The airline with the best average rating is SWISS with 7.8/10.
The average flight time is 0 hours and 54 minutes.More information
As I may have written in past reports last July I've been graduated in Architecture. When my parents told me that they wanted to make me a big present I start thinking about what to ask for, but no ideas came to my mind. Finally, in Autumn, I realized what I wanted: travelling.
My last extra-Europe travel happened in August 2019, when I visited Vietnam and Cambodia. After the long Covid period I needed a taste of normality: getting on a plane, having my passport stamped, changing moneys, hearing other languages and tasting unusual dishes.
Around October I took a look to prices for planes and hotels and I finally found a destination: Dubai.
I chose to travel there the first week of March, in order to be free from exams and at the same time experience the Universal Exposition Expo 2020. For a young (future) architect like me an event like Expo is like a Disneyland for a child. Moreover in 2015 I worked as a volunteer at Expo Milano 2015 and I really appreciated the international appeal of this event.
I ask a dear friend of mine to come with me and she immediately agrees. We set these date: 27th Febraury to 5th March.
First of all we had to choose flights
Since we wanted to spend the lowest possible we skipped Emirates, which offered a direct MXP-DXB flight for 650 euros.
With around 500 euros there were many options with a stopover, the best ones where Swiss and Turkish Airlines.
Swiss International Air Lines - 505 €
MXP-ZRH 9:50 - 11:05
ZRH-DXB 12:55 - 21:55
DXB-ZRH 2:05 - 6:10
ZRH-MXP 7:25 - 8:20
Turkish Airlines - 523 €
MXP-IST 11:15 - 16:15
IST-DXB 21:30 - 2:50 (+1d)
DXB-IST 2:40 - 6:35
IST-MXP 8:55 - 9:45
Even if I was really curious to try Turkish Airlines and visit the marvellous Istanbul Airport this solution presented a drawback: arriving at Dubai at 3 am in the morning would have been loosing the first half of the day 28th Febraury, seriously affecting our program.
Moreover the 5-hour stopover in IST would have been a bit boring
For all these reasons we decided to try Swiss International Air Lines via Zurich. For me it would be the first time with this airline and transfering in ZRH.
The 1st November my friend and I booked the tickets. For unknown reasons the price was 5 euros lower on Lufthansa website, so we bought it from there. My friend decided to buy a cheaper fare (420€) since she didnt' need the hold luggage.
In order to be closer to the Expo 2020 site we book the Avani Ibn Battuta Hotel in Jebel Ali, for 560€ (4 nights)
The hotel is very cozy, the service very good and it's just 30 minutes by metro to the Exposition.
First time on a Airbus A220
First time with Swiss International Air Lines
First time in ZRH
I made a stopover in MXP in 2009 while coming back from a family trip in Mauritius
In order to enter United Arab Emirates a PCR-Test done in the 72 hrs before departure is requested.
With the flight departing on Sunday I went to a private clinic in Milan to get my PCR-Test. This clinic gave me the insurance that the result would be ready within the next 24 hrs.
Fortunately I resulted "negative"
UAE requires also a proof of vaccination, in my case the European Digital Certificate.
Swiss opens the online check-in 24 hours before the departure. The morning before my friend and I checked-in through LX website. During the procedure it was possible (not mandatory) to upload medical certificates and get an early verification. Since this procedure resulted quite slow we decided to ignore and do the verification at the airport.
Having booked separately the system gave us far seats. However it was possible to change them after the check-in.
In order to stay close and have a window seat, we chose 50H-K for ZRH-DXB leg (below). I've read mixed reviews on SeatGuru about this seats, especially due to the proximity to lavatories.
However this choice would prove to be a good one
The day before flight I also buy online tickets for MalpensaExpress, a rapid train connectin Milan city with the airport.
It took around 55 minutes and departs from three important Milan stations: Milano Centrale, Milano P.ta Garibaldi and Milano Cadorna FN.
The tickets costs 13€ for a single ride and 20€ for the two-way ticket
With the flight scheduled for 9.50 we decided to be at the airport at 8 am.
To be at MXP before this time we took the MalpensaExpress at 6.55 from Milano Centrale, arriving at the airport at 7.43
In order to take the train on time I left my house near Udine Metro Station (on Line 2) at 6.10
In around 20 minutes I reached Milan Centrale Station
MalpensaExpress departs from platform 1, which is located at the far left side of the station
It takes around 7-8 minutes to get there from the metro station
The MalpensaExpress stops in Milano Garibaldi, Milano Bovisa, Saronno, Busto Arsizio, Malpensa Terminal 1 (our stop) and Malpensa Terminal 2. Transfering between T1 and T2 is free of charge.
The ride was quite pleasant, the train is kinda new and full of baggage storage areas.
At 7.48, five minutes after scheduled, we arrived at Milan Malpensa Airport. The station is located underneath Terminal 1, which hosts most of the airlines at MXP
The access to the Terminal is guaranteed by a short walkway
FIDS showing our flight to be on time and handled at check-in area 6
The check-in hall is modern, spacious and full of natural light
Moreover it has glass facades open both land and airside, quite uncommon in many terminals…
Row 6 handles all LH-Group flights
Even if LX app showed "checked-in" as status we weren't able to download our boarding passes. This happened maybe because we skipped the early health documents' check.
Not a big issue considering I had to queue in any case for hold luggage
Baggage was scaled, vaccine certificate was checked and BPs were printed
The whole procedure (queue+check-in) took around 25 minutes
This is my first time travelling through MXP and I'm not sure about the spotting possibilites
However the food court located over check-in area offers a good view of the apron
easyJet A321neo parked at pier A71-A80
United Airlines Boeing 767 at pier B
Neos Boeing 737 and Etihad Airways Boeing 777 at pier B
The check-in hall seen from the food court
Having nothing else to do landside we proceeded straight to the security checkpoint
We scan our BP at 8:25, one hour before scheduled boarding time
Even if the queueing area was a bit messy the control itself didn't take too much
Some lanes were also equipped with better X-ray machines that don't require liquids to be taken out
In 15 minutes we were airside.
Going downstairs for the departure lounge
Mandatory passage through the duty free
As told by the check-in agent our gate would be A26
Gates A handles all Schenghen flights while Gates B are dedicated to non-Schenghen
Let's turn right
Many bird parked in the apron
Neos Air Boeing 787
This is the only italian airline operating the Dream)Liner
Our gate is located on the ground floor and this means only one thing: boarding by bus
About 30 minutes before scheduled departure time boarding was called by groups
The plane didn't seem to be full
The bus ride was quite fast and in a handful of minutes we reach our plane:
Swiss International Air Lines Airbus A220-100, HB-JBI, delivered in July '19 and equipped with 125 seats in flexible C-Y configuration.
Mandatory door shot…
…and wing view
I really like Swiss livery, very simple but effective
After giving the Flight report form to the purser I made my way to my seat 18A
The first impression is quite good, the cabin is well illuminated and doesn't feel crampy
The seat is comfortable and the pitch is good, very pleasant for a so-short flight
The view from my seat, with easyJet A320
Meanwhile last passengers got onboard and doors were armed
Since the boarding gate was quite far from apron and sun was facing I wasn't able to take good pics
So the spotting time was postponed from the plane, waiting for taxiing to start
Turkish Airlines A330
El Al Boeing 737
Malta Air Boeing 737
Air Europa Boeing 737
Etihad Airways Boeing 777
Almost 30 minutes after scheduled departure time we left our stand
easyJet, WizzAir and Ryanair line up at remote stands
Lufthansa A320 landing
Ready-to-go Qatar Airways Boeing 787
FedEx Boeing 777F parked at the cargo area
China Eastern A330
Etihad Triple-7 preceding us for take-off
The taxiway to runway 35R passes under the landing path of RWY35L, giving a nice view of arriving aircrafts
British Airways A320
Malpensa Airports has two runways: 16R/35L and 16L/35R
The first is closer to the main terminal (T1)
Air China A350, Qatar Airways Boeing 777, ITA Airways Boeing 777 (in Alitalia's livery) and Swift, ASL Airlines and DHL West Atlantic Boeing 737s
The view of the snowy Alps from MXP is breathtaking
easyJet A320 landing
Etihad leaving to Abu Dhabi while we waited for our turn
Such a long taxi for a short flight…
This small screen is so cozy
Aligning on RWY35R
42 minutes after scheduled we started our take off run to ZRH
The two Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines seems very powerful and not so loud
Bye bye Milan, see you next week
I really like its architecture, since it has a unitary design even if built in different stages
Terminal 2, used by easyJet only
The town of Somma Lombardo, located just north of the airport
Varese lake and Varese town
Flying over Como Lake, the 3rd largest in Italy
Maggiore Lake, shared by Italy and Switzerland
The big town in the lower part of the pic is Locarno (CH)
Ten minutes into the flight a bottle of water and a small chocolate bar was distributed
Love the logo impressed on the bar
Meanwhile Alps started scrolling below us
The Matterhorn (4.478 metres), one of the highest mountains on the Alps
Know in italian as Cervino, it's easily recognizable for its almost symmetrical pyramid shape
Being a short flight the plane didn't reach the typical cruise altitude, but remained below 6.000 metres, giving a beautiful sight of the mountains
Less than half an hour after leaving MXP the cabin was prepared for landing
Passing over the city of Zürich
Zürich Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) clearly visible, along with Sihl and Limmats canals
Banking over Zürich suburbs
Arrivals information showed on the small overhead screen
Bus deboarding also in ZRH
Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant, located along Rhine river
According to Flight-Radar we fly for a moment over Germany
Flaps down for landing
Last moments in the air
We'd land on RWY14
At 11:15, ten minutes after scheduled, we touched down at Flughafen Zürich
Landing was a bit bumpy, but the breaking was smooth and long
Vacating the runway
ITA Airways A320 taking off on RWY10/28
Helvetic Airways E-190
Heavies line-up at Dock E, the satellite building used for extra-Schenghen operations at ZRH
Swiss A330 and Boeing 777s, United Airlines Boeing 767 and Air Canada Boeing 777
The BP printed in MXP already showed "E" as gate for the flight to Dubai
European birds parked at Dock A
Swiss A320, Iberia A320 and KLM Boeing 737
We reached our remote stand at 11.29, 26 minutes before scheduled boarding time to Dubai (11.55)
Maybe we'd need to speed up our walk inside the terminal
Fortunately the taxi was quite short
Swiss A320 crossing the runway with Dock E in the background
Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 taking off
While disembarking I get the flight report from the purser form and I kindly asked him to visit the cockpit
I'm always impressed by the amount of technology in the newest cockpits
The Captain was very kind to show me also the HUD, the trasparent screen which displays useful information to the pilots
The paper was quite well filled
Last view of our bird getting on the bus
The bus took only 2 minutes to bring us to the terminal
We entered the terminal at 11.30
Boarding for the next flight is set for 11.55, while the departure should happen at 12.55
Knowing we would have to clear passport control and take the transit system to the satellite terminal we put the 4th gear to our legs and pointed immediately to our gate
Don't forget to see the next flight report
My first impression from Swiss Air Lines was good overall. The aircraft was very clean, the meal unexpected on a 45 minutes flight and the crew very professional and kind
The only less-than-expectation aspect of the entire flight was the online check-in procedure. The system gives the possibility to upload health documents in advance (and I used this option) but the check may be very slow, impeding the completation of the entire operation. Obviously for a long flight as MXP-ZRH-DXB is not a big issue (I had to go to the desk in any case due to my luggage), but for someone travelling on a short route or just with cabin baggage is a big loss of time.
It was my first time leaving from Malpensa Airport and I think it's a good airport. The only "problem" is the access; the train is very comfortable, but taking almost one hour to get to a big airport is really to much in my modest opinion, also considering the train between Rome and FCO takes only 32 minutes.