Review: Air Dolomiti Business Class Catania To Munich

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I was originally supposed to return home in airberlin’s new business class, though due to a lack of hotel availability in Dusseldorf, ended up booking an Aeroplan award ticket for travel in Lufthansa first class just a few hours before departure.

My friends dropped me off Catania Airport at 10:50AM for my 11:55AM departure on Air Dolomiti (which operates on behalf of Lufthansa) to Munich.

I quickly found Lufthansa’s check-in desk and got into the business class line, where that was one person ahead of me.

The check-in agent was super competent, and fluent in both English and German. She couldn’t have been friendlier, and profusely apologized for the fact that they hadn’t catered a meal for me, since I was booked last minute. I told her it wasn’t a big deal, given that intra-Europe catering isn’t really worth the effort anyway, but she insisted on trying to get one more meal from catering. So she made a couple of phone calls, and told me she’d let me know for sure at the gate whether I’d have a meal or not.

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Lufthansa check-in Catania Airport

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Lufthansa check-in Catania Airport

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Catania Airport terminal

She did write “NO MEAL” onto my boarding pass.

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“NO MEAL”

Once I had my boarding pass I proceeded towards security. The queue was fairly long though moved quickly. Security in Sicily cracks me up. The problem is that there’s not any boarding pass checker at the front of the queue, so when people are dropping off their boyfriends/girlfriends at the airport, they’ll go with them to the security line and literally freaking make out all the way till the metal detector.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s perfectly normal by local standards. Though I’m totally an American when it comes to touching and affection, so it does always leave me a wide-eyed.

Equally amusing are the security agents. One of the security agents was double-cheek kissing about every fifth passenger that came through. Not sure how he knew so many passengers… or something.

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Catania Airport terminal

Once past security I turned left as I was excited to visit the “SALA VIP” at the airport, which is a Priority Pass Lounge. Last time I was in Catania the lounge was closed the evening I was flying out, for whatever reason.

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SALA VIP closure notice

My friends really talked up the lounge this go around, and said how amusingly bad it is. Apparently it’s the size of a broom closet with seating for about two, so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

I was disappointed once again, as apparently it was closed for renovation.

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SALA VIP closure notice… again

So instead I just roamed the terminal for a few minutes.

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Catania Airport terminal

At 11:25AM I headed to my departure gate, Gate 7, where boarding was about to commence.

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Air Dolomiti plane to Munich

They began by boarding business class, and as I approached the podium the agent that checked me in approached me, addressed me by name, and informed me that they had loaded a meal for me. Embarrassingly she actually opened the “queue” for me from the side and had me cut the other business class passengers, I guess maybe because I was connecting to first class. Awkward but well intentioned, I suppose…

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Catania Airport departure gate

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Catania Airport jet bridge

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Air Dolomiti plane to Munich

Lufthansa 1965 (operated by Air Dolomiti)
Catania (CTA) – Munich (MUC)
Monday, May 12
Depart: 11:55AM
Arrive: 2:10PM
Duration: 2hr15min
Aircraft: Embraer E-195
Seat: 7A / 5D (Economy Class/Business Class)

As I mentioned in my post outlining the “incident” on this flight, I find Air Dolomiti to be such a fascinating airline.

They operate some flights independently while others are operated exclusively on behalf of Lufthansa. You’ve gotta love when the Germans and Italians work together, because it makes for some good entertainment.

Upon boarding I was acknowledged by the flight attendant at that door. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an airline where the flight attendants “doll up” as much as at Air Dolomiti. They make the “Singapore Girls” look all natural, by comparison.

Intra-Europe business class is ordinarily just economy class seating with a blocked middle seat, so by comparison I love the E-195. There are only four seats per row, so as a business class passenger you get both an aisle and a window seat. That’s tough to beat, not even factoring in that the E-195 is an all around really comfortable and modern plane.

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Air Dolomiti aircraft interior

I quickly took my seat, 7A. Boarding was finished within about 15 minutes, at which point the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of two hours.

Right on schedule we began our pushback. I gazed out the window at the traffic, which consisted mostly of Meridiana, Ryanair, Easyjet, Alitalia, etc.

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Meridiana MD-80

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Catania Airport traffic

Our taxi to the runway took about 10 minutes, and once there we were number two for takeoff behind an Alitalia A321.

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Catania Airport traffic

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Catania Airport traffic

After that it was our turn, and after a quick takeoff roll we were airborne.

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Shortly after takeoff from Catania Airport

Our path took us directly out over the water, with great views of Mount Etna on the climb out. Sicily really is gorgeous.

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Shortly after takeoff from Catania Airport

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Shortly after takeoff from Catania Airport

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After takeoff from Catania Airport

About 20 minutes after takeoff the service began, starting with all passengers being offered refreshing packaged towels.

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Air Dolomiti cold towel

The service continued with business class passengers being offered magazines… though the flight attendant stopped at row six, which was one row ahead of me.

Then she came around with the snack and drink service for business class… and once again stopped at row six, one row ahead of me.

Once she finished the business class meal service she started the “main cabin” service at row seven, and offered me a soft drink in a cup and a packaged ham sandwich. At this point it “officially” occurred to me that she didn’t realize I actually was a business class passenger, and I wasn’t quite sure how to tell her.

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Air Dolomiti economy class snack service

Like I said I didn’t really care about the meal but the check-in agent said it was catered, and I was hoping for some drink refills, which seem easier to come by in business class than economy class.

So I tried to ask her about it:

Me: “Excuse me, this is business class, right?” (I held out my boarding pass which clearly stated business class)
Her: “Yes, I have food for you, you’re seated in the wrong seat, you should move up to one of the empty seats in business.”
Me: “This is 7A, right? That’s what they assigned me.”
Her: “Yes, but they messed up, this isn’t business class.”
Me: “Oh that’s okay I can just stay here if that’s alright.”
Her: “No, you are in business class, you must move up.”

She walked away, and per her instructions I proceed to self upgrade myself mid-flight.

Naturally I got evil glares from the other business class passengers, which isn’t surprising since it looked like I was trying to self-upgrade.

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Air Dolomiti business class

She then plopped the snack down on the tray table next to me, which was a deli plate consisting mostly of roast beef.

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Air Dolomiti business class snack service

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Air Dolomiti business class snack service

It was fairly decent. I was then also offered some coffee.

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Air Dolomiti business class coffee service

Oddly she still gave me (and most other business class passengers) an Air Dolomiti “Your opinion is valuable to us” survey.

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Air Dolomiti survey

I spent the rest of the flight working on my laptop. As we began our descent one of the other flight attendants came around with a basket of chocolates.

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Air Dolomiti chocolate before landing

Shortly after the seatbelt sign was turned on I made a quick trip to the lavatory (the pilots didn’t give any advance notice of the seatbelt sign going on, and we had just begun our descent). As I walked up to use the lavatory, the flight attendant said “you should be seated, pay attention.” Speaking of paying attention…

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View on approach into Munich

The descent into Munich was just gorgeous. I do always consider eventually moving to Germany, and I have to say that just flying into Munich Airport makes me seriously consider it. Every. Single. Time. And that’s not even factoring in their beyond-epic airport video:

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View on approach into Munich

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View on approach into Munich

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View on final approach into Munich

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View on final approach into Munich

We had a pretty rough touchdown in Munich, after “flaring” for what must have been close to ten seconds. Our taxi to the gate took about 10 minutes, as we took up a good amount of the runway.

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Touchdown in Munich

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Munich Airport traffic

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Munich Airport

Eventually we made it to the remote stands, where the Air Dolomiti aircraft park at Munich Airport.

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Munich Airport remote stand

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Munich Airport remote stand

While there were two buses waiting for the other passengers, I had an S-Class Mercedes waiting to take me to the First Class Lounge before my connection to Washington Dulles.

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Munich Airport Lufthansa first class car transfer

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Munich Airport Lufthansa first class car transfer

You’ve gotta love Lufthansa’s first class ground services (sometimes)!

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Munich Airport Lufthansa first class car transfer

Anyway, on the whole I do find Air Dolomiti a pleasant way to fly, despite the mix up on this flight. Given that intra-Europe business class just consists of economy seats with a blocked middle, you can’t beat a modern Embraer jet, where you get both an aisle and window seat when in business class.

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Comments

  1. Although a bit off topic (and you DID post a lot of pix of your arrival), I love the views of the Bavarian countryside when arriving into MUC.

  2. i flew them once MXP-MUC in J using UA miles … it’s really just Y seat with the neighboring seat blocked off (really inefficient use of space)

    i’m still surprised why the brand still remains independent (or is “LH Italia” so tarnished?)

  3. I’m looking forward to some time in Munich in July.

    It looks like the Terminal 2 expansion construction is underway, but it’s difficult to tell from your photo if they’re just starting or nearly finished?

  4. I still find the request to move weird. Perhaps one day you can do a post on strangest things you’ve encountered during your travels.

  5. I’m surprised that nobody’s mentioned that although the flight was bound for “Munich”, the TV screen behind the gate agent says “Monaco”.

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