Alitalia gets a previously much deserved bum rap when it comes to their long-haul product, however I found their A330 service operated on former Air One aircraft to be excellent. I’d even go as far as to say it was better than business class on Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, and Delta’s non-lie flat product. In 2008, just prior to the Alitalia – Air One merger, Air One had ordered 12 A330s with deliveries beginning in 2010. Post merger, those aircraft were reassigned to long-haul Alitalia routes. The aircraft feature Alitalia’s updated Magnifica business class which includes fully flat leather seats (duvets and pillows provided), 1-2-1 seating, Bulgari amenity kits, 15.4 inch screens with on-demand entertainment, USB charging and play-back, quality noise-canceling headphones, an external camera, and excellent food. As part of its fleet refurbishment project begun in 2009, Alitalia also completed reconfiguring its entire fleet of ten Boeing 777 aircraft in July 2012, all with the same layout and amenities as the Magnifica business class on the A330.
This is a review on my JFK-FCO flight aboard the A330 in Magnifica business class.
1)Alitalia JFK-FCO A330 Magnifica Business Class
2)Westin Excelsior, Rome x4
3)Hilton Sorrento Palace – Sorrento, Italy
4)Hotel Marina Riviera, Amalfi, Italy
5)Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda – An SPG Luxury Collection Hotel
Alitalia operates the Michelangelo lounge at JFK and boy is it nothing to write home about! We are talking plastic cups for liquor, wine, and beer and prepackaged sandwiches and salads. The lounge was large though with plenty of seating room and power outlets. The lounge is also used by Turkish Airlines passengers. I arrived with barely enough time to spare prior to the flight and was in the lounge for all of 15 minutes prior to heading off to the boarding gate.
Once on board the service was nice. I was greeted warmly, my coat was hung, and I was given a glass of prosecco. I was offered a choice of newspapers (all in Italian) and then didn’t see the flight attendants again until after take-off. We left a few minutes early and the captain informed us that it looked like we would be landing about 45 minutes ahead of schedule in Rome. The flight attendants then came by to offer an amenity kit, another glass of prosecco, and the food and wine menu.
The seats as mentioned are in a 1-2-1 layout and I had a window seat near the back of the business section.
The premium Bulgari amenity kit included body lotion, after shave emulsion, antioxidant emulsion, lip balm, splendid radiance revitalizing concentrate, Bulgari Man cologne, ear plugs, an eye mask, and socks.
The menu included dinner selections, several Italian wine pairings, and information about the local ingredients derived from different Italian regions.
Dinner was superb, it had to be one of my favorite in-flight meals and the service was exemplary. I loved how the two flight attendants worked the aisle together to make your plate right in front of you. The presentation was also excellent. I went with the pasta with tomato and basil sauce and the sea bass.
The pasta was by far my favorite meal item and the sauce was amazing. I really liked how they put my pasta plate together at my seat, delicately mixing the noodles, sauce, and Parmesan cheese right in front of me.
When it came to the main course, it was the same teamwork and serving technique. Both dishes were rolled down the aisle and your selection was prepared at your seat. Olive oil was added for the perfect flavor…
The main course was equally as delicious and I really enjoyed the paired wine from Sardinia as well.
You’ll note that the menu only included two main course selections, a chicken and a fish dish. The passenger in-front of me was a vegetarian and ended up having a large plate of pasta with lots of veggies. I’m not sure if there was a separate vegetarian option available or not.
The 15.4 in-flight entertainment system was solid and had over 40 movies with several new releases. You could also connect your iPhone/iPod (not iPhone 5) directly to the unit.
The seat does fully recline into a comfortable bed and there was plenty of room to stretch my legs. The duvet was comfy and the pillow was a decent size, though I took an extra one from the empty seat across from me to prop up my head. The bed felt very similar to the Delta 777 lie-flat product. I didn’t sleep much but I relaxed and watched three films before landing in Rome.
Alitalia’s advertisement for their lie-flat product…
It was an excellent flight and one of my favorite flights to Europe. I really loved the food and the bed was comfortable and perfect for relaxing and watching on-demand movies. I didn’t go into the flight expecting much so it was a very pleasant surprise. In the future, I will certainly select Alitalia’s product over a similar Delta direct flight to Rome or Milan, a statement I never would have made two years ago! It goes without saying that it hands down beats Air France’s and KLM’s current transatlantic products. Better yet, I’ve had luck booking my parents on Alitalia business flights from JFK using Delta SkyMiles at the low level during August!
My memory card was unfortunately damaged at the end of this trip and several of my Alitalia pictures were forever lost. Special thanks to Enrique over at Airliners.net for filling in the gaps with seating and food pictures from his recent Alitalia flight to CCS.
PS – Alitalia flights are now bookable on Delta.com!!!
Related check out Magnifica on the 777-200 – Trip Report – Alitalia B777-200ER Magnifica Business Class FCO-JFK
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