At the Airport
ITA Airways, formerly known as Alitalia, is the national carrier of Italy. The troubled Alitalia was previously privatised, and due to financial issues, the Italian government bailed the airline out of its financial woes and rebranded it as ITA Airways. Therefore, finding some ITA Airways planes still donning the old Alitalia livery is unsurprising. ITA Airways check-in counters are located in the centre of Terminal 1 of Rome Fiumicino Airport. Two rows of check-in counters at Row B serve ITA Airways Economy Class passengers flying out of Rome domestically or internationally. Separate check-in counters in Row A serve passengers flying on ITA Airways Business Class and status passengers with the airlines. Due to the many counters available, there was no queue at the check-in counters. The check-in process was a breeze, with the staff processing our check-in efficiently. We were given directions on the security that we had to pass through and where our gate departed. The check-in counters for ITA Airways are very conveniently located next to the security clearance that gave us access to the airside of the airport terminal.
Prima Vista Lounge
As we were flying in Economy Class, we were not entitled to Lounge access. However, being a Priority Pass holder, I got my friends into the Prima Vista Lounge. The Prima Vista Lounge is located in Terminal 3, about 10 minutes from the security counters. Prima Vista Lounge is a small lounge with limited seating. Most of the seats face the apron of Rome Fiumicino Airport. We found several larger dining tables that can seat up to six passengers. The food offering is quite decent, and the food quality is good for a small lounge serving breakfast. Prima Vista Lounge serves up mainly pastry, piazza, fruits and some pasta. Prima Vista Lounge still practises pandemic measures, passengers are not allowed to pick the food themselves. Lounge staff are stationed at the food area, picking the food that the passengers request and heating them in a microwave oven before handing it over to the passengers. As the lounge is in Terminal 3, there is a 20 mins walk to get to our gate in Terminal 1 of the airport.
ITA Airways has two variants of their A319-111, one with all Economy Class seats and one with both European Business Class and Economy Class. Today, the aircraft ITA Airways used to ply between FCO and CTA is the version with both Business Class and Economy Class.
The two-class variant ITA Airways A319-111 used for this FCO-CTA route is fitted with six European Business Class seats, occupying the first three rows, and 63 Economy Class seats occupying the rear 21 rows of the aircraft. All seats are arranged in a 3-3 configuration, and Business Class onboard this version of ITA Airways A319-111 has the middle seat blocked out to give it a pseudo 2-2 configuration. The entire ITA Airways A319-111 cabin is decked in black and white, using white on its bulkhead and black for the carpeting and seats. The use of white colour reduces the claustrophobic feel as this is a small aircraft. As with most narrow-body aircraft, the Business and Economy Class Cabins are separated by a thin curtain. I like how ITA Airways uses warmer orange lighting in its aircraft, which seems to calm passengers during the flight. As this s a short 1hr 15 mins flight, I did not visit the lavatory.
Seats on board ITA Airways A319-111 are the same regardless of the class of travel. The most immediate difference between the classes is that the seats in Business Class have a middle seat blocked out, sitting only two passengers in a row. All seats, both Business Class and Economy Class are 17.7″ wide. Business Class has a slightly longer seat pitch of 31″ compared to the 30″ in the standard Economy Class. We paid an additional €12 for the exit row seats, which gave us the longest pitch of 35″ (longer then Business Class seats).
Seats onboard ITA Airways A319-111 are clad in black leather which thick paddings, making the seat very comfortable. As we were sitting in the exit row, the legroom was excellent on this row. The set-up onboard ITA Airways A319-111 is very simple, with only one button to recline the seat. Buttons to control the overhead reading light and call attendant are on the ceiling above the seat. The seat has a very large tray table, capable of putting a 14″ laptop. The seat pocket is very simple and holds a very limited amount of items.
There is an old-school channel control, seemingly meant for some radio channels and a one-pin headphone jack. I did not plug in any headphones to check if these so-called radio channels were working. No In-Flight Entertainment Systems are fitted onboard the aircraft, and the aircraft does not even have drop-down TV screens.
As this is a short 1hr flight, only drinks are served onboard. However, I was asleep when the flight attendant made their rounds to distribute drinks.
As this was a short flight, the interaction with the cabin crew was limited to boarding when they welcomed us onboard with a warm smile and during the beverage run (during which I fell asleep and did not interact with them). The cabin crew diligently carried out their duty onboard to ensure the safety of the passengers. They were seen doing safety demonstrations and patrolling the cabin to ensure passengers fastened their seat belts and seats were upright during pre-take-off and landing. A cabin crew also popped by our row to give us a simple brief on what to do in an emergency.
Our first experience onboard ITA Airways A319-111 was a pleasant one. Our positive experience started from the check-in and lasted throughout the flight. The cabin crew were friendly and seen wearing their smiles throughout the flight. The seats onboard are comfortable, and the seat pitch at the exit row far exceeds that in the Business Class cabin, giving us excellent legroom (I told my friends paying to sit at the exit row is far better value than paying twice the fare sitting in Business Class). For a short-haul flight, I thought ITA Airways did a great job.