THE SEAT:

Business Traveler (USA) - - TRIED & TESTED -

The flat-bed seat is both com­fort­able and beau­ti­ful, hand­crafted in leather by Poltrona Frau, the same com­pany that makes the in­te­ri­ors of Fer­rari au­to­mo­biles. The 1-2-1 Busi­ness Class cabin con­fig­u­ra­tion of­fers a nice de­gree of pri­vacy, espe­cially for the win­dow seats. Three of the five pairs of cen­ter seats are closer to­gether (1,3 and 5 E and G), two pairs have more sep­a­ra­tion be­tween them (2 and 4 D and H). The ones close to­gether are re­ferred to as“hon­ey­moon”seats and may be too close to­gether for solo trav­el­ers. For sleep­ing, a Frette linen sheet set is fit­ted on the seat and a full-size pil­low is pro­vided. One mi­nor com­plaint, the IFE sys­tem had a nice num­ber of ti­tles, but they were pre­sented in a rather clunky in­ter­face with no pre­views avail­able.

Al­i­talia sep­a­rates it­self from other car­ri­ers by of­fer­ing a level of ser­vice more ap­pro­pri­ate to a five-star ho­tel or Miche­lin-starred restau­rant. The on-board ex­pe­ri­ence is cre­ated by an en­tire train­ing fa­cil­ity, called the“Al­i­talia Cus­tomer Ex­cel­lence Train­ing Academy”which fo­cuses on de­liv­er­ing the ultimate cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. The train­ing cen­ter, part of the air­line’s op­er­a­tional base at FCO air­port, in­cludes com­mu­ni­ca­tion train­ing, groom­ing and style work­shops as well as in­struc­tion in food prepa­ra­tion, plat­ing and ser­vice.

Food and wine on-board were quite de­li­cious. The foodie menu fea­tures prod­ucts and dishes from dif­fer­ent Ital­ian re­gions, chang­ing ev­ery few months. For my flights, the menu show­cased food from the North­ern Ital­ian re­gion of Piedmont. The im­pres­sive wine list, which only in­cluded Ital­ian vin­tages, had se­lec­tions from the Piedmont and neigh­bor­ing Lig­uria re­gions of Italy.

Both the food menu and the wine list in­cluded a page of de­tailed back­ground in­for­ma­tion about the source re­gion, along with tech­ni­cal de­scrip­tions of each wine. The wine was joined with a se­lec­tion of Ital­ian beers (Fri­u­lian, Tus­can and Si­cil­ian-style), brewed to be en­joyed at 40,000 feet. And of course, as with ev­ery great Ital­ian meal, co­pi­ous amounts of Fer­rari Max­i­mum Brut sparkling wine were served. There was also a dessert wine and a se­lec­tion of aper­i­tifs. The avail­able WiFi ser­vice for the

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