lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:35 am

Every summer my sister and I go to Switzerland to visit our aging mother. On the return we stopped in Sardinia. We wanted to visit the Costa Smeralda on the north eastern part of the island. The airport is Olbia.

I am a mileage freak and used air miles for a free ticket from the US to Geneva. I soon learnt this summer that the airlines are not as generous as before. My sister was able to get a free ticket on Continental for 50,000 miles. The routing was: New York to Geneva nonstop. The return a weird Geneva to Paris, Paris to London on Air France and then Virgin Atlantic.

I had 50,000 Delta miles and was planning to use them on CO. However when I called to book DL announced that they had changed the rules (kept it hush hush) to 60,000 miles. I only had 52,000 so my plan to fly on CO with my sister were dashed.

I had enough American miles; 60,000 with a free stop in London so I thought. Oh no they announced; you are no longer allowed a free stopover in London. You have to pay an additional 10,000 for the stopover. So the whole trip came to 70,000 miles.

Up to about 5 years ago AA allowed 2 stops anywhere in Europe. Their program has become a lot less generous.

Had I used a 55,000 mile award on United, the routing would have been:
Singapore Airlines to Frankfurt, LX to Zurich and LX to Geneva. Return: LH to Frankfurt, AC to YUL and AC to LGA.

However because of the rip off high taxes on tickets via London I ended up paying $200 for my so called "free ticket." This compares to only $80 in taxes for a nonstop ticket to Geneva.

I hesitated using Air Miles because the fares this summer were the lowest I have ever seen them. On Northwest $640 compared to about $1,000 the year before. So in the end I only saved about $440; not really worth it.

Here is a picture of the AA 777 taken at 5 PM, an hour before departure.





Because AA in the past never served cheese which I like with the bread I bought a piece of cheddar cheese for $1.07 at the airport deli. the price has been maintained at $1.07 since years. I had the shock of my life when on the dinner plate there was a cheese spread. A nice sign that AA were improving the meals. The cheddar was better but next time no need to buy the cheese.

The desert an oatmeal thingy ma gig looked unappatizing and tiny till I bit into it. It was delicious, rich and filling. Here is a picture.



The seat pitch on AA at 32" is always comfortable. The crew were nice and the coffee seems to have improved. Entertainment so so. We arrived in London too early and had to fly around for 30 minutes as the airport only opens at 6AM. It was delightful to arrive so early as the airport was quiet and deserted. Here is a picture with the new control tower and the new BA terminal behind it. I love the Air Canada colours (no more). Little did I know then that 3 months later, I would fly from Geneva to Montreal on Air Canada and that they would "permanently lose my suitcase." That will be another trip report.



I had to wait 5 hours for the BA flight to Geneva. They told me they could not put me on an earlier flight as they cannot locate luggage. AA can, BA can't. BA in July were still serving a very nice sandwich with a delicious chocolate bar. I love the baby Coke cans on BA; it's enough with less calories. I don't like big cans. As I was in heaven munching on the delicious chicken curry sandwich I was reading about the giant losses at BA. I said to myself this delicious snack won't be served for much longer. They also let you pick as many newspapers as you wish.

The flight to Olbia, Sardinia was on Easyjet (Switzerland). The fare was $180 roundtrip and took only 1 hour 15 minutes. Seating was comfortable, the crew very friendly; seemed mostly French, not Swiss. Though it's supposed to be a Swiss carrier they screw you if you pay for food in Swiss Francs. They made us understand they prefer Euros. Easyjet are my "heroes." They offer great affordable fares from Geneva to really great destinations. They also have the best website of any airline. You pay about $10 to pick a seat. No one does. Everyone runs to get the best seat. It's a bit stressful boarding because of this.

Here are some pictures from the takeoff from Olbia Airport back to Geneva.



Could see all the ships preparing to leave for Corsica and the Italian mainland.



Most of the aircraft at the airport were Merediana, the airline of Olbia founded by the Agha Khan in the 1960s.



Here are a few pictures of the Costa Smeralda. Because it was built in the 1960s it really looks like California. You have to go to the mountain villages to really realise you are in Italy. The water is beautiful but freezing cold, even in July. The water must be warmer in Greenland.



Italians seem to like congragating in the water and chatting as can be seen in this picture. I loved slowly swimming past them and listening to their conversations. Their language is like music to me.



The nicest outing was on a Norwegian whaling ship built in 1935.







One could see Corsica from here where the mountains were. Only 1 hour away by boat. We could see the town of Bonifacao (can't spell it) built on cliffs.



The Queen of England has a house here. The white one. She did not seem to be in town.



Behind us the town of Palau with the ferry boat to the Magdalena Islands.



A picture of the most beautiful swimming pools I have ever seen. This new hotel was empty. Only about 6 of us shared about 7 swimming pools.



I can't drive shift. Better learn quick. It cost us $240; 170 Euros to rent an automatic car for one day. Here is the picture of this expensive car. The front and back window wipers suddenly started to function out of the blue; and I had no clue how to stop them. Very stressful experience.



The Costa Smeralda is nice but a "ripp off." It's really a resort for the super wealthy. I saw enough yachts, billionnaires, Hermes, Louis Vuitton handbags in one week to last a lifetime. Happy I went once to see it but I would not go back. And as to the freezing cold water ......... Also the restaurants are a ripp off; tiny portions and not all that good. $20 for an orange juice about 14 Euros; $30 for a sandwich (EU 20).

As we were landing in Geneva the pilot flew right next to the Mont Blanc. As I started to take a picture, my camera crashed. Canon cameras seem to crash after 3 years automatically.

BA were still serving a sandwich from GVA to London till September 1. No more food on flights less than 2 1/2 hours. They will not even offer anything for sale. The hostess in fact offered me 2 when I told her I was surprised to get one. They decided to keep on serving them for 3 more weeks. Because I purchased my own I ended up eating 3 sandwiches. Shame: I loved the BA sandwiches and the chocolate biscuits they used to serve in the "old days." I will miss them dearly and think about them everytime I board a BA flight to Geneva from London.

AA flight was excellent back. No pics as my poor camera crashed.


[Edited 2010-01-20 23:37:17]

[Edited 2010-01-20 23:41:07]

Big version: Width: 640 Height: 480 File size: 106kb


[Edited 2010-01-20 23:47:19]
 
JL418
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:20 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:27 am

Hi, nice report! Glad to see you've been in Costa Smeralda but, next time, I think you'd go somewhere else on the island. there's plenty of yet unknown beaches and cheaper places. the Costa is VIP's refuge, that meaning they'll charge you a lot for every single thing you pay or do.

And, about car rentals, I might have your same problem but reversed... I'm planning a trip to NYC and I'd love to see a little bit of Long Island or New England (depending on the time I have) but I'm slightly worried by automatic gearboxes.. I bet there's no manual rental car there, isn't it?
 
Delboy
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2001 12:57 am

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:00 pm

Nice report, just one thing though, Heathrow is a 24 hour airport, it doesn't open at 6am. It's just that all flights are timed to start arriving around that time.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:04 pm

Hi JL418: I don't think you can rent shift cars here. But you can learn in about 1 minute. Just remember:

P for Park
R for reverse and
D for drive.

Here is a link: http://www.ehow.com/how_2239466_drive-car-automatic-transmission.html

If you want to go to Long Island I assume you want to visit the Hamptons (Shelter Island, Sag Harbor, Amagansett, Southampton, Montauk etc). Also Fire Island. It would take you about 3 hours by car from New York / Manhattan. I would rent the car from JFK Airport which is about 2 hours. It will save you the hassle from driving out of the city.

For New England I would take the train to Boston and rent from there. Cape Cod is also quite nice and Maine in the summer.

As to Sardinia I want to start in Alghero, cross to Orosei / Cala Gonone and then to Villasimus and Pula. I was told these places are nicer and much more interesting than the Costa Smeralda.
 
nwmke
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2009 12:08 am

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:35 pm

Nice trip report! I liked seeing the Jacobs crackers in the meal. A bit of Ireland  Smile
flying is all i love
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:00 pm

Hi,

Interesting and lovely report! I especially like your pictures of Costa Smeralda. Beautiful!

It amazes me how you managed to earn nearly similar amount of miles with Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam! Pity that their generous schemes are no more.

Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:03 pm

Hi Nwmke:

LOL I am not too crazy about the Jacobs crackers. I find them a little dry.

Hi Akhmad:

Don't be too impressed by the miles I rack up. Most of them are from credit cards. Airlines here make a bundle off credit cards. Recently British Airways offered 50,000 miles just to join their credit card program. Then if you spend $2,000 within 4 months you get an additional 50,000 miles. And if you spend $30,000 in one year you get 2 awards for the price of 1.

My 96 year old aunt got 25,000 miles to hook up with American Airlines. A year later American Express offered her 30,000 miles on American and Sheraton also gave her 10,000 AA miles. That is 65,000 miles without flying.

With a United credit card you get 30,000 miles to join + 5,000 miles for each friend you refer.
I buy everything with my credit cards. I never leave home without one.

There is a new movie called "Up in the Air" with George Clooney. Don't know how long it takes to get to Holland. It's about a guy who lives for Air Miles. Not to go anywhere but just for the extra perks. He strives for 10million miles. He travels all over the country firing people on behalf of companies. It is a somewhat sad depressing film but also funny.
 
reifel
Posts: 1538
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:53 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:49 pm

Nice report! My girlfriend and me always spend one or two weekends in the winter in Olbia per year. While Costa Smeralda must be one of the most expensive areas in Europe, in the winter it's incredibly deserted and cheap.
TUIfly has year-round services there (I guess they have some kind of marketing cooperation with Sardinia and are obliged to fly there in the winter as well from a bunch of German cities, although there are not much more than 30 passengers on each flight). This makes the fares in the winter incredibly low. Now the routes have been taken over by Air Berlin and I guess they will not fly there in the winter anymore since it most likely makes no sense in terms of revenue.

Anyway, we always take a car, drive along the beaches, stay at our preferred hotel in Tempio Pausania and eat at our favorite pizzeria a seafood pizza with real fresh stuff on it. Can't wait to go there again, we will do so in March.
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:45 am

Hi LYchemsa,

I thoroughly enjoyed this report of yours. It was curiously witty and quite to the point.

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
Because AA in the past never served cheese which I like with the bread I bought a piece of cheddar cheese for $1.07 at the airport deli. the price has been maintained at $1.07 since years. I had the shock of my life when on the dinner plate there was a cheese spread.

This is a hilarious travel quirk you have... superb observation. I'm glad AA filled the void too. I head cheddar isn't too hot over in USA so I suppose the Deli might always be quite good... A deli preflight is a great idea.

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
They also have the best website of any airline

Easyjet have a superb, easy to use, website. My favorite hands down.. where else can you see the lowest fares for a year?

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
I loved slowly swimming past them and listening to their conversations. Their language is like music to me.

This again is truelly quirky - I pictured you slowly drifting amongst gossiping rich Italians. I too enjoy listening to foreign accent - Chinese is my favorite. I sometimes forget to read subtitles in Chinese films.

The water looks a delight. Like Scottish beaches - clear and warm looking, but bloody freezing. I didn't realise Sardinia got a cold stream of water.
Noticed quite a few launches in your photos from the Motor Yaughts moored off shore..
Don't be ripped off.. there is always somewhere close by where the locals go.

Again thanks for this report!

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:24 pm

Hi Reifel:

I noticed that a lot of people stay up in the hills. It's cheaper and quieter and convenient for visiting many places on the coast if one has a car. We had lunch at a hotel in a village. Interesting that people go there in the winter.

Hi Lukeyboy95:

Actually this beach called Grand Pavero is 10 minutes from the village of Porto Cervo. It is more of a "popular" beach and the majority are Italians. By spying / listening in on their conversations I concluded that many arrive from the mainland with their cars and rent apartments in the hills about 30 to one hour away. It's much cheaper and as they have cars they go to different beaches every day.

It's in the village of Porto Cervo where they have all the fancy stores. It's here and at the yacht club where the huge yachts are parked right next to each other. You see some arriving off the yachts in their zodiacs with the crews in white uniforms.

You also see the yachts parked off the Cala di Volpe, Pittriza and Romazzino Hotels which charge about 700 pounds a night per person. They arrive on their zodiaks from the yachts to have lunch.

Many are also parked off Liscia Roya beach which is the longest beach. However Italian beaches are public. So even at the super luxury hotels (except Patrizia) they have to share the same beach with the peasants like me.

On one side are the hotel guests and on the other the peasants which is funny to see. You rent the deckchairs on the public side. Row 1 upfront costs about 20 pounds for the day, row 2 about 10 pounds and row 3 is less. I liked row 2.
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8153
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:12 pm

Nice read, thanks for posting.

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
We arrived in London too early and had to fly around for 30 minutes as the airport only opens at 6AM.

- The airport does have flights due before 6am, it's a busy time so sounds like your flight was in a stack awaiting clearance, happens all the time.

Rgds

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
akhmad
Posts: 2498
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:27 pm



Quoting LYchemsa (Reply 6):
Don't be too impressed by the miles I rack up. Most of them are from credit cards.

Still I never realized that airlines could be such generous for the credit card holders of theirs. I have got a credit card of my employer and unfortunately not been entitled to earn airmiles with it.

Quoting LYchemsa (Reply 6):
There is a new movie called "Up in the Air" with George Clooney. Don't know how long it takes to get to Holland.

This movie is being shown in Holland right now.  Smile
Friends forever
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:56 pm

Nice TR

Like the pics. Seems you had a good time!

Pity about your camera breaking down.

It seems that you really enjoyed your flights on BA. You should have flown them long haul also. But you probably couldnt because you used miles to buy this ticket,


Thank you for sharing

B747forever
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:54 pm

Hi B747:

I always enjoyed BA short haul. Now it won't be as good. Long haul is good but the legroom is less than AA. Also BA I understand only give 1/3rd mileage credit on discounted tickets. They also charge a lot for a 2nd suitcase.
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:21 pm



Quoting LYchemsa (Reply 13):
Also BA I understand only give 1/3rd mileage credit on discounted tickets.

Actually they only give 1/4th mileage credit!
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
crosswinds21
Posts: 163
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:46 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:25 pm



Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
Up to about 5 years ago AA allowed 2 stops anywhere in Europe. Their program has become a lot less generous.

On the contrary, I would agrue that AA's program has become a lot more generous. The reason that stopovers are, for the most part, no longer applicable is that all AA awards are done one way now. As a result of this, the non-availability of international stopovers sucks...I agree with this. But the benefits of one way awards far outweigh this one single drawback.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:12 am

Hi Crosswinds21:

Yes I agree one way awards are great and also able to use C or F and Y mixed up.

But up to about 5 years ago you were allowed to visit any 2 cities in Europe under one award, now only 1, unless you buy the additional one way award. Once I stopped in Geneva and then was allowed to fly to Malaga connecting in London. If I wanted to I could have gone to Moscow and then to Athens. It was very generous. United and Delta still allow 2 cities as long as it is within the mileage ceiling / on the way.

A great deal AA still have is the 40,000 mile award to Europe between October 15 and May 15 vs. 60,000 in the summer.

Another thing they did away with were the International discounted awards on the Citibank credit card. Now they only have domestic / Canadian reduced mileage awards.
 
JL418
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:20 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:02 pm



Quoting LYchemsa (Reply 3):

Thanks for the tips, I hope I'll be able to use them asap.
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:44 am

Nice report with great pictures from Sardinia!

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
Because AA in the past never served cheese which I like with the bread I bought a piece of cheddar cheese for $1.07 at the airport deli. the price has been maintained at $1.07 since years.

Interesting observation

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
It was delicious, rich and filling. Here is a picture.

It looks quite good, but the portion is small.

Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
I can't drive shift. Better learn quick. It cost us $240; 170 Euros to rent an automatic car for one day.



Quoting LYchemsa (Thread starter):
Also the restaurants are a ripp off; tiny portions and not all that good. $20 for an orange juice about 14 Euros; $30 for a sandwich (EU 20).

Wow, what a rip-off!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1629
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:07 pm

Hi PlaneHunter:

Yes the desert was tiny. But it was so rich and delicious that it was actually very filling.
 
September11
Posts: 3293
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 12:49 am

RE: New York To Sardinia On AA, BA, EasyJet

Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:42 pm

Nice looking beach boys in the 2nd last picture!   
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