Thursday, October 2013
Boston (BOS) - Rome (FCO)
Scheduled times: 17:10-07:10
Actual times: 17:00-06:59
Flight duration: 07:14 (hrs)
Distance: 4093 miles
Economy Class, seat 35C
EI-EJM (MSN 1308), named "Giovanni Battista Tiepolo"
Delivered in 05/2012
1st flight on EI-EJM
18th A330-200 flight
33rd A330 flight
We left the hotel in the early afternoon and went straight to the Alitalia check-in desks at Terminal E. Despite our low fare, we were offered an upgrade to the carrier's lie-flat Magnifica Class
($500 per person) or Classica Plus
Premium Economy ($250 per person) on the transatlantic leg. However, we weren't in a spending mood and declined. The flight would only take some 7 hours and we would have a two-seater (pre-reserved free of charge after booking) - these prospects simply weren't bad enough.
After receiving our boarding passes, we went back to a staircase in the connecting passage between Terminals B and C. The location is great for spotting - hardly anybody needs to pass there, so you can use binoculars without worries:
There were long lines at security, but we had returned early enough. The gate area was very cramped, but the situation got better when Lufthansa commenced boarding for its 747-400 flight to Frankfurt. Alitalia had sent EI-EJM
, one of the newer birds in the 12-strong A330-200 fleet:
By the way, I had never been worried that we would get one of the two ex-Air One aircraft which weren't yet equipped with new seats and PTVs back then. According to Flightradar24, AZ had never sent these planes to Boston, but only to Chicago and Toronto. And it seems the situation hasn't changed by now.
During boarding, I was positively surprised that the gate agent added my last name after scanning the boarding pass and thanking me. Several flight attendants provided a friendly welcome on board, speaking Italian.
The seats were fine initially...
...but my back would start hurting only a few hours later.
Seat backs equipped with video screen, USB port and coat hook:
Legroom (31 to 32 inches according to Seat Guru) wasn't generous, but acceptable for a 7 hour flight:
I can only wonder why Alitalia put the IFE boxes for both seats under the window seat:
The extra-legroom three-seaters in rows 34 and 35 would be used for crew rest purposes:
I couldn't find any obvious mistakes here...
...actually I was very surprised that they even mentioned the remaining A330 in Air One colors:
I know what a low-cost carrier is - but what is a "smart carrier"?
What would a seat pocket on an Italian aircraft be without a shopping guide?
British Airways 747-400 shining in the late afternoon sun:
We left the gate 10 minutes ahead of schedule and passed various business jets:
Front camera view:
AZ615 cleared for takeoff:
Great views of Boston shortly after liftoff:
How about some backyard spying?
What a lovely scenery:
Tasty rosemary crackers were offered along with drinks after a while. Other than on a JFK-FCO flight back in 2008, ginger ale was not available, so I ordered orange juice which is actually a rather tasty blood orange juice on Alitalia:
"Would you like beef or pasta?"
, a friendly flight attendant asked me during dinner service. I decided to try the former, but this is what I got surprisingly - definitely chicken:
My wife ordered pasta and did get pasta:
Anyway, we liked our meals both in terms of quality and quantity. Chicken breast, vegetables, sauce, potato salad and potato casserole, lasagna and cheese cake were really tasty. Definitely no deterioration since 2008. Well done, Alitalia!
After dinner, it was time for a short walk. Most seats were occupied in the rear section:
Large-sized mirror enlarging the lavatory - not a bad idea and definitely worth a picture:
After dinner service had been completed, several flight attendants started occupying the crew rest area next to me and closed the curtain:
However, it was hard for me to get some rest because flight attendants kept moving in and out, kept opening and closing overhead bins and kept chatting behind their curtain...that was really disturbing, just like numerous passengers who kept passing all the time. Fortunately, it got better after an hour or so.
Alitalia's audio/video on-demand entertainment system offers a decent range of options. Main menu:
That was all I needed:
Due to the lack of drink rounds during the night, I kept visiting the galley where a kind of self-service bar had been set up:
Shortly after reaching continental Europe...
...the flight attendants sprung into action again and served a small breakfast:
While the biscuits were fine, I didn't like the non-fat yogurt and the dust-dry pastry. And unfortunately, Alitalia's coffee didn't taste as good as in earlier times either.
It was still pitch dark when we touched down at FCO at 06:31 in the morning after a flying time of 7 hours and 14 minutes. After taxiing for 4 minutes, the plane stopped in the middle of nowhere - at least that's what it looked like. It was pretty clear that we hadn't reached a parking position yet. Simply nothing happened for a while and I was wondering whether staff at FCO had started a sudden strike. The flight deck kept quiet (just like during the whole flight) and there was just a short announcement by the purser, asking passengers to remain seated. Finally, at 06:51 we started moving again and stopped at a gate position at 06:59. During disembarking I asked the purser about the stop and he replied that our gate position hadn't been available. Well, who knows...
Friday, October 2013
Rome (FCO) - Munich (MUC)
Scheduled times: 09:15-10:50
Actual times: 09:41-11:17
Flight duration: 01:16 (hrs)
Distance: 453 miles
Economy Class, seat 30A
EI-DSJ (MSN 3295), named "Ignazio Silone"
First delivered to Air One in 11/2007
1st flight on EI-DSJ
50th A320-200 flight
97th A32X flight
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Photo © Charles Polidano - Touch The Skies
Transferring at Fiumicino Airport was not bad in general, but many areas are run down. It would also be a good idea to clean the windows in the gate area:
The letters on the tail indicated that we would fly on ex-Air One EI-DSJ
, one of 50 A320s in the fleet:
Boarding commenced on time and friendly flight attendants welcomed us in the cabin. The leather seats were worn, but still comfortable enough:
PTVs were once installed on this bird, but they are unused and therefore just dead weight in these days:
While my screen remained black, my wife had to tolerate a constant flickering:
Legroom was absolutely sufficient:
Alitalia A321-100 parked next to us:
Boarding had been completed quickly, but the captain soon announced a delay of unknown duration, referring to air traffic control restrictions. I asked a flight attendant for further details and she told me that there were restrictions due to fog at Munich. Definitely bad news considering that we had to catch a connecting flight to Nuremberg, booked independently from our Alitalia flights.
Finally, we could leave the gate earlier than expected, only 26 minutes behind schedule, and taxied to the runway without further interruptions:
Nice scenery shortly after takeoff:
Back in 2008, I had received a tasty cake on AZ432
, but those biscuits weren't bad either:
Flying over the Alps in clear skies is always a pleasure:
I also enjoyed the approach straight over Munich:
Very low clouds near the airport:
We finally arrived at the gate 27 minutes behind schedule which wasn't bad at all. Once we had our luggage, we went to Terminal 2 and quickly found out that there were hardly any delays and our flight to Nuremberg would depart on time. Lufthansa CityLine CRJ900 D-ACKB
operated the last sector of our journey, flying time just 21 minutes. By the way, while Economy Class passengers could grab a chocolate bar during boarding, Business Class passengers even received a tray during the flight.
[Edited 2014-08-11 09:00:25]