Alitalia has just announced that they’ll be launching a new flight to Washington Dulles as of May 2, 2019.
Alitalia will launch 5x weekly flights between Rome and Washington Dulles as of next spring. The flight will have the following schedule (the flight doesn’t operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in either direction):
AZ618 Rome to Washington Dulles departing 9:30AM arriving 1:30PM
AZ619 Washington Dulles to Rome departing 4:15PM arriving 7:00AM (+1 day)
The flight will cover a distance of 4,495 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 8hr45min eastbound and 10hr westbound.
Alitalia intends to use an Airbus A330-200 for the route, featuring 20 business class seats, 17 premium economy seats, and 219 economy seats. Alitalia has fully flat staggered seats in business class, featuring direct aisle access.
This new flight is now bookable, and according to ExpertFlyer, award availability is wide open in both business and economy (Alitalia uses the “Z” and “U” codes for these awards, respectively).
However, I don’t yet see award availability on the websites of Air France-KLM or Delta. I suspect that’s just because these flights have only just now become bookable, and it may take a while for these seats to show up online. They should be bookable by phone, though.
Alitalia’s current US gateways include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, so this will be Alitalia’s sixth US gateway.
Would I feel comfortable booking this flight, given Alitalia’s financial situation? Yes and no. I do still think the airline will be in business next summer, given that the Italian government refuses to let the airline die. They’re seeking out investors, and Delta is apparently interested in acquiring a stake in the airline.
I’m confident that the airline will still be in business, even if it shouldn’t be. What I’m not as convinced about is that they won’t have some sort of strategy shift, which could put this route in jeopardy.
Still, I’d feel mostly comfortable booking this route, and Alitalia does have a solid business class product.
Does anyone plan on taking Alitalia’s new flight between Rome and Washington? Would you feel comfortable booking an Alitalia flight next summer?
@Jim - I found it, it wasn't Varig (though Varig did fly to IAD as well).
It seems Alitalia flew for ~two years before ending the route from/to Milan, so I'm not going crazy (I hope).
November 5, 2018 at 8:46 pm
Awful timing. 9:30am departure in Rome makes it difficult to connect from anywhere else in Europe, "
Now I know what 7:10am arrival from Kiev was intended for ...
@Trev: Here's the most recent Alitalia Business Class review.
@TravelnWilly Could it have been Varig before they went under? I flew a lot out of IAD back then, and the MD-11s were KLM, Northwest, and Varig as I recall.
@MLM not to be the party crasher but if I read it correctly UA should have not charged you 70k miles for their own metal, at least not at the saver level, it should be only 57.5k. If they had to force it, then I may understand.
I understand your point, but it may have just been a matter of aircraft availability. Besides, where in Europe would you be from that would make FCO a convenient connection point? If this was BA or KL I could see, but this is Italy we're talking about.
Awful timing. 9:30am departure in Rome makes it difficult to connect from anywhere else in Europe, while 4:15pm departure from the US makes it impossible to get a full day's work in. Why do airlines do this? That's the only time they could get gates at both ends? Doubtful given how empty IAD is, although I know FCO can be busy. I would much rather see a 12:30pm departure from Rome and a 7:15pm departure from DC.
As the flag carrier, Alitalia is not a joke of an airline. It provides pretty good service, especially in business class where the food is terrific. It is one of the world's oldest operating air carriers. Financially it has had issues for decades and, yes, under any other circumstance it should have gone out of business based on that alone. That said there's pride, unions and economics involved. The government of Italy keeps the airline...
As the flag carrier, Alitalia is not a joke of an airline. It provides pretty good service, especially in business class where the food is terrific. It is one of the world's oldest operating air carriers. Financially it has had issues for decades and, yes, under any other circumstance it should have gone out of business based on that alone. That said there's pride, unions and economics involved. The government of Italy keeps the airline afloat financially. Any partnering, buy outs of Alitalia would certainly involve what happened with Swiss, Austrian, Iberia, Aer Lingus. The Lufthansa Group and IAG got the OK based on, among many aspects of closing the deals, that the acquired carrier name continues, that separate CEOs be maintained, that operational headquarters (jobs) be based in the original country. Italy would be no different. So, Alitalia will be around for some time to come.
Slightly off topic, but didn’t Alitalia fly to IAD during the mid aughts? I seem to recall seeing a MD-11 parked there at a remote stand while I was disembarking an arriving LH flight.
Then again I could be hallucinating or lying...
How can such a joke of an airline remain in business? For years, there have been rumors that it was about to go bankrupt?
I had a recent similar experience with a flight on Ethiopian Airlines from LAX to Dublin using UA miles. When our flight in May '19 was canceled, I contacted UA, and now have a UA flight to Dublin using the same 70,000 mile Biz ticket we had booked on Ethiopian. It did require me talking to a supervisor for them to honor my chosen flight AT THE SAME MILEAGE as the Ethiopian flight.
The flight time are inconvenient. I don’t like overnights leaving so early in the afternoon.
I wouldn't worry about booking on them if doing so with miles through Delta or AF/KL. Even if Alitalia goes belly up, I'm sure they would re-accommodate on their own metal. This has happened to me several times in past when partner airlines have had schedule changes that ruined award tickets I had booked.
I'd maybe book with them for cash in some protected fashion where I could dispute the charges but I don't think I'd gamble miles on this unless there was a way to get the miles back if they default. I would assume if I used AF miles or whatever and they defaulted the airline I booked through would have to come up with a solution. Or if I had a flight coming up soon and didn't have to wait several months to find out.
It took Alitalia two and half years to refund my 700 Euro business class error fare tix. So yeah, nah, I will pass...
Also involving Washington Dulles, there are rumors that TAP Portugal will launch flights to Dulles from Lisbon. While I did reach out to them and they said they couldn't confirm or deny that rumor, if they do start that route, I would assume that they would use the Airbus A321LR or Airbus A330neos which they have on order now.
A hyperlink to your review would be cool in that last sentence