This trip to Rome was my first trip overseas, so it was an adventure. Connie was in Rome last year and she made for a great guide and interpreter for our trip.
Thanks to Connie chasing point and airline miles, our flight to Rome on American Airlines only cost us about $71 each in taxes and fees. The initial itinerary was a simple one: Charleston to Philadelphia to Rome. However, since it was booked so far in advanced, it ended up getting changed several times and we ended up flying to Miami, 8 hour layover there, then on to Berlin and finally to Rome (both on Air Berlin). The 8 hour stay in Miami was made more enjoyable thanks to a couple of passes for AA's Admirals Club lounge from one of Connie's Twitter acquaintances.
This is the plane that took us to Europe!
The Air Berlin flights were quite nice. When we boarded in Miami, flight attendents offered passengers some candy. Seats were pretty comfortable with a decent amount of leg room. There was an in-flight meal (something you don't see flying around North America anymore) which was pretty tasty (something pasta-y I think...don't remember what it was now). Upon landing in Berlin (TXL), passengers were offered a piece of chocolate. The plane didn't go to a terminal gate with a jetway, so passengers got off the plane using the front and back exits of the plane (very efficient) and then a bus to the terminal.
The Air Berlin flight from Berlin to Rome was also uneventful and very nice. We landed in Rome (FCO) and once again passengers left the plane using multiple exits.
For a first transatlantic trip, this was a pretty good journey. I'd totally fly Air Berlin again.