Mr and Mrs S87 wanted a short break from the children - it would be our first weekend away for 3+ years without them
We flew in Mother-in-Law Number 1, left her enough money to order a few pizzas and Happy Meals
and off we went.
We booked a Flight+Hotel package to Malta via ebookers.ch for 800 CHF for the weekend.
Only Air Malta fly Zurich-Valletta. This was good news.
Between us, we have 1300+ flight sectors and a few million miles, but Air Malta would be our first new Airline since Emirates in 2009, first new Country since Saudi Arabia in 2002 and first new “Country + Airline Combo” since Icelandair to Reykjavik back in Year 2000.
Flight schedules were good, and meant the kids would still be awake ( "What have you got for me?"
) when we got back. The weather leaving Zürich was not. It was pure Manchester - if you've never been to Manchester, that means rain, rain and more cold rain.
Mrs S87 arrived separately and checked-in ca.1620hrs in Check-in 2 Zurich.
I'd sorted out seats in advance and we were in Row 5 near the front of Economy.
I came on the next bus and we met up and passed Boarding Pass Control - there is no Passport Control on flights to Malta as both Switzerland and Malta are now in the Schengen Area.
Next stop: DFs (Duty Free) for the Weekend and then a 10 minute wait at Security - longer than usual, it was peak time on a Friday - before grabbing a coffee. I'd seen on the computer the inbound aircraft was delayed, but by 1710, some 20 minutes late, it had arrived on stand. The ground staff did a good job and we were boarding soon afterwards, well insulated from the elements.
We normally fly Swiss - they do help pay the Mortgage - and I was a bit surprised to see non-Recaro manufactured "old-style" seats and a very tight seat-pitch. Air Malta A319 config was 16C /117Y vs. equivalent LX
config 16C/114Y - they squeeze in an extra half-row 23ABC at the back, but it's those thicker seats that make it feel tight.
STD 1740 ATD 1750 ABN 1805 TDN 1943
Pushback just 10 minutes late was an achievement in the rainy conditions and we rolled out to Runway 28 behind a long queue of departing aircraft. We lurched through the lower clouds and Switzerland disappeared, the last view being that of the traffic heading in and out of Zurich via the Gubrist Tunnel.
Flying Air Malta was a bit like going back to the good old days of free food and alcohol - it was great, we were both impressed:
The time went quickly and we started descent before reaching Sicily. Something suddenly caught my eye - there seemed to be a rapid red flash, surely that wasn't Etna sending off a bit of lava? No idea. A smooth landing and a short walk into the quiet clean Valletta Terminal and within 15 minutes we had our suitcase and at the Taxi stand.
The rest of the weekend we spent on a photographic tour and a different kind of tour in Paceville where we ended up disgracing ourselves as the "oldest swingers in town"
at El Fuego Disco Bar. Trust me, you don't want to see the photographs of that and they'd probably get me banned from a.net for life anyway.
A massive buffet breakfast sorted out any Hangover.
In the day, Valletta Airport was equally pleasant, clean and quiet and we had no snags at check-in before getting some fast-food in a downstairs restaurant area before clearing security and going airside.
I found Valletta a very easy airport to use, but of course it helps flying off-season.
STD 1425 ATD 1430 ABN 1440 TDN 1646
Smooth departure and big right-hand turn off Runway 14 and the entire width of the island could be seen:
Then it was time to enjoy another pleasant meal and drink, catch up with the Maltese news in the free newspaper provided and before long it was The Alps, a long winded tour dipping around the German border, smooth R/W 14 ZRH
touchdown and we pulled on stand perfectly on-time.
Would we go to Malta again?
Would we fly Air Malta again?
Yes, but I need to get down the gym in the New Year to be a tad more comfortable with the seat pitch.
So, if you think you can handle children, let us know and come and do the babysitting next year whist we go back - let's hope they've fixed the broken floor in that Paceville Club...