During our time here in Puglia we have flown into many of the major airports often in search of cheaper airfares or going and returning from intercontinental flights. Flights from Bari to the UK are expensive unless you wear all the clothes you intend to wear during your stay and fly Ryanair and even they can get carried away in the summer. So we look for cheap connecting flights ( Milan Paris,Amsterdam etc) or maybe drive to Naples or Rome.
Milan Linate is a nice airport with plenty of facilities, Milan Malpensa is as it sounds pretty grotty and spartan.
Naples is well Naples completely chaotic, mismanaged and way too small for the job it is trying to do.
Rome Fiumicino is a little like Heathrow as they seem to be always knocking bits down and building other bits. However where it is truly outstanding is in all the many times I have used it both on European flights and Intercontinental flights I have never ever beaten my bag to baggage claim. Now I am racking my brains to try and think of another airport where that has happened during my 55 years of flying. I have lucked out on occasions and been the first bag out onto the carrousel which is an amazing feeling though often I was so shocked I ended up chasing it around only to watch it disappear back through those holes in the wall and had to wait for it to re-appear a few minutes later. But I cannot think of one where the bag beat me unless I was delayed in Immigration as I am in the USA everytime.
In 1996 I travelled to Miami from London for a job interview and on the return flight British Airways contrived to lose the copy of the immigration form that the airline has to hand to the immigration department. According to US Immigration therefore I stayed on in the USA . I actually got the job and was asked back a week later to sort out contracts and salary so got a stamp in my passport returning and this time on exit BA handed in my white card.
However after 9/11 when all these records were computerized and more closely scrutinised the fun started. I arrived back in the States at Baltimore and was whisked off to an holding room and then given 3 hours of interogation. A no time were they able to say why they were holding me. This performance went on on every international flight and most domestic flights ( I was working there then). Finally under the freedom of information act in 2006 they had to tell me. I produced my old passport and showed them the stamp that showed me returning 7 days after I supposedly failed to leave. ‘Great they said but you are in the computer now and are for the rest of your life there is nothing anyone can do about it . you will always be stopped and taken to an holding room but we have put a comment and your delay will only be 25 minutes or so. ” Ah land of the free. I’ve sung this a few times. Even got to a Super Bowl ( Thanks Joe)
But back to Rome. They are amazing . The last time I arrived from London and there was nobody on Immigration, the plane door opened and I was in row 15 or thereabouts. I got off walked through an empty immigration, walked briskly down through the airport to the baggage claim thinking now I’ve got them but no there were almost all the bags happily going around. How do they do it.
Bari has been always the exact opposite. You arrive, walk down to the baggage claim and then go to the loo, study the other flight passengers waiting for their bags , wander around and look at the ads, pet the drug sniffing dog and finally get your kindle out and settle down for a read. Some 25-30 mins after getting there a few lights come on and the first of your flight’s bags disgorge themselves. I had assumed as a regional airport that there was just a lack of loaders and given the Airport manager’s paltry salary of €640,000 a year a lack of investment.
The real reason was in the paper today. 85 baggage loaders have been charged with theft from passengers baggage. Alitalia put micro cameras in the hold of their aircraft and invited the police to watch these guys sift through bags removing anything of value and then arrest them. I hope the prosecutor has more luck than the UK police who caught a boatload of BA loaders with duplicate keys to all suitcase types. They got off claiming they were merely providing exemplary customer service by being able to lock bags that might have fallen open in flight. Oh look there is pig just taking off from the airport !
Il Volo means the flight and the song is Don’t make me wait !!
And 85 of them unloading just 10 flights. How many loaders has Bari airport got and how few actually ever turn up for work. Too busy down the market flogging stuff probably.