Always keen to be involved in areas outside Cabin Service, Andrea Cristino jumped at the opportunity to help host Monarch’s recent Enthusiasts’ trip to Milan. This is his trip report.

Enthusiasts Day Malpensa Milan

“On the afternoon of 5th July, fully briefed by Toby, I waited at the Gatwick ticket desk to greet the 16 guests who had reserved places from Gatwick. The excitement was palpable as this event, the fourth of its type,  would give enthusiasts a rare insight into the world of aviation. A second group of 25 were simultaneously meeting Toby in Manchester on a separate flight which would join us in Milan.

Our afternoon A320 flight departed on schedule for the 1 hour 30 minute flight to Malpensa, Milan’s largest airport. Our VIP cabin crew were lead by Purser Sara Turner, who took time in her pre flight briefing to tell her team about our special guests. On stand in Milan, our Captain, Richard Verdenbregt welcomed our guests into the flight deck for photographs and a chat.

In arrivals, I met with Toby along with a reporter from Airliner World, Tony Dixon. After checking into a hotel a short walk from the terminal, enthusiasts were able to spend the evening as they wished. The following morning after an excellent breakfast we started our tour, meeting the SEA airport staff in the lobby.

Malpensa airport

It was a packed day, which included guided tours of the VIP facilities, the baggage handling areas (a fascinating insight into how airports manage 1,000’s of bags of all shapes and sizes, safely and securely), a bus tour of the apron, aircraft stands and the cargo terminal (we saw 6 brand new Ferrari “Testarossa” being prepared for export, an extra £10,000 on top of the price of the car!). Next we drove along the taxiways to park at the end of the active runway for some excellent photo opportunities of landing aircraft, very much enjoyed by the group.

Some amazing cars at Malpensa

The highlight of the day was a presentation from Air Traffic Control, followed by a visit to the top of the control tower to see the controllers hard at work directing aircraft with military precision. The tower stands at 80 metres and the views across the airport were outstanding.

Next we headed to the Volandia Aviation Museum, a short walk from Terminal One for some lunch in the cafe (we felt very special as they had opened it especially for us!), followed by a guided tour of the museum. The museum staff, all volunteers were extremely knowledgable and answered the many interesting questions our enthusiasts had prepared.

Monarch aircraft at Malpensa


Soon in was time to head back to the terminal and check in for our flights back home, so I said farewell to the Manchester group and headed with my group to the Gatwick gate to be welcomed back on board my Sara and her team.

The feedback during the flight home was fantastic and it was clear that our guests had really enjoyed this event, with the most common question being to where and when the next Monarch Enthusiasts trip would be!

Many thanks to Toby Hillier, the staff in Milan who were so approachable and co-operative and the Gatwick and Manchester teams for making this trip so successful and interesting.”

If you’d like to take part in Monarch’s next Enthusiasts Day trip, email


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