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I love it when we get more transatlantic service to the West Coast because the more seats we see scheduled to fly to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego the harder it becomes for airlines to increase fares…and right now I’m very happy.
Both Alitalia and LOT Polish Airlines are adding new services between Europe and San Francisco from summer 2020 and with Alitalia adding 3 wide-body flights per week and LOT adding 4 there’s a lot more capacity heading to SFO next year.
Alitalia’s New San Francisco Route
From 1 June 2020 Alitalia will operate a 3x/week service between Rome and San Francisco on the following schedule:
AZ640 FCO 09:15 – 13:15 SFO (Mon, Thu & Sat)
AZ641 SFO 15:15 – 12:15+1 day FCO (Mon, Thu & Sat)
The new route will be operated by an Alitalia Boeing 777-200ER aircraft which offers the following cabin configuration:
- 30 Business Class seats
- 24 Premium Economy seats
- 239 Economy Class seats
The Economy Class seats on the Alitalia 777-200 are tight as they only offer 17″ of width and some seats have as little as 30″ of legroom (most have 31″), but things get better in Premium Economy (19″ of width and 38″ of legroom), and Business Class is actually pretty good with a 1-2-1 all-aisle access cabin and true lie-flat seating.
It’s more than a little amusing that there isn’t a word of protest out of Delta in response to seeing a government-subsidized airline (Alitalia) launching a new route to the US when it made such a ridiculous amount of noise when Air Italy did exactly the same thing.
Far be it from me to suggest that the fact that Air Italy is 49% owned by Qatar Airways and the fact that Alitalia is a Delta partner has anything to do with this apparent imbalance in attitude, so I’ll let you decide just how hypocritical (or not) Delta actually is 🙂
LOT’s New San Francisco Route
From 5 August 2020 LOT Polish Airlines will operate a 4x/week service between Warsaw and San Francisco on the following schedule:
LO035 WAW 11:35 – 14:30 SFO (Mon & Fri)
LO037 WAW 17:20 – 20:15 SFO (Wed & Sat)
LO036 SFO 16:25 – 13:00+1 day WAW (Mon & Fri)
LO038 SFO 22:10 – 18:45+1 day WAW (Wed & Sat)
The new route will be operated by a LOT Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner which offers the following cabin configuration:
- 24 Business Class seats
- 21 Premium Economy seats
- 249 Economy Class seats
Just like with the Alitalia cabins there’s good news and bad news here.
First the good news.
LOT’s Dreamliners have been fitted with a nice Business Class seat which, while it doesn’t offer all-aisle-access, does offer comfortable lie-flat seats and a good amount of room.
I know a lot of people who actually prefer these seats to a lot of other more highly acclaimed Business Class seats as they offer a lot of room for a passenger’s legs and feet when in lie-flat mode.
The good news continues into the Premium Economy cabin where passengers are given 19.5″ wide seats with a seat pitch of 38″ set out in a 2-3-2 layout.
Sadly, that’s where the good news ends.
Like a lot of other airlines, LOT has squeezed in 9 seats across its 787-8 Dreamliner Economy Class cabin and that has resulted in a seat width of a little under 17″ – that’s horrible for a flight that could take over 12 hours.
The legroom in Economy Class is set at 31″ and that’s par for the course for a lot of transatlantic carriers but overall this cabin will almost certainly have a very cramped feel to it (I can’t confirm this from personal experience as I’d never book a seat in a cabin as tight as this).
Still, Economy Class issues aside I’m very happy to see LOT launching service to/from San Francisco as this should be very good news for award availability.
LOT is already the easiest Star Alliance airline on which to find premium cabin award availability between Los Angeles and Europe and I don’t see any reason why availability should be any worse for travel from/to San Francisco – MileagePlus members should be happy.
The more seats that airlines have to fill means more pressure on airfares and that’s always good for consumers.
Both Alitalia and LOT offer good Business and Premium Economy cabins (premium cabin cash flyers should be happy with this news) and LOT is great at opening up premium cabin award availability (members of various Star Alliance loyalty programs should be happy) so as long as you avoid the Economy Class cabins these new flights offer a lot of promise.
[HT: Routes Online for the route news]