For such a supposed backwater Puglia is quite well served by the airlines especially the budget carriers . Both Bari and Brindisi are linked to the two main Italian hubs of Milan Linate and Rome Fiumicino by Alitalia several times a day. It is certainly no problem getting to and from intercontinental services that fly into those airports and if you book early enough Alitalia are cheaper than the railways as it seems to cost an arm and a leg to get into the city centres to get the train
Ryanair also do a load of flights out of Bari to European airports in Belgium, France, Spain, Malta, Netherlands and Germany and of course you can connect on to Alitalia through the two hubs. A range of European carriers also come in mainly during the summer months.
From the UK we have my old company British Airways into Bari through the summer on Monday , Wednesday and Saturday with Easyjet also on three services a week and Ryanair alternating services from both Bari and Brindisi through the whole week.Plus Alitalia and the other European carriers through various hubs.
From Bari Naples is only 2 hours by motorway so that airport can come into play as well giving another huge array of flights. Indeed one of the nice things to do is fly into Naples and then drive the Roman Via Appia Antica all the way from there to the Roman built steps in Brindisi where the galleys used to leave in Roman times for Greece.
We have flown on all the UK carriers and have often taken Alitalia and Lufthansa as well on trips back to the UK.
Alitalia are well- Alitalia. The pilots always have their jackets over their shoulders never on and wear sunglasses even on the cloudiest of days. The uniform is not great but somehow the Italian aircrew managed with accessories to make it look fantastic. So fantastic of course that one couldn’t possibly ruin it by running around serving people.
Easyjet seem to be the Italian carrier of choice and about 80% of the flights are filled with Italians by birth. Like when going out to eat, Italians don’t do it in twos. When they go to London it is necessary for at least twelve of them to go and they take every piece of clothing they own stuffed into suitcases and cabin baggage. They also need to share their experience with everyone else on the aircraft by standing and walking up and down the cabin at all times. Beware too the school groups. They hunt in numbers ranging from 30-60 pupils. If there are teachers with them they are either on another flight or must be in the loo for the entire flight as no-one is in charge and the kids do as they please. What I love though about the Italians is that they ignore every rule. Getting to the gate 30 mins before. Who is kidding who there are people to see, coffee to be drunk and hey if there are enough of us they will hold the plane anyway ( which they do). Boarding by seat numbers. What a joke the boarding is announced you get on the plane and especially in London gabble in Italian to the boarding person who tries to stop you. So when they call boarding be like the Italians get up and get going there is safety in numbers.
Ryanair seems to attract people that like to clap on landing which I have never really understood . They also have some kind of fanfair when they arrive on time as I guess it is clearly a surprise. Mind you I have flown with them a few times and their landing on each occasion was to say the least exciting with lots of engine adjustment and flap noise. I also got my monies worth as we landed three or four times after the nerve jangling approach before the wheels finally settled full time on to the runway so perhaps all that clapping isn’t such a bad idea. See number 2 below for an idea of what I mean
British Airways is fascinating as well. Virtually everyone is British on board and the mid week flights out of London are the hiking or cultural tour brigade. They all have sturdy boots on already and wear sensible clothing with thousands of pockets, are ladened down with maps and have guidebook galore. Coming back they are now part of the group they met on arrival at Bari and it is interesting to figure out who is avoiding who, who was the group bore , who was the group life and soul of the party ( always easy to spot) and who very clearly is going to throw away the name and address they were handed by a fellow guest just before landing back at Gatwick.
The Saturday service is the Abercrombie and Kent and C.V. Villas lot. They went to central casting and are all decked out like Merchant Ivory Italian film characters. The women in long flowing dresses and large floppy hats, the men in crumpled lined suits and panama hats and the young kids all have long hair and impossible names.
They all seem to know each other and all made a killing during the last bank crisis. They all rent impossibly large villas with swimming pools you could water ski on and all of them will spend their entire time on their smart phones.