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A warning about Alitalia business class awards and seats

by on Fri September 4, 2015 • No Comment

Alitalia has great award availability in Business Class to Europe throughout the year, making it one of the most useful partners for Delta SkyMiles.

Its Magnifica Business Class is one of the best you can fly to Europe, with full lie flat beds and direct aisle access, plus award winning food.


Alitalia’s modern Magnifica Class on an A330

For 62,500 Delta SkyMiles one way it’s a great way to get to Italy, one of the most popular European vacation destinations and it beats just about anything you’ll find on a U.S. based carrier to Europe.

While Alitalia has had its first rate Business Class in place for a few years now, there is a glaring exception.

There are still 2 A330 aircraft from Air One, a charter airline Alitalia acquired.

And these planes don’t have full flat seats. Instead, they have a charter configuration of 2x2x2 with seats that angle down, but aren’t completely flat.


Alitalia’s old ‘Air One’ configuration (courtesy

And even worse, they don’t have in flight entertainment built into the seats. You have to rely on tablets handed out by the cabin crew, and reports are even the tray tables have a hard time staying in place.

You’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting a modern Business Class experience.

These planes tend to run on the Toronto and Boston to Rome flights, which are often the most generous with award space.

They can also sometimes be found on the Chicago to Rome flight, according to Flyertalk, but New York and Miami to Rome rarely see these planes.

So before you book a Toronto, Boston, or Chicago to Rome flight have a look at the seat map.

If you see the configuration shown on the left of the below chart , avoid it as it’s an old Air One plane.

You can tell it’s the bad configuration because the Business Class seats are laid out 2x2x2 instead of 1x2x1 in the new configuration.


Unfortunately even advance seat maps aren’t reliable, as Alitalia has been known to make last minute swaps of these planes.

The good news is eventually they will be reconfigured to the proper Magnifica Class layout, and rumors are that could start in October, but it’s Alitalia we’re dealing with, so it could take quite a bit longer.


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