Fare War 3: Milan – New York Business Class From $1,701 Roundtrip (Air Italy)


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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 the two airlines that have been butting heads recently…..with the Star Alliance airlines joining in too.

Earlier I wrote about the fares that SkyTeam is offering between Milan and New York as well as the fares on offer if you’re looking to book with a Star Alliance airlines. In this post I’m going to look at the roundtrip Business Class Air Italy fare that’s currently on offer for travel between Milan and New York.

Image courtesy of Air Italy

Star Alliance Fare – Headline Rules

  • Travel January – November 2019
  • Reservations must be made 30 days in advance
  • There is no obvious “book by” date
  • There is no obvious minimum stay restriction
  • There is no obvious maximum stay restriction

Air Italy Fare – Availability

As you’ll see below the Air Italy fare is showing very similar availability to what you’ll find if you search for the SkyTeam or Star Alliance fares.

The fare first appears towards the middle of February (courtesy of the 30 day advance booking rule)…

…it’s widely available in March….

….April….

….May….

…and June….

…before disappearing entirely in July….

…and most of August (European summer vacations)….

…before becoming widely available once again in September…

…and October:

Air Italy’s booking window currently only extends into October so, as long as the fare isn’t pulled, availability into November should appear as the booking window is extended.

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:

You’ll have to tailor the search to match your preferred dates and currency but as long as you use the “IG” code as shown you’ll be shown the Air Italy options only.

The Routing & Aircraft

This fare offers a non-stop routing between Milan Malpensa and New York JFK and Air Italy offers an Airbus A330 aircraft on this route:

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

…so you’re not going to get an all-aisle-access cabin here but what you do get doesn’t look bad at all.

The Air Italy A330 Business Class cabin offers angle-flat seating which, although probably not ideal, is significantly better than a lot of the angle-flat seats you’ll encounter.

Air Italy A330-200 Business Class – Image Air Italy

The seats are 22″ wide and, from what I’ve been told by those who have tried these seats out, they’re actually comfortable to sleep in.

They remind me a bit of the older Qatar Airways 777 seats which I tried out on my flight between Auckland and Doha (which was the world’s longest flight at the time)….

Qatar Airways 777-200LR Business Class

….and I had no real complaints at all. I spent over 17 hours in these seats and would happily fly in them again .

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 Air Italy and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the fare.

  • 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 airline directly and Google Flights appears to price up the flights with ease (and a little cheaper too).

Where To Credit The Flights

This is where we come up against a big issue with booking the Air Italy flights as the airline doesn’t really offer you may options when it comes to crediting this fare to a loyalty program.

These Air Italy fares book into the airline’s “D” fare code and, from what I’ve found online, D-coded fares don’t earn elite credits in any of the world’s loyalty programs….and they only appear to earn miles (Avios) in the British Airways Executive Club:

Even Iberia (BA’s sister airline) doesn’t award credit for D-coded fares:

I think you may be able to earn Qatar Airways Qmiles for these flights (not Qpoints) but the Qatar Airways Qcalculator is refusing to work for me right now so I can’t check.

Bottom Line

Out of all the Milan – New York fares that I’m writing about today this is going to be the least tempting for readers due to the limitations you’ll face when it comes to crediting the flights to an airline loyalty program…..but we should still be grateful for its existence.

I strongly suspect that we’re only seeing the good fares offered by SkyTeam and the Star Alliance airlines on this route because Air Italy published a very good fare itself (I think it’s unlikely that Delta/Alitalia/United were first to offer this fare) and, if I needed/wanted to fly between Milan and New York, I’d be sorely tempted to book the Air Italy fare just to support the airline.

I’m now off to see if Air Italy has ruffled any feathers on its other US routes…I’ll report back if I find anything good 🙂

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