Review: Alitalia A330 Magnifica Class (Business Class) Rome to Boston

Introduction
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse New York JFK Airport
Virgin Atlantic A330 Upper Class New York to London
Sheraton Edinburgh Grand Hotel & Spa
Exploring Edinburgh
British Airways Galleries Club Lounge Edinburgh Airport
Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel
Exploring Prague
ERSTE Premier Lounge Prague Airport
Czech Airlines Business Class Prague to Rome
Alitalia Business Class Lounge Rome Airport
Le Anfore Lounge Rome Airport
Alitalia A330 Magnifica Class (Business Class) Rome to Boston


Alitalia A330 plane at terminal
Alitalia A330

Alitalia 614
Rome (FCO) – Boston (BOS)
Wednesday, January 8
Depart: 3:20PM
Arrive: 6:45PM
Duration: 9hr25min
Aircraft: Airbus A330
Seat: 4A (Magnifica Class/Business Class)

I was really excited to try Alitalia’s new business class, not just because I haven’t yet flown Alitalia longhaul business class, but also because I haven’t flown the style of seat they have either. I’ve flown reverse herringbone, herringbone, staggered, angled, and forward facing business class seats, though this was my first time in this style of seat, which quickly grew on me.

Alitalia’s A330 business class consists of 28 seats spread across two cabins and seven rows. Via SeatGuru, here’s the seatmap:

Alitalia-Business-Class-A330-Seatmap

Each row has four seats, though they’re staggered in such a way that you have lots of choices of the type of seat you want. There are two types of single seats by the window — those closer to the window and those closer to the aisle. In the center section there are seats separated from one another, as well as “honeymoon seats” whereby you’re more or less sitting next to one another.

Anyway, the cabin itself felt spacious, though a bit bland (though I guess that’s a blessing compared to the horrible green that Alitalia seems to use for everything else).

Forward business class cabin
Alitalia A330 forward business class cabin

Rear business class cabin on Alitalia A330
Alitalia A330 rear business class cabin

My friend was in seat 3C, which is the window seat closer to the aisle. While it’s a good seat for a solo traveler, I far preferred 4A, which is closest to the window and felt especially private.

Seat 3C business class
Alitalia A330 business class, seat 3C

As far as the honeymoon seats go, I have to say I don’t see myself ever selecting them, even if I were traveling with a significant other. They’re really close together, to the point that they almost feel like coach. Well, I guess the exception might be if I was actually on my honeymoon. But if I were on my honeymoon I’d probably prefer a double bed in Singapore Suites anyway. 😉

Business class seats 5E and 5G
Alitalia A330 business class, seats 5E & 5G

While the two window seats in row five had curtains around them (which presumably makes them crew rest seats), I never actually saw the pilots using them.

Business class cabin
Alitalia A330 business class cabin

Business class cabin facing front
Alitalia A330 business class cabin

Business cabin
Alitalia A330 business class cabin

Business cabin window seats
Alitalia A330 business class cabin

Seat 4A business class
Alitalia A330 business class, seat 4A

Seat 4A from above on business class
Alitalia A330 business class, seat 4A

The great thing about this type of business class configuration is that there’s an ottoman and it’s not restrictive at all. Not only that, but the ottoman is close enough to the seat so that you can actually use it even when the seat is in the upright position.

One of my biggest frustrations with staggered business class products — like those offered by Austrian, Brussels, and Delta — is how little space there is for your feet in the “foot cubby.” With the way the ottoman is designed in this product there’s plenty of room for your feet.

There’s even a storage compartment below the ottoman for your shoes.

Ottoman and storage
Alitalia A330 business class ottoman

The tray table was located on the back of seat 3C, and was secured with a “clamp.”

Secured tray table
Alitalia A330 business class tray table

The one thing to note is that it’s really easy to bump your knee into the circular thing that holds up the tray table. I hit my knee on it at least three times during the flight.

Circular element holding tray table on A330
Don’t hurt yourself!

Waiting at my seat were headphones along with a packaged pillow and blanket.

Alitalia headphones
Alitalia A330 business class headphones

Pillow and blanket on seat
Alitalia A330 business class pillow and blanket

While the blanket was presumably freshly laundered, it was full of lint.

Blanket
Alitalia A330 business class blanket

For that matter, the cabin felt surprisingly worn for a fairly new business class product. There were lots of scratches everywhere, and even the leather showed a lot of wear and tear.

Seat headrest
Alitalia A330 business class headrest

The seat had a power and USB port below the tray table next to the seatback pocket.

Power and USB port on seat
Alitalia A330 business class power and USB port

Also to the right of the seat were the entertainment and seat controls, which were intuitive.

Entertainment and seat controls on side of seat
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment and seat controls

Once settled in one of the flight attendants passed through the cabin with a cart containing Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits. Definitely one of the nicer business class kits I’ve received!

Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit
Alitalia A330 business class Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit

After that the flight attendant came around with pre-departure beverages. I selected both a glass of water and (red) orange juice.

Water and orange juice pre-departure drinks
Alitalia A330 business class pre-departure beverages

Shortly thereafter the crew distributed the menu and wine list. They were both nicely done, and I found it kind of funny they even had a blank page for “tasting notes.”

Business class menu and wine list
Alitalia A330 business class menu and wine list

While still on the ground I decided to go to the lav to change into pajamas. At around 3:25PM the cabin door closed, with only 10 of the 28 business class seats taken. Just about everyone in the cabin was American (and based on the accents I’d guess from Boston), which isn’t really surprising since no one in their right mind would’ve visited Boston this January given the weather.

We pushed back at 3:30PM shortly after a Saudi Arabian A319 that pushed back from the gate next to us.

Saudi Arabian Airbus A319
Saudi Arabian Airbus A319

As we taxied out the safety video played, which was surprisingly entertaining.

Taxiing to the runway
Taxiing to the runway

Our taxi to runway 25 took about 10 minutes, and once there we were number three for takeoff behind a Wizzair A320 and Alitalia A319.

Wizzair Airbus A320 takeoff
Wizzair Airbus A320

Alitalia Airbus A319 takeoff
Alitalia Airbus A319

The entertainment system had a nose camera, so I watched that during the taxi out and takeoff.

Nose camera during the taxi
Nose camera

At around 3:45PM we taxied into position on runway 25, and after about a minute rocketed off into the west for our 9hr10min flight to Boston.

Lining up on runway 25
Lining up runway 25

Taking off
Taking off

Airport upon takeoff
Taking off

Runway upon takeoff
Taking off

The views on the climb out were gorgeous, so I mostly just gazed out the window for the first 20 minutes of the flight.

View after takeoff
View after takeoff

View of water after takeoff
View after takeoff

Cloud view during cruise
View at cruise

Mountain view during cruise
View at cruise

Alitalia A330 airshow
Alitalia A330 business class airshow

Airshow screen
Alitalia A330 business class airshow

Airshow distance and time of arrival
Alitalia A330 business class airshow

At that point I browsed the entertainment selection, which was extensive.

Entertainment selection on Alitalia
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment selection

Cinema section of entertainment selection
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment selection

News, sports and TV section of entertainment selection
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment selection

While I watched it on a flight a couple of months ago, I couldn’t help but watch “The Heat” again. Freaking hilarious.

The Heat movie during flight
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment selection

As soon as we leveled off the seatbelt sign was turned off and service began.

Business class cabin after takeoff
Alitalia A330 business class cabin after takeoff

Hot towels were distributed first, which were moist and unscented.

Hot towel
Alitalia A330 business class hot towel

Rather than serving drinks first, the crew immediately set the table. The setup was quite nice for business class.

Table setup prior to meal
Alitalia A330 business class table setup

The lunch menu read as follows:

Appetizer and lunch section of lunch menu

Bread and dessert section of lunch menu

And the wine list read as follows:

Wine list

Sauvignon Doc Friuli on wine list

Primitivo Di Manduria Dop on wine list

Cabernet Sauvignon one wine list

Semele Montefalco on wine list

Prosecco Brut Millesimato on wine list

Beer and soft drink list

Alitalia gets huge props for their meal service. All the service was done by trolley, whereby you could see the choices and then decide what you want, with everything being plated at your seat. That’s similar to what Austrian and Turkish do, though they have DO & CO catering. I wish more airlines would do meal services like that.

I decided to try all the appetizers, which included steamed renette sliced apples with radish, pullet cake with sweet and sour pickled vegetables, and a spinach and herb omelet. All were really great.

Alitalia appetizer spread
Alitalia business class appetizer

Pullet cake with pickled vegetables appetizer
Alitalia business class appetizer

Sliced apples with radish appetizer
Alitalia business class appetizer

Once appetizers were cleared the first course was served, which consisted of rice timbale with cheese, spinach, and purple potatoes, and/or pasta with tomatoes and basil. I asked for a little of both, which were plated at my seat. Absolutely delicious!

Pasta and rice first course meal
Alitalia business class first course

For the main course I selected the roast salted codfish with polenta in a creamy fish sauce, which was once again plated at my seat. I could also choose from the sides, which included spinach, carrots, and potato puree and celery dumplings. I also had a side salad with the main course. The food was simply top notch.

Main course of codfish and vegetables
Alitalia business class second course

Lastly for dessert I selected the Duchess of Parma cake, which was simple but good. I had some coffee to accompany it.

Duchess of Parma cake and coffee dessert
Alitalia business class dessert

The meal service was complete maybe two hours after takeoff, and I have to say my expectations were exceeded in every way. The food was better than I was expecting, and the service was quite good as well.

Full disclosure, I had really, really, really low expectations of the service on Alitalia 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 service 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.

After lunch I gazed out the window for a bit again, as the sunset was gorgeous and seemingly never ending, as I swear it lasted for at least a couple of hours. The joys of flying west!

Sunset view from window
Sunset view

After dinner airshow
Airshow after dinner

When the meal service was complete I decided to get a bit of rest. The crew placed bottled water along with a plastic cup at every seat.

Bottled water and plastic cup
Water

I managed to sleep for a few hours, though since it was a daytime flight it was more “airplane sleep” than anything else. I woke up with about four hours to go to Boston, and headed to the galley between business class cabins to check out the snack selection. They had a small station set up with some soft drinks and crackers, though that was about it.

Galley snack setup counter
Galley snack setup

Galley snack basket
Galley snack setup

I decided to watch “The Joneses,” which was actually pretty decent and entertaining for an airplane movie, though I found the end utterly depressing for a self proclaimed comedy.

Movie The Joneses on entertainment system
Alitalia A330 business class entertainment system

Roughly 75 minutes before landing the pre-arrival snack service menu.

The menu read as follows:

Pre-arrival snack service menu

While the snack was simple it tasted fairly good.

Business class snack
Alitalia business class snack

About 25 minutes prior to arrival we began our steep descent. Shortly thereafter 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

We touched down in Boston at around 7PM (about 15 minutes behind schedule due to strong headwinds).

Airshow prior to landing
Airshow prior to landing

Our taxi to the gate took about five minutes. The immigration hall was extremely British (don’t get me wrong, that’s a great thing!), as both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic had just landed. Fortunately thanks to Global Entry we were still through in no time.

Alitalia exceeded my expectations between their excellent hard product, top notch food, and better than expected service. They’re definitely one of the best options for redeeming Delta SkyMiles for transatlantic travel, and I wouldn’t hesitate to fly them again.

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Comments

  1. I flew this style of seats on Thai A380 and the honeymoon seats are actually the popular ones. I overheard the flight attendant apologized to the couple seated in the separated center section but wished to be moved to the honeymoon seats that there are only a handful of honeymoon seats and they are snugged well in advance.

    Also on ANA 777-300ER, the foot cubbie is so ginormous that they allow you to store your rollerboard there.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Lucky, is this staggered seating system (the same as Emirates, Etihad, and Thai) better than the one on Austrian and Brussels? Then you have Swiss, which seems like a hybrid of the 2…

  3. Not sure if this was somewhere in the post, however I think it is worth noting that these are same seats that Etihad uses on their A340s and 77Ws in business class.

  4. The honeymoon seats on this variant of the seat are at least better than the “first-generation” version that Etihad originally had (and I think still has on some A340s, probably the A345s). In that version all of the seats were facing perfectly straight forward and were the same width, when sleeping, from head to foot, which made them very cramped at the shoulder level and especially cramped in the center pair of seats. This second-generation version, which EY has on its 777s and some other aircraft, has the seats at a slight angle with the foot area narrower than the seat and the honeymoon seats angled slightly toward each other, which opens up quite a lot more space in the honeymoon seats.

  5. @ wwk5d — Yes, I’d say this is definitely a superior hard product to the staggered business class with the restrictive foot “cubby.”

  6. Thanks for the review. I have a flight scheduled in alitalia business later this month so this review is quite timely for me.

  7. Lucky — did you get a sense of how the seat would be for sleeping? I am looking at a transatlantic trip, and my choices for the TATL leg are either AA in F (old 777)or IB in C. I believe IB’s new C product is exactly the same as the Alitalia product reviewed here. If sleeping were your key criteria, which would you prefer? It’s Eastbound and both are about 8-9 hours. On Eastbound TATL, I like a snack, a drink, and then as much sleep as I can get. Would you rather sleep in the Alitalia seat or an old-style AA 777 Flagship seat?

    (I value Avios less than AA, but I have other segments that IB charges separately for, and taxes are higher using Avios. Assume the cost is about the same).

  8. @ Larry — This is a top notch business class product for sleeping. The seat was spacious and I found there to be plenty of room for my feet, which was nice.

    However, American’s old 777 first class is definitely a bit more spacious, so if sleeping is most important I’d go with that. But it’s not *that* much better either.

  9. After reading all your trip reviews, I only have one question..How do you stay slim? I would be a gaint 50 inch waist if I travelled as much as you! LOL

  10. @ JRL — Definitely Alitalia for the superior hard product (unless it was Delta with a reverse herringbone configuration, which I don’t think they fly to Europe yet).

  11. @ Lucky – I forget, did you ever file a report about missing jeans? Curious if it’d be something compensated by the airline or travel insurance. Insurance has baggage protection but would clothes be part it of it…?

  12. @ Lucky – may be too late to file a claim but, purely as an experiment, you should tweet them. Perhaps something like this: “Someone left me without pants on @alitalia flight. @alitalia, I’d like my jeans back!”

  13. Hi Ben,

    I was surprised you had such a laid back attitude about an apparent theft of your belongings. Have you ever been a victim of this before? Do you ever get concerned about theft of something more valuable? Every now and then you read about FAs or others rifling through bags on board for valuables. Any words of advice?

  14. @ Craig — To be honest it’s not something I ever gave any thought to, since I had never had it happen. I might have just been exhausted and left it somewhere or done something stupid, so not going to read too much into it. If jeans are the worst thing I lose in millions of miles of travel, I’ll consider myself lucky!

  15. Found a post on Instagram then this blog- great to read! Btw it is blood orange juice I am assuming ! Not red

  16. @ Lucky — Most of Delta’s A330s have been reconfigured into a reverse herringbone arrangement, and the last few will be completed by this summer. There are a fair number of transatlantic flights served with this equipment, as well as a handful of flights operated on 777s with the older herringbone layout.

  17. @Lucky- im thinking about booking a flight on alitalia a330 buisness class from rome non stop to miami which is convienant for us. But ive read horrible reviews about alitlia also read about them possibly going out of buisness. Now i am very worried , wondering about there saftey of the airline as well. Whats your oppinion on this? should i just book it?

  18. @Lucky- Thank you i was a bit concerned especially adter reading so much of them possibly going out of buisness hopefully nothing like that will happen from now until my trip based on your review there buisness class looks quite nice

  19. @Lucky- Do you remember how strict they were with carry on luggage? We want to try our best to ot have to check in any luggage

  20. Just catching up on some old posts. ….I have had a tablet and some headphones stolen from me, the tablet in first and the headphones in business. My travel insurance did cover them. The seating looks exactly like the new business seating on Air Berlin. Comments about Etihad would be on the mark because the Air Berlin seats are Etihad. We found the honeymoon seats to be horrid and actually got them changed before takeoff. There wasn’t even an armrest separating them as I remember. The window seats are quite private but very narrow with very little foot space. Everything else was exactly the same as your pictures. The old Air Berlin business class was actually much more comfortable.

  21. Lucky, the SeatGuru seatmap shows that Saudi Arabian A320 has one exit door, and they fly no A319.
    Just a minor fix.

  22. Nowhere in this review do you discuss whether one could sleep comfortably, and how the seats recline. I’ve flown 16 hours from JFK to Johannesburg on South African Airways, but my flight would be LAX to Rome, 12 hours. Please let me know. Thanks for your thorough review!

  23. @ Sarah — Yes, it reclines fully flat and was very comfortable for sleeping. If you can, be sure to snag one of the “true” window seats closest to the window, as they’re the most comfortable.

  24. Hi there, we are looking to book etihad for next August and will fly Alitalia from Abu Dhabi to rome. Just wanting to know if they served any actual champagne not that prosceco stuff .
    Thanks

  25. Lucky – do you recommend a particular row for the “honeymoon” seats? I will be flying JFK-FCO for my honeymoon and wondering if we should get row 1, 3 or 5?

  26. Perhaps not all that surprising Lucky, being the famous First globetrotting celeb that you are, that someone tried to get into your jeans (although admittedly this usually occurs while you are still in them lol). Very lucky you didn’t have to wander off in your PJs.

  27. I am booking a flight from LAX to Athens. I have a choice between Air France and Alitalia in Business class. Based on your extended flight experience, what would you choose?

  28. I just booked a flight on Alitalia from JFK to Milan on an A330. I am in row 1C which I’m guessing is a honeymoon seat. I am flying solo and after reading your comments, I’m concerned it might be a bit too cozy seated next to a stranger. I’m trying to get a window seat, but they’ve all been assigned. Maybe one will free up. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on sitting in a honeymoon seat next to a stranger? Or should I move back a row?

  29. Lucky — Really appreciate all your information about the Alitalia business class. I plan to fly this from NYC to Rome, and am wondering about two things:
    1. Would you say seat 2A is equal to seat 4A?; and
    2. Can you confirm if the business lounges have recently been upgraded, at least at JFK?

    Thank you so much! Mary

  30. If I was on a flight and anything was stolen from me I would definitely (not practible)insist that everyone on that plane be searched surely someone must have seen something, I would never fly any airline that would let this happen to their customers

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