AirEurope/Volare Trip Report

 
Old Dec 15, 02, 10:00 am
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AirEurope/Volare Trip Report

I recently made an extensive domestic trip in Italy with AirEurope and Volare, having booked the ticket before the 30th June this year. These companies look like they are in the process of being amalgamated under the Volare Group, and are partners with Alitalia, participating in the Millemiglia programme. All flights are in codeshare, and some routes are operated by Alitalia. There seems to be little respect for the 2-letter flight designator, as the aircraft seem to share all routes. So, I never knew whether I was going to be sitting on an AirEurope or Volare plane. In the following route diagram I put the operating carrier in brackets.

LIN-NAP PE(VA) Transit
NAP-PMO VA Overnight <24h.
PMO-FCO VA(PE) Overnight <24h.
FCO-BRI VA Destination
BRI-FCO VA Transit
FCO-CTA VA(AZ) Stopover
CTA-PMO Open surface sector
PMO-LIN PE(VA) End

The NAP-PMO at the beginning was delayed by 2h.20, making for a very late and tiring arrival at PMO. All else ran on time. The PE aircraft was more confortable than VA, and VA resembles easyJet in its cramped nature. The most confortable was the AZ MD-80 from FCO-CTA, and the flight over the smoking Mt.Enta was most impressive.

From CTA, I drove round Sicily, taking in beautiful Syracusa and Ortygia island, the Valley of Temples at Agrigento, the ruins of Selinunte overlooking the sea on the south coast, and the temple of Segesta in the interior hills. About that time I got word that CTA airport was closed because of the volcano. Being fairly near PMO airport, I dropped in and got an involuntary re-routing from back from there to LIN. I spent a last night in lively Palermo.

In-flight service is monocabin only for domestic flights, and consists of a choice of soft drinks, mineral waters, tea and coffee. There are no alcoholic beverages, and there is a choice between savoury snacky things or biscuits, all good quality, as is to be expected in Italy. It was generally pretty friendly (except FCO-BRI), considering the aircraft were packed.

All in all, it was a pleasant, interesting trip, though being restricted with time I wasn't able to stay as long as I would have liked at BRI. The whole was achieved for the princely sum of 15,000 miles.
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Old Dec 16, 02, 7:34 pm
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Concerto how is it like driving in Sicily? I had reservations doing so.
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Old Dec 17, 02, 2:54 am
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Thanks for the report. Interesting to see that they allowed you to go through FCO twice...

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Old Dec 18, 02, 4:34 am
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Going through FCO twice...indeed! That did create a logistic problem, but I argued that I was transiting FCO on the outbound, then the inbound journeys, Bari (BRI) being the destination. I believe that is the only way that you can transit the same airport twice on a routing of this nature. Please tell me if my reasoning is flawed.

As a British driver used to a well-ordered sense of road usage (in Britain, Switzerland and the USA for example), I found Sicily curiously easy to adapt to. The long distances and highways present no problem; the cities are more chaotic, and can be stressful. Waiting at a junction to join a busy suburban street in Palermo is useless, for example: you just have to push your way in, and they will let you in. It's all about give and take, and there is often no sense of give in other European cities. The tooting is rarely the horribly aggressive act it can be elsewhere.

I've always admired the Italians for the quality and skill of their driving, and I find if you emulate them there is no problem. What seems like chaos often has a sense of order and flow to it. I did see one accident by night on the long south coast road, the E931, only parts of which have been upgraded. I would suggest avoiding night-time driving as there is a goodly absence of road markings on the roads other than autostrada: that combined with trucks makes long distances by night quite tiring. The Michelin map 932 is good, but oddly, quite a few of the roads marked on it haven't been built yet.
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Old Dec 18, 02, 4:36 am
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Going through FCO twice...indeed! That did create a logistic problem, but I argued that I was transiting FCO on the outbound, then the inbound journeys, Bari (BRI) being the destination. I believe that is the only way that you can transit the same airport twice on a routing of this nature. Please tell me if my reasoning is flawed.

As a British driver used to a well-ordered sense of road usage (in Britain, Switzerland and the USA for example), I found Sicily curiously easy to adapt to. The long distances and highways present no problem; the cities are more chaotic, and can be stressful. Waiting at a junction to join a busy suburban street in Palermo is useless, for example: you just have to push your way in, and they will let you in. It's all about give and take, and there is often no sense of give in other European cities. The tooting is rarely the horribly aggressive act it can be elsewhere.

I've always admired the Italians for the quality and skill of their driving, and I find if you emulate them there is no problem. What seems like chaos often has a sense of order and flow to it. I did see one accident by night on the long south coast road, the E931, only parts of which have been upgraded. I would suggest avoiding night-time driving as there is a goodly absence of road markings on the roads other than autostrada: that combined with trucks makes long distances by night quite tiring. The Michelin map 932 is good, but oddly, quite a few of the roads marked on it haven't been built yet.
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Old Dec 18, 02, 4:38 am
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I do apologise for the double posting. Something strange happened while I was trying to submit the reply.
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