On the move: Milan

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On the move: Milan

My journey to Milan started on a frosty morning at Heathrow Airport, on board of one of the 95 newly refurbished BA short haul aircrafts.

With leather seating throughout the aircraft, the difference between business and economy class has been somewhat muddled and my mood escapes with a cheerful tweet.

Tweet

Without giving too much away just yet, let’s land at Milan Malpensa. Second biggest airport in Italy (17.6 mppa) after Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino (36.2 mppa), curiously, Malpensa is not considered the “main” Milan Airport. This unofficial title belongs to somewhat smaller Linate Airport (9 mppa), which is favoured by the city dwellers.

First signs of the train connection greets you at the baggage claim hall. Big green and white wayfinding signs, informing passengers about their travel options from the airport, are strategically displayed throughout the entire journey from baggage claim hall to the (in my case) train station.

MalpensaExpress Wayfinding

MalpensaExpress Wayfinding2

 

At no point I was in doubt which direction to follow to reach the train station.

MalpensaExpress Wayfinding3

MalpensaExpress Wayfinding4

 

Trouble started with the ticket machines. Being a person that prefers self-service (I am one of the rare customers who actually enjoy the self-service supermarket counters) I didn’t even consider going to the staffed ticket kiosk. Selecting journey and ticket type was easy enough, but the card reader display was only speaking Italian and it was taking ages, eventually telling me that my card was declined (later I realised that I was too impatient, and removed my card too quickly). I had more luck with other “fast ticket” machines. Although calling them “fast” is little bit generous.

MalpensaExpress Ticketing1

MalpensaExpress Ticketing2

MalpensaExpress Ticketing3

 

In my two days in Milan, I had the chance to use Malpensa Express four times and used all available ticket purchase options, except the online booking: ticket machines at the airport, ticket machines at the city station, staffed kiosk and mobile app. From all those option, the only smooth transaction was with the member of staff – apart from the earlier mentioned troubles at the airport, Cadorna ticket machines only spoke Italian, and the mobile app crashed on the crucial moment of processing my card details.

MalpensaExpress Ticketing4

 

Malpensa Express is a dedicated airport rail service, operated by Trenord (formed in 2011 by Trenitalia and LeNORD, each owning 50% of the company). According to their website, Malpensa Express links the centre of Milan and Malpensa Airport Terminal 1 with 129 trains a day, between 4.28 and 0.26 a.m. 51 trips to and from Milano Centrale (also stopping at Milano P.ta Garibaldi, where passengers can connect to international TILO and SNCF (TGV) rail networks) and 78 to and from Milano Cadorna (of which 36 are direct, with a journey time of 29 minutes).

MalpensaExpress Train1

The Malpensa Express rolling stock is purpose build for airport passengers and was gradually introduced into service from 2010.

MalpensaExpress Train7

MalpensaExpress Train2

 

The trains offer step-free access to passengers, plenty of luggage and seating space, space for wheelchair users, accessible toilets and charging plugs at each table.

MalpensaExpress Train3

MalpensaExpress Train4

MalpensaExpress Train5

MalpensaExpress Train8

MalpensaExpress Station1

MalpensaExpress Station2

MalpensaExpress Advert1

Interestingly, the only outside (apart of wayfinding and at-station information) promotion for the Malpensa Express is displayed on Malpensa Airport shuttle busses, which might confuse passengers into thinking that the buses are the express service.