To end up in North Carolina
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 15, 2012 8:17 AM Last Post By: Dunemist
May 18, 2012 9:15 AM
To end up in North CarolinaHi guys, this is a "how long is a piece of string" type question, but it is only the beginning of my research so here goes:
We wish to visit relatives in North Carolina next year, but like the idea of flying in elsewhere and travelling down. We have a friend in Chicago and other relatives in North Virginia, so thought of flying into CHI and driving to NV; and then down to Charlotte. We probably only have two weeks altogether in the States and would like to spend at least a week in Charlotte, which leaves the other six/seven days to drive up and down. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Any advice re airlines as well? It is years since I have flown transatlantic and there is so much on the internet, that I'm baffled. Don't know if the best deals are to be had the furthest away we are (time-wise), or if we are better off leaving it until nearer our trip. We hope to leave here around 18th March 2013 and return around 1st April. Which airlines are good as well? AA used to be great but I last used them over 10 years ago.
May 18, 2012 10:12 AM
1Driving from Chicago to NC is doable, but I'd suggest going to NYC and then heading down the coast. It's not the prettiest drive, but you can spend a night or two in NY and then another couple of nights in DC -- lots to do there, obviously. Alternately: you'll be coming during prime Spring Break time if you want to drive from Florida, up! The coast up from there is a really nice drive.
As far as flights go: Virgin is awesome to fly transatlantic with. I'd check them out first!
May 18, 2012 10:15 AM
2It would help to know your interests and what are your reasons for Chicago. I am not sure where you purchase air tickets on the Internet were you live, but after checking prices I would suggest you contact a travel agent to see if they can get you a better price. I assume by CHI you mean Chicago and their airport code is ORD.
You might also spend a few days in Chicago and then fly to another city for a couple days and then drive to North Virginia. It may be out of your way, but Montreal is a fantastic city.
May 18, 2012 10:57 AM
3You're probably going to get better fares if the international flights are round trip not open jaw, but a one-way domestic fare could be paired with that RT. So, maybe: fly into IAD. (Icelandair is advertising some specials with a free stop in Rekjavic.) Visit xDC and friend in No.VA. Fly to Chicago (Southwest, BWI to Midway, should be among the cheap alternatives). Rent car there, drive to Charlotte and back to IAD.
May 18, 2012 11:12 AM
CHI, in airline reservation systems, is "Chicago--All Airports." That is, it'll give you flights to both ORD and MDW. (If you get the choice, by the way, MDW (Chicago Midway) is much better than ORD (Chicago O'Hare) in a lot of ways--it's smaller, less busy, and closer to the central city. MDW is domestic-only though, so you'll only get a flight there if your international arrival is someplace else.)
There are similar codes for several of the other multi-airport towns: NYC gives you flights to JFK, LGA, and EWR, for example. WAS gives you IAD, DCA, and BWI. QLA gives you LAX, SNA, LGB, BUR, and ONT. Idiotically and confusingly, HOU is the code both for Houston Hobby and Houston--All Airports.
Edited by: mrpenney
May 18, 2012 2:57 PM
May 18, 2012 3:30 PM
6The drive between Chicago and NOVA is "not that bad" by US standards...I think its about 8 hours?? Depends on traffic in NOVA which can be awful. I'd definitely visit DC....I'd probably go in this order:
Fly into Chicago - agree with avoiding O'Hara airport, ugggghhh. It's so confusing! Spend a few days.
Drive to Nova; while you are in Nova do DC.
Go the "slow route" to Charlotte; take Rt 29-Danville VA, you'll get some fantastic views & after a small, but straight/easy to follow road, you get onto rt40 or I85 somewhere around Chapel Hill/Durham, which gets you to Charlotte. If you want to split the journey up either Charlottesville, VA (~2.5hrs from NOVA) or Chapel Hill, NC (~5.5hrs from NOVA) would be a nice place to spend the night.
It'll be a much longer drive from Chicago to Charlotte than from DC to Charlotte. Charlotte has a reasonably sized International Airport; or you'll get a connecting flight to either NYC or Atlanta.
May 18, 2012 5:11 PM
It's 700 miles. So that's more like 11 hours, not counting stops.
Edited by: mrpenney
May 18, 2012 5:35 PM
8From Chicago the most fun route would be to head to Louisville/Lexington area, hit some wine and whiskey makers, then to the Smokeys, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from south end of Smokey NP to Asheville NC, and the Biltmore, then head to destination.
Chicago to Louisville is 5 hours, Louisville to Smokeys 4 hours, Smokeys to Asheviille 7 hours on the BRB and sightseeing.
May 19, 2012 2:20 AM
9Wow guys lots of help, thanks. The reason we thought of Chicago and North Virginia is that we have friends in Chicago and relatives in North Virginia, so were trying to think of a way of seeing them all before driving down to Charlotte. Thanks for the tip re not flying into O'Hare, I was not aware of that. Just thought we could perhaps fly to Chicago and spend a day or two with our friends, then drive to North Virginia to see our relatives and stay there for a night or two; and then drive down to Charlotte. Thanks also for the route suggestions. We have both been to DC and NY before so don't mind missing them, as would like to see something new. We both love history and beautiful scenery, but did not have any particular thoughts about any sights we want to see, apart from the blossom, which is our main reason for picking that time of the year. A pity it is spring break, thanks for that info, as we usually try to holiday out of school half term time. Never mind, we do want to try to catch the blossom and have been advised these are probably our best times to do it.
All this information is really helpful - thanks guys.
May 19, 2012 2:21 AM
May 19, 2012 7:52 AM
11I think you're getting an overly negative view of ORD. Yes, it's big and confusing. So are most U.S. gateway airports. Get your Chicago-area friends to pick you up at the airport, or book a shuttle from the airport to their place. Otherwise you still have to fly to another big confusing airport...and then find a connecting flight to MDW while you're tired and/or jet-lagged.
May 19, 2012 10:27 AM
12I fly out of OHare weekly from the city the past two decades, nothing confusing about it. Take train into city in 50 minutes for $2. Midway is closer to city, but its also more crowded and congested as of late, spring break the security lines went out the door almost....its not the sleepy little 2nd airport anymore, its very busy.
May 19, 2012 11:28 AM
It's also Southwest Airlines's fortress hub*--virtually the only other airline with any real presence there any more is Delta. (UA and AA both hub at ORD.) So it's not real likely to figure into your plans if you're connecting from abroad.
*Yeah, I know--SW doesn't technically have a hub, since they don't use a hub-and-spoke model. But the odds of changing planes at MDW if you're flying SW are still pretty high.
Oct 14, 2012 8:04 AM
14Ok guys - me again. Have had more thoughts, based on a recent trip to Portugal on a flight that was definitely less than comfortable. Am now thinking that perhaps we should base our schedule on where Virgin Atlantic fly into and out from, as I have heard that these are good flights - comfortable airlines etc. I have a pal who works for a US airline and she said that American (AA) is in administration currently so there is a lot of industrial action going on, so we won't be looking at them (even though I've had fab flights with them in the past). Apart from the Virgin recommendation, is there any other airline anyone would recommend that offers good comfort (leg room, seat sizes etc), but who fly in and out of Charlotte? If not, it looks as if Chicago or Washington are our nearest Virgin destinations and we will have to sort out our plans taking those airports into consideration. Thoughts?
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