Chunks of Parmesan cheese and piles of salty prosciutto are piled alongside glasses of Campari sodas because the sounds of Milan’s cityscape hum round me. Sadly, nonetheless, the bounty I simply described continues to be round 4,000 miles out of attain.

I’m in my condominium in Brooklyn, and the one factor separating me between my studio and Italy is an eight-hour flight on ITA Airways, which celebrated its first anniversary late final month.

What’s ITA Airways and for that matter, how do you even pronounce it? On the subject of the latter, it’s much like what one principally does on a diet-obliterating journey to Italy: Eat-ah! ITA’s backstory, in the meantime, is an attention-grabbing one: Italy’s main airline was as soon as the government-funded Alitalia, based in 1946 and related Italians with the skin world after World Battle II. Nevertheless, Alitalia was privatized in 2009 and shortly fell on laborious instances, which included strikes, layoffs and chapter.

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In October 2021, the state-owned ITA took over Alitalia. Since then, they’ve carried a reported 9 million passengers, but in addition skilled some agita. That features the airline’s board lately stripping its chairman of power.

Right here’s what it was wish to fly the Italian airline in its rookie yr.

The prospect of flying on a newish Italian airline intrigued me. As I used to be looking for flights from JFK to Milan by way of Google, ITA popped up and I believed I’d check out one of many direct flights for my October journey. I additionally couldn’t ignore the cheap costs with round-trips beginning at $550, which is on the decrease finish in comparison with different flights to Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Nevertheless, once I talked about to some buddies that I used to be flying on ITA, they weren’t optimistic about my flight. How easy might issues go on an airline in such flux?

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I booked a round-trip ticket for $646 by way of Google Flights, however it wasn’t fully clear which class of ticket I bought; my ticket and receipt simply mentioned “financial system.” ITA has a number of sorts of financial system — gentle (essentially the most restrictive), traditional, flex and premium, which advertises 40 p.c extra legroom and 120 levels of reclining. There’s additionally enterprise (long- and medium-haul) and superior.

Like many different airways, ITA has a spread of financial system seating options with fees; they begin at $9 and go as much as $140, relying in your fare class, route and seat choice. With financial system gentle, vacationers need to pay for any seat choice. My journey companion (my mother) and I paid $41 every method for our seats.

Whether or not I needed to pay for bags was complicated: My ticket receipt mentioned one piece of bags was included, however I later paid $70. I concern I could have paid for an additional test bag vs. my one checked bag.

Twenty 4 hours earlier than my journey, I downloaded ITA’s app to test in. The app is extra restricted than huge U.S. airways; there are not any choices for notifications on flight statuses and baggage loading.

We arrived at JFK Airport, discovered ITA’s house at Terminal 1 and checked our baggage. We paid for them, however it’s nonetheless murky if we even needed to.

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We headed to the gate and noticed our crew and pilots strolling previous the check-in desk. We observe the check-in attendant animatedly gesticulating whereas on the cellphone and saying, “No?! Actually?” We brace for the worst.

The vacation spot on the gate’s overhead screens inexplicably switches from Milan to Rome, and whereas the Everlasting Metropolis is certainly pretty, it’s not the place we’re going. The pilot then exits the aircraft and confers with the check-in attendants. Then, as if it’s a scene out of “Home Alone 2,” he and the crew begin sprinting down the terminal with the aircraft’s passengers following shortly behind. We be part of them, and all of it quantities to an ITA parade by way of JFK to our newly appointed gate.

Boarding begins swiftly as we barrel onto the A330 for our 8:55 p.m. departure. As I walked by way of the spacious enterprise class, it regarded snug, with particular person leather-based seats that recline and evenly unfold out. Financial system seats had been decidedly smaller and extra cramped, however nice. Our redeye tonight is simply just a little greater than half full with solely the window-side two-seaters occupied and the big swaths of seats within the center empty. Passengers are given a neck pillow and a comfortable blanket — so fluffy, the truth is, that my mother wound up taking hers house.

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WiFi was not included free, however a number of tiers can be found for buy. This included a plan as little as $2 for 10mb for texting all the way in which as much as $20 for 200mb. My mother bought the 50mb tier for $6, however it by no means wound up loading on her iPad, and she or he had no luck getting in contact with customer support to get her a refund.

Round an hour or so after takeoff, drinks and meals service begins. “Would you want meat or pasta?” we’re requested. I select the meat, and my mother chooses the pasta, which we’re informed is a lasagna.

My meat is a few kind of beef stew, served with a aspect of chilly inexperienced beans topped with a slice of ham and a roll that appeared fairly stale. The “lasagna,” nonetheless, on this distinctly Italian flight doesn’t look like lasagna in any respect, however quite a Greek spanakopita. Although to be honest, the spanakopita is certainly a layered dish crammed with cheese.

Drinks embody beer (Peroni, in fact) or wine; and low or English breakfast tea. There’s one other drinks service shortly earlier than landing. One other drink and snack service got here shortly earlier than touchdown, and I gulped down an English breakfast tea together with a heat sort-of panzerotti, dough pocket crammed with ricotta.

We arrive at Milan’s Malpensa barely forward of our scheduled 11:05 a.m. arrival, disembarking on the runway and taking a bus from our aircraft to the gate the place we move by way of customs in report time.

Our top-to-bottom expertise on ITA was a combined bag, however definitely not a journey nightmare. Our flight was comparatively easy, left on time and arrived early. Sadly, I wouldn’t exit of my method for one more ITA flight. The WiFi and leisure system was spotty; info on charges on their web site was murky; and their app was minimalist.

But when I used to be on a good funds and ITA listed one of the best value for a flight to Italy, I’d cautiously take the journey however not anticipate a lot. On the very least, evenly booked flights are all the time a plus.

Now when you’ll excuse me, I’ve some Parmesan and Campari to seek out.

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