Air Italy Launching Flights To Chicago

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Oh my, Air Italy sure is expanding quickly!

Qatar Airways recently acquired a 49% stake in Air Italy, which was formerly known as Meridiana. This seems to be Qatar Airways’ attempt at putting Alitalia out of business (though I doubt that will ever happen).

Qatar Airways has big expansion plans for Air Italy. To start Qatar Airways leased them some A330s, but soon the airline will be getting 787s from Qatar Airways as well, to further fuel their expansion.

Presently Air Italy’s US destinations include New York and Miami.

Just over a week ago the airline announced they’d start flying to Los Angeles and San Francisco as of April 2019. Then yesterday the airline announced they’d start flying to Toronto as of May 2019.

Now the airline has announced a sixth North American destination.

Air Italy has just announced that they’ll be launching flights between Milan and Chicago as of 2019.

This complements Air Italy’s other longhaul routes, to Bangkok, Delhi, and Mumbai, which creates quite a connecting network.

Air Italy’s new Milan to Chicago route

Air Italy will launch 3x weekly nonstop flights between Milan and Chicago as of May 14, 2019. The route will operate with the following schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, using Airbus A330-200s:

IG913 Milan to Chicago departing 1:10PM arriving 4:25PM
IG914 Chicago to Milan departing 6:25PM arriving 10:35AM (+1 day)

The flight will cover a distance of 4,523 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 10hr15min westbound and 9hr10min eastbound.

Air Italy will be the only airline to fly nonstop between Chicago and Milan (just as they’ll be the only airline to fly nonstop from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Milan). That’s a win for consumers.

As Air Italy continues to expand, you can bet that the US airlines will continue to try to take them down. The lobbying group for American, Delta, and United, claims that these new routes disrespect President Trump.

Air Italy has an excellent onboard product

I recently reviewed Air Italy’s business class product based on my flight with them from New York to Milan. The hard product isn’t great, as they have slightly angled seats (though the angle is almost not noticeable).

However, the service, food, drinks, and amenities, were all top notch. I’d fly them again in a heartbeat, especially if traveling with a companion (due to the configuration).

Redeeming miles on Air Italy

The best way to redeem miles on Air Italy is to book through British Airways Executive Club. British Airways shows Air Italy award space online, and the pricing for this route should be as follows:

  • 25,000 Avios one-way in economy class
  • 75,000 Avios one-way in business class

The catch is that the carrier imposed surcharges for Air Italy redemptions recently increased significantly, so you can expect to pay significantly more fees for travel originating in North America than for travel originating in Europe.

Bottom line

I knew Air Italy was going to expand, though I didn’t realize that they’d add four North American routes in a matter of weeks.

This expansion is really exciting for consumers. I expect we’ll see tempting fares, and this is also a great way to earn and redeem miles, especially British Airways Avios.

What do you make of Air Italy’s new flight to Chicago?

  1. 75,000 Avios for one-way business class doesn’t seem too bad with the transfer bonuses that pop up regularly, but the $550 in fees kills it.

  2. What do you think are the chances of Air Italy launching a DC area flight- given Alitalia’s plans to start an FCO- IAD direct flight next summer?

  3. why does IAD have such a hard time attracting these sorts of flights? there’s plenty of empty capacity there. You’d think the gateway to the capital would have some cache…along with tons of rich people who love to travel.

  4. Umm. Not so sure that this will happen. Multiple other airlines have said that this violates law for 5th freedom flight since Qatar own 49% of the airline

  5. Random thought about Air Italy.

    Is it surprising to anyone that Egypt is allowing Air Italy to fly their route from MXP-CAI? Egypt is one of the 4 main countries (Saudi, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt) blockading Qatar. With a 49% interest and high visibility from Qatar Airways involved in in Air Italy, anyone think Egypt might try to block that route?

  6. @ Anon — I think the odds are pretty low. DC isn’t a huge leisure destination. Much of the business travel is government related, and US government employees are under many circumstances required to fly US airlines (or flights with a US airline codeshare).

  7. Wouldn’t you be better off booking this with Iberia Avios for 62.5K in J rather than BA Avios for 75K? For Y the price is the same 25K.

  8. @ Micah & Ben

    Karim Aga Khan IV also owns Air italy…

    This may ease Egypt to allow Air Italy to fly their route from MXP-CAI.

  9. I think Air Italy is following Qatar’s strategy of being a connecting airline for South Asia. Both Chicago and Toronto have a huge South Asian population. That market is also big for leisure business class fares. I think this is a bigger threat to BA / Air France / Lufthansa than any US airline.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if DC followed at some point given it also has a large South Asian population.

  10. Don’t know if anyone else noticed this, but am I the only one that finds it interesting that the BA site uses the Aer Lingus logo for Air Italy flights?

  11. I am hoping this will finally put AZ out of business..its a useless totally bankrupt airline..old fleet and really crappy would be about time..I live in Italy and work in the travel business so I have followed its downfall closely

  12. took there flight from ny to milan the seats are very tight and service wasnt that great and they charge alot for check bags

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