I just returned from a wonderful adventure eating my way around the Italian island of Sardinia. To get there, I flew Air Italy’s foodie-friendly Business Class via their hub in Milan. Aside from frequent flights from Milan to all three of Sardinia’s airports, the Italian airline connects Milan to the U.S. with frequent daily direct flights from LAX and JFK and several flights a week from MIA and SFO.
For its long-haul flights, the airline uses Airbus A330 aircraft and Business Class is a 2-2-2 configuration with pairs of clamshell-style seats. The seats offer a fully flat bed and nice IFE systems but lack storage space for your stuff.
Service was on-point, attentive and very friendly. The fine dining experience is perpetuated with real silverware and glassware along with proper formal table settings and food service. Meals are served on an a la carte basis, which means you can eat whenever you want. THe flight attendants go though the cabin and take your order as soon as the flight takes off, but you can dine whenever you like. You can eat with the regular meal service or in the middle of the flight, it’s up to you.
Looking at my return flight from Milan to LAX, we departed MXP around 2 p.m. local time. About an hour into the flight they began the main meal service, which was like a dinner. Then there was a light snack served mid-way through the 12-hour flight. A third meal service was breakfast, served about two hours prior to landing in Los Angeles. With time changes, we landed at LAX around 5 p.m. local time.
For the main meal, I went with the oven-roasted chicken breast with tomato fregola and kale. Fregula is little balls of pasta, similar to couscous. For the starter, I had the tomato-orange soup, which was really, really good. The other starter option was a buffalo caprese salad. For the main entree, there was also a pan-seared salmon option as well as a mushroom tortelloni. The food was served with a cheese plate, a basket of fresh-baked sourdough bread and tiramisu with raspberry compote for dessert. I skipped the tiramisu and went with some Italian ice cream.
For the mid-flight snack, I went with the chicken, vegetables and cheese wrap with a garden salad. It was delicious. The other option was a pizzetta margherita, with the gourmet ice cream as the dessert.
Breakfast was ricotta pancakes with a blueberry compote and lemon creme fraiche. The other option was an omelette with roast peppers and spinach. There were also fresh fruits, a selection of cereals and a cold cut platter, which I did try. Also real fresh-squeezed orange juice was served.
The meals were excellent, but didn’t quite live up to my previous experience in Alitalia’s Business Class. Selections were Italian recipes, but lacked the depth I found with the Italian flag carrier. Alitalia features a rotating menu offering selections from different regions of Italy. Another big complaint, Air Italy is a Pepsi-only airline. As a Coca-Cola drinker, this is always a problem for me.
The wine selection was excellent, with three Italian whites and three reds available. The opening champagne was proper French champagne, a Cuvees Carte Blanche from Maxime Blin. White wines included a Vermentino, an Entemari and a Congiura blend. Reds included a Chianti, a Sogno Mediterraneo and a Perdixi. The dessert wine was called Assoluto and was very strong and sweet.