Alitalia’s business class is a lie-flat product that isn’t very easy on the eyes. Though the product can be found on other airlines, Alitalia’s product is slightly better. At the end of the day, however, Alitalia’s product is not as innovative when it comes to the competitive transatlantic business class market.
This flight was a continuation of a $1,000 one-way fare I took out of Nairobi involving travel on both Etihad and Alitalia. This was the last leg of the trip.
Delta SkyMiles is one of the most accessible currencies when it comes to using miles for Alitalia bookings. If SkyMiles doesn’t offer much availability, booking this flight with cash can prove to be pricey. However, as part of a connecting itinerary, the cost of this flight can go down.
I only had about three hours in Rome. Since I was transiting from a non-Schengen flight to a non-Schengen flight, I was able to transit while only clearing transit security. Since my flight was departing from gate 38, I went to Alitalia’s lounge closest to the gate. This was one floor down from the departures level. The name: Casa Alitalia Piazza Del Popolo
The lounge was not anything special and, if possible, I recommend visiting the better Casa Alitalia Piazza Del Spagna lounge. Since I was there just after the lounge opened, there wasn’t much special in the lounge and I just stuck to some fruit and a bottle of water.
I left the lounge just before boarding started. As is the norm for widebody flights, there were plenty of people and, due to the smaller gate area, the lines were quite a jumble. Thanks to my business class ticket, I had access to the Sky Priority line and was one of the first passengers onboard.
These seats are basically the same as Etihad’s business class seat, although Alitalia put their own color scheme in the cabin. Personally, I think Etihad’s seat has a better color scheme. In addition, Etihad’s seat is covered in cloth. Meanwhile, Alitalia went with leather upholstery.
Compared to Etihad’s A330, these seats are wider. I definitely could feel the difference–especially when I went to sleep.
At the bottom left of the casing next to the monitor, Alitalia offered passengers a USB power supply and international power outlet.
Separating me from the aisle was a table. Instead of a wall light and spotlight, Alitalia went with a “snake light”.
One place where Alitalia had a leg up compared to Etihad was the remote control. The remote control felt oddly out of place as the most modern aspect of the seat. Just above the remote control were the seat controls.
In bed mode, the seat was comfortable and wide, but I personally would have preferred a mattress pad or some kind of covering. Sleeping on the leather surface was a little uncomfortable.
Alitalia offered a pair of headphones. Although they weren’t the most effective noise-canceling headphones out there, they did the job fine for when I needed to use them. Granted, throughout the flight, there wasn’t much noise in the cabin.
In addition, passengers received a Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit from flight attendants after settling in.
The kit was stocked with the essentials, but nothing special aside from a little sample of perfume.
For bedding, passengers received a relatively thin pillow for a long-haul and a blanket that seemed a bit too thick for the warm cabin. I did, however, appreciate that Alitalia included slippers for passengers.
Passengers had access to the inflight entertainment system. The screen was large, however, the selection was incredibly limited. Compared to Singapore, Etihad, Delta, or even KLM, this was a slim selection that could definitely be improved. There were only a handful of new releases, a few older selections, and TV series only contained anywhere from one to fewer than five episodes per season.
Thankfully, Alitalia offered WiFi onboard and, even better, business class passengers received 50 MB of free data. Alitalia does charge for WiFi-based on data usage instead of time. The speed was fast enough so I could load messaging apps and stay connected.
Food and beverage
Service started on the ground with pre-departure service. It was early in the morning and I was feeling a bit sick so I went with a glass of still water. The other options were juice or champagne.
The next service occurred with the meal service. Alitalia offers a very drawn out lunch service on this departure.
This was the wine list for the flight:
Service started just over an hour after takeoff with the appetizer. I selected the Panzanella with anchovies and cereal bread.
I did not care much for the starter. The taste was overwhelming and I found the flavor to be too strong. In continuing with the “healthy” options, I selected the pennette with pesto from trapani for my first course.
This was the best part of the meal. It tasted much better than it looked. There was just the right amount of sauce- which also wasn’t very runny. The pasta was not overcooked. Although, I suppose an Italian carrier would be the best airline when trying out pasta onboard.
Next up, the swordfish cube.
I sincerely would have liked more fish with the course. But, I wasn’t very impressed. The presentation left a bit to be desired. Furthermore, the dish needed more sauce. The cherry tomato sauce worked well with the fish and the rest of the sides, but there simply wasn’t enough.
The “healthy options” seemed to be a kind of set meal to go through. However, the courses did not seem to mesh together. There wasn’t much coherence in terms of flavor or texture throughout the selections. Furthermore, the taste clashed a bit from one course to the next. This was especially true when transitioning from the appetizer to the first course.
Then, for dessert, I went with the cannolo.
This was the highlight of the meal. I will admit, I have a sweet tooth and I usually like the desserts on planes. The cannolo was quite sweet and filling. The portion size was definitely enough for this meal.
After a few hours of sleep, I ordered some tea and nuts.
If only the nuts had been warm!
Before landing, all passengers were served a snack. It was not on the menu and I’m not entirely sure what was what. However, I didn’t really like any part of it. The flavors were either overwhelming or underwhelming. The consistencies and textures were different. I just wasn’t a fan.
To finish off the meal, I had another cup of tea with a serving of nuts.
The flight attendants working in business class were a mixed bag. One of the male flight attendants who did my meal service was warm and delightful. His English was not the best, but he approached his job with a warm smile.
The rest of the crew seemed a bit cold and focused on the job. Then again, I did not personally interact with them aside from receiving the amenity kit or a newspaper.
Alitalia does not have the most cutting-edge business class product. The soft product needs improvement and the hard product is outdated and uncomfortable. Then again, for the one-way price, I wasn’t expecting much.
Have you flown Alitalia’s business class? Let us know in the comments!