Italy 2017: Introduction
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome (Airbus A330-200)
Hotel Lungarno (Florence)
Dining in Florence
Il Falconerie (Cortona)
Dining in Cortona
Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria
Dining in Rome
Alitalia Lounge Rome (FCO)
Lufthansa Business Class Rome to Munich
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Munich
Lufthansa First Class Munich to Chicago
Alitalia Business Class Chicago to Rome (airbus A330-200)
After making our way through the mess of a check-in line in O’Hare and getting through TSA we made our way to the KLM Lounge. We did not last a minute in there due to the massive over crowding. Seriously there is no point of a lounge when it’s just like the gate area with free drinks. Pretty turned off we grabbed some pizza at a restaurant in the terminal and bided our time until boarding.
We eventually heard an announcement in regards to an Alitalia flight stating a gate change. We paid our bill and headed out for the new gate. Once there, it was mass chaos and they were starting to board business class already. We were just about the last ones to board in business class thus I apologize for the hectic cabin shots.
We boarded through 2L and turned left into the business class cabin which consisted of 20 seats in Alitalia’s Airbus A330. When selecting seats several months ago the very front row love seats and the very back row love seats were taken (of course) so I took the only ones left in row 3, seats E and G.
The cabin is sort of a “bleh” grey color but was freshened up a few years ago with the injection of cash from minority partner Etihad, and so, the seats are a nicer navy blue and tan Italian leather from Poltrona Frau.
The seats are comfortable and wide enough even for a bigger guy like me. I was worried the middle “love seat” would feel a bit confined but it was nice and convenient to hand our son back and forth when needed.
After getting settled in one of the flight attendants came around and offered me a glass of water, champagne or orange juice. My wife and I both had the champagne.
In the foot rest area of our seats were a thick blanket/duvet and pillow.
One thing that I want to point out is that there are no overhead bins over the middle seats thus we stored our carryons on the outside overhead bins over the window seats. We both travel with a backpack as well. My wife has a lot of the baby’s items (toys, snacks, diapers,) in there for quick access. I also keep a backpack with electronics and other stuff so we wanted to keep them near our person but there was nowhere to really put them except at our footrest but the bags were too big. Surprisingly the cabin crew never made us stow them more securely. Later in the flight, in order to sleep, I took my wife’s backpack over to my seat so she could lay the seat flat but that left me with two large backpacks at my seat and I slept in a pretzel position!! Grrrrr……
The TV screens were nice. I thought the IFE had a lot of Italian options but a bit lacking in the English movie selections in my opinion.
Fresh, moist, hot towelettes were distributed just after I got my champagne. Shortly after that the amenity kits were handed out.
They seemed just a bit feminine looking from the exterior but are rather stylish and designed Salvatore Ferragamo and contained his products too.
Since I was wearing my slip on driving shoes I decided to wear the socks provided by the amenity kit.
Our poor son was suffering with his virus and so mom tried to get him calm and divert his attention away from his sore mouth and throat.
Also at our seats were a bottle of water and headphones for the flight.
The seat controls and remote control were built in on the side of the seat and pretty common standard fare for international business class. No instructions needed.
I occasionally checked our flight time using the remote. Our flight was scheduled for eight hours and thirty-four minutes.
After an uneventful pushback, taxi and climb out our cabin crew came around to take our orders. I found it incredibly odd that they just came around to each seat with a check list of sorts and had to explain the menu options to everyone. I asked the nice gentleman serving my isle “do you have menus”? He explained “of course we do, but I don’t know what happened to them for this flight. They were either lost or not loaded.” I could tell he was sort of embarrassed and would have rather not have had to read the menu to ten different passengers. So there will be no menu photos for this trip report.
The meal service started with some sort of seafood appetizer. My wife gave me most of hers as she is not the biggest seafood fan. We ate in shifts as we generally have to do traveling with a lap infant. I told her to eat first and I would hold the baby.
The next course consisted of a sort of pesto pasta. It had good flavor but the only problem was that some of the noodles were raw. Meaning crunch and uncooked! How do you mess up pasta when your an Italian carrier! Later in the flight when the flight attendants realized the noodles were raw they apologized.
My wife chose a chicken and potatoes main entree which was a decent recovery from the pasta.
The Belvita crackers in some of the photos are for our baby as he could not eat anything salty or acidic due to his virus. They were brought onboard by us.
The meal service concluded with a rather nice cheese plate and some small desserts. We both enjoyed a rather fabulous red wine from the northern area of Italy. Quite a shame I didn’t take photo of the bottle or there were no menu’s to refer to.
After most everyone ate and they turned down the cabin lights I advised the flight attendant serving my row that I would take my meal. He of course recommended I have the other type of pasta provided since my wife’s pasta was raw. This was much better.
I went with the fish for my main. Not bad at all.
I quite enjoyed the cheese plate and only left the carrots behind.
My dessert selection varied slightly from my wife.
After I was done eating and everything was cleared we decided to try to get some sleep right away and it wasn’t hard for me as I was so bored of watching anything on the IFE. My wife and baby slept pretty well. The baby had a few very brief moments of crying/screaming but honestly for an 8.5 hour flight he was a champ. I “slept” about three hours and wife and baby about four hours or so.
with about 1.5 hours to go I heard the “clink, clink, clink” noise and so I knew it was people eating breakfast. I decided to get up and get a little food. The pre-landing meal consisted of chocolate croissant, muffin, roll, mixed fruit and yogurt with OJ as the beverage.
Shortly after I ate I woke my wife up and told her to eat some.
The baby eventually got up and ate some yogurt. They also offered to make him some plain pasta too during meal service which was nice. Please note they also provided the lap infant seat belt that attached to our seat belt and asked that he always be strapped in while seated. They seem to offer that in Europe but no in the USA. There was also another infant probably only 4-5 months old in the first row of the business class cabin.
It was not much longer before the captain came on and explained we would be landing shortly. I did have a nice chat with two of the flight crew in the forward galley while waiting for the bathroom. I asked their opinion on the Alitalia “situation” and what do they think is going to happen with the airline currently going through bankruptcy. The more senior cabin crew member was amazed the airline doesn’t have any money because he says the flights are always full. I think they both thought the airline will be around and what is happening now is a bit of a “ploy”. I was kind of surprised by that but I wished them well and hope it all worked out in their favor.
Overall, not a perfect flight but perfectly fine for us and a million times better than economy. Good wine, good service, comfortable lie-flat seat. If we didn’t have our backpack’s we would have had much more space and I would have been more comfortable. In this case I would rather the airline’s just have the overhead bins over the middle seats instead having the cabin look more “airy”.
I booked my wife’s ticket out of her Delta account and my ticket out of my Delta account. I did one booking on my cell phone and the other on a laptop and clicked the reserve button at the same time. Both tickets ticketed fine for the price of $5.60/each and 62,500 Delta Sky miles/each.
As you can see below if we had paid cash it looks like Alitalia was charging $6327.20 for a one-way business class seat.
Then late April 2017 I called Delta to book our son’s lap infant ticket. Many airlines charge 10% of the cash price of the ticket your booked into. Sadly in this case it was $729.60 to have our son sit on our laps….ouch!
I justify the lap infant fee by saying all three of us are going to Europe in business class for less than $250/ per person. We would not have went without our baby and the memories and pictures of him/us that we have on this trip are priceless and worth it to us even though I wish airlines would just eliminate the lap infant fees outright.