Have flown Meridiana LGW
very regularly over the last five years and have generally found them to be a great little airline, with most flights having departed on or fairly near to schedule departure time.
Used to love their BAe 146's which were finally phased out last year. Indeed I actually flew on the 1st A319 flight last year which was a great surprise. The A319 has knocked some time of the flight and as it flies a bit higher, has improved comfort on the route.
The 319's are smartly presented and kitted out with blue leather seats. In season the flight tends to be fairly full (which is why I always, visit Florence between November and February, bar one trip in May last year). In terms of a good seat, I always rather like just ahead of the wing as you then get a splendid view of the advancing Tuscan countryside during descent. Alternatively (see below) if you want to see every nut and bolt of an A319 wing, sit behind it.
If the weather is good the route is rather spectacular typically being down through France and then over the Alps to Milan, Genova, Pisa before turning left and straight into FLR
's Northerly runway. If you sit on the right hand side you can see Florence clearly during the final approach. The Tuscan hills do tend to throw up a bit of turbulence and I’ve experienced some lively but very enjoyable last few minutes to the flight!
I have observed that there is very clearly a special company arrival procedure for FLR
which, given the mountains to the East means the aircraft is generally very clean until the last few minutes of approach when every flap you will ever see on an aircraft is deployed and then all hell breaks loose as the 319 brakes for all its worth on the short but high grip surface runway.
Cabin service is limited to a light snack and tea/coffee with soft drinks, beer and wine served. However given you will be landing at lunch time in one of the food capitals of the world, save your appetite!
If you are going for the weekend, just take carry-on’s. On my last trip in February we landed at 1.00pm and my wife and I were sitting in our favorite restaurant 30 minutes later!
There is a regular and cheap bus service in to town, but a white cab for Eu20 will have you there in 10/15 minutes and quite frankly there is not a better way to arrive in an Italian city than at 100mph in a taxi!
Have a great trip