On June 2, ITA Airways made a remarkable debut by deploying its latest addition, the brand-new Airbus A330-900, on its maiden revenue flight.
The Italian carrier took delivery of its first A330neo on May 26. Rather than sticking to their original plan of inaugurating the plane on June 8, they opted to surprise passengers by launching it on the same day as their new route to Washington, DC.
With more of these state-of-the-art planes expected to join the fleet soon, ITA is poised to offer its passengers an exceptional experience on long-haul flights.
Boarding and Cabin
As Business Traveler USA had the privilege of traveling in the Business Class cabin during the delivery flight from Toulouse to Rome, we had the opportunity to witness the unique boarding process.
Upon arrival at the delivery center, guests checked in on the ground floor before proceeding to the upper floor. The security measures were notably stringent, ensuring the safety of all passengers. After security, guests were led through an ordinary boarding bridge directly into the aircraft.
Stepping on board, we found ourselves in the elegant Business Class cabin, one of three cabins available on ITA’s A330-900s. Walking through the aisle, we reached the Premium Economy section with its comfortable 2-3-2 seating layout and generous 40-inch seat pitch.
Continuing onward, we entered the spacious Economy Class, offering 237 seats, with the first five rows providing extra legroom at 34 inches.
During the ferry flight, guests and journalists were given ample time to explore the brand-new cabin, photograph, and test the seats. The attentive cabin crew even offered to glimpse the crew bunk below the main cabin floor.
As the scheduled departure time approached, Captain Riccardo Privitera—also in charge of ITA’s Flight Operations—welcomed us aboard and requested that we take our seats, fasten our seatbelts, and prepare for the flight.
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After pushback and a brief taxi, the aircraft took off to the south, providing a stunning aerial view of downtown Toulouse.
En route to Rome, we marveled at the picturesque sights of the Cote d’Azur and the northern tip of Corsica. As we descended into Rome Fiumicino, the first officer, Francesca Lainè, treated us to a breathtaking low-altitude loop over the Tyrrhenian Sea, demonstrating the remarkable maneuverability of the aircraft. Finally, we landed smoothly on runway 16L.
Although this was a non-revenue flight, the catering provided onboard flight AZ8949 was anything but ordinary.
Glasses of champagne accompanied a delectable assortment of hors d’oeuvres, followed by a delightful chocolate pastry and assorted fruits.
The all-female cabin crew, elegantly dressed in Brunello Cucinelli uniforms, delivered exceptional service despite the short duration of the flight.
ITA opted for Thompson Vantage XL seats in the Business Class cabin of their A330-900s, distinguishing them from the Collins Super Diamond seats found on their A350-900s.
While the Super Diamonds are arranged in a staggered configuration, the Thompson Vantage XL seats face forward.
The first row offers an impressive 53 inches of pitch, making it the preferred choice for travelers seeking maximum legroom.
Moving back from the first row, the pitch decreases to 44 inches. With a 1-2-1 configuration, every guest enjoys unobstructed aisle access.
Although sliding doors were not installed, the design of the Vantage XL seats provides a fair amount of privacy for window and central section passengers. The thirty leather-upholstered seats feature a tasteful beige color, contrasting beautifully with the dark blue seat console and the brown aisle carpet.
Notable features include USB A+C and universal power plugs, an adjustable headrest, a dimmable individual reading light, an IFE remote control, and a coat hanger.
The seats offer several customizable positions through intuitive control panels on the seat console’s top and side.
An abat-jour light near the passenger’s head adds a cozy ambiance to the open suite seat. Each seat has a 17.3-inch, 4K resolution individual touch-screen display with Bluetooth audio connection, ensuring an immersive inflight entertainment experience.
During the ferry flight, Business Traveler USA thoroughly evaluated the Business Class seats configured by ITA Airways. The notable highlights were the stylish design, meticulous finishing touches, and spacious 23-inch cushion width.
Although the fully flat “bed” mode could benefit from additional foot space, and the dining table proved slightly small and prone to bending, these minor drawbacks did not detract from the overall luxurious experience.
The limited stowage space, with only an open rack or a small niche depending on the seat’s location, was worth noting. Nevertheless, the introduction of ITA Airways’ new Airbus A330-900 promises an exceptional flying experience for passengers as they continue to expand their long-haul fleet and introduce more exciting routes.