Alitalia A330 Magnifica Class (Business Class) From Rome to Boston

I just wrapped up a Delta SkyMiles business class award to Europe, as I’ve spent the beginning of the year in Edinburgh and Prague. As some of you may recall on the outbound I flew Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from New York to London, and had an especially fun time at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse JFK.

I decided to mix it up a bit for the return, and booked Alitalia Magnifica Class (business class) from Rome to Boston.

Now admittedly Alitalia is kind of the joke of the airline industry, and most would ask why anyone would voluntarily book them when there are other options. Heck, just from posting a picture of the of the Alitalia plane on my Facebook Wall I got the following comments:

  • “My condolences.”
  • “Eek”
  • “oh dear”
  • “Just so you know, boarding time is appr 2 hours past the scheduled departure time! ;)”
  • “Ouch…”
  • “You’ve sunk so low as to fly Aitalia?”
  • “Did you have a frontal lobotomy on your AA/DL GRU mileage runs…?”
  • “Yikes..”
  • “Omg!”
  • “Do they still fly?”
  • “Ufff… Creepy.”

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-1

But the fact is that they have a really solid transatlantic business hard product with fully flat seats, if nothing else.

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, here are my initial thoughts:

The Alitalia A330 Magnifica Class Seat

So Alitalia’s hard product is solid. There are 28 seats in Magnifica Class spread across seven rows (five in the main cabin and two in the mini cabin) in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. Per SeatGuru, here’s the seatmap for the cabin:

SeatGuru

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-2

I chose seat 4A, which I’d highly recommend. The seats closest to the windows are the best, as they’re extremely private.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-3

While I prefer the reverse herringbone product offered by American, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, etc., I’d say that this is probably my second favorite business class hard product.

The product itself is sort of similar to the staggered product offered by Austrian, Brussels, Delta, etc., though the benefit is that there’s no restrictive foot “hole.” Instead there’s plenty of room for your feet, whether sleeping or trying to lounge. The other awesome thing is that the ottoman is perfectly positioned for lounging. A lot of airlines have ottomans where you have to stretch your feet really far to be able to reach it, but this one was the perfect distance from the seat.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-4

Alitalia Magnifica Class Food

As a true connoisseur of Italian food (I try to dine at Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo, or Maggiano’s at least once a week), I have to say the food was great. The meal service started with a variety of appetizers, including steamed renette sliced apples, pullet cake with vegetables, and a spinach and herb omelette.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-6

That was followed by a delicious first course, consisting of both rice timbale and pasta with tomatoes and basil.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-7

Then the entree was served, which was codfish with polenta. A variety of sides were offered with it, including potato puree, spinach, carrots, and salad.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-8

Lastly I was offered dessert, which was a Duchess of Parma cake.

Alitalia-Magnifica-Class-9

I was impressed that with the exception of the appetizers, all courses were plated on the cart at your seat. This is similar to what airlines with DO&CO catering (like Austrian and Turkish) do, so I’d say the food was maybe only one step down from them. It was a really solid meal, though, definitely one of the better ones I’ve had in business class.

Alitalia Magnifica Class Service

So this is an area where managing expectations helps. I had really, really, really low expectations of the service based on everything I’ve heard. But it was actually fairly good. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t see the flight attendants once between meal services, but during the meal services they were friendly and smiling. While they weren’t proactive in terms of their service, they always got me anything I wanted in a pleasant manner. So the service was much better than I expected.

I Lost My Pants…

This is definitely one of the oddest things that has ever happened to me on a plane. After takeoff I changed into pajamas, and as usual I just tossed my jeans in the overhead bin next to my carry-on. 20 minutes before landing I got up to change back into my jeans, only to find they were missing. The flight attendant saw me looking around the overhead bins like crazy and asked “is anything wrong?” “Yes, I can’t find my pants.”

Not sure what exactly happened, but they were nowhere to be found. Fortunately I had another pair in my bag, or else it would’ve turned into a similar experience to my Singapore pajamas incident

My only explanation is that someone must have taken them. After all, I am a clothing trendsetter in Hong Kong

Bottom Line

Between the hard product and food this is a fantastic transatlantic business class product. The service was quite good on this sector as well, though apparently that’s not something you can count on with Alitalia.

Stay tuned for the full trip report!

Comments

  1. I flew AZ business class on two intra-European segments this fall and found the catering to be classy and delicious, the service businesslike and professional, and the soft product to be as good as its partner carriers, AF and KL.

    Alitalia’s finances and business prospects may be a joke, but I found it operationally to be a very credible first world carrier.

  2. cant help but think… your pants are with the italian mofia now. hope you didnt leave credit cards or cash. seriously though. WTH.

  3. Yeah, I don’t think that qualifies as “lost.” More like you’re the victim of a horrid crime. Check eBay – maybe they knew who you were and plan to sell them as travel celebrity clothing.

  4. I’m sure that their in-flight protocol requires alternative financing arrangements to improve their economic outlook, including reselling used pants. Maybe look in a vintage shop in Rome?

  5. As an Italian descendant I almost choked when I read you consider Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo or Maggiano’s italian food 🙁 I would say they are better than getting a Big Mac but call that italian food is an insult.

    Were you wearing a pair of expensive italian desgner jeans? If yes, that explains why they disappeared. If not, that worries me. Have you looked on eBay to see if there are any Lucky’s jeans being sold there? 🙂

  6. nice report, and I want to try Alitalia soon, but I don’t think “Olive Garden” and “connoisseur of Italian food” belong in the same sentence 😉

  7. Glad to see you cover this product. I too was quite impressed with both the seat and the food on my LAX-Rome flight in Magnifica class last summer. It far exceeded my Paris-LAX return on Air France’s A380 in Affaires class.

  8. I like that hard product. I think it’s the same as IB is working into their long-haul fleet, which makes them more attractive to me, despite the fact that IB can be a frustrating airline.

  9. Uhm, guize…I think the comment about Olive Garden and Buca di Beppo was a joke. I actually audibly laughed in my office.

    (If it wasn’t a joke I don’t mean to be an asshole i sweeear)

  10. hahahahaha

    …can’t recall where you’re based, but if you’re into Italian and you have some time in Los Angeles, check out Angelini Osteria. That’s some fantastic food. It’s been open for over 10 years I think, and you still need a reservation well over a week out to get in at a decent time (any day of the week).

  11. It’s also like the BC offered on Eithad and Dubai. Be interesting to have you try their business class as well, just to compare them to the other staggered BC seats, and see who wins out overall in terms of seat, service, food, etc.

    Come to think of it, it would be cool to have you do every once in a while a ranking of different first and business class services, say, a list of FC suites, non-suite FC, staggered BC, reverse herringbone BC, etc. Would be interesting how different styles of premium services compare to each other…

  12. I flew Alitalia a few years ago, steerage from FRA-Catania RT. IIRC we changed planes in Milan.

    Really have nothing bad to say about them. Food was decent. Bags arrived when we did. No delays.

    My Italian neighbor was shocked when I told her everything went well.

  13. I laughed at the olive garden joke as well.

    Curious what you think of Swiss business class, I noticed your trip reports only include Swiss first, which I don’t think has much availability now (if any). My wife and I have NRT-ZRH and ZRH-PEK booked in I this summer and I’ve heard mixed reviews.

  14. It’s funny when sarcasm isn’t evident to some folks but obvious to others, must be cultural. I still love Olive Garden to this day even though I’ve since graduated to ‘Restaurant Week’ establishments.

    Nice review, i’d not say no to redeeming 125k Skymiles to fly them LAX-FCO.

  15. Around Thanksgiving Delta had LAX-JFK-MXP RT for $3000. That’s a pretty good price in my book. Booked it to meet a friend and her family there, but found they would be in Rome and I would have only stayed 3 days anyway.

  16. @ Joe — I haven’t done Swiss longhaul business class, though in general am not dying to try it since it’s a similar hard product to what Austrian and Brussels have. On the whole seems to be a fairly solid product, though.

  17. @DBest: of course I got it was sarcasm from Lucky when he mentioned about his italian experience at Olive Garden, etc… However, there are many people in this country that truly believe those places serve real italian cuisine. Same as getting a Domino’s or Pizza Hut and saying those are italian pizza. I come from an italian family where italian food was sacred and always home made from scratch. Miss that time!!!!

  18. Always the sign of “special” humans when someone clepto’s your pants. Maybe someone else just thought it was a new Alitalia amenity: denim pajama bottoms!

  19. As a one-time EU-based DL elite, I came to prefer AZ intra-Europe to AF/KL. Yes, FCO is not a great place to change planes, but AZ’s fleet is much newer and in better shape than AF’s for short/medium-haul flying. I also found the service much more personable even in Y than with AF. Glad to hear that the long-haul product gets a reasonable review from lucky!

  20. As someone who was also extremely impressed flying FCO-JFK in AZ business class (admittedly because of very low expectations), I cannot believe you did not mention the wine/spirits selection. Both the reds were above par, the sweet wine was great… helped enjoying the flat seats later

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *