Review of Alitalia flight Toronto Rome in Business

Airline Alitalia
Flight AZ 651
Class Business
Seat 4A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 08:35
Take-off 08 Oct 16, 22:25
Arrival at 09 Oct 16, 13:00
AZ 298 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 3922
Published on 11th October 2016
Hi and welcome to this segment when I take a very much anticipated trip on AZ long haul in Business. I've been intrigued for some time about AZ's "Magnifica" class and despite some disappointing reviews that this company has gathered, that has not discouraged me to want to experience it.

So here is my schedule so far:

SFO-MSP on DL Y - click here
MSP-YYZ on DL Y - will not report.
YYZ- FCO on AZ J - you are here.
FCO-AMS on AZ J - click here.
AMS-IST on TK J - click here.
IST-ATH on TK Y - click here.
ATH-CPH on A3 J - click here.
CPH-ARN on SK J - click here.
ARN-HEL on AY Y - will not report.
HEL-JFK on AY Y+ - click here.
JFK-SFO on AA J - click here.


I used YYZ as a positioning point because when I was planning trip trip months ago and wanted to use my DL Skymiles to redeem this trip, nothing was available for a reasonable amount of miles out of the U.S. So I decided to check the inventory from YYZ or MEX and both showed availability at the standard redemption rate. I opted for YYZ and used DL miles at a discounted rate to get me to YYZ.

I stayed at the Hilton airport overnight. The following morning i visited the fitness center and relaxed by the pool before my flight.




I decided to do online check-in with AZ and after finishing the process I received the message that my boarding pass was ready to be picked up at the airport. Is this a joke? I even questioned if I logged into a legitimate website to check-in. At this point I felt frustrated and I used the feedback at the end of the process to comment on this experience. How timely! Honestly I think that this defeats the whole purpose of conveniently printing your own boarding passes and give you flexibility and control of your travel experience. Because of this, I arrived at YYZ by 15:00 for a 22:25 flight and walked outside the security area like a lost soul in limbo until the AZ opened at 18:30. It doesn't help that there are no decent restaurants in this area so I had lunch at Wendy's. Also I am surprised about the lack of seating in the terminal. This whole part of T3 needs a major renovation in my opinion.

It's "déjà-vu". I felt like a hamster in a laboratory running in circles.

photo dsc03358 - copyphoto dsc03359 - copy

At 18:30 the agents are still setting up the counter and five minutes later the check-in began. I was helped by a friendly agent who verified that I was "checked-in" and quickly printed my boarding passes. She wished me a good trip and advised me about the location of the KL lounge. Security was fairly quick and after collecting my stuff I headed to the lounge.

KL lounge.

I was greeted warmly by an AF staff and upon showing my boarding pass and AZ card she advised me that I was already on the list and welcomed me to step inside. The lounge was almost empty and I was able to explore the different areas. Catering was decent with several spreads including two hot dishes and soups.

photo kl lounge  yyz 1 - copyphoto kl lounge  yyz 29 - copyphoto kl lounge  yyz 3 - copy


Next to reception is the buffet.




Hot items (Butter chicken or beef Stroganoff) and two soups (tomato or asparagus).

photo kl lounge  yyz 17 - copyphoto kl lounge  yyz 18 - copyphoto kl lounge  yyz 19 - copy


Interior.




I really liked the asparagus soup and had two servings of it which I regretted later on when I was onboard AZ.

photo kl lounge  yyz 33 - copy


At 21:10 I left for the gate and upon arrival there the scene was chaotic with people everywhere. Boarding was delayed a good 10 min. and started by lining people up a few feet away from the podium. There were several wheelchair passengers and not enough room for Sky Priority to line up. I think the setting of the restaurant tables at YYZ contribute to this problem. They don't seem contained within the establishment and spill into the gate area.

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The nice crew at the gate.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 1 - copy


An agent checked for docs before allowing people to proceed to the the gate where another agent scanned the boarding pass. Upon entering the aircraft I was greeted by two FA's and directed to my seat. Menus were already placed in the stand next to the seat. In addition to that a bottle of water and headphones were in the storing compartment under the seat control. A duvet package with pillow, duvet and slipper was also provided.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 2 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 5 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 9 - copy


One negative point about the cabin - no overhead storage for the middle rows which is disappointing for those sitting there.

Cabin.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 4 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 7 - copy


Pre-dept. drink of water, orange juice and Prosecco. The orange juice tasted very industrial and I did not finish it. Now that I think about it, blood orange juice was never offered.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 10 - copy


A tray with periodicals and magazines were offered by the flight attendant passed very quickly.


Amenity kit - probably one of the highlights of flying AZ. Their kits are top notch but this time Ferragamo is out and Bulgari is in.




Hot towels were offered.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 21 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 22 - copy


IFE screen. I did not watch any movies so I can't comment much on the system. From the little I saw I thought that it needed better resolution.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 30 - copy


Before the door closed the purser gave me a personal welcome and thanked me for flying AZ. He let me know that he was available if I needed anything which sets the tone for a good flight and was appreciated.


Take off. Bye Toronto.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 28 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 31 - copy


Once the flight leveled off menu orders were taken.

Menu.




Wine menu.




Before the meal service I went to the WC and I noticed that there were 2 of them in the cabin - one in the front and one on the side of the galley behind the J cabin. For some reason the one in the front is closed for passengers, but I was allowed to use it by the FA. The WC was average and did not have lotions or additional cosmetics. Remember I said earlier that I regretted having two bowls of asparagus soup? Well as it happened, after I finish my business the toilet would not flush. I pressed that darn button like 5x and it wouldn't work. Resigned to my embarrassing fate, I tell the purser that there is a problem with the WC and he went in right away to check on it. A few minutes later he tells me discreetly that the problem has been fixed. Things like these only happen to me. But seriously isn't having 1 WC for the J cabin a bit inconvenient, especially when it is shared with the passengers from Premium Economy behind the galley? This created back up lines in the galley towards the end of the flight.

Back in my seat I lowered the tray table located on the side and the FA brought the linen and set the "table".

The service commenced with an amuse bouche. I noticed that carts were never used during the whole meal service and everything was hand delivered. In addition, beverages were refilled and the purser assisted the two crew member with the service. It felt very professional, efficient and soliciting asking if passengers wanted extra drinks or a change of wines with each course. There was no choice of bread from a basket. It was already placed on one's tray.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 38 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 40 - copy


Antipasto.

Traditional eggplant timbale. The flight attendant asked for my beverage and I chose the Apianae Moscato. Called me a heretic but I just had a sweet dessert wine during the whole meal. I am a bit unconventional at times.




Primi.

The menu said orecchiette with turnip tops but instead it contained broccoli florets.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 53 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 54 - copy


Secondi.

"Pugliese style" baked bream with sauteed courgettes and fried eggplant cubes. The dish was a revelation. It had an enticing aroma when it was brought to me and the fish was flaky and moist. It was seasoned delicately and the freshness of the ingredients really came through. It was one of the best main dishes that I had in an airplane.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 58 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 60 - copy


Cheese.

Italian cheeses served with grapes, carrot and celery s tick accompanied by water crackers. No dried fruits or fig compote according to the menu.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 61 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 63 - copy


Dessert.

Italian pastries.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 64 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 65 - copy


A round of hot towels to mark the end of the service.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 66 - copy


Beverages were set in the galley for passengers to help themselves.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 70 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 71 - copy


Once the service finished the crew retrieved until breakfast time.

Breakfast started 1:30 hr before arrival and it consisted of a continental set up with fruits, warm pastries, juice and hot beverage of choice. Yogurt was not provided on the tray but it was listed on the menu.

A hot towel to wake you up.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 73 - copy


Breakfast.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 74 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 76 - copy


FA with the chic uniform.

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As I said before, the availability of 1 WC for the entire J cabin is ridiculous and this crated a "line" in the galley. To alleviate this problem some passengers were allowed into the front WC accompanied by the FA.


Preparing for landing in FCO. The Italian scenery is breathtaking.




Taxiing to the gate.

photo az 651 yyz-fco 103 - copyphoto az 651 yyz-fco 104 - copy

Once at the gate, there was some confusion as to which door was used. First we were waiting at 2L but after a good 10 min. 1L in the front was opened and everybody rushed there.
See more

Verdict

Alitalia

8.5/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering9.0

Air France KLM Lounge

9.3/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Services9.5

Toronto - YYZ

8.1/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.5
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Rome - FCO

7.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

I was looking forward to flying AZ long haul in J for some time and I was glad that I had the opportunity to do so on this flight. Despite the negative reputation that AZ has received on different sites, my experience with them on this particular flight proved to be good. The cabin crew was always smiling and had a friendly disposition marked by pleasant and professional interaction. The personal welcome by the purser was a very nice touch that was not expected. Beverages were topped off during the meal service and everything was well paced and according to the passenger's timing, just like any good product in J. I took half a point off because during boarding nobody offered to take my jacket to store it and I saw some passengers handing theirs to the crew to store them.

The situation with the WC is another story. Having 1 WC available for J pax at all times and sharing it with the Y+ cabin is a no-no. The lack of overhead bins to store luggage if you are seated in the middle row of the J cabin is another big disappointment. The seat itself was comfortable and the direct aisle access set up is a big plus. Personally the lack of enough WC's is a big turn off for me and I wouldn't like to fly in this aircraft in the future.

Catering was good and I wish that I had the appetizer trolley to choose from, but due to the late dept. of this flight I can understand why it is not offered. The main dish was the highlight of the dinner service for me with a great dish that was fresh and well executed. A salad was also offered along with the cheese course after the main dish. In this case the salad was more of an afterthought and served as a palate cleanser instead of an additional course. I love that AZ offers regional dishes and promotes its culinary traditions as an ambassador of Italian culture.

Information on the route Toronto (YYZ) Rome (FCO)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Toronto (YYZ) → Rome (FCO).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Alitalia with 6.2/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 37 minutes.

  More information

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 369949 by
    757Fan 611 Comments

    "Hi and welcome to this segment when I take a very much anticipated trip on AZ long haul in Business. I've been intrigued for some time about AZ's "Magnifica" class and despite some disappointing reviews that this company has gathered, that has not discouraged me to want to experience it."

    Great report! Magnifica Class looks quite nice, and I haven't seen any reports about them since after Etihad established such a large stake in the company. It looks like the seats are comfortable, and the food looks good. I'm interested though that so many things were missing from the menu? Some issue with catering perhaps?

    Looking forward to seeing your next report.

    • Comment 370511 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Hi Matthew.

      Definitely some substitutions were made on this flight, but overall the catering was very good . One thing that disappointed me was the lack of snacks in the galley between meals. This area was also shared with the Economy Plus cabin since the WC there was used by both cabins. The catering on the connection from FCO-AMS was disastrous.

      Thanks for your comments.

  • Comment 370011 by
    indianocean BRONZE 7193 Comments

    "after finishing the process I received the message that my boarding pass was ready to be picked up at the airport"--> hope wifi was complimentary

    "so I had lunch at Wendy's"-->Really? No cuban restaurants in YYZ?

    I have to admit that the AF-KLM in YYZ is fairly good, considering it's located in North America. Good thing that the Frown Lounge food wasn't exported from AMS.

    "Their kits are top notch but this time Ferragamo is out and Bulgari is in."--> if you want Ferragamo, try SQ First (LOL)
    Otherwise, fly EK if you like Bulgari.

    "Italian cheeses served with grapes, carrot and celery s tick accompanied by water crackers. "--> I never thought Italians eat cheese with crackers. OMG.

    Is the trio of desserts a Skyteam TM?

    "Beverages were set in the galley for passengers to help themselves."--> are you sure you were travelling Business Class?

    I'm relieved to read that efficient and nice cabin crew does exist in AZ

    Great report Adan, as usual. But I'm afraid not great enough to make me fly AZ. Sorry.

    • Comment 370519 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Salut Bernard,

      "hope wifi was complimentary"
      - Actually the message was at the end of the online transaction but the wifi at the hotel was complimentary. ;)

      " No cuban restaurants in YYZ?"
      - And they say that YYZ dining scene is very cosmopolitan. :P I bet if they open one they will get some business given the limited choices before security.

      "Good thing that the Frown Lounge food wasn't exported from AMS."
      - Not even stroopwafels. Sigh!

      "if you want Ferragamo, try SQ First (LOL) Otherwise, fly EK if you like Bulgari."
      - I want one from H&M. Do you happen to know if any airline offers them? :P

      "I never thought Italians eat cheese with crackers. OMG."
      - Well now you had the evidence. A picture is worth a thousand words.

      "Is the trio of desserts a Skyteam TM?"
      - You tell me.... ;)

      "are you sure you were travelling Business Class?"
      - Ha ha. Maybe it's a new procedure and they wanted the passenger to ring the button and have the FA deliver the snacks personally to the seat. ;)

      "I'm relieved to read that efficient and nice cabin crew does exist in AZ"
      - I tend to win the crew lotto. Same thing happened to me when I flew IB and had service ranging from good to excellent. Maybe I'm a great passenger as the AA commercial says. :P

      "But I'm afraid not great enough to make me fly AZ. Sorry."
      - Can one go back to beer when you have tasted champagne? :) ;)

      Thank you Bernard for your visit.

  • Comment 370053 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    “Is this a joke?”
    - I have run into this problem frequently on international flights, I think it might be for required document checks by the airline, it forces you to go to a kiosk or counter and show your passport.

    I guess I should be impressed that they finally got rid of those old, crusty grey seats, but these bumble bee seats just don’t make me think "Italy”. And the red FA uniforms are also ways different. I guess the EY influence has finally kicked in removing the old classic Armani suits. The Bulgari amenity kit looks nicer than the old Salvatore Ferragamo ones.

    “having 1 WC for the J cabin a bit inconvenient”
    - Probably a space limitation issue on the small A332. If I remember correctly, both lavatories were free to use for J on my AUH-FCO flight, but I used the Y lavatory on the other side of the galley both times. So it might not be a standard issue on AZ (maybe to prevent gathering around the cockpit on a flight from North America?).

    The catering looks impeccable on AZ as it should be based on their reputation (cheese plate is the only thing not looking so good), but I miss the old family style service they used to do from the cart where you could pick all of your items a la carte. Breakfast looks a little bit light, especially given the lunchtime arrival.

    Most importantly, looks like you got a good AZ crew. Definitely not my experience, but maybe with all of the changes to the cabin and AZ image, the EY effect may start to change the crew attitudes as well.

    Thanks for sharing Adan, another check off your list ;)

    • Comment 370522 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Hi Michael.

      "I have run into this problem frequently on international flights, I think it might be for required document checks by the airline, it forces you to go to a kiosk or counter and show your passport."
      - Then the airline shouldn't offer this service or put a note at the beginning of the process instead of wasting passenger's time. To begin with, AZ website is not the best to navigate. At one point using a Mac at the hotel it wouldn't go to the next step after I inserted the information, so I had to use my laptop and was planning to send the copy of the boarding pass to the hotel printer but that never came to fruition.

      "...but these bumble bee seats just don’t make me think "Italy”. And the red FA uniforms are also ways different. I guess the EY influence has finally kicked in removing the old classic Armani suits."
      - LOL. At least it doesn't sting. Yes, the red or green uniforms are more "contemporary" but they sure look good on the personnel. Hey, it's made by an Italian designer after all. ;)

      "So it might not be a standard issue on AZ (maybe to prevent gathering around the cockpit on a flight from North America?)."
      - Perhaps but no other airline would restrict the use of the WC like that unless it is being used by the cockpit crew.

      ".. but I miss the old family style service they used to do from the cart where you could pick all of your items a la carte. Breakfast looks a little bit light, especially given the lunchtime arrival."
      - I don't know if this is because of the late dept. or the new procedure. They were still 2 choices for appetizer offered on this flight and from past reports the trolley used to offer 2 items as well. The breakfast was too little for a flight like this. The yogurt was not even on the tray and it was listed on the menu.

      " Definitely not my experience, but maybe with all of the changes to the cabin and AZ image, the EY effect may start to change the crew attitudes as well."
      - I also received good service from FCO-AMS. I was on a winning strike. ;)

      Thank you Michael.

  • Comment 370295 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Nice shots of the cabin! Definitely reminds me of EY in some aspects, looks good.

    Beautiful aerial shots of Toronto after departure.

    "Well as it happened, after I finish my business the toilet would not flush. I pressed that darn button like 5x and it wouldn't work."
    - Completely understand the situation and feeling, it was not your fault and nothing you could control though :) (even though I understand the situation).

    I'm glad you had a great crew on this flight, catering looks really good.

    Stunning landscape before arrival, great shots!

    Nice to end the FR with an AC A333 :).

    Overall it looks like you had a great flight with AZ (few inconveniences from start to finish but I guess nothing is perfect).

    Have a good one, see you later!

    • Comment 370525 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      H RI777.

      "Nice shots of the cabin! Definitely reminds me of EY in some aspects, looks good."
      - Quite similar. I guess it is all in the family. ;)

      "Beautiful aerial shots of Toronto after departure."
      - It's nice to get a view of downtown.

      "Stunning landscape before arrival, great shots!"
      - it' a beautiful country.

      "Nice to end the FR with an AC A333 :)."
      - A gift to the avgeeks. ;)

      As you said, nothing is perfect and one shouldn't expect it (except when flying SQ, I guess) ;)

      Thank you RI777 for stopping.

  • Comment 370810 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 9019 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this very nice experience with us.
    This summer i used the same hotel in YYZ and found it very nice and i enjoyed the pool and fitness center.
    The cabin is nice and I find the dinner both very original and very tempting.
    The breakfast is more conventional but looks good.
    The FA's on this flight seems to have done a great job and I like the new uniforms that are very chic ( the previous ones were boring). Alitalia really seems to be improving and this is good news ! ( they should stop serving this terrible "orange"juice )

    • Comment 370827 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Hi Christophe.

      The Hilton was a very convenient hotel and the service was very good.

      I really prefer the concept of having an amuse bouche with your drinks instead of warm nuts on long haul flights. I shows a bit more thought and effort on the airline's part in my humble opinion. AZ is renowned for its catering, so my expectations were set somewhat higher and it did not disappoint, except for the breakfast part. It would have been nice to add a savory component to the second meal like some cold cuts and cheese slices.

      I had a nice crew who were smiling and professional. Little things like thanking me for waiting while they were getting something out of the closet, holding the door to the WC for me or soliciting if I wanted a different wine with each course made a difference. The uniforms looked well tailored and at first I thought that the contrasting colors between the gloves and the rest of the ensemble were "clashing" but in the end it worked.

      Fresh squeezed orange juice would be an improvement. ;)

      Thank you for your comments.

  • Comment 370841 by
    Rewardflying 494 Comments

    Excellent review jetsetpanda! That eggplant timbale reminded me of a great Italian place I stumbled upon in Long Island many years ago. I think in the town they made that scary movie about. Can't even remember the towns name!

    Alitalia has the Solstys III seats I believe, but I'd never seen them in that "bumble bee" color as NG085 described them as. They looked new, do you know if these are an updated version in their aircraft?

    Alitalia has been in the news over the weekend with their reward chart. It appears some rewards got doubled. Ouch! AMEX has a transfer option with a bonus and I was looking at it as I'd love to fly them. And Delta is messing with this variable price option. Oh well, might have to wait. Thanks again.

    • Comment 372418 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Hi Rewardflying and sorry for the late reply.

      "They looked new, do you know if these are an updated version in their aircraft?"
      - I think these are the new versions that came right after the partnership with Etihad if I am not mistaken.

      Thank you very much for your comments.

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