If you're not a Delta Skymiles FF with plans to go abroad, stop reading (unless you're a voracious reader ). Since Delta announced their 2015 changes, as most of you know, I have started using up my miles for business class flights to Europe. And in the process of dozens of searches I discovered something very interesting: If you go through Delta but fly Alitalia, you will spend a whole lot less miles for their Business (Magnifica) Class than with Delta, KLM, or AF. I booked two, one R/T that I just used to go from Boston to Nice via Rome (100,000 miles) and one for later in the year at 80,000 miles.
Now this is the best part of all. Magnifica class is magnificent. While there are two flat bed seats in the middle, some cozy and some altogether separate, there are single seats in a scatter pattern at the windows, which gives you real privacy. The flatbeds have massagers and there is a flat screen TV for films, games, etc. Once aboard I was given a Salvatore Ferragamo bag with every possible necessity in -- and there was one for women and one for men. The meals were fabulous (and the wines too). While you got a menu to choose from, you could take a little bit of everything for appetizers and main courses (and probably desserts too) -- nothing was prepackaged, but rather all where served in large platters so that they could scoop you a little or a lot or some of each. Even on the short hop to Nice from Rome on Alitalia's CityHop when I was the only one in mini-magnifica, the hostess had a full, hot and delicious meal for me, even though it was 4pm.
And on top of it all, going through Rome is SO much easier (always assuming you are going on the same airline) than Schiphol or CDG.
Only caveat (fine with me) is that I think Alitalia only flies from five US cities (Boston, New York, Miami, Chicago, and LAX).
Professor, this is good to know. A number of major European airlines offer a much better in-flight product than US airlines IMO, though admittedly I have not flown Delta abroad (I have flown Alitalia). Did you have to pay very much in fuel surcharges and fees when booking Alitalia through Delta with miles? In my experience, the fees/surcharges when using miles, at least on AF or BA are usurperous. Also, I just received notification from Qantas that they are changing their FF mileage program to a spend based model. Looks like the virus is spreading.
At least not yet -- when Amex starts feeling the pinch, they might. I have a $450 reserve card that gives me Skyclub access and double miles, but they're starting to up their rates on the other cards. If I'm not traveling Delta after next year, I don't need Amex, and that's where the hurt might come in. Sapphire is a great card that I could easily use for everything if Delta were not involved. And as part of an answer to another topic, I keep the Marriott Rewards card because it has the chip in it and once in a great while I can use a Cat 5 certificate (forget the Cat 4s -- I haven't and won't be able to use one I earned).
PS - The surcharges and tax for this flight amounted to $151. I have paid typically between $90 and $200 (always UK in the latter case) in surcharges, and they tend in my experience to be more on Delta than the partner airlines.
PPS - The narrow seats I mentioned wouldn't apply in business class on a 747.
Business class should be great, but you might want to check about the bulkhead seats -- I doubt this would be the case in BC, but in other cabins they often don't have movable handrests.
Most all of my flights (no matter which airline) have been on Airbus 330s lately.
Have a wonderful trip! (Even if it is a month out.)
We're getting another winter storm in Maine right now... Sigh!
I'll have to agree with you on the Bulkhead Business seats, they should be perfect as most Business Class seats armrests don't move anyway or at least not any that I've seen. We prefer Bulkhead seats for a bit more privacy as well as we are the first passengers the flying attendants see when they could from the galley!
How do you like the A330? I get to travel on my first on the way home from Italy later this summer as well as our first A388 on the way over....always interested in anything Airbus as rarely fly them.
This may sound unpatriotic, but I much prefer Airbus, which is what I have flown most of the time. The seats tend to be more comfortable and the entertainment system usually works, especially on the non-Delta Skyteam flights!
Just heard an interesting tidbit on the news about MH370 that I had asked about a few weeks ago. CNN is reporting the original signoff "Good night, all right" was a mistranslation and that the actual sign off was "Good night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero." Any thoughts on whether that is of any significance?
Insignificant in my opinion other than how botched the entire recovery/search has gone to this point, just another thing than makes most even more curious as to just what if any information that has been released is factual. However; that transmission would be just about textbook other than not including the frequency given to MH370 if in fact one was issued, I don't know much if anything about oceanic control.
Now I would not say your unpatriotic, maybe that you like the ride better. Since I have very very limited "Bus" exposure other than flying the LH A321 from NAP-MUC a year in 2012 which I really liked or UA making schedule changes to flights I've booked on Boeing's then it turns into a "Bus". Good to hear you enjoy them, that speaks volumes!
From years ago, the Airbus did not have the option of dumping fuel if they had to land early. Once shortly after take off we had to return to the airport but could not safely land because we had too much fuel so had to circle till it was at a safe level, which took hours, and then landed. After that I tried to stay away from them. This may not be the case now.
I too was hesitant, since I know Italy has a fair amount of strikes. But under their new government (Renzi, not Berlusconi!) things seem to have improved a lot. I have no idea why redemption levels are so much lower -- and quality of service so much better -- on Alitalia than AF, KLM or Delta, but I am going to try to rebook all my future flights on Alitalia since they fly out of Boston. A fabulous, fabulous experience. And since most of the time I actually go to Italy (this was a trip to France via Rome), it should be even easier.
I think Delta is getting a very exalted opinion of itself (as are probably the other legend carriers), but since KLM involves Schiphol (which I hate because of 2+ security screenings and PP control) and less so CDG but don't like their 747s, I think I have become a big fan of Alitalia, and may even start looking into tarnsferring status to Millemiglia since they've been contacting me for the past few years. Go for it!
If I'm not mis-remembering, the major problems Airbus has faced is that they are so sophisticated (and have been for a long time) that because the planes could almost entirely fly themselves pilots in some parts of the world were getting lazy, which led to some crashes.
I think it would have had to be a 300, because I couldn't imagine both American carriers and others using Airbuses in the US that could not dump fuel in case of emergencies.
Airbus is not the only sophisticated airplane as you know, Boeing has built airplanes since the mid 80's that will fly themselves, land themselves and even turn off the runway almost. There are corporate jets that will do the same thing with even more advanced automation than some airlines currently use. A pal of mine is at Gulfstream recurrent training this week for their fleet of G550's and hopefully soon a new G650 which are all very much capable of creating lazy pilots which is one reason he's glad they still have an older jet that he still hand flies up to altitude from time to time.
Anyway, those corporate jets are a true class above Business Class just to keep in on track!