Review of Alitalia flight Los Angeles Rome in Business

Airline Alitalia
Flight AZ621
Class Business
Seat 3A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200
Flight time 11:50
Take-off 30 Jul 13, 15:25
Arrival at 31 Jul 13, 12:15
AZ   #126 out of 131 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 257 reviews
pititom
By GOLD 23986
Published on 28th October 2013
This flight is part of a longer routing whose each leg has been covered in French. But I decided to translate into English two of these flights :

- one with Emirates because of their excellent overall product during this flight,
- a the present one as it describes an interesting and not so common product ex-USA : Alitalia.


1. Paris, Charles de Gaulle - Dubai, International - Emirates A380, Business (French only)
2. Dubai, International - Londres, Heathrow - Emirates A380, First
3. Londres, Heathrow - Atlanta, Hartfield Jackson - British Airways B777, First (French only)
4. Atlanta, Hartfield Jackson - New York, La Guardia - American Airlines CRJ900, Domestic First (French only)
5. New York, JF Kennedy - Seattle, Tacoma - American Airlines B737, Domestic First (French only)
6. Seattle, Tacoma - San Francisco, International - Alaska Airlines B737, Domestic First (French only)
7. San Francisco, International - Los Angeles, World Airport - Delta Airlines CRJ 900, Economy (French only)
8. Los Angeles, World Airport - Rome, Fiumicino - Alitalia B777, Magnifica (Business LC) (you are here)
9. Rome, Fiumicino - Paris, Charles de Gaulle, Alitalia A321, Ottima (Business MC) (French only)

I was spending a few days with friends in San Francisco, but Alitalia only operates from Los Angeles on the West coast, so I had a feeding flight with Delta, which incurred a terminal change. This was not a problem as I had planned 3 hours layover in Los Angeles, plus my flight was announced with a small delay which offered me extra time.

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The bad thing was, Delta couldn't print my boarding pass in San Francisco and I had to queue again at check-in in Los Angeles. And with many SkyTeam flights flying out at this time, the crowd was packed. Luckily, the SkyPriority lane saved me a lot of time.

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Just as it saved me as much for the security lanes. LAX can be a terrible airport and Terminal 2 is clearly overloaded. And unfortunately, it has other downsides : a low offer of services and a depressing appearance.

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Because this terminal as so little to offer, I decide to directly head to the lounge. The entrance is not engaging with this corridor that seems to be a former fire exit.

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Lounges from all companies are gathered on the second floor around an atrium overlooking the airside zone. There is an Air France lounge that welcomes Alitalia, as part of the Skyteam agreements.

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My readings here taught me to avoid the Air France lounge if possible, and I will try to sneek in the NZ lounge as it also displays an AF logo. Unfortunately, this is reserved for AF First Class passengers only.

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So Business Class passengers are to use the AF lounge : it does not bode well for its quality if Air France doesn't even dare sending its own F passengers and prefer sending them to the J lounge of their competitor !

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And my fears will prove founded : the lounge is small and poorly kept. Furniture is old and ill-assorted…the supposedly broken furniture has been replaced with meeting rooms chairs and tables. And the restrooms open directly to the dining area.

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All the food offering is sumed up on this photography. At this time of day, it's not a big deal, but for later flights, it seems impossible do dine in the lounge in order to gain a few hours sleep.

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The bar is self-service and does not offer any premium ; although the Coppola wine was better than I expected.

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Consequently, my selection is limited but I find a seat by the windows, offering an excellent view over the trafic.

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Watching the trafic in LAX is an invitation to travel by itself : companies from around the world come and go every two minutes…



Between the movements, I get to see my plane arriving : it will be Alitalia's B772 in SkyTeam livery.



The last plane I will shoot is a B747-8i from Lufthansa, when the announcement for boarding is called.

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Again the crowd is packed. A SkyPriority lane has been set up but I feel like going through a football pack to reach it !

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Only one jetbridge has been attached to this 3-classes (J/W/Y) B772 with almost 300 pax.

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I make my way to the left for the Magnifica cabin, Alitalia's international business class. The cabin is elegant, although a bit on the gray side, and passengers are welcomed by the purser.

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The seats are large, confortable and upholstered with fine Italian leather. A duvet and a pillow are already made available.

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There is boarding music while the in-flight system displays basic information about the upcoming flight.

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A welcome drink is offered with a choice of water, orange juice or Prosecco, a sparking wine from Italia. Having flown AZ before, I know their Prosecco is a sweet one which doesn't please my palate at all. So water it will be ;)

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Another flight attendant travels the cabin, greeting each passenger and handing a full size amenity kit from Italian designer Bulgari. I will describe later this high quality set which is unfortunately offered in its blister-pack.

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Newspaper and magazines are offered.

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We push back with the 20 minutes expected delay but it will be easily made up on this 12 hours flight.

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Safety video is played during taxi, which requires staff to unlock and then lock back all screens.

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We take off after a short taxi. Bye bye Los Angeles :)



As my final destination is CDG, I could have flown AF (this is an award flight and the amount of miles is fixed, whatever route and company I chose) but they still don't have flat-bed seats (there are rumours about the Cirrus some day) so I prefered a small detour for a long sleep ;)



As we're taking altitude, I unpack the amenity kit to show you the content : nothing is missing but a pen (it can always be usefull when customs and immigration at destination require forms).

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Service starts with an oshibori, followed by a full bar offer. With 1 flight attedant for 5 passengers in J, the ratio ensures a smooth service.

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The noise cancelling headset works good, even if there are better ones out there.

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Flight goes on as the diner service starts.

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Table is nicely set up. I find elegance in the use of a service tray instead of the trolley.

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The diner is a typical full four courses Italian one, but there is an express version for those looking for extra sleep.

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The bar list, which is fully Italian except for the Chivas whisky.

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Same thing for the wine…and also for the food as you will see later. Alitalia banks on the all-over-the-world popular Italian flavours. And true, they can't go wrong (even if they did a mistake with the vintage of this bottle that doesn't match the list ;) )

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An Italian meal starts with antipasti : Italian ham, melon and traditionnally crafted cheese for the cold selection.

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Followed by breaded mozarella for the hot selection.

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Detail on the pepperpot between the courses ;)

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After the antipasti come the pastas, with a choice of Ragu or Pesto sauces. I will try both, as will suggest the flight attendant. All the service is made on the cart, with fine china.

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This is what I call a diner with a view :)

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Although the main selection isn't original with a veggie dish, chicken or fish, I find my oven backed salmon with grilled vegetables to be excellent.

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It is served with a side salad, which comes with real Italian dressing ;)

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I am full before the dessert but because I want to make a complete report of this flight, I still go for some fruits and a small coffee tart.

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A final offering of coffee and liqueurs is made before the blinds are shut for the passengers looking for some sleep. It's a bit early for me and I decide to watch a movie first.

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At the end of my movie, half the cabin is asleep. The staff has provided everyone with water bottles, and there is a small snack bar set up in the galley.

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Back to my seat, I press the Flat Bed button and go to sleep…

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This is the first picture I took when I woke up : we are almost on the Italian border, which means that I have slept a good 8 hours through the flight. This is the best proof I can bring about the confort of this seat.

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Not only the seat, but the pillow and the duvet also bring confort.

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We fly over the Alps when the crew starts the breakfast service.

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This time a tray is used but the hot dish is brought separately. No photo as I declined the hot selection.

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On the other hand, I gladly accepted two espressos, which were perfect (understand : strong !)

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Descent to FCO started after breakfast, offering nice views of the Italian coast under a perfect blue sky.



And finally, we arrived on time in Roma. The airport has nothing to write about, but it is not as bad as it used to be, after some renovations.

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I still have one more flight to reach Paris, but I have enough time to head to the lounge for a refreshing shower.

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See more

Verdict

Alitalia

8.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering8.0

Air France - KLM Lounge

1.4/10
Comfort1.5
Meal/catering1.5
Entertainment/wifi1.0
Services1.5

Los Angeles - LAX

3.5/10
Efficiency2.5
Access4.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness3.5

Rome - FCO

7.1/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Alitalia is offering an excellent product to Europe. Both hard and soft products are very good. If Italy is your final destination, your journey really starts at boarding. I would rate catering a 10 if there were some more decent bubbly wines ;

The Terminal 2 in LAX is really bad. I don't know about the upcoming plans but I believe something will be done about it with the works going on.

Alitalia is not a company with a good reputation, but trust me, their business class is to try urgently before they go bankrupt :(

Related

5 Comments

  • Comment 91268 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful report about AZ. The amenity kit and meal service on trolleys are for sure First Class elements. It's too bad that they are going through financial problems again and looking for a new buyer. It seems that AZ had made an honest effort to improve themselves and set their old image behind.

    • Comment 283353 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 10121 Comments

      Talking about First Class, I really think that many companies should simply remove F from their planes and concentrate all efforts on a great J.

      Before Magnifica, I would not put a foot in their old business class ^^

  • Comment 91317 by
    Leadership TEAM GOLD 4258 Comments

    well no tribute to the starving Leader in this version ^^

    This lounge is just a joke, I am glad that with the v2 we can now lounges and this one clearly deserves this mark.
    Nice spotting however, I am really tempted to fly with LH only to try out their 748.

    Good to know that this seat is bigger on the 777, it sure makes the difference for tall people, however IFE from the 332 (including airshow and camera) is more modern.

    Beside that catering is always an highlight with flawless presentation even if dishes (I guess there is a typo on the menu with diches) are quite basic, they are at least well executed.

    Thanks again Thomas for this comprehensive report ;)

    • Comment 283352 by
      pititom GOLD AUTHOR 10121 Comments

      I won't use the references grown in the French version in my English FR, it would not make sense. But I am pretty sure this one will born again in the English version soon ;)

      It's really short on the A330 : I'm 6'2 and was touching both ends. Here is really fine.

      I have to precise also that the whole crew was fluent in English, which helped a nice service too.

  • Comment 93677 by
    Travip 108 Comments

    Thanks for the report. The lounge looks boring but the meals seem to be delicious. :)

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