Virgin or Alitalia across the pond

Old Jul 20, 16, 8:33 am
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Virgin or Alitalia across the pond

I have the option to fly back in business with either Alitalia (non-stop from Rome) or Virgin (non-stop from London) to Chicago. I have never flown either of the airlines and their business product. Any suggestions?

Carlos
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Old Jul 20, 16, 8:58 am
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My opinion is that Alitalia has a slightly better hard and soft product, but that Virgin is more reliable (and LHR is easier all around than FCO).
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Old Jul 20, 16, 10:21 am
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Having flown both in the last year in J, I would skew toward Alitalia for in-flight.

On-ground, Virgin is better with the lounge.

In-air, I found the AZ food and service much stronger.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 1:28 pm
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Originally Posted by DLGrkItalNY View Post
Having flown both in the last year in J, I would skew toward Alitalia for in-flight.

On-ground, Virgin is better with the lounge.

In-air, I found the AZ food and service much stronger.
100% spot on. I recently flew VS for the first time and it was in J JFK-LHR-DXB. Very underwhelmed by the flights (seats, entertaintment & food). It seems that VS puts more effort into the ground experience. I did enjoy both clubhouses. Conversely, the AZ lounge @ FCO wasn't all that great when I was there in late 2014.

OP - go for Alitalia!
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Old Jul 20, 16, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by DLGrkItalNY View Post
Having flown both in the last year in J, I would skew toward Alitalia for in-flight.

On-ground, Virgin is better with the lounge.

In-air, I found the AZ food and service much stronger.
+1

I would add that Virgin is also 1000 times stronger in the case of service interruption or other problems.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 2:12 pm
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What is your actual starting point? Somewhere between London and Rome I guess but which is easier to get to from your location?

How much longer will that add to your journey time?

Are you prepared for that to gain what will likely be a marginal difference of the in the air product.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 2:23 pm
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All else being equal, I think you will enjoy the Magnifica Class on AZ more. I found the attention to detail and level of service to be one of the best J products. The food was excellent, 5 courses with wine suggestions for each course... it is quite the experience.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 6:32 pm
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Any chance VS would be flying a 787 ? Otherwise AZ is better in-flight (seat and food). VS has the bar, though, which can be fun.
I'm hearing good things about the new AZ lounge at FCO, yet the Upper Class wing is defintely an enjoyable experience.
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Old Jul 20, 16, 8:06 pm
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Originally Posted by clr4t8koff View Post
100% spot on. I recently flew VS for the first time and it was in J JFK-LHR-DXB. Very underwhelmed by the flights (seats, entertaintment & food). It seems that VS puts more effort into the ground experience. I did enjoy both clubhouses. Conversely, the AZ lounge @ FCO wasn't all that great when I was there in late 2014.

OP - go for Alitalia!
^^^^
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Old Jul 20, 16, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by clr4t8koff View Post
100% spot on. I recently flew VS for the first time and it was in J JFK-LHR-DXB. Very underwhelmed by the flights (seats, entertaintment & food). It seems that VS puts more effort into the ground experience. I did enjoy both clubhouses. Conversely, the AZ lounge @ FCO wasn't all that great when I was there in late 2014.

OP - go for Alitalia!
+1 on this
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Old Jul 21, 16, 6:12 pm
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I can't speak to flying AZ, but here are a few thoughts:
  • FCO-ORD is a noticeably longer flight than LHR-ORD (10h 40m vs. 8h 55m). If you're trying to maximize your time in J, that tips the scale towards FCO-ORD; if you're trying to get back as quickly as possible, LHR-ORD is likely better (depends on where you're originating from, of course).
  • As others have mentioned, VS's Club House at LHR is phenomenal: there's tons of space, lots of amenities, and full table service with quality food. I was in the Alitalia lounge in FCO concourse G in June and it was nice but severly cramped and the food is buffet style. If I had any significant layover, that would influence me towards VS.
  • I found VS's IFE to be more than satisfactory (better than Delta's), but I can't compare it to AZ (I was flying Delta metal from FCO).
  • With VS's A330 J configuration, the seat doesn't recline into a bed. Rather, you have to get out of your seat and then flip the seat over to turn it into a bed. Not a big deal, but slightly awkward/inconvenient. I'm not sure how AZ or VS's other aircraft compare.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
What is your actual starting point? Somewhere between London and Rome I guess but which is easier to get to from your location?

How much longer will that add to your journey time?

Are you prepared for that to gain what will likely be a marginal difference of the in the air product.
I will be in Venice. The route option is either VCE-FCO-ORD or VCE_LHR-ORD.
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Old Jul 23, 16, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by carlosr View Post
I will be in Venice. The route option is either VCE-FCO-ORD or VCE_LHR-ORD.
I'd take AZ in that case. Flying to LHR will mean flying an AZ A319/320 for a couple of hours. You'll also get more time on the widebody flying out of FCO and the food is great.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 10:39 am
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Originally Posted by clr4t8koff View Post
100% spot on. I recently flew VS for the first time and it was in J JFK-LHR-DXB. Very underwhelmed by the flights (seats, entertaintment & food). It seems that VS puts more effort into the ground experience. I did enjoy both clubhouses. Conversely, the AZ lounge @ FCO wasn't all that great when I was there in late 2014.

OP - go for Alitalia!
Very well put. Aside from the lounges, I find VS overrated. More flash than substance.
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Old Jul 25, 16, 7:09 pm
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I would pick VS for the LHR Clubhouse and onboard bar. Not sure what aircraft you are considering, but the VS 747 nose and upper deck are especially terrific (1-1 configuration). The AZ hard and soft product is very nice as well but nothing spectacular.
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