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Milan Airport Question...

Hello again,

Thank you so much for the helpful responses to my post here https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/rome-and-milan-for-first-trip-to-italy

We're in a bit of a panic because our flight to Italy has been affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX jets. So, we're going to have to leave the U.S. a day early and have already taken care of checking in to a hotel close to the airport when we arrive at nighttime. The other concern we have is our return flight to the U.S. from Milan. Our previous flight was supposed to be at 10 a.m. but because of the changes the flight now leaves at 7 a.m. Our hotel in Milan is near the Duomo. I've read somewhere that it is advisable to arrive at the Milan airport at least **3 hours before** an INTERNATIONAL flight--is this true? If so, would there be any issue with obtaining transportation at such early hours? My husband is worried about the earlier flight and was thinking of checking out of our hotel the day before our flight and checking in to a hotel closer to the airport. Would greatly appreciate any input please and thank you!!

Posted by
8072 posts

Your hotel can arrange a ride to the airport at any hour just ask them the day before.
You will not be the first customer in that situation for sure.

Or if you don't stand to lose money by changing hotels just checkin to one near the airport.

Is this a direct from Milan to the USA or are you connecting somewhere in Europe?

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks Jazz+Travels ! Our return flight is from Milan to Zurich to U.S. So is the Milan airport open as early as 4 a.m. if we are to arrive there by that time? As far as losing money with changing hotels, in a way, yes because we'd have to pay for a day at another hotel AND I feel like we would also be losing a day because of all the checking in and out of these hotels on that 1 day.

Posted by
8072 posts

I see that the first flight out of Milan MXP Malpensa airport is at 5:40 am so the airport has to be open.
An airport of that size never really closes. It is more a question of when the checkin counters open.

Well since you are going to Zurich I would show up 2 hours before as that is like a domestic flight.
Which airport Milan Linate or Milan Malpensa?

Posted by
20484 posts

The flight to Zurich is a "domestic" flight, so you don't have to be there 3 hours ahead. You'll go through Schengen exit formalities in Zurich.

Posted by
7473 posts

If it’s helpful, I stayed at the MOXY hotel - literally at the Milan airport, for my flight home last year. The room was very nice & modern, but compact, and it had the most comfortable chair in the room. There’s a little van that runs between terminals.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks, Jazz+Travels and Sam—understood on the 2 hrs before flight (yay!). How is the traffic to the airport on a Friday early morning hours? We depart from Malpensa. Also, do hotels charge you if you ask them to arrange for transportation to the airport?

Thanks, Jean, I’ll check out MOXY in case we need to stay closer to the airport.

Posted by
8072 posts

No the hotel you checked into is not going to charge you to ask them to get you a cab; they will quote how much it costs the day before.

Having taken a cab at that hour to an airport in a major international city I doubt there would be traffic at 5 o'clock in the morning and the local hotel people will know best.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks, Jazz+Travels. I wonder if it’ll be cheaper to just book the transportation now. My husband was checking it and was quoted $98.

Posted by
8072 posts

Well you have 3 passengers and luggage at an odd hour.
Depends on the distance to the airport from the hotel.

Posted by
533 posts

I often stay at an airport hotel on my last night if I have an early AM flight. This does NOT eat up my last day. I check out of the first hotel in the morning. I ask them to store my luggage for the day (I have never had a problem doing this.) I go out and enjoy my day for as long as I want. Then I return to my first hotel and take whatever transportation that I previously arranged out to the airport hotel (or take public transport.) I often do this early enough to relax and have dinner there, but you could, of course, go after dinner. In the morning, it’s a quick walk or shuttle to the airport - no worries, no stress and an extra hour or so of sleep!

Posted by
15497 posts

If you stay near the Duomo, to get to Malpensa it is faster and cheaper to take the Malpensa Express train from the Cadorna station. 35 minutes and you are at the airport.
There is a train at 4:57 which would get you to the airport at 5:34. I think that is early enough for a flight to Zürich. If you want to get there earlier, there is a train every 1/2 hour.
http://www.malpensaexpress.it/it/malpensa-express/home.aspx

If you prefer to change hotels and stay closer to Malpensa, there are plenty of choices. There is even a Sheraton across from the Terminal above the airport train station which is very convenient and not too expensive.

Malpensa is far from the city of Milan. The taxi will set you back at least 90€ and the travel time by taxi is longer than the train. Even without any traffic the drive is at least 50 min.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you, Renee and Roberto da Firenze, for your input. We have decided to check out of our Milan hotel and check into a hotel that is closer to the airport.

Thanks so much everybody for all of your help!!!!