ABOVE: In January, we stood in this line at VCE for three hours to report a suitcase that hadn't shown up on an Air France flight.
We hate to be seen as nattering nobobs of negativism, but the truth must be told: Venice's Marco Polo Airport is too cramped and understaffed for the crowds of tourists and locals who use it, at least during weekends and holiday periods.
For years, we've put up with annoyances at VCE, but our worst experience at the airport came last January when we stood in line for three hours--on a quiet Saturday afternoon, when the arrivals area was otherwise mostly deserted--to report a suitcase that had missed a Delta-Air France connection in Paris. (The lost-and-found office had one clerk representing a dozen or so airlines, and the clerk had to fill in a lengthy online questionnaire for each person with a missing bag.)
A recent 5:30 a.m. check-in wasn't much better: Even before sunrise, the airport's departure lobby was jammed with people, and the woman who was turning people away from the long line for Air France's check-in counters had the personality and demeanor of a dyspeptic prison guard. (We were traveling with our dog and couldn't check in with the automatic kiosks, and we might still be trying to storm Air France's barricades if a more helpful airline employee hadn't come to our aid.)
- If you're flying out of Marco Polo Airport, avoid peak travel times (such as Friday evening or Saturday morning).
- If you need to check in at a counter, or if you're planning to check luggage, allow time for a long wait in line. (Even if you don't have luggage to check, you may have to wait in line, because the major airlines don't have enough automated check-in kiosks for travelers at peak times.)