American Airlines is my airline of choice and wherever I travel to I will always choice AA to get me there.
I flew American Airlines from JFK airport to MXP airport on a direct flight. They currently have one daily direct flight around 6 pm, which is a disadvantage to most flyers, but it works for me. I have status on American Airlines and I like the little added perks that come with my status. I can chose a good seat prior to my flight and I have lounge access in the US on my outbound flight, and access to one of the lounges at the returning airports.
The flight was quite smooth and uneventful and takes around 7 or 8 hours depending on winds. The flight attendants where quite pleasant and didn't bother me while I napped (I rarely eat dinner on planes anyway). Dinner is served on flights at this time as well as a snack and what they call "breakfast".
Overall I am usually fine with my flights and rarely encounter any issues (except with an occasional inconsiderate passenger or two).
Malpensa airport is a perfectly functional and efficient airport, although its brownish decor makes it feel rather grubby. It's actually just as clean as any other airport, including the toilets. The airport is still undergoing the changes (improvements?) it was undergoing when I last visited in 2011. They have finished building the tunnel which links T1 to the railway station, taking you through an 'art installation' (in the 'Porta di Milano') but there is still a heck of a lot of scaffolding, bits closed off and men at work within the terminal itself.
There are two terminals. The vast majority of flights leave from and arrive at T1, with T2 used (it seems) almost exclusively for Easyjet flights. T1 and T2 are linked by a bus service which leaves from outside the airport railway station.
I've only used T1. When I visited it was a bit of a nightmare landside, with many of the escalators and lifts out of service and most of the shops & restaurants shut. There were one or two places to eat and drink, but not the range one would expect to find. The Sky Lounge near check-in 17 is pleasant and serves good food at reasonable prices (for an airport). Their tiramisu is delicious.
Airside is also being 'done up' (I assume all this is in preparation for Milan hosting Expo in 2015.). It took me at least 10 minutes to walk to my gate, being forced to follow a circuitous route which deliberately took me past ridiculously high-end shops (Armani etc) in which I have no interest whatsoever. I assume this is intended to be a way of making money but it just really annoyed me, especially once I realised I was walking back almost all the way I had come.
1. Good transport connections to Milan and elsewhere by train from the airport itself. Train times and info on www.trenord.it and www.trenitalia.com (both have English pages). Fare to Milan Centrale in October 2014 was 12 euro, journey time just under an hour.
2. Good bus services into Milan, taking you to Milan Centrale station with a journey time of around an hour if the traffic is ok. Price in October 2014 was 10 euro one-way, 16 euro for the return trip. www.malpensashuttle.it
3. The terminal closes for a few hours (from 0100 to 0400, I think) but apparently there is still access through door 15.
4. There are plenty of places to sit landside inside the terminal and absolutely nowhere, other than the floor, to sit outside. That is a great pity because most of us prefer to breathe fresh air rather than canned stuff and there is a very pleasant view of nearby mountains.
5. Signage in the airport is not as good as it should be, probably because of all the work that is going on. I'm pretty good at working things out, and have been at Malpensa twice before, but even I got mildly and annoyingly lost a couple of times and had to retrace my steps.
5. There is at least one smoking cubicle airside (near B gates).
The easiest and the quickiest way to get to Malpensa airport, and vice versa, is by the city train express. This is Stazione Cadorna, the train station from where the train starts to Malpensa and vice versa, where the train is coming from the airport. The station is situated on Piazza Cadorna, you can't miss it coz there is a giant needle and thread monument coloured in various bright colours. The station is called Malpensa Express.
Milan has two airports - Malpensa and Linate - with Malpensa being the most likely hub for travelers flying in/out of the United States. It is a good 30 miles out of central Milan and transport options to/from the city include express trains, shuttles and taxis: see my “To/From Malpensa” tip under Transportation.
It’s easily navigated and has two terminals with most U.S. flights arriving/departing from Terminal 1. Amenities include ATMs, luggage storage, pharmacies, tourism desks, infant care/feeding stations, wifi (fee), bars, restaurants and shopping for burning through the last of your euros before heading home. We didn’t see terminal 2 but it’s said to be a lot smaller and with fewer amenities so travelers with long layovers may want to take a shuttle to terminal 1 to kill pre-flight time.
Complaints I’ve read range from untidy bathrooms to very long check-in queues during peak hours - not our experience due to an early morning plane - so you may want to plan on being there the recommended 3 hours in advance if catching a midday international flight.
Information on both airports may be found here:
Some travelers may arrive at Orio in Bergamo - about the same distance from central Milan as Malpensa - which is serviced mainly by Ryanair. Information on this airport may be found here:
There were two economical options for getting to Malpensa airport from Milan Centrale for our morning flight to the U.S.: express train or shuttle bus. We opted for the bus because it started running earlier and more frequently than the train at the hour we needed, and cost/time was the same: 10,00 €/ about 50 minutes. We’re fans of shuttle buses to/from Italian airports anyway as tickets are easily purchased from kiosks or the driver, and our luggage is stowed safely underneath: no need to watch it. They’ve been clean and comfortable with nice big windows for enjoying the scenery as well. Malpensa Shuttle buses also serve both terminals where the train only goes to terminal 1: you need to take a bus to/from terminal 2 if your flights arrive/depart from there.
Buses run from Centrale every 1/2 hour to 20 minutes depending on the time of day, and we purchased our tickets the night before from a kiosk (photo 2) just outside the train station.
A couple of caveats: while bus schedules show 50-minute travel duration, traffic backups in the city could cause some delays so plan accordingly. Trains also take slightly less time during peak hours. Neither option operates 24/7 so see the websites for schedules.
Malpensa is about 30 miles from central Milan and taxis into the city are very expensive (around €80 - €90) so not a great choice if you’re traveling on a budget.
Both Malpensa Express and Malpensa Shuttle have websites with tabs in English and are very easy to navigate:
Ca. 45-min-comfortable ride on autostradale bus to Milan. Bought the ticket online via Ryanair.com link to the bus company. Paid 5 euros one way. 9 euros return ticket. Under Contact; Other I attached timetable for the bus. It was convenient in the morning - every 15 minutes.
Going back to the airport in the end of our trip, we decided to take the train (after arrival, we had taken the bus). Malpensa Express leaves Milano Centrale every thirty minutes and a ticket costs 10€, the journey takes about fifty minutes. We bought our tickets at an automatic ticket machine in the airport in the morning after we had brought our luggage to the storage.
When we wanted to take the train in the late afternoon and had a look at the huge electronic information board, we were confused because there was no platform announced, it just said "16.25 Malpensa Express", and the spot where the platform should be was blank. As far as I understood when we asked staff at the train station, the train always leaves from platform 2. This platform is located on the left hand side when you arrive and it is a bit further away, so you should go there a little earlier if you have lots of luggage.
Contrary to the bus, the train has a lot of other stops in-between Milano Centrale and Malpensa Airport. Please don't be confused by reviews telling you that the train only goes to Milano Cadorna and not to Centrale - these reviews are a little older, the service has been extended in the meantime.
The train was very comfortable, there is plenty of dedicated space for all the luggage, and it was very clean and pleasant. The train arrives at terminal 1, but if you need to go to terminal 2, there is a free shuttle bus.
We flew from Cologne to Milan Malpensa with germanwings airlines. They have daily flights every evening in both directions, the duration of the flight is about one hour and sixty minutes.
I like germanwings very much, their staff is usually very friendly. There are different tariffs you can choose depending on how much luggage you take. Some tariffs include a drink and snack on board, others don't. Of course there is the usual selection of overpriced snacks that you can buy.
From Malpensa, it is easy to get to the city by train and by bus (see my other tips).
There are two more airports in the area, Linate and Orio al Serio which is closer to Bergamo.
Main photo: My first view of Italy upon arrival
Picture 2: Milan from the plane during take off to Cologne
We arrived at Malpensa Airport very late in the evening and were very tired. I knew that we could either get a train or a bus to the city, and when we walked into the entrance hall, we saw a ticket booth selling bus tickets. I did not feel at all like looking further for the train, searching for the platform etc., so we just bought a bus ticket. It was 10€ per person, and the bus was waiting right outside, we jumped on and it left straight away.
The bus journey takes about an hour and it goes straight through to Milano Centrale, the main train station. The journey was very comfortable, and after our flight I was just happy that we didn't need to worry about anything. The only thing we didn't like was that the air condition was very strong, we were sitting in a strong draught until the driver finally turned it down. Apart from this, it was a comfortable journey!
The bus leaves every twenty minutes right outside the airport. There are also busses to other destinations, for example Linate Airport or Bergamo.
Malpensa is the larger of Milan's two airports, the other being Linate. The airport is located about 40 km from the city centre and has two terminals - both international with Terminal 2 being a dedicated EasyJet one. The terminals are connected by a regular free shuttle bus which takes about five minutes.
I personally used Terminal 2, the EasyJet one, flying back to Luton, and found the terminal easy to navigate, I enjoyed a panino and beer lunch at the Air Cafe and subsequent security and arriving at my gate were swift and hassle-free.
Getting to the airport by public transport you have the choice of regular bus or train services. I personally used the train, the Malpensa Express, which leaves roughly hourly from Milano Centrale with a journey time of just over 40 minutes. This arrives at Termnal 1 from where you can pick up the shuttle bus and so it's best to allow an extra 20 minutes for this - though when I used it there was one just about to depart. The train costs 10 Euros, one-way, has plenty of luggage capacity and tickets can be bought from the easy-to-use machines - remember to validate the ticket before boarding.
Even though I was headed for Bergamo which has its own airport, Caravaggio Airport Bergamo Orio al Serio, I refuse to fly Ryan O'Crapo Air and so opted to fly into Milan instead with EasyJet from London Gatwick. I booked well in advance, taking advantage of a spring sales promotion, and so got a relatively cheap flight which was hassle-free and almost pleasant.
Linate is the smaller of Milan's airports, the other being Malpensa (which I flew out of), and with an early afternoon arrival I got through immigration and customs in about ten minutes from deplaneing.
Getting into the city I used the 5 Euro "Starfly" Airport Express coach simply because the bus stop was immediately across from my arrival exit and the bus was just about to depart. This was a comfortable ride into Milano Centrale (about 25 minutes) despite the heavy traffic and the fact that the route passes through some of the more down-at-heeel areas of the city. This service runs every thirty mnutes with prompt departure times and tickets are sold at the bus stop.
A slightly cheaper alternative is to use the public bus service, the #73, which also runs regularly and connects with the M1 Metro at San Babila. Tickets for this are available from the machines beside the bus stop.
The quickest way to reach Milan train station(S) from airport is by train.
Unfortunately the Baggage Service in Malpensa is among the slowest of the planet, so expect at least 30 minutes before seeing your suitcase to appear again :(((
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The quickest way to reach Firenze/Roma/Napoli from Milano is again by train.
There are two options:
Using the national service: http://www.trenitalia.com/
Or using a new private service which runs along the main routes (Milano-Firenze-Roma-Napoli is the main route):
The journeys takes about 2 hours (with fast and direct trains). Price is a bit more of 50€
Pay attention to the NAME of the train stations of arrival/departure .
Malpensa Express arrives both to Milano Cadorna and Milano Centrale.
Trains to Firenze operated by Trenitalia start from Milano Centrale.
Trains to Firenze operated by Italo start from Milano P.G. (Porta Garibaldi) which is connected to Milano Cadorna and Milano Centrale by the subway (the green line).
It's very easy to reach Milan from any part of the Europe. It is placed in North Italy and has lots of railways, highways and planes.
Now it's popular to use cheap flights companies, such as Wizzair, Ryanair. Ryanair goes to Bergamo, town 50 km away from Milano.
No problem, because just after landing - go outside. In the yard of airport there are many busses to Milano and it takes aroun 15 euros. It's cheapier to buy two ways ticket, than two singles.
With a buss it takes around hour. But the view around Bergamo is so amazing, that time goes really fast :)
For people who leave Italy from Airport Malpensa and have to get tax refund from your handed-luggage, you'd better watch out the police cause he lied to us about getting the tax refund in Zurich. If you transfer in Swiss which is not member of EU, make sure that you can only get tax-refund in area B but the boarding gate is in area A. It's really unbelievable that the POLICE told us Swiss is one of EU!!!!!
When you fly to Milano, most probably you'll land to the biggest airport - Malpensa, cca. 35 km away from Milan. Do not miss the spectacular view of the Alps stemming from the clouds! If you're lucky, you'll be landing at sunset/dusk, and the images you'll see are simply surreal... The chains of Alps covered in snow rising up from the clouds, embracing the sky and the crimson layer of the setting sun...