the end. I did find that 1" leg room difference sucked and I have short legs. On the way back we sat in the exit row seats which was a bit better, see if you can get those through a deal. Ours was through Lufthansa as well - found booking through there was cheaper than AC direct. Also we don't have an ipad so we couldn't use the entertainment (wasn't renting them from AC), had some good reading time though lol

I know my husband hated no air conditioning, that was his main complaint along with the leg room and no movie. Transat at least has air con and movies for all.
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We have now rented a car three times for Italy and every one of them was with Auto Europe. Absolutely fabulous experience every time with great customer support.

First and foremost, Auto Europe guarantees you the car you book and that's including transmission. This leads to them becoming an "unwritten option" for an almost guaranteed upgrade since 95% of the cars within the EU rental pools are manuals while the other 5% are luxury-focused cars (BMW, Volvo, Audi, etc.) that exclusively have....auto boxes.

With that in mind on every trip so far (rented in Florence twice and FCO once) the rental agency tried to foist a manual onto us but after which a quick call to Auto Europe they got us into the upgraded luxury car for the same price as an Econo car. So far we've had a Volvo XC60 (not the greatest for the small streets of large cities but AWESOME for off-roading), an twice an Audi A4.

Auto Europe has a TON of leverage over there it seems. Not only that but their frequent sales drive prices down...just make sure to monitor their pricing after booking since they'll price match your booking any time between when you book and your rental leaves the lot. :)

Another thing to remember is to take the All Inclusive insurance package from AE when traveling in Italy. It saved our bacon once and we'll always purchase it in the future. Also note that there are certain "no go" zones where even AE's insurance won't cover you for certain situations. For example, car break-ins and a stolen car aren't covered in Naples, damages aren't covered if you choose to take a ferry, etc. Make sure you read the fine print and note the "at your own risk" areas of liability.

Finally, when you receive the car make sure you do a complete walk-around with the agent. This is something most rental agencies do over there but don't get caught up in the excitement of being overseas and overlooking even the most minor dents / scratches / cosmetic issues upon reception. Log them ALL because when you return the car, be certain the agency will go over it with a fine toothed comb and if there's anything you missed during that first inspection, expect to pay megabucks.

Hope that helps.
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onlineharvest wrote: I don't see THAT many airline options (September travel) and I'm curious, which airlines do you choose for your innumerable trips to Italy?
I see Lufthansa, but that is 'operated by Air Canada Rouge', and then nothing else until you add $300-400 per person, and I don't even know how much better they are.

Ummm, so don't fly Alitalia. GOT IT (in the aviation business, and "suspect", yeah, let me avoid that please). AT/Rouge are just uncomfortable, right, nothing to be 'suspect' about? ;)
If you don't mind a stop.. I find AF to be decent and they have good deals on business or premium economy quite often too
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I flew to Rome on Air Transat last year. The planes are new and comfortable. Just make sure that you bring some blankets or jackets because on both flights the air con was exceptionally strong.
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Only problem w/ AT is that they don't shut the lights off, which personally drives me up the wall when I'm trying to sleep!

Bring eye shades/sleep mask.
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OP - we had to rent in Florence proper to drive to Chianti. We received our ticket (the first from the rental agency 6 months after the event - and the ticket from the police a month shy of the year they have to issue it).

We entered a limited traffic zone about a 5 minute drive away from where we had to return the car. The directions were incorrect. The total fine together with the charge for the rental company providing the police with our information was 200 euros. During all of this I was trying to find a police man/woman to help.

We know people who have received multiple fines. I speak some Italian and did call after the e-mail did not work. The police woman did feel sorry for us in that we hardly put any kms on the car but there was nothing she could do. Our innkeepers of many years could do nothing either. Actually one of their frequent guests who lives in Europe had always avoided driving in Italy due to the fines issue, so the one year he decided to drive - surprise - a fine. He got his on the highway.

Just be careful and watch your mailbox. They will come after you.

If you haven't already read the "sticky" on driving in Italy on the Trip Advisor forum I suggest you do so.

Then look for a few of the posts from people. The funniest are those who supported the fines until they received a few.
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Blanche123 wrote: OP - we had to rent in Florence proper to drive to Chianti. We received our ticket (the first from the rental agency 6 months after the event - and the ticket from the police a month shy of the year they have to issue it).

We entered a limited traffic zone about a 5 minute drive away from where we had to return the car. The directions were incorrect. The total fine together with the charge for the rental company providing the police with our information was 200 euros. During all of this I was trying to find a police man/woman to help.

We know people who have received multiple fines. I speak some Italian and did call after the e-mail did not work. The police woman did feel sorry for us in that we hardly put any kms on the car but there was nothing she could do. Our innkeepers of many years could do nothing either. Actually one of their frequent guests who lives in Europe had always avoided driving in Italy due to the fines issue, so the one year he decided to drive - surprise - a fine. He got his on the highway.

Just be careful and watch your mailbox. They will come after you.

If you haven't already read the "sticky" on driving in Italy on the Trip Advisor forum I suggest you do so.

Then look for a few of the posts from people. The funniest are those who supported the fines until they received a few.
Thanks, I'll check out that sticky post. Who 'supports' fines? lol

My family is in a smaller town so we absolutely must drive.

BTW, you said the directions were incorrect. Are you referring to manual directions, or from a GPS?
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onlineharvest wrote: Thanks, I'll check out that sticky post. Who 'supports' fines? lol

My family is in a smaller town so we absolutely must drive.

BTW, you said the directions were incorrect. Are you referring to manual directions, or from a GPS?
The supporters of the fines are often people from other countries who are concerned about the deterioration of the artifacts etc. in Italy - of course, until they themselves receive fines. Some of these people are quick to point out that they have never had a fine - well, until they did and then their respective tunes changed. It is the same with many things.

We did not have a GPS but rather a rental company pre-printed list of street by street directions to return the car. It was missing one street. It did not help that the Fashion Show was on in Florence at that time. We had driven the same route for a few years before we had received the ticket. We were probably lucky in that we received our ticket at the beginning of the camera ticketing program otherwise we might have had more. The people we know who received multiple tickets did so in the years following the year that we received ours.

I was thinking about Alitalia. Back in the day before AC purchased Canadian, I would fly Canadian and deplane in Milan and the plane would then travel on to Rome. Many of the other passengers were Italians who lived in Italy. Their advice was to "walk first" rather than take Alitalia. I think the service might be better from the U.S. but it is not an experience I care to repeat. A former boss of mine also had an experience with them.

The last couple of years we flew via Air Austria so that we could fly directly into Florence, our destination. Our layover was 4.5 hours, but still worth it. One year we had to fly via Rome - but I do not care for Rome. We spent the first night in Rome and 2 nights on the return due to the possibility of strikes (been there, done that) - trip insurance does not cover strikes. But at least at that time the hard to get Toronto to Rome ticket on AC Main had not been Rouged - it had been from Montreal. We used points - paid the fees of course - but went Business Class. I would not use points to Italy unless it was full Business - not Business/Economy.
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Blanche123 wrote: T.........

I was thinking about Alitalia. Back in the day before AC purchased Canadian, I would fly Canadian and deplane in Milan and the plane would then travel on to Rome. Many of the other passengers were Italians who lived in Italy. Their advice was to "walk first" rather than take Alitalia. I think the service might be better from the U.S. but it is not an experience I care to repeat. A former boss of mine also had an experience with them.

..... due to the possibility of strikes (been there, done that) - trip insurance does not cover strikes. ......
Alitalia is the equivalent to Air Canada. It i a national airline. They are now half owned by Etihad . They fly internationally and all over Italy, into small airports as well as the big ones. I have never herd an Italian say they would not fly it.
My experience is not very good as the aircraft was dirty and the flight attendants were more interested in looking good than serving the passengers.

Strikes in Italy are as random as tornados in the American mid west and, as frequent. I was waiting for luggage at the carousel once and the airport announced it was closed due to a strike. My bags were sent to my hotel the next day. :)
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When I flew to Greece, my two top choices were a direct flight with Rouge or a slightly more expensive flight with KLM for 1 stop in AMS. I chose KLM. I decided years ago to never fly with Rouge under any circumstances and I meant it. I'll pay more and I'll put up with a layover. I did however fly with Air Transat, but it was only a quick flight from YYZ to CUN (Cancun), so it wasn't unbearable. The flight home was on an A310 and the seats were very tight, but again, it was a short flight so I managed. For an overseas flight, I would and have pay more and deal with a layover to fly on a more comfortable airline. Rouge is simply not an option for me, ever!

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