As part of the Italy trip, we travelled from Venice to Naples and was the longest part of the journey, also a chance to ditch the train and try the plane. More so because this would give a chance to add two new airports and one new airline to the list. There was only one direct option available and that was EasyJet.
The travel agent, who got us this package in Italy, managed to include the flight in that cost which meant that we had no control over the booking and what came to us were boarding passes and not the ticket. Thus I do not know how much the ticket cost us and if there were other options available for seat blocking.
This also meant there was no clarification on the baggage limit and with the airline being EasyJet which had very high rates for excess baggage at airport – this was a cause of worry.
Hotel to Airport
This was one of the most unique experiences ever, with our taxi coming on the water side of the hotel and the luxury motor boat taking us to the airport jetty in about 20 minutes. We then had to talk for about 10 minutes in some of the most chilling winds I have ever experienced.
Departure at Venice is at level 1 but EasyJet (U2/EZY) had counters at level 0. Check in was quick and hassle free with bags checked in and passports seen for visa stamp and identity.
We headed to level 1 for a quick coffee before security. The concept at cafe’s in Italy is interesting, if you are seated you have to pay cover charge and to avoid that everybody stands at the counter and drinks coffee. Doing this was difficult for us since we kept on getting directed from one place to another on the large counter area of this cafe after taking the coupon!
Once this was done, we joined the long security line which was being further messed up by people who probably did not understand everything in detail and one passenger who thought it was prudent to remove earrings, belt, watch . . and yes thats it .. by having people behind her wait!
Once on the other side, the airport is nice with one floor dedicated for shopping and umpteen shopping and eating options all across.
Air Dolomati E-190 was at Gate 13 which was assigned for our flight. There was an El Al B737 along with a couple of Easy Jets who were soon joined by an Air France A320 and later by G-EZDW, the A319 which would take us to Naples.
Around 0905, the aircraft landed and taxied past us instead of docking to gate 13 which is where we were seated. Few minutes later, I decided to check out some areas of the airport and spot planes, when a glance at the FIDS shocked me – our flight was boarding !! and from a completely different location. .Gate 03 from ground floor. Talk of Silent airports!
EasyJet is the sole operator on this sector and operates this as an additional flight only on Sundays.
We rushed to ground floor gate 3 where the first bus was almost full and we jumped in too. The last section of the bus was reserved for premium passengers.
Easyjet did not enforce boarding based on seat numbers and thus people from seats on the rows at the back boarding from the front and vice versa became a common occurrence. An Indian scenario here – IndiGo has a picture in their bus showing who should board from where along with people who would guide you. As we settled in our seats in row 16, noticed that the seats were not reclining and there was a menu and magazine in the seat pocket.
The menu showed costs in Pound with an asterisk which showed the cost in Euro – obviously more than that in Pound.
Seating was a little tight but these were cushion seats and not slim ones. We pushed back on time at 0950 hours and took off from runway 04R banking right to see Venice and the delta around. Exactly at this time, the camera memory card proclaimed that it was full and would not accommodate even a single photograph. It was a great chance to see something by our own eyes and not through the camera after returning home.
As we reached cruise altitude, service started and I asked for a coffee for myself. The crew informed that 1 EUR more and I could have a muffin too and I went for the deal. Such type of deals should be introduced in Indian skies but would require training for the crew. I typically see the crew confused during Buy on Board service with most carriers in India.
Post the meal service and a round of cleaning came the in-flight shopping cart. By then we had started our gradual descent into Naples and had a fantastic feather touch landing on runway two four at Naples. Smooth, Full flaps, Steady and Stable amidst clouds and rain!
Naples was cloudy, rainy and we parked at remote bay and walked to the gate in the cold climes. The terminal is a maze to navigate and we made our way to baggage belt on the ground floor after a while. Baggage reached the belt in few minutes as we headed towards the hotel.
The aircraft was in dense configuration with 156 seats. Kingfisher used to operate three all economy A319s in India which had 144 seats. One way Easyjet has got more seats probably is because the first row does not have any king of partition / bulkhead from the door.
Aircraft: A319 G-EZDW delivered to the airline in December 2008
STD: 0950; ATD: 0950
STA:1105; ATA: 1055
About the Airports
Venice: Venice Marco Polo Airport is located on mainland away from the Island of Venice and is accessible by Road and Water Taxi. It is the fifth busiest airport in Italy. The airport has two parallel runways with the longer one being 3300 meters in length. Most of the long haul flights are seasonal in nature. The airport is nicely designed with decent number of contact gates and large apron. The terminal has lounge of Sky Team and ample good options in common areas.
Naples: This airport is landlocked and sees heavy rush during the season as most of the flights here are seasonal along with charters to the Amalfi coast. The airport has single runway which is 2628 meters long.