Alitalia Launching San Francisco Flights

Filed Under: Alitalia

Oh, Alitalia. The airline might be on the brink of liquidation for over a year now, but that’s not stopping them from expanding.

Alitalia Launching Flights To San Francisco

Alitalia has just announced an interesting new seasonal route launching in the summer of 2020.

Alitalia will operate 3x weekly flights between San Francisco and Rome in the summer of 2020. The route will operate from June 1 through October 28, 2020, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The schedule for the flight will be as follows:

AZ640 Rome to San Francisco departing 9:15AM arriving 1:15PM
AZ641 San Francisco to Rome departing 3:15PM arriving 12:15PM (+1 day)

The 6,264 mile flight is blocked at 13hr westbound and 12hr eastbound.

Alitalia plans to use a Boeing 777-200 for the route, featuring 30 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 239 economy seats.

The new flight is already available for booking.

Alitalia’s Overall US Strategy & Competing With Air Italy

San Francisco will be Alitalia’s seventh US destination, as the airline also flies to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington.

It’s interesting to note that historically Alitalia has been part of the SkyTeam transatlantic joint venture, which also included Air France-KLM and Delta. However, they’re in the process of being kicked out of that joint venture, as a new joint venture is being formed between Air France-KLM, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic. So that can’t be good for Alitalia’s yields on transatlantic flights.

It’s also interesting to me that Air Italy actually launched seasonal flights to San Francisco this past summer, so for now they’ve been the only Italian airline to fly to San Francisco. They’ll operate 5x weekly flights again next summer using an A330 between Milan and San Francisco.

While Air Italy operates to Milan rather than Rome, that’s still a fair bit of capacity between San Francisco and Italy.

Bottom Line

Alitalia is fascinating. Even though the airline is constantly on the brink of liquidation, they continue announcing new routes as if nothing is going on. And fair enough, because that has been working for them, and when push comes to shove the Italian government won’t let them die.

This is a cool addition for the Bay Area, as there will be more connectivity between San Francisco and Italy this coming summer than ever before.

What do you make of Alitalia’s new Rome to San Francisco flight?

  1. They can easily announce new routes to Fiji and Timbuktu as well, cause they won’t be around next summer.

  2. Please get your facts straight. Alitalia is not launching this service because they ended it sometime after 9/11.

  3. If my memory serves correctly their 777 is quite outdated. I see on other sites people complaining about the condition of the aircraft. I wonder if they are refreshing the plane. I also wonder when the other Sky Team members will begin announcing new routes to Italy since their partnership will be ending

  4. In addition to the new Air Italy MXP-SFO flight, Norwegian started year round 3x weekly FCO-OAK flights last year. That’s going from zero to three carriers flying between Italy and the Bay Area in a two year timespan.

  5. I recall transiting sfo-fco using alitalia in May 2000.
    the equipment used then in both directions- a 763ER.
    shortly after twin towers incident, services was suspended.

  6. “It’s also interesting to me that Air Italy actually launched seasonal flights to San Francisco this past summer, making them the first Italian airline to fly to San Francisco. ”

    Norwegian flies between Oakland and Rome as well…technically not “San Francisco”, but that’s like arguing Newark isn’t “New York”, it’s the same market.

    @AC – the San Francisco Chronicle says the SFO service discontinued after 9/11 was to Milan, not Rome, so this could be a new route for Alitalia. Or the Chronicle could be wrong, as whoever did the last Wikipedia updated labeled the new SFO-FCO service as a “resumption”, so perhaps it was discontinued before the Milan service? Either way, I’d say a 18 year gap makes it a “new route”, even if the term isn’t 100% technically accurate.

  7. I just came back from a 3 week trip in Europe and flew on Alitalia between Bologna/Rome/Budapest. The Airbus aircraft (both flights) was probably the most un-inviting aircraft I’ve ever been on…..and I’ve been flying since 1961. The armrest at my seat had the entire “cap” gone…with wiring and other “things” in view. The second flight had be in a window seat with the plastic “cover” between me and the actual glass window loose to the point where I could actually take my fingers and shake it…..could probably have just pulled it off……but……. I will NOT recommend Alitalia simply because of this “introduction” to this airline on two different flights. Yuck.

  8. I’ve never had a bad flight on Alitalia and I’ve flown them off and on since 1981. Most recently, an A330 from JFK to FCO in J and the food and service was spectacular and the seat very comfortable. Not sure they’ve been “kicked out” of their JV but I’m sure they will survive without KLM and AF, who, in my opinion have inferior J hard products. This route is good news.

  9. Airlines use the “launch” term rather than “re-introduce” all the time. Take AI and their “NEW” Toronto-Delhi service. Service that’s come and gone several times over the years.

  10. Great news!
    I flew Alitalia from SFO to MXP right after 9/11 and it was a wonderful flight. Maybe it was the timing of the travel but I remember getting great service and thoroughly enjoyed the trip, even in economy class. I kept the business class amenity kits given to me and my companion as a souvenir. Unfortunately, 6 months later, they were out of SFO. Welcome back Alitalia: look forward to flying to Rome nonstop next summer!

  11. There seems to be a lot of hate for Alitalia in the comments, but having just completed a business class flight from LAX-FCO I can tell you that the experience was quite nice, and probably a lot better than US carriers.

    The seat was what you would expect on Etihad, Thai, Iberia etc., comfortable and competitive with most other biz class products. The service was quite nice, and I would argue that the food was amongst the best I’ve experienced of European carriers (certainly a lot better than LH Biz). The Etihad influence is still present, everything is played and quite first class esque.

    Bloggers are obsessed with the same extravagant products, and Alitalia doesn’t get much love (prob because it’s not in the redemption circle of love) but it’s a solid experience!

  12. I just checked award pricing for July 2020, roundtrip from SFO to Rome. Economy Light (!) Prices out at 360k miles per person plus a hefty surcharge, and business at over 1 Million miles plus a huge surcharge. Is this a joke? Are these perhaps Lira instead of miles. I don’t understand this when the award chart claims 50k RT for eco and 80k for J. Can you please check on this?

  13. At the brink of liquidation for a year now? They’ve been bankrupt, nearly bankrupt, saved with a Houdini-like trick and on the verge of getting liquidated now for decades. 😀 Somehow the Italian government knows how to keep them in the air, no matter how many joint ventures they’re in or kicked out of.

    Simultaneously, I believe that business might be improving if they actually made an effort in improving a few things. Like the cabin interior.I know that they’re not related, but every time I enter a plane with a shabby and worn interior I wonder if the technical state of the aircraft is like that, too.

  14. Has someone really flown Alitalia lately? Its long haul business class (expecially seats and food) is amazing compared to BA or Emirates’ 777 or any US carrier and prices very competitive. It is not a perfect airline for sure but really don’t understand why people is showing this level of hate…

  15. Alitalia has been on the brink of failure since I have been living in italy(1973)..the gov always bails them they will be around..
    product is what it is…

  16. @BW – I think most of the Alitalia hate isn’t against their product, but against the way they should have gone out of business years (if not decades) ago but only survive through constant intervention by the Italian government (in varying degrees of violation of EU law.)

    ( In turn, this irritates critics of the EU who (fairly, in many cases) get incensed at the way some countries are allowed to get away with violations while others aren’t. Italy violates the state-aid rules, Germany flouts the current-account targets and requires intra-Union paperwork the ECJ has ruled illegal, France just flat-out ignores the deficit restrictions…I’m not a Brexiteer, but ending this “all Europeans are equal but some are more equal than others…” mentality is a badly-needed reform. )

    It is a bit funny about how Delta whines about the ME3 getting government support but never mentions their erstwhile partner (at least for now) in Italy.

  17. Seeing a lot of negative comments about Alitalia here, unsure if these were recent flights ?? Alitalia’s fleet was totally turned over in 2013 and their seating products are highly competitive with what other airlines have to offer. My flight from ORD to FCO, FCO to ORD (economy both ways) was issue free. Food was excellent, service was great and the plane itself was clean and tidy (A330). As per usual the flights were on time, Alitalia’s on time percentage has been in the top percentile for their on-time performance the past few years..

  18. I’m excited to learn about this new route and will check it out. I’m a frequent traveler from SFO to Europe and have been hoping for a nonstop to Rome. Thanks for the information (including the information in the comments)!

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