“ Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (IATA: FCO, ICAO: LIRF), also known as Fiumicino International Airport, is Italy's largest airport, with over 30 million passengers in the year 2006. It was opened in stages between 1956 and 1961 and it has since undergone several expansion works. It is located in Fiumicino and serves Rome. In fact, the airport's former name was Fiumicino Airport. The airport, named after Leonardo da Vinci, is completely non-smoking. It is one of two hubs of the Italian flag carrier Alitalia along with Milan-Malpensa International Airport. „
I was surprised to see that past reviews of Rome's Fiumicino airport (FCO) had dubbed it as a top-class airport. I also noted that these reviews were mostly pretty old, with the newest being over six months old and the rest several years. I didn't read these reviews, and I'm not sure how much experience these people have had with the airport. Personally, I hate to read a review on an airline or airport which someone has only visited one time. No matter how detailed, I'll generally consider it not useful (and sometimes avoid rating at all in an attempt to be nice if they've clearly made an effort) just because they can vary so much journey to journey. The staff, the flights being late, the weather, anything can affect how an airport or airline operates, and I don't find it fair to judge on just one trip.
If I had written this review after my first encounter with Rome's Fiumicino airport, I undoubtedly would have given it a glowing report. Now? Not so much...I have now flown in and out of FCO about five times this year, and more often than not have encountered some kind of delay or problem, as have my friends both Italian and British who I've discussed it with. Apparently in Italy the airport is kind of a running joke.
Writing a review about an airport, as I said, is not easy as things are changeable and there are so many aspects to consider. I'm not big on writing thousands of words, and I wouldn't really want to read that many about an airport, so here's the main points good and bad I think you should be aware of if planning to travel to Fiumicino.
First of all, Rome has two airports and this is the main hub. The other, Ciampiano, tends to cater for low-cost airlines, although not all of ours from the UK, Jet2 being one which flies into FCO. If you're arriving at FCO, then lucky you, it couldn't be easier to get into Rome. Attached to the terminal building is a railway station which will take you to Rome's main station, Termini, in about half an hour. At present tickets are 11 euro, which is expensive compared to other rail tickets in Italy, but a lot cheaper than a taxi. These trains are often packed and there isn't a lot of space for luggage, but everyone's in the same boat and it's not so bad! Trains run every half-hour.
When you arrive at the airport, there is normally a pretty long walk to immigration, where the lines move quickly but the staff aren't the friendliest. It generally takes 5-10 minutes for an EU citizen to clear the queue. Baggage reclaim is not always such a piece of cake. FCO is a busy airport, and obviously deals with a lot of bags. As such, they assign each flight landing a time slot of about 20 minutes during which its bags will appear on the belt. Should a flight be delayed, you will have to wait, perhaps an exceedingly long time, for your bags to arrive. Should you be early, you will still have to wait until your appointed time slot for your bags. A friend of mine waited three hours recently for his bag after his flight missed their time slot!
General cleanliness of the airport is hit and miss, with toilets ranging from clean to appalling, and often overflowing rubbish bins.
Don't expect the return journey to be plain sailing either. This is mainly down to the fact that ground staff at FCO are their own, rather than representatives from individual airlines. I've arrived to check in to find no queue at all (a bit baffling if I'm honest), and similarly had to wait
an hour and a half after check in should have opened. At this point I realised that the air conditioning is sorely lacking. More often than not, check in is late. The staff I've dealt with haven't been terribly polite.
Security, similarly, can be plain sailing or a queue all the way to the building's door. Once you get to the taped-off area and start to put your things in trays, it doesn't get that much faster, partly due to the Italians' national pastime of queue-jumping. You then need to go through passport control again, which can be incredibly slow on this end leading to major traffic jams as there really isn't enough room in this area.
There isn't a vast amount of shopping for such a major airport, but I have usually been so rushed and harassed by hold-ups in queues at this point I haven't had time to browse! There aren't a lot of places to get a drink or something to eat, even buying snacks in the newsagent is limited.
Lastly, a note for any of you flying on airlines which allow you to print your own boarding pass. Don't think just because the ticket says you can proceed straight to security if you're just bringing carry on, it means it. For Jet2 at least, this is a generic ticket wording, and FCO aren't equipped to scan them. On my last journey, this caused a three-hour delay sitting in the plane, in blistering heat (on my birthday!), while a ground staff member who was sent to fetch a passenger list turned off his phone and ignored us! How's that for taking your job seriously? While I realise its probably an issue Jet2 need to deal with in terms of ticket wording, surely FCO have realised by now that they ought to say something instead of letting people through with these useless home-printed passes.
Overall, FCO is a major hub which, yes, can get you to pretty much anywhere you want to go, but just don't expect to get out of there on time. On a good day, it can be efficient if a little surly, on a bad day, which are all too common, horrendous! My advice to you, for your return flight ARRIVE EARLY, because if the queue is going to be awful anyway, you don't want to be at the back of it.
My wife and I missed our flight back to Poland after our honeymoon in Tuscany and ended up having to take a train down to Rome and then fly back from there in order to get back in time for her to get to university on time. We were flying out of Rome with WizzAir who generally tend to fly from Ciampino except to Sofia and 3 Romanian Airports but at the time of booking the flight, there was a temporary change where flights were leaving from Fiumicino.
Rome Fiumicino Airport also called Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is easily reachable by a shuttle train which leaves from Termini Train station and takes just 30 minutes. The ticket is quite expensive at 12 euros for what is a rather short journey but it was very punctual which is really what you need when catching a flight - as we found out earlier that day!
Fiumcino Airport is an enormous place with 5 terminals, albeit all well sign posted and not too far away from one another. The services there are very good, with quite a good selection of shops, particularly in Terminal 1 and 2. Information were very helpful and friendly and it is easy to tell that this is an airport that means business. They have 38 million passengers a year, so your questions aren't exactly going to be a problem!
Apart from the Leonardo Express which connects the 35km between airport and city centre, there is also a highway if you are by car. I like this airport a lot and if you can get a budget airline out of here, you are doing particularly well!
We were first time visitors to Rome and I have to say I was very impressed with Fiumicino airport. We were through passport control really quickly and our bags were on the trolley in record time. All the signs are translated into English, so it is really easy to find your way around. The airport was also very clean and not too busy.
There were a few people there trying to sell you a taxi ride, but I found that when we said no they were really helpful and directed us to the train station instead. There is a direct train link to the central Rome station, which takes around 30 minutes or so and costs 11 Euros per person. This was very quick and very comfortable (they had those private rooms on the train so its nice and quiet for reading etc).
On the way back, we were surprised by how many shops there were around to buy our duty free, and as we were checked in really quickly we had plenty of time to shop. I have not flown into the other Campino airport in Rome, but can say that I would definitely recommend this one!
Having lived in Rome for several months, i used both airports in Rome quite regularly. Fiumicino airport is used mainly by regular (non-low cost) carriers although this has begun to change in the past few months.
First off, its a good idea to know where abouts in the airport, you need to get to. I once took the train to the airport to meet a friend but lost myself trying to get down into arrivals.
The facilities within the airport are very good. There is a large shopping and food area upstairs in terminal B (which is located between the other two) so it is very accessable to all passengers who are flying. Among these shops are various clothing retail outlets and magazine outlets for those last minute purchases. In both of the other terminals, there are also shops and food areas if you don't want to venture out of the area. All terminals have a post office and first aid, and a shared left luggage and lost property in Terminal C arrivals.
I have found the airport to be fairly clean, although at times, particularly in the arrivals section (landside) there has been a bit of a litter problem. All toilets there are of a high standard, although not all have been open when i have been there.
---EASE OF MOVEMENT---
Getting through the terminals is pretty easy. There are signs both in English and Italian you help you out EXCEPT when looking for arrivals when you are in departures. This was almost impossible. I had to go out of the airport, downstairs and then back in the terminal building again.
This is where i had my biggest problem. I got through passport control easily enough. Then came waiting for the baggage. First off, i went to the belt and nothing happened for about 30 minutes, then all the bags came out.......and mine wasn't there. So after then searching around to try and find out what i should do, the flight was changed to a different baggage belt and eventually, my bag turned up. From now on i try not to take hold baggage with me, because it means spending more time at the airport.
Departures on the other hand has been extremely easy! Check in was no problem, passport control, again no bad experiences and getting to the gate, dead easy. If anything, I would try to fly from here and arrive into Ciampino.
---ACCESSIBILITY AND TRANSPORT---
Getting too and from the airport from the city centre is quite easy. With a direct train from the airport to Termini (the main station in Rome) in only 35 minutes, is quite fast. This is 11/12 although, i think the government promote this too much because it is so expensive. The trains run regularly every half an hour or so as well. The other train which goes to the airport starts at Fara Sabina to the North East of the city and stops at main railway stations along the way including Tiburtina and Ostiense. Tickets cost 5 one way and also run quite regularly (every half an hour or so).
By car, there is the motorway which goes directly from the ring road to Fiumicino and the airport.
Taxi fares have recently been of much debate, particularly with tourists. Taxi drivers have hiked up fares and have "forgotten" to switch the fare over. A new fare of 60 to Fiumicino and 30-40 to Ciampino has been regulated by the government.
All in all, it's not a bad airport. I have been to better but i have been to worse. Pretty standard if you ask me.
The airport is 19 miles (30 km) southwest of the center of Rome. There is a Rome tourist desk outside customs with maps, brochures, and train information. There also is an office in Termini Station. As with many southern and eastern European cities, there will be a crowd of people soliciting to drive you into Rome. It is probably best to go to the taxi stand outside. Only use the yellow or white taxis. Make sure the meter is running, and if not, settle on a fare before you leave the airport. The fare should be about 40,000 lira including a baggage charge. Travel time will be 40 to 60 minutes to central Rome. There are two main trains from the airport. There is a nonstop express to Termini Station, the central rail station, and the other train goes to Tiburtina Station on the east side of Rome. The train to Termini leaves hourly and takes 30 minutes. The fare is 15,000 lira. Multi-stop trains run to Tiburtini from 5 A.M. to 10:30 P.M. The fare for those is about 7,000 lira. You can buy your ticket from a ticket machine, but if you have a problem go to a train information counter in the airport. From Termini station there is a good supply of taxis to take you to your final destination. A bus runs to Tiburtina Station from 1:15 A.M. to 5 A.M. The bus stop is near the International Terminal; fare is about 7,000 lira.