the trip to milan

The service quality of flying on a budget airline are discussed

Our time in Scotland has come to an end and we catch a flight to Malpensa Airport, Milan.

We flew with a low-cost airline from Glasgow – which was a bit of a pain. The flight itself was as expected, but they only allow 20 kg for each passenger in any one bag and therefore we had to buy an extra suitcase and pay an exorbitant amount. To be fair, budget airlines are fine if you are going away for the weekend short stop and have a carry-on bag of the right dimensions [be careful as budget airlines often have smaller sizes] walk off the plane – have your break – get back on the plane – go home. However, to get from place to place as part of an extended overseas holiday with a budget airline is often a nightmare. Particularly, when you become accustomed to the service and baggage allowance of Singapore Airlines. Budget airlines have ‘conditions of sale’ which can best be described as ‘price gouging’ – they are operating from the selling concept.

As we were checking in an Italian passenger in the queue before us was being charged because he had failed to confirm his booking. He was attempting to explain that he was only in Scotland for a few days and didn’t have internet access.  His travelling partner was being charged because she had checked in on her phone but did not print the boarding pass – she tried to explain that he didn’t have access to a printer. The look from the check-in person was DILIGAF.

We got through – and I must thank our friend Jim who weighed and reweighed each suitcase a dozen times as we were close to our limit. Then just to give us the shits – as we were about to board the plane an attendant picked on Anna, the attendant demanded that she pay an extra 40 pound for her purse, just because it had a shoulder strap, she threatened if she didn’t pay it now it would be 100 pounds on entering the aircraft. Anna – was dumbfounded she put the purse in her bag and the attendant withdrew her demand. However, what a fuss this attendant created, and it wasn’t just with Anna, she was behaving similarly with a group of Italian students who were returning home after their semester in Scotland. A chap with a Scottish flag tattoo, who was clearly embarrassed and by the look of it that would not be easy, announced that he once read that ‘the [expletive removed] are on a commission for every fine they impose’. Once on board the flight attendants attempted to be cool and friendly but the damage had been done. The flight attendants wandered up and down trying to sell sandwiches and drinks. One attendant said ‘happy days’ almost at the end of every sentence.

I was in a middle seat and sitting next to a young Italian lady, she had been studying in Scotland, she had just submitted her masters thesis – ‘waiting to see if I passed is killing me’ she said. She was on her way home and couldn’t wait to see her family and have a ‘proper’ meal – like all Italian’s she missed her mum’s cooking. She said that after graduation it was unlikely that she would stay in Italy as the job prospects since the ‘crisis’ were poor and even if she was lucky to get a job then the pay would be miserable – ‘a graduate job is almost like an internship at the moment’. She stated that her younger brother was in a similar situation and ‘although she loved Italy it looked like Italy did not love her’.

About two hours after we landed, Anna remarked that our travelling companion would now be enjoying ‘la cucina di madre’.

Malpensa Airport, Milan is the main International airport for Northern Italy; it is an easy airport to negotiate. There are coaches and trains from the airports to the city of Milan; from memory leaving every 20 minutes, the coach trip takes about an hour, it costs less the 10 euro per person and it drops passengers at a square [sorry Piazza] near the train station.

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