November 04, 2013

What to Expect on Alitalia Business Class from and to Beirut


Welcoming: 0/5

Food Temperature: 0/10

Ambiance / Music: 0/10

Menu Choice: 0/5

Food Taste: 0/30

Architecture / Interior: 0/10

Food presentation: 0/10

Service: 0/10

Value for money: Soon

As they say, you get what you pay for. An ticket on board Alitalia Business Class costs an average of $1400. Compared to the $2000 paid on MEA you will still get the same lounge access, the same mileage on your loyalty card, but surely not the same on ground service and inflight privileges... Alitalia_Business_Class_Beirut_Rome16 Alitalia planes are mostly Airbus 320 and the new Airbus 320 enhanced. Three rows of chairs on each side on a single isle plane, like school buses. I like the Recarro chairs on these Italian planes, the leather cover that give a cleaner and softer touch but unfortunately it stops here. Leaving Beirut or coming back from Italy the most annoying thing is their ground service where no privilege whatsoever is given to Skyteam Elite members and Business class passengers - there no dedicated check-in desks and no dedicated bus ride to the plane... On the plane, you can be sure that noone is sitting next to you, that you have some additional legroom and served a special meal in porcelain plates with some Frette pampering items. The business class advantages:
  • A special restroom for this class
  • A nice and well presented meal
  • Special biscuit/cake from an Italian artisan (Amaretti)
  • A tasty local wine service and a possibility of some Alcohol choice
  • The same economy seats but with more legroom and a middle blocked seat covered by two cup holders and a tray
  • A hot refreshing towel distributed as a welcoming gesture before the meal is offered (They forget about that almost every time)
Alitalia_Business_Class_Beirut_Rome21 Unfortunately, you won't be offered a menu to choose from. One single choice of meal for all. If you don't eat a certain ingredient, tough luck. It's the only choice you're getting. I would change a few important things that cost nothing but mean a lot and can make a difference:
  • Train the staff to be sweeter and calmer, train them to make less noise in the kitchen and to open less personal discussions between them
  • Using Culti cutlery does not blend well with plastic trays. They need to remove the tray completely and serve the food the MEA style, on a napkin place mat, or use better more decent trays
  • Diversify in the menu is important, especially when most of the travelers return home the same week. Choices should be offered as well. Eating the same food is not pleasant
Alitalia' collaboration with Frette refreshing kit:
  • Toothbrush by Colgate
  • A comb
  • Eye mask
  • Earplugs
  • Frette lip balm and hand cream
Dinner was served:
  • Porcelain Culti plates
  • Cheese, salad and a single choice of main dish
  • Shizo dark chocolate with nuts
  • Amaretti Virginia Sassello: My favorite, I love those
  • A note informing you that there is no pork in the meal
  • Drinks served in glass cups
The Ottima business class meal:
  • You’ll read this sign only on planes from and to Arab countries: This meal does not contain pork
  • Brioche and baguette bread are served unfortunately cold, not heated and not crunchy
  • They use one of my favorite brands: Culti signed plates and service recipients. Culti is a well known brand in Italy especially for its aroma bottles. In Lebanon (The Gathering) restaurant is their distributor
  • Frette, the famous Italian fabrics manufacturer takes care of napkins and sleeping covers.
  • Sapori d’arte vinaigrette dressing
  • Sterzing Vipiteno butter
My favorite: I loved and couldn't get enough of the peach heart biscuit cake. Classic Soft Amaretti is a delicate and chewy cookie, sometimes referred to as an Italian macaroon.  It is completely flour-less as it is made of blanched almonds, egg whites, sugar and almond extract. It is double wrapped, first in clear film, then in colorful confectioner’s waxed  paper.
Not up to business class standards:
  • No food menu is distributed
  • Sky priority is not respected on ground
  • We only get to eat one single dish. No choices are given
  • The food is cold/lukewarm
The Unacceptable:
  • It's unacceptable that no earphones are distributed to business travelers! A working screen but no sound? Everyone is entitled to their own earphones, the business class should be privileged
On ground, SkyPriority is not respected:
  • At passport control, you have to stand in a long line like everyone else
  • At boarding, the dedicated line is used by economy travelers
  • The same bus is used for everyone with long waiting intervals
  • No priority access to the plane
I'm not sure if Alitalia will always be my company of choice even though I like their Frette bed covers and refreshing kits. But sadly the rest is not good at all.





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