More travel woes… I’m sitting more or less comfortably at the gate for my Amsterdam bound flight, and I’m cursing those marketing geniuses who managed to make people believe Bergamo is actually a Milan airport.
Don’t take me wrong: I’m just fine with no-frills airlines, so much that we have a company policy stating that short-haul flights (<4hrs) should prefer as much as possible low-cost solutions (and yes, we will reimburse the onboard drink). Unfortunately, low cost is often associated with airports in the middle of nowhere, and Bergamo is a blatant example of a travel nightmare.
A non-local will read on the various websites that Bergamo is not so bad, as it’s barely 50km from Milan (Malpensa is 60ish, for the record), but the culprit is elsewhere. Basically, there is no efficient way to get to this forgotten land apart from driving or taking a bus: problem is the one and only road that leads to Bergamo is the infamous A4, which is possibly the last place on earth you want to be driving through. Getting here means going through a 40km stretch where everything can happen, and it might take anytime from 20 minutes (if it’s really your lucky day) to a good couple of hours.
Unless you’re a professional gambler, you want to prepare for the worst case, which to me meant waking up at 4.30am in order to leave in time for my 9.15am flight. Yes, five hours is just ridiculous, but that’s the one and only safe bet to make sure you will catch your flight. By the way, if I decided to grab a bus, I would have had to leave at least an hour earlier. For completeness sake, I should mention there is also a train option, which takes an hour (and quite often a train change) to get to Bergamo station, then it’s either a 10minutes/20â‚¬ taxi ride if you’re lucky enough or a shuttle service that operates every 30 minutes. All in all, that adds up to roughly two hours again.
Getting to Malpensa, on the other hand, means a 30m train ride, on top of which you might want to add some 30m to get to the train station. If you consider that flying from Malpensa means you can have Internet check-in, which shaves at least 30 minutes from the time you have to be at the airport, that makes a total of two hours compared to five or six. Which really makes the difference between reasonable and miserable travel.
For the record, my wife drove me to the airport this morning since leaving a new car in the airport parking for three days in a row is far from being safe. We have been lucky enough on our way in, which took “just” 45 minutes, but she had to pay the price on the return trip after she dropped me off at 6.30: it’s 8.25am now, and she is still trying to head home, with no less than 30 more minutes to go. Yes, that’s 2h30m for less than 50km, or 15km/h. Now, dear customer, I do love you and all that, but don’t be surprised if you’ll find in our T&C that flying from Bergamo requires an increased travel allowance…