Review: Meridiana Business Class 767 Naples To New York

Introduction: Montreal To New York, With A Stop In Italy
Review: Sheraton Montreal Airport
Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal Airport
Review: Lufthansa Business Class A330 Montreal To Munich
Review: Renaissance Naples Mediterraneo
Review: VIP Caruso Lounge Naples Airport
Review: Meridiana Business Class 767 Naples To New York
Review: Hyatt Herald Square New York
Review: The New York EDITION Hotel


Before I get too much into this report, I wanted to post a reminder that Meridiana typically has very reasonable business class fares, that are often in line with premium economy on other airlines, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I often see roundtrip business class fares from New York to Italy for ~$1,500.

Meridiana 3940
Naples (NAP) – New York (JFK)
Saturday, June 17
Depart: 8:50AM
Arrive: 1:00PM
Duration: 10hr10min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 1A (Business Class)

While some airlines only have two sets of doors on theirs 767s (in the front and back), Meridiana has a mid-cabin entrance, through which boarding occurred. At the door I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant and pointed left towards the business class cabin.

Meridiana is one of only a few airlines to have a 2-4-2 configuration in economy on the 767, which is ridiculously tight (most airlines have 2-3-2). One other airline with such a configuration is Ukraine International, which I flew from Kiev to New York last year.

Meridiana’s business class cabin consists of a total of 18 seats, spread across three rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. The cabin was like a blast from the past — this was like an untouched business class product from a few decades ago, and I sort of loved it. It was charmingly outdated.


Meridiana business class cabin


Meridiana 767 business class cabin

The cabin consisted of big, puffy recliner seats. While the seats were narrow, I found the padding to be exceptional.


Meridiana 767 business class seats


Meridiana 767 business class seats

Legroom was somewhere between what you’d usually get in premium economy and business class — in other words, pitch was more than 40″ but less than 60″. I’d estimate that there was maybe just under 50″ of pitch, or so.


Meridiana 767 business class seats

The rows in the cabin are a bit staggered. While there are three full rows, the center seats start further up than the seats along the sides.


Meridiana 767 business class cabin

Originally I had assigned myself one of the center aisle seats, but when I noticed that the window and aisle seat in the first row remained empty, I switched to that, so that I’d have no one reclining into me, and so that I could look out of the window.


Meridiana business class legroom

I’d actually recommend the bulkhead seats in this configuration, as the seats further back can be tight if the person in front of you reclines.


Meridiana business class bulkhead legroom

The seats had old school audio controls, as well as manual recline buttons.


Meridiana business class audio controls


Meridiana business class seat controls

I’m not sure what exactly was going on with the life vest underneath my seat. Is this normal?


Meridiana business class life vest

The tray folded out from the side armrest, and was a bit floppy and could have probably used some lubrication, based on how hard it was to take out.


Meridiana business class tray table

Waiting at my seat was a big, puffy blanket, and a small pillow. The pillow wasn’t very good, but I found the blanket to be very comfortable.


Meridiana business class pillow & blanket

Unfortunately Meridiana’s 767s don’t have any power ports at the seats, though the flight attendants were kind and offered to charge my phone in the galley if needed (fortunately I didn’t need that, since I came prepared, fully expecting they wouldn’t have power).

Speaking of the crew, working in business class were two (relatively) older guys, and they were fantastic. I sort of figured the crew wouldn’t take much pride in their job given what an outdated product they have, but these guys were so friendly and attentive. I also loved their uniforms, as the wore the hats you usually associate with pilots.


Meridiana business class cabin

The overhead bins on the 767 are tiny to begin with, though in the case of Meridiana most of the space in the bins is taken up by emergency and entertainment equipment, so there’s even less room than usual.


Meridiana business class overhead bins


Meridiana business class overhead bins

Once settled in I was offered my choice of pre-departure beverage, and I requested some sparkling wine, which was served in glassware.


Meridiana business class pre-departure sparkling wine

Business class filled up pretty quickly. Eventually 14 of the 18 business class seats were occupied. This included four sets of adorable older couples, a young family with a kid, a couple with a wife who seemed to have been in a very bad accident in Italy (or something), based on the fact that she was all “bandaged” up and could barely move, and then me.

By 8:35AM boarding was complete, about 25 minutes after it started. The door finally closed at 8:45AM, at which point the safety video was screened. Meridiana has a surprisingly cute safety video, as it’s done by kids in flight attendant and pilot uniforms.

By 8:50AM we began our taxi to runway 6. As you can see below, there were a lot of low cost carriers on the tarmac, including EasyJet, Ryanair, Vueling, Transavia, etc.


Volotea plane Naples Airport


EasyJet plane Naples Airport


Transavia plane Naples Airport


Ryanair planes Naples Airport

By 8:55AM we were cleared for takeoff.


Getting ready for takeoff Naples Airport

After a long takeoff roll we began our gradual climb to our cruising altitude.


View after takeoff from Naples


View after takeoff from Naples

Despite a smooth ride, the seatbelt sign stayed on for about 20 minutes. At that point the captain made a welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 9hr15min, and that we should arrive in New York early.


Reaching cruising altitude Naples Airport

Once it was off, I checked out the old school lavatory located at the front of the cabin.


Meridiana business class lavatory


Meridiana business class lavatory

Once back at my seat I heard a request I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. One of the ladies in business class asked if they had a row of empty seats in economy where she could sleep, and sure enough they did. She left moments later, and returned 90 minutes before landing.

The inflight entertainment began about 25 minutes after takeoff, which consisted of a couple of grainy movies and TV shows.


Meridiana inflight entertainment

About 30 minutes after takeoff the crew distributed Fedon amenity kits with Acca Kappa toiletries. The kit was fairly basic and had a toothpaste and toothbrush, socks, ear plugs, face moisturizer, and lip balm.


Meridiana business class amenity kit

After that the purser came to each passenger to introduce himself and to distribute the wine list. There wasn’t a menu, and for that matter the online menu didn’t reflect what was served on this flight. Then again, the Italians at least have their priorities in order by having a wine list but not an actual menu. 😉


Meridiana business class wine list

The wine list read as follows:

Service was initially slow, though I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because what the hell else are you going to do without flat beds, wifi, power ports, etc.? 😉

About an hour after takeoff I was served a drink of choice, and was asked if I wanted a sweet or salty snack. I ordered some sparkling wine and asked for the salty snack.


Meridiana business class sparkling wine & snack

I was offered a refill, and then about 90 minutes after takeoff was offered a warm towel.


Meridiana business class warm towel

A few minutes later, tablecloths were distributed.


Meridiana business class tablecloth

At that point the meal tray was brought out.


Meridiana business class meal

There was a lovely tomato & mozzarella appetizer, which I really enjoyed.


Meridiana business class meal — tomatoes and mozzarella 

There was also a cheese plate.


Meridiana business class meal — cheese course

For the main course I had the choice between chicken, fish, or parmigiana. I chose the parmigiana, which was reasonably good, though I think it could double as both a drink and a meal based on how oily it was.


Meridiana business class meal — main course

Since there wasn’t much in the way of entertainment, I looked out the window and enjoyed the beautiful views, as we were flying over Spain.


View enroute to New York

Next up was dessert, which consisted of a piece of cream-filled cake. I’m not sure exactly what kind of cake it was, but it tasted good.


Meridiana business class meal — dessert

I also ordered a coffee to go along with the cake.


Meridiana business class meal — coffee

After the meal I was offered a bottle of water.


Meridiana business class bottled water

The meal service was done about 2hr30min into the flight, as we were starting our transatlantic crossing off the coast of Spain. I have nothing but good things to say about the service. The two guys working business class were so friendly. They weren’t as efficient or attentive as you’d find on Singapore Airlines, for example, but they were charming and took their time with everyone. It was clear they took pride in their jobs, and it was almost like they were serving you in their home.


Airshow enroute to New York


Airshow enroute to New York

After the meal I tried to close my eyes for a bit. Usually I struggle to sleep if I don’t have a flat bed, but much to my surprise I managed to get about three hours of rest. Personally I prefer these types of recliner seats to angled seats, since you can actually find a comfortable position in which to sleep. For anyone wondering, below is a picture of the seat fully reclined — it doesn’t go that far back.


Meridiana business class seat recline

When I woke up I noticed that other people had portable entertainment devices, and asked the crew about it. They offered me one as well — I wish I had known about these earlier!


Meridiana business class inflight entertainment 

There were about 20 movies available, which isn’t a huge selection, but at least there were some decent options.


Meridiana business class inflight entertainment 


Meridiana business class inflight entertainment 

I ended up watching “Spy.” I have terrible taste in movies, and I loved it. Really I just love anything with Melissa McCarthy.


Meridiana business class inflight entertainment 

After that was done I decided to watch “A Cinderella Story,” partly because I used to love Hilary Duff (I say “used to” because I haven’t heard anything about her in about a decade), and partly because what else are you going to do on a Meridiana flight?


Meridiana business class inflight entertainment 

Before I knew it we were just under two hours from New York, and the pre-landing snack was served.


Airshow enroute to New York


Airshow enroute to New York


Airshow enroute to New York

The pre-landing snack was all served on one tray.


Meridiana business class pre-landing snack

It consisted of a variety of bread, cold cuts, and fresh fruit.


Meridiana business class pre-landing snack — bread selection


Meridiana business class pre-landing snack — cold cuts


Meridiana business class pre-landing snack — fresh fruit

Per the flight attendant’s suggestion I ordered what he described as a “lime orange carrot juice.”


Meridiana business class pre-landing juice

I also had a cup of coffee.


Meridiana business class pre-landing coffee

About 30 minutes before landing we began our descent, and a few minutes after that the portable entertainment devices were collected.

While the entire flight was smooth up until this point, we hit some chop on our descent, as it was a stormy day in New York. Fortunately that didn’t cause any major delays, and we touched down at JFK at around 12:10PM.


View approaching New York


Landing at JFK


Taxiing JFK

From there it was about 20 minutes until we arrived at our gate, including waiting for about 10 minutes for our gate to open up. Unfortunately after being on the ground for a couple of minutes I couldn’t get any good pics out the window anymore due to the rain.


Arriving at JFK gate

I bid farewell to the crew, and as I exited the plane I overheard two of the couples talking to one another about how this was the best service they’ve ever had, and about how they’d fly Meridiana again in a heartbeat.

Meridiana business class bottom line

Meridiana business class exceeded my expectations. Going in I knew exactly what I was getting in terms of the seat. This isn’t a competitive business class seat, but rather think of it as a really good premium economy product (well, minus wifi and power ports).

The reason I was impressed was because of the good food and excellent service. Furthermore, the portable entertainment device helped keep me entertained. My primary frustration otherwise was probably the lack of a power port, though I ended up coping with that just fine.

So, would I recommend Meridiana? If you’re trying to fly between New York and Naples/Palermo, it’s tough to beat the convenience of a nonstop flight in an attractively priced premium product. No, this won’t be as good as many of the flat bed products out there, but flying those products will also require a 1-3 hour connection at a major European hub airport, and then a 1-2 hour flight in an intra-Europe business class product, which is basically just economy with a blocked middle seat. So everyone has to decide for themselves whether it’s worth it or not.

With Qatar Airways’ recent investment in Meridiana, and with Alitalia on the brink of liquidation, I wonder if Meridiana will do anything to improve their onboard product.

Regardless, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them if you’re flying specifically between New York and Naples/Palermo, as the convenience of a nonstop flight is worth quite a bit. Just know that this isn’t a true business class product.

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

Comments

  1. Ben, for your next italian trip you should have a go reviewing Executive class on the high-speed train between Rome and Milan. It’s actually the coolest thing we have transport-wise at the moment.

  2. This looks like business class I travelled in on Gulf Air from Sydney to Cairo in 2005. it was about half the price of everyone else’s business, and surprisingly comfortable. At the time full business was way outside our budget, and premium economy wasn’t widely available yet- so it was a great option for such a long haul.

  3. OK. The planes are old, but the seats are perfectly serviceable for a daytime flight to the United States from Europe. The seats look comfortable enough for sitting, too.

    The food actually looks good. The dinner was kind of elegant. Not super-fancy, but nice — look at that huge, crisp white linen tablecloth.

  4. loved the review and how you even detailed how far the seat went.

    i chuckled at your ” I chose the parmigiana, which was reasonably good, though I think it could double as both a drink and a meal based on how oily it was”. hahahaha.. i mean, LOL..

    too funny:)

  5. Loved your review, also love the attention to detail on who the other passengers were, the tomato, the parmigiana…great review as always!

  6. Ben, did you manage to get any pictures of economy class. From what I can tell, Meridiana is one of the few 767 operators which uses the high density 2-4-2 layouts in economy class.

  7. I flew Meridiana in economy from Naples to JFK only a few weeks after you. The 2-4-2 is tight, but my wife and I are skinny and had the “2” on the left side, so it was fine for us.
    Some people looked extremely uncomfortable in the middle tho. We paid for the seat assignment/check-in a few weeks out – well worth it to bypass the check-in line at the airport/just drop bags and to have no neighbors. We were delayed almost 3 hours, but otherwise a perfectly acceptable flight. Crew is great – very pleasant / enthusiastic. Food in coach was fine – choice of chicken or pasta. After a week in a Italy eating pasta, we choose chicken and neither of us got sick. Free wine / water / etc was provided. The crew also emptied one of their water bottles into my personal 1L water bottle (with a smile – no stink eye). We flew them one way for about $350 pp (used miles to fly to Europe). On the way to Naples, we connected in Munich on Lufthansa with a 2 hour layover… while Lufthansa was superior in every way, I will consider Meridiana going forward just for the convenience.

  8. Ben. Hilary Duff in currently acting in the TV show, Younger. It’s 4th season just started. Check it out I think you’d like it

  9. Air Italy dba Meridiana ?
    I noticed the safety info cards in the seat pocket say Air Italy as does the in-seat entertainment logo….curious about the branding on the flight…

  10. Hmmmm I think you have been quite “kind” in this review. Fair enough that you have focused on the good service and price, plus the food looks okay but this doesn’t seem consistent with some harsher reviews that you post. That cabin is just outdated. It’s not charming to anyone who doesn’t spend their lives in premium cabins. Good pictures as always.

  11. Considering how brutal you were about both the outdated Ukrainian and Ethiopian 767s you are very kind to Meridiana!

  12. This review was a breath of fresh air. Good on them for providing a good flight. Nice amenity kit, itself and Tom and Jerry on the IFE, how can you not like that?

  13. I think the bottom line is that if you are an airline with outdated equipment and stuff, at least try to do the best with the soft stuff like food and blankets and service. A little effort goes a long way and probably costs way less overall.

  14. Thank you for the review. However, why are there no pics of Vesuvius? It’s RIGHT THERE when you take off, and you can see the lava slide that buried Pompeii.

  15. You were wise to choose to review Meridian’s transatlantic flight in the daytime! My concern would be the aged equipment. Was Meridiana even around when that plane was built, I.e. was that another airline’s old equipment? I know 747s have been around and operating for decades but this 767 seems decrepit. How did you feel about that?

  16. Thank you, Ben for your thorough review.
    Did the amenity kit provide an eyemask?

    Warm Regards,
    Sheena

  17. Meridiana is the best – u can’t compare to the big European airline biz class when price is often 1/3 – and I think way better than their premium economy

    Yes the chairs are old and the ife laughable – but the service is consistently eager and fun, the food is usually tasty, the recliners actually comfy and….by far most important

    U fly nonstop to Naples from jfk adding a day each way to your southern Italy trip – I can fly wed/thurs night and be in Capri for breakfast and fly back mon morning and be on ground midday NYC – legacy carrier I arrive capri and New York late afternoon

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