While I write this report I'm attending my last year of my architecture course at university.
The main architecture laboratory is focused on the redevelopment of an old industrial area near Siracusa, in Sicily. Since this project is gonna be our final work, the teacher organized a site inspection in Siracusa for 25-26th November.
I've never been to Sicily, even if it's an amazing region. Therefore this trip became the occasion to experience the island better.
Plane is the only way to get from Milan to Sicily in a quick way.
The fastest train can take up to 15 hours and at least one stopover. This is due to the fact that the Italian high speed network ends in Naples. South of it there are only conventional railways; moreover the train has to be shipped to cross the 3-km Strait of Messina, which separates Sicily from the mainland.
No need to say we didn't consider anytime this solution.
Catania Airport is the closest to Siracusa, being located 48 kilometers from our destination.
Our initial plan was to leave on Thursday 24th November, stay with our teacher in Siracusa on Friday and Saturday, than spending Sunday in Catania before the nine-o'clock flight back home.
By the way we discovered that leaving back on Monday was much more convenient (116 euros agains 152) even considering an additional night.
We decided to stay in Siracusa two nights, than spending one night in Taormina and then the last one in Catania, leaving back to Milan on Monday 28th evening.
After a bit of research the best option appeard to be flying with ITA Airways from Linate.
Actualy Ryanair from Malpensa was kinda cheaper, but we avoided it. First of all because the cabin baggage was not included; leaving from MXP would have meant taking the Malpensa Express train, which costs around 20 euros, and waking up around 5 am to catch the flight around 9 am.
We chose ITA Airways "Economy Light" fare, which gives the possibility to bring a standard trolley as a carry on, plus a small bag to put under the seat. We booked the flight the 28th October, less than one month before the departure date.
Since the meeting with the teacher was planned for the the day after our arrival, we deciced not the get the earlier flight (departing 9.50).
For the return we took the latest flight departing from Catania.
We booked also three hotels in Siracusa (two nights), Taormina and Catania (one night each) for a total of 114 euros per person.
Since public transport in Sicily is not very efficient a rented car was the only way to move around all these places. We chose SicilyByCar rental which offered us a Fiat Panda for 55 euros per person.
ITA Airways gives the possibility to check-in 48 hourse before each flight. The day before the flight I logged in on their app to check-in and generate my boarding pass.
My seat, 28F, was assigned automatically
My friend and I got our car in Catania Airport once we arrived. Since the car was not needed in Catania we left at the airport the day before our return flight to Milan.
Catania Airport is connected to the city center with a bus called "Alibus". It takes around 10-15 minutes and costs 4€. The frequency is around 20 minutes.
After spending the entire day visiting Catania we decided to take the bus leaving at 18.29 near the Cathedral, where our hotel was located. The ticket can be bought both onboard or at a ticket machine.
In less than 15 minutes we arrived at Catania-Fontanarossa Airport. The bus left us on the arrivals level, just outside the terminal
The check-in hall is quite large and the landside facade is all made of glass. I imagine that during the day the hall is full of natural light
The airport has two terminals: Terminal A and Terminal C. The first one handles most of the operations, while the second is dedicated to easyJet Schenghen flights
Having more than two hours to spare I went to ITA's check-in desk to get my boarding pass printed
The counter was empty and I got the BP in a blink of an eye
Since we had nothing to do landside we proceeded immediately to the security lane
The control took around 15 minutes
All the lanes were opened, but the queuing area was a bit cramped, resulting in a bit of mess
Unfortunately the airport is not equipped with the same machinery of Linate and I got a bottle of soap throwed
Apparently there were many flights leaving, because the boarding area was full of people
It was very difficult to walk around and there were almost no seats available
By the way the departure lounge features a good selection of shops, especially selling typical Sicily's food
For no reason the temperature inside the terminal was very high, probably around 25°C
A bit bothering to be honest…
After a bit of struggle we found a seat in a bar, since we also want to eat something
Around 19:40 (45 minutes before scheduled boarding) ITA informed us that our flight would have had a 30 minutes delay
When I got the message our plane was still 50 minutes away from CTA
We spent almost one hour at the bar, while the airport gradually got less crowded
Around 20.35 we slowly move to gate 7, where our flight was scheduled to board
People were already queuing, even if the gate was still closed
Our plane for today:
ITA Airways Airbus A320-200, EI-DSL, delivered to AirOne in December 2007 (15.0 years old). It was later transferred to Alitalia and now it's part of ITA's fleet. It's equipped with 171 seats in mixed C-Y configuration. It still carries 2015-2021 Alitalia's livery.
Boarding was finally called 10 minutes to nine o'clock
Going down the jetway leaving Sicily behind
ITA Airways A320
The plane carries a sticker with first ITA's logo (never used on a livery)
Fuselage shot with Poste Air Cargo Boeing 737F
I made my way to my seat, 24F
The plane didn't seem to be full, but was kinda busy
Ryanair Boeing 737 with an easyJet A320 in the background
At 21:20 doors were armed…
…and we left the stand minutes after
The F/O explained us that the delay was due to restrictions at Catania, which has reduced operations for some works on the main taxiway
Heading to the runway
Since the main taxiway was partially closed we had to backtrack the runway, taking off towards east, in sea direction
Rotating at the edge of runway 08
Enter text here…
Almost half a hour later than scheduled we started our take off run to Milan
And in the air…
Bye bye Sicily
The cabin immediately after the take off
As we climb we encountered a light turbolence, as announced before by the F/O
Northern Sicily coast
The city on the left is Milazzo
20 minutes into the flight we experienced another turbolence, longer and stronger than the previous one
Later I fell asleep
I woke up midflight for the drink service, but didn't get anything
I take another rest since I was very tired
Around 22:35 the Captain announced we started our descent into Linate and the cabin was prepared for landing
Outside it was cloudy and the temperature on the ground was around 5°C
Milano Sud toll plaza, on A1 motorway
Milan suburs like San Giuliano and Melegnano, located just south of Linate
At 23:00, just five minutes after scheduled, we touched down at Milano-Linate Airport
The landing was smooth and the brake run very gentle
The airport was completely "asleep"
Two German Airways E-190s operated by ITA Airways and Brussels Airlines A319
Docking at the stand just three minutes after vacating the runway
It took a few minutes to prepare the stairs
Fortunately we're able to disembark from rear
I'm gonna miss Alitalia's tail…
Last view of EI-DSL from the apron
We reached the terminal in a few minutes
As I later discover from FlightRadar, we're the last flight landed in LIN that day
Two days before the new M4 Metro line had been opened between Dateo and Linate Airport, cutting the time to get to the city center
By the way it still has shortened opening times (06:00-21:00, compared to 05:00-00:30 of the rest of the lines)
My friend and I tried to get a car sharing but no car was available in the parking
We found one car 10 minutes walking from the Terminal, but its position was difficult to reach
Since neither the buses were available we catched a taxi
It took 10 minutes to bring us home, for 20 euros
I arrived at home at midnight, one hour after touching down
See you at the next report! Thank you for the attention :)
Since I sleep most of the time I don't have much to say about this domestic leg. By the way seems like that ITA is trying its best to give a good service and make people "forget" Alitalia.
Catania Airport is good, but maybe a bit undersized, especially in the departure lounge. Moreover the temperature inside the building was too high to stay just with the sweater.
Linate really needs that metro line to be opened until midnight, in order to make the access much more better.