Here are listed general notes on the A330 and B777 fleet of Alitalia.
Old / "Air One" configuration
The two old "Air One"-style A330's are still running on some routes, usually only appearing on the following: BOS, ORD, YYZ and LOS/ACC. Other A330 flights should be with the new aircraft delivered 2009 and later. Check on the alitalia website if premium economy is being sold for your flight, that indicates presence of the new A330's.
There's not much to say about the old A330's other than old uninteresting seats; service should be the same as on other flights. Here's the seat map:
--> click on "seats map" in A330 under Long Haul, the old A330 is the map on the left
The seating is 20 J and 263 Y
(it looks like seats 38 J-K have extra legroom?)
This configuration no longer exists.
June 2014 update! All A330's other than the Air One ones are now in the new configuration. All that's changed is that the rear J cabin (8 seats) has been replaced with Y+, and the place where Y+ used to be is now Y. The new seating arrangement is 20 J, 17 Y+ and 213 Y. You can see the seat map in the same place as for the Air One configuration, on the right hand side. I've copied (with minor modifications) the old seating advice as the seats haven't changed:
The J seating is the new staggered 1-2-1 layout and flat-bed seats, with E-G seats being the "honeymoon" type. A and L are window seats, C, D, H, J are isolated aisle seats. The corridors and seating in J on the A330 will be slightly tighter than on the B777's which use the same layout but in a wider cabin.
The service in J is the award-winning meal after departure, followed by a breakfast or snack before arrival, and an open bar during the flight. The entertainment is the most updated version of the touch-screen PTV's, with lots of fun and stuff loaded.
Here's a quick picture of the seat:
Here are some trip reports:
In Y+ there is a 2-3-2 layout, so slightly better than economy. Greater recline is possible and there is more legroom, as well as an interesting-looking footrest. You get an almost-J amenity kit and an improved catering, although the latter is still quite far from what J gets. Other benefits are the 200% miles (update: only 150% on cheaper fares nowadays), that you can bring two suitcases of 23KGS each, and that you're in a slightly calmer area of the plane. A couple of short testimonies can be found on our very own forum:
AZ Classica Plus Review (A330)
Alitalia Classica Plus JFK-MXP-JFK
As for the Y cabin, it is a standard 2-4-2 layout with comfort being good according to most. The A330 has smaller entertainment boxes compared to the B777. Meal service is followed by open bar and breakfast/snack before arrival. On longer flights, longer than about 11 hours, there's also a mid-flight snack, and the pre-arrival meal is bigger. Entertainment is very good with touchscreen PTV's, unlike on the B777.
(note: for the following section I've updated seat row numbers)
If you're wondering about which seats to chose, 9 A-C-J-L look quite good, and maybe something around rows 34-36 which are in 2-3-2 and near the crew rest so probably a bit calmer, also since there are no toilets at the back (although there is the open bar). 24 A-C-J-L look good enough to be worth the "comfort seat" fee, any other comfort seats are probably not worth it.
Take a look also at rows 12-20 J-L which seem slightly more spacious than their A-C counterparts.
seems not to be true anymore, in fact if anything it looks like the A-C seats now have slightly more room.
Also if you're alone and want to recline without annoying anyone (also no one poking into the IFE on your back), try 33 D, or even 34 D-E-G which only have crew rest behind them so a similar situation. Good luck!
All B777's are now of the new 2012 configuration. The seating is 30 J, 24 Y+ and 239 Y.
The seat map is in the same place as the A330 ones, under B777:
The J product is the best Alitalia has to offer. 1-2-1 seating as in the A330 makes for a very spacious cabin, and the seats are of course flat-bed type. E, G seats are "honeymoon", A, L are window and C, D, H, J are isolated aisle seats. The service, as on the A330's, is the award-winning meal after departure, open bar, and then breakfast/snack before arrival. Note that the IFE on the B777's has remained of the old type for some reason, so PTV's are a little jittery, but there's still the same good content. Trip reports here:
For the B777 premium economy, the layout is 2-4-2 allowing for more comfort - that's two seats less in each row than economy. There is the improved catering and other benefits of Y+ as stated above. The seats are a hard-shell type, different to the Y+ on the A330's. Rather than reclining they slide forwards, which some people have found annoying, others not - let us know what you think. A TR is available on aviazionecivile (look at the return flight):
In Y there is the dreaded 3-4-3 layout, however legroom is good so this configuration has been described as OK by users, although the A330 is preferable. There are some complaints about entertainment boxes, and on the B777 the entertainment system is still of the old type with smaller and less responsive PTV's, content is still good. So you know, the entertainment boxes are under seats A, E, G, L.
As for the seats, most good-looking seats are blocked from free reservation, however out of the comfort seats I would say only row 20 J-K-L are worth the fee. Watch out in particular that 31 A-B-C-J-K-L are narrow seats. 21-24 are not available to reserve, however 25-28 J-K-L are free for reservation and look quite good, and in general the forwards cabin, rows 18-28, looks better than the back cabin rows 31-44, except 41-42 A-B-C which might be worth a shot. Although I usually try to avoid the middle seats (D-E-G-H), it looks like to make up for it they have slightly more room. So up to you really. As in the A330 there's one seat with no one behind you to complain about reclining, and that's 39 D. The downside is you might get people bumping into you as they walk down the aisle. So use this one as a last resort if all other nice seats are taken!
*J is slightly better on B777 due to wider cabin.
*Y is slightly better on A330 due to better layout and new IFE.
If you have any suggestions or additional questions please comment below.
Over and out.
EDIT: The menus for J catering are available here (thanks orbitmic for the suggestion):
There's also plenty of recipes which look interesting to try out :-P.
UPDATE: It would seem that at least temporarily the above link is no longer updated. The menus each month are a rotation of various regional specialities ("best of" concept).
UPDATE 2: I've found this page, although it's unclear whether it's actually updated each month (the page just says "this month's menu"):
--> click on "find out more" below "Magnifica meals".