Business Travel Spotlight: Just How Much of a Hassle Is It to Fly to Europe?
SFBW looks at Miami to Milan and back
The short answer: It’s not much of a hassle. The anticipation is worse than the reality. This guidance is based on a sample American Airlines trip from Miami to Milan, via JFK in New York, but note that conditions related to covid change frequently.
- Milan is located in Lombardy (it’s actually the capital), the region in Italy with the highest number of fully vaccinated people. Lombardy has attained a 77% vaccination rate.
- Milan Malpensa is the city’s largest airport. Its airport code is MXP.
- Hotels will require you to show your vaccination card.
- The indoor mask mandate is strictly enforced (except for restaurants). It is possible, even likely, to spend a week in Lombardy (Milan, Lake Como) and nearby coastal Liguria (Portofino, Cinque Terre) and never see it breached.
Step by Step:
- Make sure you’re fully vaccinated at least two weeks before your trip; take a photo of your vax card and stick that baby right in your passport.
- Buy your ticket as usual.
- Get a rapid covid test no more than 72 hours before departure. As with all documents, carry a print and an electronic version with you. You know what? It’s possible no one will ask to see it, either in the U.S. or Italy.
- Fill out a passenger locator form (online), called a dPLF. It’s not that tough. You’ll have to indicate the first hotel where you’ll be staying and your seat on the flight. You’ll be asked to show the form at check-in in Miami along with your vaccination card.
- Fly from Miami to JFK. You don’t have to go through security again! Head right to your gate.
- Fly from JFK to Milan. On arrival, have your vaccination card in hand, although a security staffer may only pretend to look at it.
- Enjoy Italy!
- Within three days of your return flight, get a rapid covid test (bring your passport!) and receive the printed results, sometimes within minutes. The easiest way is to have your hotel concierge make an appointment at a local pharmacy. A concierge who’s really on the case—like at Grand Hotel Victoria on Lake Como— may book the test before you even check-in; ask for the concierge’s email address. (Make sure you tip that concierge.)
- Many people will say, Just get it done at the airport. Right, just what you need on the day you fly out of the country. Hard pass.
- At check-in in Milan, just show your Italian covid-negative test and vax card. You are now done with the covid-related part of your trip.
- Fly to JFK; connect to fly home to Miami. Not so bad, right?
Photo: The Cinque Terre village of Manarola. The closest international airport is in Milan, Italy (MXP). Photo by Drew Limsky