Fare War 1: Milan – New York Business Class From $1,701 Roundtrip (SkyTeam)

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It looks as if a fare war has broken out on the Milan – New York route and it may just be that it’s the Qatar Airways backed Air Italy that has triggered it.

Air Italy has recently started to expand its operations to/from the US (much to the anger of the Delta) so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two of the protagonists in this fare war are Delta and Air Italy with Delta’s subsidised Italian partner (Alitalia) joining in too.

Right now SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Air Italy are all offering roundtrip Businesses Class fares between Milan and New York from ~$1,700 and, as each alliance/carrier offers something a little different, I’m writing about them separately rather than in one gargantuan post.

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SkyTeam Fare – Headline Rules

  • Fares are called “midweek excursion fares”
  • Travel 23 January through 2 December 2019
  • Book by 28 January 2019
  • Reservations must be made 14 days in advance
  • Minimum stay is 3 days or a Saturday night
  • Maximum stay is 3 months
  • No stopovers permitted

So not only is this fare pretty good but it’s also available for the whole year. Here’s what availability looks like:

SkyTeam Fare – Availability

The great fare is available for travel almost immediately…

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…and is around on most days in February…

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…and April….

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…before it drops off a little in May…

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…and June…

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….before bouncing back in July….

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…and August…

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…before disappearing completely in September (I have no idea why)…

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…and reappearing in October…

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…and November:

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Finding These Fares

I used the Matrix search tool to find these fares as I find that it shows what is and isn’t available clearer than Google Flights (others may disagree) and here’s an example of the search parameters I used:

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These parameters limit the search to SkyTeam flights (Delta and Alitalia) so I’ll show how to find the flights on offer by Star Alliance and Air Italy in subsequent blog posts.

The Routing & Aircraft

The fares above are for a non-stop routing between Milan Malpensa and New York JFK and they offer a choice of flights.

You can book flights on a Delta A330 aircraft….

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….or an Alitalia A330 aircraft….

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…and the airline you choose will make a difference to the Business Class cabin you fly in.

The Alitalia A330 Business Class cabin seat map looks like this (per ExpertFlyer)…….

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…and the seats on board appear to be similar to what you’ll find on the Etihad 777 (I haven’t flown in this cabin so I’m basing this on the images I’ve seen online):

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Etihad 777 Business Class
Etihad Business Class 777-300
Etihad 777 Business Class

The Delta A330 Business Class cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 formation (per ExpertFlyer) and would be my preferred option:

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The seats on offer are very similar to the reverse herringbone seats that you’ll find on American’s 777 and should be very comfortable.

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Image courtesy of Delta

Couples who like to be close to each other and who like to be able to communicate easily throughout a flight may prefer the Alitalia cabin where the center seats in rows 1, 3 and 5 will be perfect for them (the center seats on the Delta A330 aren’t great for people who like to chat) but, for everyone else, I suspect the Delta cabin will be the better choice.

Booking The Fares

You can’t book the fares via the Matrix search so, once you’ve found dates that work for you, you should book via the route which is most beneficial to you.

By this I mean….

  • If you’re using a credit card that gives you a bonus for booking directly with an airline you should make sure you book via Delta or Alitalia and it’s very easy to find these fares on both of those airlines’ websites:

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  • If you’re using a credit card that gives you a bonus for all travel bookings booking you should be safe booking through most online travel agents or the airlines directly.
  • There will also be the matter of where to credit the flights for the purposes of earning miles and credits towards elite status (I’ll come on to that in the next section) so you should make sure you’re aware of the rules of the loyalty program you’re crediting to before you decide who to book with – if you book through Delta and credit to Delta you’ll earn miles based on the cost of the fare while booking through Alitalia and crediting to Delta will see you earn miles based on the distance traveled (for example).

Where To Credit The Flights

Delta and Alitalia are both members of SkyTeam so there are a whole host of loyalty programs to which you can credit these flights.

Booking through Delta will see you book fares in the airline’s “Z” code which, according to wheretocredit.com, will earn you the following (depending on where you credit the flights):

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Click to enlarge

If you choose to book via Alitalia the flights will book into Fare code “I” and this is what the wheretocredit website shows your options to be:

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Click to enlarge

Make sure you look through these tables carefully before deciding how to book your fare and where to credit to and make sure you understand how credits towards elite status will work too.

Bottom Line

Out of all the Milan – New York fares that I’m writing about today these are my favourites. The Delta A330 Business Class cabin is one I like quite a bit and I’d be happy booking the Alitalia A330 (as a solo traveler) as long as I could reserve on of the seats closest to the windows (rows 2 & 4) which offer a lot of privacy.

Still, the other fares I’m writing about may offer you something that these flights don’t so make sure you check them out before making a final decision.

Overall this is a very good fare indeed. It may not be a spectacular fare but it books into comfortable Business Class cabins and doesn’t require any layovers….and both those things go a long way to making a trip a good one.

Featured image courtesy of Delta