Reviewing ITA Airways, previously Alitalia

Remark

Chunks of Parmesan cheese and lumps of salty prosciutto are piled alongside glasses of Campari sodas because the sounds of Milan’s cityscape hum round me. Sadly, nevertheless, the bounty I simply described remains to be round 4,000 miles out of attain.

I’m in my condo in Brooklyn, and the one factor separating me between my studio and Italy is an eight-hour flight on ITA Airways, which celebrated its first anniversary late final month.

What’s ITA Airways and for that matter, how do you even pronounce it? On the subject of the latter, it’s much like what one principally does on a diet-obliterating journey to Italy: Eat-ah! ITA’s backstory, in the meantime, is an attention-grabbing one: Italy’s main airline was as soon as the government-funded Alitalia, based in 1946 and related Italians with the skin world after World Conflict II. Nevertheless, Alitalia was privatized in 2009 and shortly fell on laborious occasions, which included strikes, layoffs and chapter.

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In October 2021, the state-owned ITA took over Alitalia. Since then, they’ve carried a reported 9 million passengers, but additionally skilled some agita. That features the airline’s board not too long ago stripping its chairman of energy.

Right here’s what it was prefer to fly the Italian airline in its rookie 12 months.

The prospect of flying on a newish Italian airline intrigued me. As I used to be trying to find flights from JFK to Milan through Google, ITA popped up and I assumed I’d take a look at out one of many direct flights for my October journey. I additionally couldn’t ignore the affordable costs with round-trips beginning at $550, which is on the decrease finish in comparison with different flights to Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Nevertheless, after I talked about to some buddies that I used to be flying on ITA, they weren’t optimistic about my flight. How clean might issues go on an airline in such flux?

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I booked a round-trip ticket for $646 through Google Flights, nevertheless it wasn’t utterly clear which class of ticket I bought; my ticket and receipt simply mentioned “economic system.” ITA has a number of varieties of economic system — gentle (probably the most restrictive), basic, flex and premium, which advertises 40 p.c extra legroom and 120 levels of reclining. There’s additionally enterprise (long- and medium-haul) and superior.

Like many different airways, ITA has a variety of economic system seating choices with charges; they begin at $9 and go as much as $140, relying in your fare class, route and seat choice. With economic system gentle, vacationers must pay for any seat choice. My journey companion (my mother) and I paid $41 every means for our seats.

Whether or not I needed to pay for bags was complicated: My ticket receipt mentioned one piece of bags was included, however I later paid $70. I worry I could have paid for an additional examine bag vs. my one checked bag.

Twenty 4 hours earlier than my journey, I downloaded ITA’s app to examine in. The app is extra restricted than huge U.S. airways; there aren’t any choices for notifications on flight statuses and baggage loading.

We arrived at JFK Airport, discovered ITA’s dwelling at Terminal 1 and checked our baggage. We paid for them, nevertheless it’s nonetheless murky if we even needed to.

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We headed to the gate and noticed our crew and pilots strolling previous the check-in desk. We observe the check-in attendant animatedly gesticulating whereas on the telephone and saying, “No?! Actually?” We brace for the worst.

The vacation spot on the gate’s overhead screens inexplicably switches from Milan to Rome, and whereas the Everlasting Metropolis is certainly beautiful, it’s not the place we’re going. The pilot then exits the airplane and confers with the check-in attendants. Then, as if it’s a scene out of “Dwelling Alone 2,” he and the crew begin sprinting down the terminal with the airplane’s passengers following rapidly behind. We be part of them, and all of it quantities to an ITA parade by means of JFK to our newly appointed gate.

Boarding begins swiftly as we barrel onto the A330 for our 8:55 p.m. departure. As I walked by means of the spacious enterprise class, it seemed snug, with particular person leather-based seats that recline and evenly unfold out. Financial system seats have been decidedly smaller and extra cramped, however nice. Our redeye tonight is barely slightly greater than half full with solely the window-side two-seaters occupied and the massive swaths of seats within the center empty. Passengers are given a neck pillow and a comfy blanket — so fluffy, in actual fact, that my mother wound up taking hers dwelling.

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WiFi was not included free, however a number of tiers can be found for buy. This included a plan as little as $2 for 10mb for texting all the best way as much as $20 for 200mb. My mother bought the 50mb tier for $6, nevertheless it by no means wound up loading on her iPad, and she or he had no luck getting in contact with customer support to get her a reimbursement.

Round an hour or so after takeoff, drinks and meals service begins. “Would you want meat or pasta?” we’re requested. I select the meat, and my mother chooses the pasta, which we’re advised is a lasagna.

My meat is a few kind of beef stew, served with a aspect of chilly inexperienced beans topped with a slice of ham and a roll that appeared fairly stale. The “lasagna,” nevertheless, on this distinctly Italian flight doesn’t seem to be lasagna in any respect, however quite a Greek spanakopita. Although to be truthful, the spanakopita is certainly a layered dish crammed with cheese.

Drinks embody beer (Peroni, in fact) or wine; and occasional or English breakfast tea. There’s one other drinks service shortly earlier than landing. One other drink and snack service got here shortly earlier than touchdown, and I gulped down an English breakfast tea together with a heat sort-of panzerotti, dough pocket crammed with ricotta.

We arrive at Milan’s Malpensa barely forward of our scheduled 11:05 a.m. arrival, disembarking on the runway and taking a bus from our airplane to the gate the place we cross by means of customs in file time.

Our top-to-bottom expertise on ITA was a combined bag, however actually not a journey nightmare. Our flight was comparatively clean, left on time and arrived early. Sadly, I wouldn’t exit of my means for one more ITA flight. The WiFi and leisure system was spotty; data on charges on their web site was murky; and their app was minimalist.

But when I used to be on a decent funds and ITA listed one of the best worth for a flight to Italy, I’d cautiously take the journey however not count on a lot. On the very least, flippantly booked flights are at all times a plus.

Now when you’ll excuse me, I’ve some Parmesan and Campari to seek out.

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