Leaving...On a Jet Plane.... ~ Romancing Italy
1:

Jan 18, 2010

Leaving...On a Jet Plane....

Okay, so I've already left and am now on California soil, and I do know when I'll be back to Italy again....

After last year's hellish trip, I was prepared for the worst but I am pleased to say that this trip was vastly different...all flights left as scheduled and the barely filled domestic leg into SF actually arrived EARLY - a whole 45 minutes. I was able to sleep like a log.

What did I note from this trip?

Pre body-scanner security
Security was increased at Milan's Malpensa and officers with their machine guns were notably visible in the check-in area where flights were heading to the States. In addition to the regular security check point with the scanner and metal detector, there was an additional pat down just before entering the plane. Other than that, I didn't even have to open my checked in suitcase at my change over in New York.

Baggage claim regulations

Didn't know it but I, you, no-one is allowed to open their luggage in the baggage claim area. I was politely told to close it up right away. At least he called me "Miss".

Service at a price...

I didn't need carts for my luggage but I was curious about them at the US airports because:
  • in Italy:  insert your coin to release the lock and at the end of use, return to parking area, insert lock and get your change back.
  • in America: Pay for cart and at end of use leave it anywhere you like on airport grounds for some poor worker to scout out and collect. Naturally you pay well for this luxury, or laziness. $5.00 at JFK; $4.00 at SFO. Don't worry if you don't have US currency, the machines are equipped to take all credit cards.

Taxi vs. shuttle fare from SFO to Downtown San Francisco

The shuttle costs less than a taxi. About $44 in a taxi (plus tip) to North Beach area from the airport; $17 with the shuttle (Quake City Shuttle). I was lucky there were no other passengers on my shuttle, but sometimes there are a few stops along the way. Not a bad alternative though if you are on vacation and not in a hurry. Reservations can be made from the Departures lounge.
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