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Monday, September 11, 2006

Europe Trip - 1 : Airlines, Security, Airports etc

My wife and I visited Europe for a short vacation. In the span of 9 days, we visited London, Rome and Paris. The "Europe Trip" series of Blogs will talk about our travel experiences and any useful tips that I might have to share.

In this post, i shall talk about the various airlines that we travelled in, the type of security in airports today etc.

(1). We travelled by Icelandair from SFO > London (Heathrow) > SFO. This was one of the cheaper airlines and i was actually quite impressed with the airlines. The service was good and the staff was friendly. Basically, Iceland serves as a bouncing hop between Europe and America and thats how they market themselves. Food is actually quite bad (there are NO vegetarian choices by default). I also found that the leg space was larger than found in normal airlines.

@ the Reykjavik International Airport, Iceland

(2). From London Luton to Rome, we travelled by Ryan Air. They advertise cheap prices but take it with a pinch of salt. You need to pay extra for any luggage that you check in. Also, the size of the hand carry on baggage is extremely small - in fact, we had to check in our hand carry on baggage. Flight was good and on time.

(3). Rome to Paris and Paris to Luton - We travelled by Easyjet - this has one of the biggest presence in Europe. This is completely modelled on the Southwest airlines. The planes are clean and well maintained. However, the flight was delayed after a random security check at Paris airport. Again, since this is a cheap airline, you can't do or say much :).

(4). Security in airports have gone up in a big way - no liquids, no gels, no cosmetics etc can be carried in the carry-on luggage. However, i didn't find consistency in the security checks in different airports. Luton airport had a serpentine queue for security checks. But we almost breezed through at the Rome airport. I guess, we still are far from being perfect.

(5). We booked all our flights through Kayak and all our hotels through Venere (both of these are highly recommended).

-- Thyaga

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