Flight Review: Alitalia Business Class Rome (FCO) to Los Angeles


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Both Delta and Alitalia are part of the SkyTeam Alliance and offer numerous flight options for travel from the US to Italy. In early August I had the chance to fly back from a Europe vacation with Alitalia in business class from Rome (FCO) to Los Angeles (LAX). The flight is approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes and Alitalia operate a 777-200ER on the route with 30 lie flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The FCO to LAX flight departs mid-morning from Terminal 1 at Fiumicino Airport which is about a 40-minute drive from the city center of Rome. The check-in area has several Sky Priority agents to make the process quick with prevalent signage.

Before heading to security and EU exit immigration, Alitalia has a lounge for passengers to stop in.

The lounge has ample seating, but limited food options and is probably best for a short visit.

Inside the lounge is the Pilot Bar which is a great place to grab an espresso or cappuccino before making the long trek to the next Alitalia lounge.  

The main lounge is about a 20-minute walk from the check-in area past both security and EU exit immigration. Depending on how crowded airport is this can take over one hour to reach.

The lounge does get quite busy during the early morning departures and when I arrived, it took a few minutes before I was able to enter.

Inside, the lounge has lots of seating for groups and individuals with both table seating for eating and leather chairs for relaxing.

The food was quite varied and included pastries, cold cuts, simple hot dishes, fruit, yogurt, cereal, and juices. Additionally, the bar was serving drinks including coffees, teas, and morning cocktails.

About an hour before scheduled departure, I made my way to the gate area which was quite full and found the queue for the Sky Priority lane. Unfortunately, there was no way to grab a full photo of the beautiful Boeing 777. The cabin is split into two parts, with majority of the seats in the forward portion and a small mini cabin aft of the second boarding door.

Each business class seat is direct aisle access, but lack storage and the universal power outlet is not conveniently located. I find the seat has a fair amount of privacy if sitting in A and L seats, but aisle seats are pretty much open. Odd number rows with middle seat letters E and G are excellent for couples, while D and H are best for individual travelers in the middle rows.

Each seat has a large 15.4” touch screen IFE system with the latest movies, but not the largest selection to pick from. The footwell doesn’t feel claustrophobic and the tray table mechanism provides a very firm surface for dining or using as a work station.

The adjustable seat has a two massage options and can easily be changed from upright to lounge or bed with just a single button. Additionally, the IFE controller can serve as a secondary screen showing route map or as a remote for the main display.

Before take-off, the flight attendants came around with menus, pre-departure sparking wine, and newspapers. The main meal consisted of an appetizer, first course, second course, followed by accompaniments, cheese board, and fruit plate.   

I started with the Neapolitan traditional “rinforzo” salad, but skipped the first course. The first course options were either a Casarecce pasta in sea food and monkfish sauce or traditional rice Sartu.

For the second course I had the traditional Neapolitan “Braciola di Scamone” with sautéed escarole and eggplant. I found the foot to be quite tasty and really enjoyed the heavy dinnerware that was served without a tray.

For dessert I had sliced seasonal fruit, which was displayed very plainly, but fresh tasting.

About an hour before landing, they served a light meal consisting of some cheese and meat with bread and more fresh fruit.

Overall, I thought the seat was very comfortable for the long journey, but the flight attendants were not very attentive and the meal serving portions were quite small. There were several occasions where I tried to get the attention of a cabin crew and they seemed to be completely obviously.

Lastly, thanks to the Los Angeles (LAX) airport construction, were we parked at the far end of the airport and had to wait about 30 minutes before buses could shuttle us to the customs and immigration, but I don’t think Alitalia has much control of where the airplanes are parked during the construction.

 

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Comments

  1. Great review but a few spelling errors – “food”, not “foot” and “oblivious”, not “obviously”.

  2. Did you skip a course because you thought that would be too much food? Or did you not think you would like any of those choices in that course? I am having trouble reconciling your choice to skip a course with your comment that “the meal serving portions were quite small.” Italian meals typically have an extra course and smaller portions.

  3. The portions are small in part because they offer an extra course. I don’t think anyone offers a better transatlantic business class meal – and in fact it’s better than many first class meals.

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