Introduction (Booking, Equipment, Configuration)
I did try to change my business class award ticket on Skyteam a couple of days ago. As it turned out – the only available seat that was on Alitalia from Boston to Rome.
This was my first flight on Alitalia and I was looking forward to try a new business class product.
Alitalia is using a new A330-200 on this route.
At check-in the SkyPriority line was long, while Economy was rather short. That was a new experience for me. After some miraculous shuffling I was assigned a window seat which wasn't available a couple of hours earlier.
Boarding was rather chaotic as well with no clear priority access. Well I knew this would be a quirky flight by now 🙂
The mini business class cabin (just 2 rows of business class between the galley and Economy) appeared really private. To my surprise just 5 out of 8 seats were taken in the end.
The cabin is kept in grey tones.
Unique to Alitalia the overhead departments have stickers with Italian sights and landscapes 🙂
Seat (Space, Adjustability, Sleeping)
The seat looks really stylish. No surprise here. However it looks massive but does not give you too much space and no storage space at all.
There are 2 (!) USB ports and an AC power. The seat goes fully flat – it's almost too flat.
I was able to sleep on my side for a solid 5.5 hours. It felt narrower than the United business class seat but the comforter did a really good job at keeping me warm and cozy.
IFE (User Interface, Movie selection, moving map)
Alitalia features a front facing outside camera for you to watch take off and landing. The moving map is simple and zooms the way it should be – no feature overkill here.
However there are just about two dozen movies, most rather old. You have watched them before if you have taken a flight in the last 12 months.
Just a few TV shows are on offer.
The remote control works just fine – but there is very little you can do with the entertainment system.
Food (Presentation, Taste, Selection)
As expected this was the highlight of the Alitalia flight.
I really liked the Mediterranean appetizers.
The cheese and prosciutto were excellent. The red wines I tried and the champagne were excellent as well.
I also really loved the pasta dishes.
The main course (i went for fish were just ok).
The dessert cake was fantastic – prompting me to eat two desserts (I usually skip it entirely).
Service (Friendliness, Responsiveness)
This one was very odd. No welcome drinks were offered in business class but they were offered to Premium Economy passengers. Amenity kits for Premium Economy were distributed much before business class. The same was true for newspapers and magazines.
Maybe that was just odd positioning of the mini cabin but that should not happen.
I asked for a couple of things and none of the flight attendants working business class understood English – my request was forwarded to the one person in the cabin who did speak English fluently. For an airline with 4 US destinations that seems like a major flaw.
However flight attendants were very friendly and smiled a lot. Food service was impeccable and stylishly presented.
Our spanking new aircraft was parked at the seemingly most remote apron position at Rome airport. However Alitalia has a separate bus for Premium passengers which is a nice change from Frankfurt were all passengers have to wait in the same overcrowded bus (I'm looking at you United First/ Business class 747 from Frankfurt).
Overall this was a very enjoyable flight and certainly felt more luxury than the Delta business class. The seat is not wide enough but so is the Delta variant. The food was excellent and a true highlight. It's advisable to load your own iPad or Macbook with movies as you may find the choice of movies unappetizing at Alitalia.
The flight was much better than I anticipated. I'd be happy to fly them again in that config.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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