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« The Pleasures of the Cusp | Main | Facts for the Day »

October 22, 2007

Finally ... A Nice Airport

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Last year I complained (scroll down) about the Frankfurt airport. Previously, I griped about Terminal 1 at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. There are other airports that rub me the wrong way, but I'll hold my fire for now in order to save ammunition for future posts.

Today, I'm pleased to note an airport I did like: Milan's Malpensa.

Malpensa's main downside is its distance from central Milan -- nearly 30 miles, and the better part of an hour's drive in average traffic conditions. The trade-off for that is its park-like setting similar to U.S. airports such as Dulles (Washington, DC), Kansas City (when I was there 25 years ago) and Dallas-Ft. Worth.

But it's the terminal that counts. Malpensa's Terminal 1 is nothing special architecturally -- just the usual Modernist boxes. What is nice are the amenities for travelers. For example, the ground floor (outside the secure zone) has several coffee shops, fast food outlets, a well-equipped news stand store and a place where you can check your luggage for a few hours or days. This last service was essential to us because we had to slough off most of our luggage for a four-day post-tour trip by train from Milan to Cinque Terre and Lucca. Another nice touch was the spaciousness; at almost no point were we and our luggage jammed in a crowd of travelers.

Once through security there was the expected, but moderate-sized, duty-free shopping area where the tourist with a wallet bulging with unspent Euros might load up on a few items from Farragamo, Gucci or Paul & Shark. Out by the gates, which weren't the isolation-ward variety, were additional, smaller shops. Including another Paul & Shark (an Italian company, despite its name).

(Did I mention Paul & Shark? If I didn't, allow me to say that they have really nice looking men's sweaters, jackets, etc. Except that even the least expensive of the nice stuff was close to $250 per item. Over my price point, but I still have a case of non-buyer's remorse. Oh well, there's a P&S shop in Sausalito and a store carrying their line in Caesars in Vegas, so I have two more potential temptation opportunities this fall.)

All of this doesn't mean Malpensa is perfect. It's just that our experience there was a positive one. Your result might vary.



posted by Donald at October 22, 2007


What's ironic is that Malpensa is almost universally considered once of the most dreadful places to fly into in Europe (along with Heathrow, of course), while Frankfurt is often rated a top airport. I've like Zurich and Amsterdam quite a bit in Europe, as well. (Amsterdam has both a casino and an art gallery featuring the Dutch Masters - you don't see that at Laguardia!)

Posted by: kevincure on October 22, 2007 10:00 AM

Milan has a much closer and smaller airport, Linate, which handles most domestic and intra-European flights. Malpensa get mostly long-distance flights.

Posted by: Peter on October 22, 2007 10:22 AM

You should have bought yourself some clothes at the airport. That's how you can tell a European from an American. At least the few places I've been to- most of the men wear nice designer clothes.

While we are talking about airports and to tie it in with last weeks pictures of libraries...when in the San Francisco airport check out the SF Commission Aviation library and Museum. Wonderful aviation books and aircraft models.
Sorry but this format wouldn't let me post a link.

Posted by: Michael the ex-Rochesterian on October 23, 2007 12:26 AM

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