Air Italy A330 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Hello from Milan! Andrew and I just flew from New York to Milan on Air Italy (we booked our tickets using Avios — see this post for more on how to do that), which is the airline formerly known as Meridiana. The airline recently rebranded, after Qatar Airways took a 49% stake in the carrier.

I was curious to see what their experience would be like, given that I flew an old Meridiana 767 from Naples to New York last summer, which had an awful hard product but an excellent soft product.

Well, Air Italy’s A330 business class was a very pleasant surprise. Actually, I’d argue it was too good for the short seven hour redeye from New York to Milan — they might benefit from simplifying the service.

Air Italy’s A330s are ex-Qatar Airways aircraft, with a total of 24 business class seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration. There are three rows in the forward cabin, and then a mini-cabin with just one row behind the second set of doors.

The seats are technically angled, though the angle is just a few degrees, and I slept without issue (and I’m usually sensitive to angled seats). So this is similar to the angle you’ll find in business class on Emirates, EgyptAir, and Korean Air, rather than on other airlines.

My gosh, the soft product was so good, among the best you’ll find on any transatlantic airline. The service reminded me very much of what you’d get on Qatar Airways, with an Italian twist.

Each business class passenger received an amenity kit, pajamas, slippers, and excellent bedding, with a comfortable blanket and pillow. There was even turndown service when it was time to sleep.

After takeoff there was an extensive dinner service. While it was great, it might have been a bit much for a short redeye, since it took the crew about 2.5 hours to complete the service.

Service began with warm mixed nuts and drinks.

For the appetizer there was the choice between salmon and mango tartare and bresola and Grana cheese.

Then there was a pasta course, consisting of cannelloni with ricotta cheese, spinach, pesto, tomato, and mozzarella.

There were three main course choices, and I selected the grilled salmon in lemon sauce with mixed vegetables.

Then for dessert was a strawberry mousse cake.

I would have much rather slept in given how short the flight was, but I wanted to review the entire service, so asked to be woken up for breakfast, which was excellent as well. I especially enjoyed the cappuccino.

Not only was the food excellent, but all the guys working in business class couldn’t have been more lovely, which matches my previous experience on Meridiana. They were all clearly so proud of their new airline, and delivered charming Italian service along the lines of what you’d get on Qatar Airways.

All food was served directly on the tray table (there were no trays used otherwise), when wine was ordered they’d always bring out the bottle, etc.

I’ll have a full review soon, but I was extremely impressed by Air Italy. I was worried about the angled seats, but that concern was unfounded, because the angle was minor. The food and service were among the best I’ve had in business class on any transatlantic flight.

There were a couple of minor downsides to the product. The entertainment selection wasn’t good, there was no airshow, and while there’s apparently wifi (business class passengers even get vouchers for free wifi), it wasn’t working.

My only other “issue” is that maybe the service was too good for such a short overnight flight, where the focus should be on sleeping?

The airline will only get better from here, as Air Italy will eventually operate Qatar Airways 787s featuring even better seats.

If you’ve flown Air Italy, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. The big problem with this airline is just the network: either you’re in the Milan area, or you won’t have feeder flights to take you there. I sincerely hope they will add some feeder flights from other Italian and European airports soon, because otherwise it’s a pretty situational airline.

  2. Lucky, I disagree!

    Even if it’s a short overnight flight, there is no reason not to have the AMAZING service you described, including the food I can almost taste.

    Those who want to sleep can skip the service. The others should be able to enjoy it!

    I’ve had similarly impressive service on AC from YUL-FCO. To be honest, LH YUL-MUC was a total miss and disaster (bad food, so-so service, long drawn-out meal, and waaaay too early wake-up for a cold-cut breakfast plate in Business!)

    As long as the service is great, it doesn’t matter if it’s a short TATL trip…

  3. Not everyone wants to spend the flight sleeping. Some of us enjoy a nice drawn out dinner service, especially if it’s a nice one like this.

  4. @DC_Flyer
    So do I, but I doubt that BA and IB will let them do this. Now IF Qatar bought IAG instead of having a minority stake in them, it would be a win-win situation… But it won’t happen.

  5. “Not only was the food excellent, but all the guys working in business class couldn’t have been more lovely”

    Really, not a little bit shallow here, aren’t we? How well would this go over if you weren’t quite so gay:

    “The flight attendant chicks were just soooo hot!”

    You’re a hypocrite. And a creep.

  6. Great! Given the excellent soft and the rather poor hard product, they are an excellent option formthe westbound!

  7. Food looks superb but isn’t that a raspberry on the “strawberry mousse cake” ? First time I’ve seen that done but I suppose it shouldn’t really matter…. and that airline omelette looks like the best I’ve seen for ages.

  8. not everyone wants to just sleep the whole flight, even if its a red-eye. Those who want to sleep, sleep, the rest of us will enjoy the incredible food and service!

    Now if only they flew from LAX…

  9. @johnnieYUL: If you want excellent service on a short flight, there was no better flight than the QR 777 DOH-DXB/AUH shuttle. Now, of course, you have to settle for another destination, like MCT or KWI.

  10. @VT-CIE

    The difference seems to be that Qatar knows what it’s doing: the stake in IAG generates big profits, while, so far (it’s still very early days), their hands-on approach to Air Italy seems to be going in the right direction.

    I regret American’s decision to reject Qatar’s offer to take a stake. AA needs the influence of someone who obviously cares about the passenger experience.

  11. @Adil the comic part of the article is the woman that is unhappy with air Belgium because the plane will be smaller than a Dreamliner…. A340 is definitely bigger aahhaha. They should be happy to fly air Belgium. Lucky made a very good review about this airline.

  12. I can’t help but wonder how one could call a 7 hour flight a short flight??? Living at the Seychelles and flying SEZ-JNB, SEZ-DXB and SEZ-AUH frequently, which are all in the 4+ hour range and considered as medium haul long flights, I am wondering how Lucky would call a flight from EWR-BOS or LAX-SFO?

  13. @Hal considering Lucky has never used this platform to inappropriately comment on the attractiveness of anyone (other than playfully crushing on Shawn Mendes, which is always funny), I am going to use common sense to deduce that he is referring to the FA’s service level. You just sound like an ignorant homophobe.

  14. @lucky – this is awesome as I was getting ready to follow your lead and book an Air Italy award from JFK-MXP… BUT since I looked a week ago the surcharges have gone from ~$175 (I think what you paid), to now $205 in economy and $550 business. Any clue why this would be the case?

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