Review: Alitalia Business Class New York To Rome

Reviews : Transport

Related: Airbus

In this trip report I review Alitalia Business Class New York (JFK) To Rome (FCO) on the A330-200. Alitalia has a unique business class product that has recently become more refined following Etihad’s investment in Alitalia’s business, and offers a soft product that is among the best available for Transatlantic flights.

On the New York – Kennedy (JFK) – Rome (FCO) route Alitalia operates a mix of 777-200s and A330-200s, and on this particular flight an A330-200 was used.

Business Class Cabin on the A330-200
Alitalia’s Business Class cabins are configured in a staggered 1x2x1 layout, which offers direct aisle access for all passengers, and a mix of privacy for solo passengers while allowing for intimacy among travellers who wish to remain together. The seat design is similar to that used in Etihad’s Business Class.

One quirk about Alitalia’s Business Class cabin is that there are no overhead bins over the center section. While this makes the cabin appear more spacious, and lends a premium First Class feel, in practice it makes storing luggage difficult, and if you are not among the first to board you will find yourself jockeying up and down the aisle to find space.

The seats themselves are comfortable, if a bit firm for sleeping. They are trimmed in Poltrona Frau leather, a recent upgrade, and feature large shelf areas to the left or right depending on the row you have chosen. Each seat is also provisioned with a unique red lumbar pillow, along with a full duvet and standard sleeping pillow. Mattress pads are not offered.

Foot and legroom is spacious, though your legs are exposed to the aisle in many seats, which can lead to bumping if you shift around while sleeping, something that is exacerbated by narrow aisles.

What is the Best Business Class seat on the A330-200?
If you are traveling alone, the most desirable seats are the even numbered window seats. These are set back from the aisle, with the shelf between you and the aisle, offering extra privacy. One drawback is the pitch between the shelf and the seat in front is quite tight, making getting out of the seat a bit awkward.

If you are traveling as a couple, the center section seat pairs in odd numbered rows have honeymoon style seats with a divider that can lower to offer close contact while in flight.

Food in Alitalia Business Class
This is probably the most remarkable aspect of the experience.

Alitalia’s Business Class meals are restaurant quality, presented with heavy cutlery and proper dishes, making the experience have more in common with First Class than a typical Business Class meal.

The service, which features entirely Italian dishes, begins with tartines, followed by your choice of two substantial starters, such as stacked baked eggplant.

That’s followed by Alitalia’s signature pasta course, again with two choices, generally one with a tomato based sauce, the other with a cream based sauce. You can also ask to have your pasta presented ‘alle due’ – with both kinds on one plate.

Following the pasta is your choice of three main courses, such as succulent branzino with vegetables, or a veal involtini. Mains are plated with precision, with generous portions that rival the presentation offered in a First Class cabin.

All of Alitalia’s food service is now presented straight from the galley, without carts, and even late night departures get a full dinner service. Following dinner, you can indulge in an Italian cheese plate, and then a selection of desserts and pastries, plus signature Italian digestifs, including Limoncello.

The wine list is 100% Italian, and usually includes 3 or 4 choices, carefully described in a separate wine menu, along with regional Italian beers and 2 dessert wine offerings.

Alitalia also participates in Etihad’s dine on demand proposition, which lets you forgo the multi course affair and pick and choose whenever you’re ready to dine.

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You can also read more of my Business and First Class airline reviews and my top 10 Best Business Class airlines for long haul travel.