The Alitalia long haul Business Class offers a high level of comfort, sleek cabins and a good service. Yet, the carrier is struggling financially for years now. In this review I’ll explain why you should fly Alitalia nevertheless, especially in Business Class.
Every other day, great fares for flights in the Alitalia long haul Business Class pop up. That’s not very surprising as the airline is badly struggling financially for years now and the future remains unclear, as usual. However, the state didn’t let Alitalia go bankrupt for ages now, so I’m quite certain that this might not happen in the next years either.
That aside, the experience in the Alitalia Business Class is quite good. Despite a rather short flight, I had a very good time on my flight from Abu Dhabi to Rome in an Airbus A330, which I booked with my remaining Alitalia Millemiglia miles.
Thanks to my airberlin Platinum Status, I was allowed to enter the Etihad Airways First Class Lounge prior to my Alitalia departure.
Please note that this is no longer possible as airberlin went out of business in late 2017. After the comfortable lounge experience, the boarding experience was the mess it always is at Abu Dhabi Airport. We had to get into a bus, wait for a while and drive for another ten minutes.
This not so nice experience aside, the cabin of the Alitalia long haul Business Class immediately made a good impression on me. The seats are arranged in the same way as in the old airberlin Business Class or the old version of the Etihad Airways Business Class.
This means that you’ll find staggered seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. In the window rows, the seats alternate between being closer to the window and closer to the aisle (I’d highly recommend a “real” window seat). In the middle row, there are seats closer to the aisle as well as a pair of seats very close to each other every other row. Those seats are especially great for couples, but very awkward in any other situation.
Let’s speak about the seats themselves. The bones of the Alitalia long haul Business Class aren’t especially modern, but the seats are fairly comfortable and come with a very sleek design, which you’d expect of an Italian airline.
The combination of gold and red is very nice and makes the cabin look quite stylish.
While the seats are comfortable and offer a good amount of legroom, there’s a lack of storage. There’s a small compartment right next to the seat, where the headphones are stored. Then there is a further very small open compartment close to the reading lamp.
Here you can also find a small literature pocket. Last but not least, there’s some storage space (e.g. for your shoes) in the ottoman. All in all, that’s not exactly a lot of space to put things, which makes it very tough to have your laptop or something of this size with you for take-off or landing.
Other than that, the seats come with all the typical functions, including a (weak) massage function. You can control the seats with an easy to use touch panel, which allows you to move the seat in a few different positions. You may also stop in-between when you found a nice position. All seats can be moved in a fully flat position.
Finishing off the section about the seat itself it’s worth noting that there is lack of privacy on all aisle (including the “fake” window) seats, which are totally exposed. The other seats are way better in that regard, so be sure to choose a good seat as early as possible.
Upon boarding, a red neck pillow was already waiting at my seat. However, that didn’t remain the only option to make sleeping more comfortable in the Alitalia Business Class. While there are no pyjamas offered and there is also no mattress pad, I was given a thick and comfortable pillow as well as a nice blanket.
As I’ve already mentioned, all seats can be moved in a fully flat position. Like that, you can sleep fairly well with the bedding (you’ll need to make your own “bed” though). With the comfortable pillow and blanket I slept quite well. While Alitalia doesn’t offer the most comfortable bed in the sky, it’s totally fine if you grab one of the real window seats or the “honeymoon seats”.
The Alitalia flight from Abu Dhabi to Rome comes with a rather uncomfortable schedule, departing way past midnight and arriving in the very early morning hours. Prior to departure, you can have a welcome drink of your choice, which is served in glassware, but without nuts or anything.
After departure, you can have another drink (with nuts this time) and after that a snack from the substantial snack menu (including hot options). I skipped that meal and went straight to sleep instead. I asked the crew to wake me up for breakfast though, which they promptly did approximately 90 minutes before landing.
The breakfast menu had three different hot options as well as several cold ones. Still not very hungry, I just had the pancakes and the fruit plate, which both were very good.
The crew was offering drink refills twice during breakfast, which was one of my limited interactions with them.
The entertainment offerings in the Alitalia Business Class are quite substantial, too. First of all, I was offered a newspaper or magazine from a wide selection (mainly Italian though) after boarding.
Second, there’s an entertainment system, which isn’t the most modern and takes it time in all steps. The screen isn’t the best either, but the choice of movies, music and games is absolutely fine.
It’s not on the same level to what Emirates or Lufthansa offer, but it’s totally okay. Sadly, the provided headphones didn’t only look cheap, but also weren’t really cancelling any noise or were good quality in any other regard.
Last but not least, Alitalia has WiFi in most of its long haul aircraft, which is fairly priced. I didn’t have a chance to test the speed due to my short flight through the night though.
The amenities in the Alitalia long haul Business Class include the mentioned headphones and an amenity kit. There are no slippers or pyjamas offered. The amenity kit was really great though.
Not only are the amenities wrapped in a beautiful black sleeve with Alitalia design touches, but the content is more than just satisfying.
A selection of Bulgari amenities, a comb, a perfume, a dental kit, a comfort kit including a toothbrush, socks, a sleeping mask etc. made up for an incredible selection for business class. Very well done Alitalia!
Summing up my experience with Alitalia is easy: While the seats aren’t the most amazing out there, everything else is quite good. This makes me recommend Alitalia overall, not only due to their constantly good offers for departures in Europe. The cabin looks stylish, the seats are fairly comfortable and offer a decent sleeping experience (especially the real window seats), the catering offerings are on a high level and the service standards on my flight were high, too. Only the entertainment system is a little disappointing, but the entertainment selection, including WiFi, is still good overall. Overall, I’d definitely recommend flying with Alitalia.