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I'm going to be flying into Milano Malpensa airport, on a weekday afternoon. I'm told I would need to take the XP1 or XP2 train lines into the city.

About the train ticket...

  • Do I have to order it in advance?

  • If I do:

    • Will the ticket remain valid if I take an earlier/later train on the same day?
  • If I don't have to:

    • Is it easy to buy a ticket? e.g. vending machine with English UI?
    • Is it cheaper or otherwise better to order the ticket in advance?

Also, same question about the other direction, which I will need to make about a week later and at 04:00 in the morning or so.

1 Answer 1

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No Need to Book: Go Contactless

Since the advent of contactless ticketing, there is no need to reserve a ticket for the Malpensa Express trains any more. The contactless ticketing system is called Pay & Go:

The contactless payment system for traveling on Malpensa Express. Just bring your credit card or NFC smartphone close to the sensor on the access turnstile.

With Pay & Go your credit card becomes the ticket!

Pay with Pay & Go for the Malpensa Express Milan - Malpensa Airport or Malpensa Airport - Milan ticket.

It works like this:

How do you pay it

Place the contactless credit card (credit, debit, prepaid) of the Mastercard, Maestro, Visa, American Express circuits or the smartphone with NFC (Near Field Communication) technology at one of the dedicated turnstiles / totems in the Milan Cadorna stations, Milano Centrale, Milano Porta Garibaldi, Milano Bovisa and Malpensa T1 and T2.

Get on board

Your ticket is your credit card (or smartphone with NFC), you don't need anything else! You don't have to wait for emails or notifications, sit on board the Malpensa Express and enjoy the journey. Upon arrival, where there are the exit turnstiles, you will only have to re-support the payment method used at the entrance.

The price of online tickets is exactly the same as the price of physical or contactless tickets. Hence, there is no real advantage in reserving a ticket. In addition, seats are not allocated on these trains, which means that having reserved a ticket does not guarantee you a seat on the train. You can also travel standing up so, unless the train is mad packed, you should always find a space.

Identifying the Totems

In Malpensa Airport, the so-called totems for contactless payment are usually found right next to the escalators giving you access to the platform. For example, in Terminal 1 you can see it circled in blue in the image below:

Malpensa Airport Terminal 1 pay and go contactless totem is next to the escalators leading onto the platforms.

In Cadorna FN train station, the totems are actually the physical access gates to the platform, as shown in the image below:

In Cadorna FN train station, the totems are actually the physical access gates to the platform

FYI contactless payment is also used on the Metro in Milan. Which means no more queueing to buy tickets. In both the Metro and the Malpensa Express you must tap out with the same contactless payment method you used to get on the train, otherwise you'll end up paying for the longest fare of the day.

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  • 1. And I take it this has no problems with credit cards issued in other countries? 2. If you misplace your credit card, is there an alternative?
    – einpoklum
    Sep 22 at 9:29
  • I'm guessing that if the card has the contactless payment feature, then it is compatible. If you misplace the card during your trip you can try maybe tapping out using your phone, making sure you select the same card on the phone as means of payment. FYI I have used these gates with French and German cards in the past without issues.
    – JoErNanO
    Sep 22 at 11:21
  • @JoErNanO iPhones present a card number (PAN) which is different from that of the original physical card (a so-called token). I’m pretty sure it’s the same in most Android-based platforms though there are several so I don’t know the details for each.
    – jcaron
    Sep 22 at 12:42
  • @einpoklum: try to google your bank or your country and "contactless in Europe" or "in Italy". You get better idea if the card is accepted. Or contact the credit card/bank and tell them about the travel (and countries) Sep 22 at 13:50
  • @jcaron I'll be honest: I have no idea how contactless phone payments work. Good to know.
    – JoErNanO
    Sep 22 at 13:56

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