10 Reasons To Upgrade: Alitalia Premium Economy Vs Economy


We compare Alitalia Economy vs. Premium Economy. We review 10 reasons why it’s worth paying for the upgrade. We review the cost, seat, food, check-in, and airport lounge you’ll get if you book Alitalia Premium Economy. Is it worth paying to upgrade your next flight to Premium Economy?

Wherever you fly to, book your hotel and flight via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more.

Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:

  • Room upgrade to next category
  • Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
  • Complimentary Welcome Gift
  • $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
  • Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Interestingly, Alitalia has recently reduced in size. Sky TG24 Italy reported that the new Alitalia would comprise of just 25-30 aircraft and 3,000 employees. This will be a quarter of Alitalia’s previous size. Alitalia currently flies from Rome and Milan to Boston, New York JFK, Washington Dulles, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles on Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s.

Alitalia has an excellent safety record and is known for its strict maintenance standards and excellent pilot training, so it’s a good airline to choose. You can also collect Delta frequent flyer SkyMiles when you fly with Alitalia.

The Premium Economy facts:

  • Width 19in
  • Legroom 38in
  • Recline 8in
  • Two Hold Bags (23 kg each) vs. 1 in Economy
  • Priority Baggage
  • Priority Boarding

1. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Price

If the price is your biggest factor when making the decision on which class to fly in, you should probably choose to fly Economy. After all, the entire plane will get to its destination, whichever class you are sitting in. Alitalia is aiming their Premium Economy at Economy Class passengers willing to pay more for an all-round better travel experience and more space. Prices are competitive, and although more, they are not anywhere near the shocking price tag of Business Class.

2. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Check-in

Alitalia has a separate Premium Economy check-in and priority boarding over Economy, so there is a nice advantage at check-in and before you board.

3. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Baggage

You get 2 hold suitcases when traveling in Premium Economy vs. 1 in Economy, which is a big bonus.

4. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Lounges

When flying in Premium Economy, you don’t get access to any Alitalia lounges for free, although you can pay a hefty fee for access on booking or once you are at the airport. Alternatively, If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at this airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Get an unlimited Priority Pass with the Amex Platinum card, or you can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.

5. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Cabin

The Alitalia Premium Economy is in a separate, small cabin with between 17 and 24 seats with 38 inches of legroom, which is a big improvement over 32 inches in regular coach.

6. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Seat Width

When flying in the Premium Economy seat, you get a wider seat with additional pitch. For Alitalia, the extra width totals 19in. For me, the extra elbow room in the Premium Economy seats enables me to work more comfortably on my laptop. The extra recline also enables me to sleep for a short period, a crucial reason to choose to fly Premium Economy if you are flying overnight.

On the A330, the layout is 2-3-2.

7. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Seat Pitch

Expect around 38 inches of pitch, up to 6 inches more legroom than their Economy seats.

8. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Entertainment

Expect a larger inflight video screen, but the Alitalia range of entertainment is extremely lacking in variety and quality, so it may be wise to take a few movies with you onboard. The screen is also a little fuzzy, and it has been reported that the touch screens don’t always work.

9.Economy vs. Premium Economy: Food & Drink

A big bonus traveling on British Airways in Premium Economy is getting Club World standard meals (with fewer choices) served on proper crockery with a real napkin.

The food on Alitalia is not great at all and not a reason to upgrade. In fact, it seems to be very similar to Economy food, i.e., fairly awful!

At boarding, you are offered orange juice, Prosecco, or still water and a paper, and an amenity kit. Once in the air, the meal is low-fi with no menu and usually a choice of pasta or beef. The beef is rather foul with peas and carrots (which taste like they are out of a tin). There is wine, but it’s not great either.

The relatively small number of Premium Economy seats usually results in a better level of service with more crew assigned per passenger, but the staff on Alitalia do not seem to go out of their way. They delivered the food, and that’s about it.

Breakfast is a tasty croissant in a cellophane wrapper and a drink. That’s it.

10. Economy vs. Premium Economy: Sleep

You may wonder whether it is worth upgrading from Economy to Premium Economy at all. Well, it is. The biggest reason to upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy is to get some sleep, or at least some rest, particularly if you are flying on an overnight flight.

For overnight flights, being stuffed in a sardine-tin, with little space to move and next-to-no recline, means that sleep is difficult. Or impossible.

When I fly in Economy, I find, if I do manage to nod off, the fact that my head then droops to one side because of the lack of seat recline means that I almost always wake myself up as soon as I drop off.

The result is that you can feel pretty grotty after an Economy flight by the time you get to your destination. This matters if you are potentially ruining the first day of your trip because you haven’t spent the extra on upgrading your flight.

Even if the price is your biggest factor when choosing between Economy and Premium Economy, Premium Economy can mean that you avoid wasting a day of your holiday, which may ultimately be worth more than the price difference.

Alitalia seats are comfortable, and it is possible to sleep on them. Big thumbs up!

Economy vs. Premium Economy: Conclusion

Alitalia Premium Economy is worth the extra cost. It is worth paying for the upgrade if you can afford it. We particularly love the better seats and more legroom, but the food is the same as in coach, and the service is not great, so it is really only the seat and extra room that you are getting for your upgraded ticket.

Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.