Subject: Flying to Italy
Greetings 'Ziners! My wife and I traveled to Italy once before, flying nonstop to/from Milan's Malpensa airport. We are planning an encore visit for the second half of May 2002. This time, however, we'll be going with three relatives. We'll be flying from the Washington, DC-Baltimore area to Rome. We'll probably do open-jaw tickets, returning from Florence, Pisa, Genoa, Turin, or Milan (obviously we're still in the planning stage!). Then again, it may simply be round trip to/from Rome. I have two questions: 1) I know airfares involve dozens of variables, but can anyone give me a ballpark estimate of what's a good airfare for this kind of itinerary? I don't mean the absolutely lowest I can expect. Just a decent fair. When the right combination of airline, dates, times, aircraft, and transfer airport comes along, I'll buy even though it may not be the best deal of the year. 2) The three relatives going with us are all seniors, in good health, and seasoned North America travelers. However, one has a partial disability (walks with a cane) and only one of them has ever traveled overseas. I'd like your opinions on which of these airports would be the most user-friendly for a layover and flight transfer: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Toronto, and Copenhagen. By user-friendly I mean ease of transferring from one flight to another, signage in English, size, distance between gates, etc. (I'm amazed that no carrier flies nonstop to Rome from the DC-Baltimore area!) Some travelers swear that it's best to transfer in the U.S. On one hand, I see their point. However, I get the feeling our relatives would rather be in an European airport during a flight delay than in Newark or JFK. Also, I would like to avoid the legendary delays, disruptions, and mob scenes of the entire Newark-JFK air corridor. Many, many thanks in advance!

Mark Mitchell Boyds, Maryland USA