Alitalia To Compete Against Air Italy With New San Francisco Route

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Alitalia is set to take rival Air Italy head-on with a new direct San Francisco to Rome route in 2020. This new route is a risky move for the national airline of Italy, which has been on the edge of collapse for over a year with various different firms and airlines showing interest.

Alitalia
Alitalia is heading west with this new route. Photo: Alitalia

What are the details?

Alitalia has revealed a new route linking Rome with San Francisco, set to kick-off for the summer of 2020, as first published by One Mile At A Time. The flight will leave from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) and arrive at San Fransisco’s International Airport (SFO)

Rome
Rome to San Fransisco. Photo: GC Maps

The new route will operate three times a week on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. As it is just a seasonal route and not year-round, the route will only operate between June 1st and October 28th (which seems like a late start and a late end, but perhaps that’s when the tourist trade is up).

Specifically, the route will operate with the following frequency:

Flight Number: AZ640 – Outbound (13 hours)
Departing 9:15AM from Rome & arriving San Francisco at 1:15PM
Flight Number: AZ641 – Inbound (12 hours)
Departing 3:15PM from San Francisco & arriving Rome at 12:15PM the next day

The route is available to book now and appears to be going for around $800 USD for a round trip in economy.

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The economy prices for peak season. Photo: Alitalia

And in business, the price is closer to $2,500 USD for a return trip.

The cost of a business class ticket during peak season. Photo: Alitalia

What will the experience be like onboard?

According to the published source, Alitalia plans to deploy a Boeing 777-200ER on this route.

 

Boeing 777-200ER seat map. Photo: Alitalia

The aircraft has 293 seats onboard, split up into 30 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 239 economy seats.

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Business class features a lie-flat seat with 46 inches of pitch in seat mode. This is a little bit small (compared to the industry average of 60 inches). The seats do have direct aisle access, with large screens (15 inches) and in-seat power. Not bad at all.

Premium economy has 38 inches of pitch and has a 2-4-2 configuration, letting couples sit together privately. The economy cabin is pretty standard tight 30 inches (which is small), but some seats push up to 35 inches if you are on an exit row.

Will this be a good rival to Air Italy?

Air Italy, the 49% owned by Qatar airline (but still claims to be fully independent), flies five times a week seasonal from Milan to San Francisco. If you don’t know, these two Italian cities are rather far apart from each other and thus it is likely that passengers won’t really be in conflict with which to choose.

Plus, the route is the only non-stop to Rome from San Francisco, with all other flights on Virgin Atlantic and Delta having to transfer through other hubs first.

The bay area is quite large and Rome has always been a popular tourist destination (and I would argue that it is more well known to tourists than Milan), Alitalia is set to have a great summer on this route. With the airline’s bankruptcy fate due in the middle of next month, there is some ambiguity if these tickets will be honored in the end, but this new plan is a confident direction for the airline.

What do you think? Will this be a win for the airline? Let us know in the comments.

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