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Flight Review: Alitalia A330 New Magnifica Business Class Milan – JFK

by on June 3, 2013 · 16 comments

in Alitalia, Trip Reports

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To top off an incredible weekend in Italy with some great friends where I went to Florence and then Milan to see Beyonce, we got to fly back to the states in Alitalia’s new Magnifica Business class product aboard the airline’s A330-200.

I’ve been eager to get on one of these flights since I was able to experience the old business class on their 777 back in October of 2011 on a flight from Rome to Miami. My expectations were far exceeded on that flight since the crew was so nice, the food was good, the service was great and the seats were pretty comfortable so I was excited to see what was in store for this trip with a much newer seat.

The new Magnifica seats are much more comfortable and stretch out farther than the old seats (on left).

The new Magnifica seats are much more comfortable and stretch out farther than the old seats (on left).

This flight was the return portion of the award I had  booked to get to Milan using Delta miles. Although the award I originally booked a low-level award for just 100,000 miles total to fly Delta BusinessElite via Madrid and then Alitalia back, I noticed the day before departure that space had opened up on the non-stop JFK-MXP Delta flight, so I switched our tickets to that instead and spent an extra 50,000 per ticket for mid-level availability, which allowed us to better maximize our time on the ground in Italy and avoid a layover.

In total I had redeemed 150,000 SkyMiles for my ticket and paid about $50, flying business class both ways. Although it wasn’t the lowest level award, I felt the convenience factor was worth it, and since the face value of my ticket would have been about $4,500, I still got a good value out of my miles.

Business class is in a 1-2-1 alignment so seats on the side have much more privacy.

Business class is in a 1-2-1 alignment so seats on the side have much more privacy.

The A330-200 has 3 classes of service, Magnifica (business) with 28 seats, Classica Plus (premium economy) with 21 seats and Classica (economy) with 181 seats. The alignment for business was a 1-2-1 which offers more privacy for those sitting in window seats, the seats together in the middle, which are often referred to as “honeymoon seats,” are nice if you’re traveling with a companion. We were in the second mini business class cabin which only has two rows and my friend sat across the aisle and I had two seats together in the middle, which was awesome since storage is somewhat limited in these seats.

The seat was roomy enough for me in both the upright and lie-flat position.

The seat was roomy enough for me in both the upright and lie-flat position.

Magnifica class seats have 43.5 inches in pitch and are 21 inches wide. They recline to a fully horizontal lie-flat bed.  The seats on the 777 that I had flown were the old-school recliner seats which I didn’t find to be uncomfortable for a day flight, but the new seats are definitely a big improvement. These lie-flat seats were great and I could fit comfortably when laying down.

The amenity kit came with some nice Bvlgari goodies like

The amenity kit came with some nice Bulgari goodies like a face emulsion, after shave, lip balm, and body lotion.

I always love seeing the products that come in different airlines’ amenity kits. Alitalia gave out a nice Bulgari cosmetic case that came with a nourishing face emulsion, after shave emulsion, lip balm, body lotion, and socks. Each seat also had a 15.4-inch inflight entertainment system with a bunch of music, TV, game and movie selections.

The menu had some authentic Tuscan dishes to offer like an appetizer of Tomato Mush.

The menu had some authentic Tuscan dishes to offer like an appetizer of Tomato “Mush.”

Before stretching out in my lie-flat seat I wanted to enjoy a good meal. Lunch consisted of four courses with the option for a snack as well.  In the past when I flew Alitalia business class, I thought the food was decent, though some courses were much better than others. Alitalia serves meals from carts where you can pick whatever you want to eat.

Alitalia's flight attendants

Alitalia’s flight attendants serve the meals from carts where you can pick what you want.

To kick off my meal I started with the Tuscan Tomato Mush. It doesn’t have the most appetizing name or appearance but it was a light way to start the meal, though it didn’t have a ton of flavor (they actually included the recipe in the menu booklet).

For an appetizer I had the Tomato Mush and Italian omelette.

For an appetizer I had the Tomato Mush and Italian omelette.

I also tried the Italian omelette with fresh artichokes and Sardinian sheep’s-milk cheese which was decent, though not exactly thrilling.

Pasta with

Fusilli with San Marzano tomatoes and basil.

For my first course I ordered the pasta with San Marzano tomatoes and basil. While it wasn’t nearly as delicious as some of the pasta I had when I was in Italy, I thought it was good for airplane standards. I also tried the creamy pasta – crespelle with Bechamel sauce – which was so rich I couldn’t actually taste anything but pure fat. I passed on that to enjoy my calories elsewhere!

Veal rolls with lettuce, porcini mushrooms and Pgi Colonnata lard.

Veal rolls with lettuce, porcini mushrooms and Colonnata lard.

I got to try a little of each entree, the first being Veal rolls with lettuce, porcini mushrooms and Colonnata lard, and the second was stewed monkfish in tomato, caper and olive sauce. Both were very tasty but I preferred the monkfish since the veal was a little dry and heavy for my taste.

Rosemary bread, bowl of fresh fruit and a snack plate of Pdo ham, pecorino cheese, and artichoke pie.

Rosemary bread, bowl of fresh fruit and a snack plate of ham, pecorino cheese, and artichoke pie.

About 90 minutes before arrival at JFK they served the snack option of ham, Pecorino reggiano cheese and country-style artichoke and a bowl of seasonal fruit. To be honest, this was my favorite course- I can’t get enough fresh Italian cheese!

I was sad to leave Italy but atleast we got to ride in style!

I was sad to leave Italy but at least we got to ride in style!

Because it was a day flight, I didn’t want to sleep too much, so I took my time over the meal, settled in to get some work done and watch some TV and then took a short nap before the mid-afternoon snack. The movie selection was pretty good and I watched Django Unchained, which was highly entertaining on many levels. I’m just thankful I finished my meals before a lot of the brutality- especially at the end ;-)

The bed was really comfortable with a light duvet and good-sized pillow all in upscale Frette linens , which was a nice touch.

After such a busy weekend running around Italy and trying to see as much as we could in our short time, flying home in Alitalia’s enhanced business class was a treat and I would definitely fly it again in the future- especially since Alitalia awards always price out at the low-level using Delta and all of the Delta agents I spoke with had no issues booking these flights, unlike fellow SkyTeam partners Air France and KLM.

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  • Corky

    So does that mean if you use SkyMiles to book an Alitalia roundtrip and can find availability, it’s guaranteed to come in at 100,000 for business class as long as all your legs are Alitalia?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes as long as the routing is valid

  • Corky

    So I’m guessing that if I wanted to fly MSP to Rome for the fewest SkyMiles, I’d probably do well to get a separate ticket from MSP to Chicago (cheap), then fly Alitalia direct from Chicago to Rome, as opposed to taking on the risk of seeing what the SkyMiles-calculation algorithm would charge for the MSP-Chicago leg.

  • DJE

    Hey TPG. Kinda new to this site. I need help booking a hotel for a vacation. My wife and I want to go away to either Cancun or St. Marteen (or if you suggest other nice beautiful places to go) anywhere between July 18-August 11. I now nothing about which are the good hotels and what good deals one can get. I’m not sure even if this is the right place to ask this question. Can you please help me out here or lead me in the right direction? Thanks a million

  • Corky

    Are there other airlines that always price out low on SkyMiles?

  • thepointsguy

    All partners (should) price at low level

  • Jason Gerdon

    Nice TR! Can’t wait for my own Alitalia Magnifica adventure from LAX to FCO next week. Flew Classica Plus last year and from all accounts, Magnifica looks like a HUGE upgrade.

  • KM

    I’m glad to see the amenity kit has a face cream. I wish more airlines would add this. They always have body lotion, but a face cream is much more useful on a long dry flight.

  • Pingback: Get cheap flights in Business class by using airline miles | Mile Adventures

  • David

    Taking this flight next week. Any thoughts on 6A v. 5C (A330-200, MXP > JFK)? Curious whether the window / aisle would be better here. Seatexpert is showing 6A as better, but would be interested to get your point of view. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Flight Review: Delta 767-300ER BusinessElite Amsterdam-Newark AMS-EWR | The Points Guy

  • William

    Jason – how was your LAX to FCO flight? I just reserved a Magnifica seat on the 777-200ER. The seat map shows 1-2-1 so I’m hoping this is the updated configuration like on the 330. Your feedback is much appreciated.

  • Jason Gerdon

    LAX -> FCO is one of the best flights of my life. For all their issues, I actually love Alitalia. I was on the 772 as well, so if I were you, and if you’re traveling alone, I would go for seat 3A or 3L. These seats are the most private if you’re traveling alone and offer a great experience. Enjoy the trip!

  • Allan

    Any chance you still have that after shave? They don’t make it in the US and I am dying for it!! Please tell me you do!

  • Shaahin Ghazaghian

    Hi everybody!
    I fly out on Alitalia in a few weeks…
    Toronto to Madrid connecting in Rome, do any of you know if the business class ticket gets you access to the lounge in Rome?
    Thank you!

  • thepointsguy

    Yes you do get access

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