Summer travel can be so much fun, and it’s still not too late to plan your Italian dream trip, but trundling through jammed airports at peak periods is probably nobody’s idea of a good time – Rome’s busy Fiumicino Airport (FCO) is no exception. In fact, unless you are a fan of bottlenecked transfer areas, layouts that defy any sense of logic, or of the loud noises made by other peoples’ kids, chances are the time you spend in Fiumicino will not be the highlight of your trip to Italy.
But you can have a better experience of this busy transportation hub if you just know where to go. Most Alitalia and Delta flights to the United States leave from Fiumicino’s Terminal G. In a strange way, the airport planners must have thought that if you’re going to America you must have money, because the shops here are all as overpriced as they are uninteresting (not to knock Gucci and Armani, but can’t you find those just about anywhere?). More to the point of this post, the Alitalia Lounge here, while relatively new, is for some bizarre reason relegated to a thoroughly unpleasant subterranean pit. You don’t want to go there.
Now, a word about accessing Alitalia Freccia Alata lounges – don’t be deceived into thinking that you have to have some sort of Super Premium Golden Mile Elite Deluxe Quadruple Titanium card to get in. Maybe if you have one of those you will indeed be admitted free of charge, and a certain level of membership in Alitalia’s MilleMiglia frequent flier program also grants you access. But as long as you are a MilleMiglia member, you can purchase a day pass for 25 euros. But note that you can’t pay in cash, only by credit card. You can sign up for MilleMiglia on Alitalia’s Website. Inside the lounge you get free cappucinos and Italian wines, light refreshments (not enough to make a meal out of, though) and almost-free Wifi (less than a buck for unlimited day’s use).
But you’re not going to use the lounge in Terminal G, remember? You’re going to use the Freccia Alata lounge in Terminal H, which is called the Navi Lounge (any relation to the big blue people in the movie Avatar is probably purely coincidental). Don’t worry about missing your Terminal G flight by going to Terminal H because only one short airport monorail stop separates the terminals. The Navi Lounge is bathed in natural light from huge floor to ceiling windows that give you an exceptional view of the tarmac as well as distant hills in the Lazio region. This lounge is less crowded than the one in G, because U.S.-bound travelers tend to not know it’s here.
Also of note, the shopping in Terminal H is far better than in G. More cramped, but better. H has the likes of Carthusia for fragrances from Capri, a regular bookstore instead of just a newsstand, and Mandarina Duck, the most versatile and best Italian luggage there is, period. And the prices aren’t bad.
Also not bad is the food at Fiumicino – we’ve got a short round-up up some of the better finds here.
Which is your favorite airport lounge when you travel? Let us know!