Chile is my “big holiday” with Chris this year. New England will be great, but Chile takes us to a new country for three weeks.
To save £1,500 on business class fares we fly from Milan Malpensa, connecting with the thirteen hour Iberia flight from Madrid to Santiago. While the saving is impressive it comes with the risk of failing to get to Milan and missing the flight.
I’ve mitigated this. We fly the day before and enjoy an afternoon in Milan together with a hotel stay. Similarly, on the return journey I’ve booked an airport hotel for jet lag recovery and a flight the following morning from Milan Malpensa to sunny Manchester. Flybe came up trumps for the Manchester to Milan return bit.
If Flybe fail to offer a service I’ve calculated that there’s enough time to book last second replacements travelling to Milan from Manchester via Düsseldorf, Paris, London, Barcelona or Ibiza. A nuisance. But my buffer will ensure that we don’t miss the outbound flight. And an avios booking at the last minute could come in handy in a crisis.
Flybe threw a modest spanner in the works yesterday. Their outbound flight is now an hour earlier. I’m fine with this. There’ll be more bacon sandwiches available in the lounge pre-flight.
The return flight has moved to four hours later in the day from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. This is, frankly, a nuisance. It means we have 24 hours in Milan Malpensa suffering severe jet lag after 14 hours in the air, six hours wandering around Madrid and a couple more hours flying to Milan. Plan B needed, ideally.
At least EU rules entitle me to a full refund if I scrap my Flybe thinking.
Plan B could involve landing from Chile and simply hopping on a plane home the same day. No direct flights from Malpensa. Head to one of Milan’s other two airports and there is an option. But there’s the risk of our flight from Chile/Madrid being late.
Plan B could be spend the jet lagged hotel night in Malpensa and get the alternative flight the following morning. But these all need connections too. So saving that four hours at the start would get lost in another international terminal when, frankly, I’m not anticipating a great deal of alertness from either of us.
So the current plan is be bored witless and stick with Flybe’s annoying new schedule. Yes, there’ll be the comfort of an airport lounge and free wifi but I suspect we’ll be pretty sick of airports by then.
I used to use Flybe for work trips to Belfast in the dim and distant past. They loved cancelling my early flight and cramming us all onto the undersold mid-morning plane. I’m not feeling the love a decade or so later!