Milan Malpensa apron from inside Terminal 1
Welcome to a new category – with some luck, a new line of entries – in the CFR family: airport reviews. I have dipped into this once before – in this post on preferred and not quite so preferred airports as well as best airport codes. But this aims to be not just a quick summary of my likes and dislikes – although I do promise to give the reviews a veneer of my personal preferences.
This all sounds as if I have thought long and hard about how to go about making the life of fellow travellers easier. Well, yes, certainly – but I also have to confess that this is as much the outcome of what random thinking you may experience when you have four hours to spend in an airport lounge, with an internet connection that is not exactly blazing. And all that on top of a business meeting that was a pleasant mix of contract negotiation and Italian lunch. With Prosecco
And now I have already unveiled one of the parameters of reviewing – and, sadly, it is not the availability of Prosecco, but that of lounge access. Still a little short of the “Open Sesame” gold card, I relied on a colleague to let me into the hallowed halls – though I assume that the company Priority Pass could have gotten me in somewhere.
Let’s start with transport. Malpensa scores quite well, integrated as it is with a train station. I noticed that the public transport actually also had a manned information booth – thumbs up! It may or may not be worrying to you that said booth looks like somebody drove a bus through the wall…
Terminal 1 is not a wheeee-modern!!! looking building – it actually does look kind of tired. But in general, doors that are supposed to open do so, water runs where it should (and not where it shouldn’t), etc. There are some seating areas here and there – you may have to poke your head around corners to find them, so you do not necessarily have to be blessed with lounge access or to be a paying guest of the eateries to be able to get the weight off your feet.
Speaking of eating in airports, this is an area where Italian airports shine in comparison to most, even if this is more a consequence of Italy’s attitude to food than to the airports’ efforts. Here, in MXP, a small cafe had a counter with sandwiches – from meters away you could tell that this was freshly baked bread, shiningly red tomatoes, in short well worth setting your teeth into. Something that easily and hands down beats the plastic-wrapped factory-bread “sandwiches” sold in many, many other airports.
(Mind you, you may have to check before going through security where the good food is – here in MXP, there are some restaurants on the first floor in the departure building, landside, that may be a better choice for a bigger meal. And in FCO, Rome Fiumicino, there is a very good cafeteria on the top floor of the departure building, again landside – the type where they freshly cook your entrecote or your pizza while you wait and watch!)
No complaints about the Lufthansa lounge – ok, the internet connection was kinda slow but on the other hand free. The selection of nibblies was fine – again, Italy – with Parmeggiano Reggiano, Parma ham, melon, asparagus, etc. And a decent selection of soft drinks, wine, etc – after Prosecco and Grappa along with our business lunch (yep, they still haven’t gone “But this is serious business, so we all have to drink water!” down here, bless them), we stayed on the non-alcoholic side.
All in all a fairly OK airport. Some will be better, a lot will be worse.
Safe flights out there – as usual, comments are more than welcome.
Photos by me