20 April 2017

British Airways flights to Italy 2017

The season for summer flights has started, and some very appealing Italian destinations are now only a short journey away. I usually travel by British Airways and it's frustratingly hard to find a comprehensive list of their flights to Italian destinations along with dates and frequency. If you know where you want to travel, you can carry out a search to find the best flights for your dates. To find the cheapest destinations, BA's Low Price Finder is a useful tool, though you can't limit your search to Italian airports only. For an overview, I've compiled this listing of British Airways flights to Italy in 2017.

Venice - photo taken during the approach to landing
Please note that I may have made errors,  BA may change their schedule, and prices will inevitably rise. However, I hope this is largely accurate and will help travellers come up with ideas for travelling to Italy - and getting off the beaten track.

All these flights are from London, as unfortunately BA operates very few direct Italy flights from non-London airports. (Bristol and Birmingham to Florence are exceptions). BA's flights to 'leisure' destinations usually operate from Gatwick, with business-oriented routes (e.g. Milan, Rome) tending to depart from Heathrow. Flight times to Italy range from under two hours to just over 3 hours.

The cheapest prices are hand-baggage only. The cost of flights can vary dramatically; some airports which are popular either for holidays or business conferences will have some extremely high prices, while other airports with frequent flights and steadier demand (including Venice) tend to have affordable flights throughout the year. If you are flexible with your dates and times, and book ahead, it is possible to find cheap flights, with returns for £100 or less. Don't forget that BA no longer provide any sustenance to standard-class passengers (Euro Traveller), so you'll need to budget for food and drink onboard, or bring your own.

British Airways destinations in Italy 2017


From London Gatwick (LGW) unless otherwise specified


Year-round
Bologna

Bologna (from Heathrow) - daily - all year round - from £42.

Florence - daily - all year round - from £47. (Flights from Gatwick and London City airport,  operated by Vueling and BA CityFlyer)

Genoa - varies, up to daily - all year round - from £39.

Milan Linate (from Heathrow and occasionally London City and Stansted) - daily - all year round - from £38.

Milan Malpensa (from Heathrow) - daily - all year round - from £38.

Naples - almost daily - all year round - from £41.

Pisa - daily - all year round - from £52.

Rome Fiumicino (from Heathrow) - daily - all year round - from £40.

Turin - daily - all year round - from £38.

Venice (from Gatwick, Heathrow and occasionally London City Airport) - daily - all year round - from £38.

Verona - almost daily - all year round - from £30.




Seasonal

Bari - 4 times a week - 27 March-22 October - from £52.

Palermo
Brindisi - twice a week - 27 May-23 Sep - from £41.

Cagliari, Sardinia - between 4 and 6 times a week - 27 April-23 October - from £52.

Catania, Sicily - daily  26 March-23 October - from £58 each way. (This flight earns double BAEC tier points)

Olbia, Sardinia - from 4 times a week - 9 April-27 September - from £50.

Palermo, Sicily (from Heathrow) - 3 times a week - 26 March-22 October - from £46.


Other routes

BA lounge at Gatwick
This year BA also operate seasonal flights:
From Birmingham to Florence on Saturdays
From Bristol to Florence on Saturdays.

I'm not aware of any other regional destinations in the UK with direct BA flights to Italy. Other airlines, of course - most notably Easyjet and Ryanair - operate many useful routes from various UK and Irish destinations to Italian airports, including some off-the-beaten track airports not reached by BA.


> Italian airports - a brief guide with suggestions for tourist destinations covered by each airport
> British Airways

3 April 2017

Bologna airport - BA lounge and general information

A quick note after my recent trip to Bologna with British Airways (£65 return, hand baggage only - a great deal).

Bologna Marconi Airport (BLQ) was very efficient and quick on landing - we had a bus connection to the terminal which was only about 30 yards away, but apart from mirnor irritation, the arrival process was smooth, with quick and efficient passport control with EU gates which worked (a world away from the previous week's experience at Napoli Capodichino).

Once you arrive land-side, there is a long mall to the right, running from arrivals towards the departure check-in desks. This is lined with car-hire kiosks, shops and eateries - not a large number, but the eating options do look good with an osteria and a pizzeria to choose from.




British Airways don't have a dedicated lounge at Bologna airport, but their departing Club Europe and BAEC Silver and Gold card-holders have access to the airport's Marconi Business Lounge (MBL).

The entrance to the lounge is land-side, to the right of the queue for security. The general queue was pretty long when I witnessed it, though I didn't see how fast it moved. Once you're in the lounge, there is a special fast-track security route for passengers - head through the lounge and around a couple of corners. This isn't open at off-peak times, but apparently an alternative fast-track lane is set up alongside the main queue when the lounge route is closed.  I was advised to allow 40 minutes between leaving the lounge and the take-off time, which seemed about right, if you want to make priority boarding and the first bus to the plane. As fast-track security only had one belt, there could be delays if all the lounge-eligible passengers from your flight get up at the same time.

The lounge was busy when I arrived - three to a sofa, though it calmed down later. There were soft drinks and beer in a fridge, and wine (choice of red or white)  available on request at the bar. The food offering consisted of snacks like nuts and crisps, plus small squares of pizza (which vanished quickly) and focaccia. There were sofas, charging points, tables with seating, and decent toilets available.

On the airport website you can pay for lounge access, at €28, though I don't think most travellers would think it worth the price. Priority Pass holders also have access.

Bologna is a good destination for a weekend trip or a foodie break. The convenience of the airport and its proximity to town adds to the practicality of the destination. I'll write more about Bologna and this week's trip soon, adding to the existing Italy Heaven info on Bologna.



Airport travel

The airport is only 20 minutes from central Bologna on the public Aerobus, which runs very frequently. The bus stop is signposted to the right from arrivals. Buy tickets before boarding in the airport for €6 each, or have them included on a tourist Bologna Welcome Card which you can pick up at the tourist information desk in the airport (head right through the airport landside mall, and the desk is on your left, opposite Carrefour). Watch out for gypsies who throng around the bus stop at Bologna's Stazione Centrale, surrounding tourists and hassling them for money. The stop before the station, Via dei Mille, is the best stop for the historic centre. It's then about a 12-15 minute walk to Piazza Maggiore, the heart of Bologna. For your return journey you can board at the same stop.

More about Bologna