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Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

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This is our review of the Piazza della Scala in Milan Linate, operated by ITA Airways.

Milan Linate Airport is a mini secondary hub for ITA Airways, and one of only two airports outside Rome where the airline has an own-brand lounge. The other one is in Catania.

Linate is the smaller, but closer, of the two Milan airports (think of it as their version of London City Airport) and is dominated by business-heavy routes to European destinations. In fact, I believe there are just three gates for non-Schengen departures and zero long haul flights.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

Where is the Piazza della Scala lounge?

Milan Linate airport is a bit of a maze, particularly as you leave security and head through the winding duty free shop and then a winding corridor of luxury boutiques. Fortunately signage is good – simply follow the signs for the ITA Airways lounge and you will, eventually, find it.

The final stretch involves heading up this stairs.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

There doesn’t appear to be a lift so I’m not sure how the lounge accommodates guests with limited mobility.

The lounge is in the Schengen area of the airport. However, the non-Schengen gates (all three of them) are just below and British passport holders are eligible to use the eGates, so it doesn’t take long to pass through.

The lounge is open every day from 6am until 10pm.

Piazza della Scala lounge access requirements

Access to the Piazza della Scala is fairly limited. I imagine this is due to its size.

You can use the lounge if you fulfill one of the following criteria:

  • You are flying in business/Superior class on ITA Airways
  • You are a Premium or Executive member of the Volare programme
  • You are an Elite Plus member of SkyTeam, travelling on ITA Airways
  • You hold the ITA Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card

You can also pay for entry either in advance online or directly at the lounge. It’s €39 if paid in advance or €49 if on the door, and you can arrive two hours before your flight departs.

Inside the Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan

At 400 square meters and with just 54 seats, this is a relatively compact lounge. It does fill up considerably from around 4pm, with plenty of business people standing and chatting to each other, as you can see from some of my photos below.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

The layout is one big squarish room, although there are a few different seating zones. The design could be a bit more exciting as it’s all a bit grey. It certainly doesn’t feel as luxurious as ITA’s lovely cabin interiors in cream and navy.

The buffet is in the centre:

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

There are two service periods, although in reality I coudn’t really tell the difference. Breakfast and lunch is served from midday until 3pm whilst dinner is from 5pm to 8pm. It’s possible that I just missed the hot food as I arrived around 3pm and left around 5:30pm.

Don’t get too excited by the food and drink. This is a Schengen lounge – London is one of the very few non-Schengen destinations from Milan Linate – so expect things to be a little more basic. Most of the food was cold. There were pasta and quinoa salads as well as cold cuts:

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

A salad bar, with rocket, tomatoes, lettuce, olives etc:

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

In terms of warm food, your only choice was a pizza foccacia or soup:

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

Despite the relatively small selection, the staff were constantly topping it up and making sure everything was available.

It’s a whole sight better at the staffed bar, which offers a large range of drinks. The bartender was exceptionally friendly and – assuming they had the necessary ingredients – happy to make whatever you want, from gin and tonics to aperol spritz, wine, coffee and more.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

As I was in Italy, I obviously had to have an aperol spritz.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

To the right of the buffet you have a small group of dining tables as well as some bar tables set up as a hot desking area.

To the left of the buffet and flanking the window was the main seating area, with a few rows of armchairs occasionally separated by a side table:

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

The views across the airport are great, although the big windows also let in the hot Italian sun and I found this area to be very warm.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

There are charging ports and sockets dotted around the room, but not at every seat.

Review: ITA Airways Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate

Conclusion

ITA’s Piazza della Scala lounge in Milan Linate isn’t going to win any awards any time soon, at least from a design standpoint.

What stood out to me was the bar service, and especially the friendly bartender who even came around at one point and asked us if we wanted any more drinks.

Do beware that it fills up quite quickly around 4pm and 5pm, although even then there are some seats still available, with some guests preferring to stand and chat.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (May 2024)

Here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a UK credit card.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.

You also get access to Eurostar, Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines lounges.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with four free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here.

Additional lounge visits are charged at £24.  You get four more free visits for every year you keep the card.  

There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free Priority Pass card, allowing you access to the Priority Pass network.  Guests are charged at £24 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.

The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer.  Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.

Comments (19)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • TimM says:

    Linate used to be the main business airport for Milan while Malpensa was just for tourists (and skiers). Linate has the huge advantage of a metro connection a little over 10 minutes from the centre while Malpensa is out on a limb.

    “There doesn’t appear to be a lift so I’m not sure how the lounge accommodates guests with limited mobility.”
    If you book special assistance, the wheelchair pushers have access to ‘secret lifts’ not for public use.

    I would have had one of the great red wines of the region!

    • Gordon says:

      Good insight Tim, So, is there a lift of isn’t there a lift?

      • daveinitalia says:

        It’s been a while since I was in Linate (it was still the Alitalia lounge back then) but I don’t recall the lifts being not for public use so they were ‘secret’ in the sense of the secret tunnels in T5 or the CCR secret door.

        I don’t understand this line from the article: “Access to the Piazza della Scala is fairly limited. I imagine this is due to its size” then went on to list all the expected methods of entry (status and class of travel) as well as pay per entry. Who else were they supposed to be letting in?

        There’s Sala Leonardo for Priority Pass and pay per entry for non ITA customers.

        BA also has a lounge there which I remember from a visit to Milan a few weeks before COVID closed it in 2020. I need to visit sometime to see how it’s changed, but back then it was entirely self service, this is unusual in Italy as most lounges have staffed bars which can be either a good thing (if service is quick and staff are good) or terrible (if there’s queues). VCE is bad for this because their fridge contains both soft drinks (including water) as well as alcohol and is roped off so even if you just want a bottle of water you have to queue up behind many people wanting coffees and more complex drinks.

    • vlcnc says:

      There is a lift at the back of the lounge near the toilet bins and past the toilet entrance. We use it to leave the lounge all the time.

  • Luca says:

    If you walk straight forward to the right of the stairs in your picture there is a lift ahead of you to the right. There there is a call button that connects to the front desk upstairs and if you ask to use the lift they will send it down – easy. The only other airline lounge in Linate is BA which has no windows and poor food, although the selection of soft drinks in the fridges is larger. Linate is a very efficient and comfortable airport and your City comparison is totally fair.

    • daveinitalia says:

      I liked the BA lounge back when I last used it in Feb 2020. Really can’t remember the food though, but as many Italians think of British food as terrible then if it was poor you could just be saying they met expectations. If you’ve been to the BA lounge since reopening after covid I’d be interested in your experiences.

      I’m on the fence about whether this can be described as like LCY. It was certainly convenient to get into the city by taxi (the metro hadn’t yet opened then) but the airport has three lounges and a lot more facilities compared to LCY. Then of course it can also be used by larger aircraft. When I lived in London I was close to LCY so loved arriving at that airport, but departing I loved been able to arrive close to departure but hated the cramped waiting areas whereas Linate has more space. If you’re flying from Milan then Linate beats Malpensa (BA doesn’t have its own lounge in MXP)

      • Michael Jennings says:

        I went to the BA lounge in Rome last year, and there was some rather nice Italian food – little portions of good lasagna and things like that. Better than the food in BA’s British lounges, honestly.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I thought I recalled a proper BA lounge at Linate it was an okay space to kill the 40’mins or so I had.

      • daveinitalia says:

        It is a proper BA lounge. There’s three lounges I’m aware of in Linate:
        BA lounge (although it’s in the Schengen area as the non-Schengen section is tiny so can be used by other oneworld airlines should any depart from there, I have no idea if any do)
        Sala Leonardo – Priority Pass and any airlines that can’t use the other lounges
        ITA – the ex-Alitalia lounge

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Always makes me wonder why LCY doesn’t even have one, the whole place feels cramped tbh. You can say you’re doing it wrong all you want but at the end of the day some people don’t want to have that last min “rushed” feeling and want to be there earlier.

          • daveinitalia says:

            LCY was a victim of its own success. At one point I had managed to turn up at the airport 20 mins before the flight and still make it (I wouldn’t recommend that now) but when it was quieter if you did get there a bit early then it was still ok (I won’t say pleasant because before the smoking ban the main seating area was smoking). If I finished at 5pm and my flight was 7pm I just usually want to get to the airport rather than find something to kill the time between then

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Exactly that. It’s not as if the general area is nice either and you can just grab a coffee outside or something. Actually amazes me there are houses and even a school so close by

          • Michael Jennings says:

            I suspect that 50% or more of the people who fly from LCY have BA Silver status or better, so any such lounge would have to be huge.

  • Gordon says:

    Or*

  • Swifty says:

    Mapensa is practically in another country. It should be the Ryanair airport of the city!

    • Michael Jennings says:

      Well, there’s Bergamo for that – about the same distance as Mapensa

  • Matthias says:

    Having sampled all 3, the ITA lounge is (weirdly) the worst one at LIN, in my opinion.

    If you’re on BA there is still one of the few remaining dedicated BA lounges (lots of business traffic here) and while it’s smallish I really like it. There’s usually a tasty lasagna on self serve (cut your own slice out) and lots of other nice food, plus usual drinks on self serve too.

    Then I would also rate the Priority Pass Sala Leonardo above the ITA lounge, as it feels a bit bigger to me although can also get quite full.

    • daveinitalia says:

      A previous poster said the food in the BA lounge was rubbish but I can’t remember it. Although the lasagne sounds familiar. Being BA (the B stands for booze) then there was plenty of alcoholic options including the chance to make your own Aperol Spritz.

  • Lady London says:

    I found the Leonardo Lounge excellent but was pre-Covid.

    At MXP the lounges are a bit meh and at least a couple of them run by the same service company.

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