top of page

Review: ITA Airways A320neo Economy (BRU-FCO)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

After a couple of days in Belgium exploring Brussels and Bruges it was time for us to head on to the main event, Tuscany! The closest airport to our villa with nonstop flights was in Rome, so that’s where we set our sights.


Booking

I started our search using Google Flights and found direct options with Brussels Airlines, ITA Airways, and Ryanair that all worked with our flight times. The pricing for both Economy and business class were extremely reasonable when I first looked; however, by the time we actually booked the ticket, the prices had jumped up significantly. With my Star Alliance Gold status I would have liked to have flown Brussels Airlines to help with my status requalification though the price ended up being more than double what ITA was charging so they won out.


Ultimately, I ended up paying $303 for both tickets in Economy with a checked bag allowed. I also paid extra to upgrade our seats to the exit row, giving us more legroom than the blocked middle seat with economy pitch you find in European Business Class.


Pre-Flight

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:35a and we ended up leaving our hotel in the Sablon way too early. Our Mercedes E-Class Uber picked us up from the hotel around 8:30a and we made the drive out to the Brussels Airport in about 20 minutes.

Once we arrived, we found barricades set up close to the terminal which didn’t allow any vehicle traffic through and passengers were being dropped off in what seemed like a converted parking lot. I’m not sure if this was due to construction or a lingering security measure from the terrorist attacks in 2016, but it was a chaotic situation with people and cars everywhere. The rain also didn’t help things.

Brussels Airport Passenger Drop-Off Area
Brussels Airport Passenger Drop-Off Area

We made the long trek to the main terminal building, passing through what appeared to be the old, covered drop-off area and into the check-in area.

After some hunting, we found the ITA check-in desks on the airport signage and made our way to Row 6. It was here that I realized we were definitely way too early as the desks were not even open yet.

ITA Airways Check-In Desk Brussels Airport
ITA Airways Check-In Desk Brussels Airport

After a short wait, the desks opened around 9:15a and, with our bags checked and boarding passes in hand, we headed off to security.

It took about 5 minutes to get through and once on the other side there was a massive wall of windows overlooking the ramp which made for some good plane spotting (It would have been even better if it wasn’t so dreary out).

Brussels Airport Ramp View
Brussels Airport Ramp View

We turned to the left and made our way through the duty free maze towards the A and T gates. Our flight to Rome was set to depart out of gate A52.


Lounge

Once we were through security we set off in search of the lounge since we still had an hour and a half until boarding thanks to our way too early arrival at the airport. ITA Airways uses the Diamond Lounge for their premium passengers in Brussels and it can also be accessed via Priority Pass or a one-time pass. Since we were in Economy, we accessed the lounge via Priority Pass. The full writeup of the lounge can be found here.


Boarding

A couple of minutes before boarding we left the lounge and made the walk down to gate A52. We arrived at 11:00a and boarding was already well underway.

A quick scan of our boarding passes and we headed down the jetway to board our bright blue ITA Airways A320neo. These planes definitely stand out, especially against a gray backdrop.


ITA Airways

AZ 159

BRU-FCO (Brussels International - Rome-Fiumicino International)

Seat: 12C (Economy)

A320-200neo (EI-INC)

Scheduled: 11:35a-1:40p

Actual: 11:43-1:40p


The bright color was short-lived as the blue exterior of the plane was replaced with a boring light gray on the interior of the cabin.


Seat

We made it back to Row 12 and our exit row seats. I assigned us 12A and 12C and gave Mrs. ATX jetsetter the window so she could get some sleep. The seats were in the standard 3-3 layout though unfortunately they were the slimline seats. Even though the flight was only 2 hours, I was starting to get uncomfortable by the end and my back was hurting.

ITA Airways A320neo Exit Row Seating
ITA Airways A320neo Exit Row Seating

Legroom in the exit row was above average and I had some space to stretch out.

ITA AIrways A320neo Exit Row Legroom
More legroom in the exit row than in Business Class on this plane

The tray table folded down from the seat in front and had enough space for my tablet but not for much else.


Departure

As boarding was wrapping up, our middle seat companion showed up. With the extra legroom in the exit row, we all had plenty of space. The flight attendant also came around to do the safety briefing and informed us that no bags are allowed in the exit row, even under the seat. I'm not sure if this is country by country, airline by airline, etc. but thankfully there was still room in the nearby overhead bins so it was a non-issue.

ITA Airways A320neo Exit Row Legroom
Can't have that bag under the seat!

We finished boarding and pushed off the gate 8 minutes late and taxied out to Runway 25R where we took off after a short wait.

Brussels Airport Runway 07L-25R Signage
Waiting for our turn to go

In Flight

Roughly 20 minutes after takeoff the captain turned the seatbelt sign off. The mimosas in the lounge had caught up to me so I hopped up to go to the lavatory. The rear lav was clean but definitely small (I think this is the new normal though unfortunately). The sink was tiny and you could barely get one hand in but I managed to not get completely soaked. There was also some ITA Branded hand soap available but no other amenities.

ITA Airways A320neo Lavatory
ITA Airways A320neo Lavatory

About 45 minutes into our 2 hour flight, the flight attendants came through with a beverage and snack service. I had a glass of sparkling water which was served with a package of crackers.

ITA Airways A320neo Economy Snack Service
ITA Airways Economy Snack Service

The remainder of the flight passed quickly and I used the time to work on this trip report. There was no seatback IFE and I didn’t even try to connect to the Wi-Fi.


Arrival

As we approached Rome-Fiumicino we had a short period of moderate turbulence as we descended through some weather. Once on the ground we taxied over to a remote stand and deplaned via air stairs which gave me a great look at our bright blue bird.

The bus drove us from our remote stand over to the terminal and we had some great views of aircraft taxiing before being deposited at the arrivals area.

ITA Airways A320neo seen from the terminal shuttle bus
ITA Airways A320neo seen from the terminal shuttle bus

The area felt bright and new and we followed the signs over to Carousel 26 which was located in the older part of baggage claim to retrieve our luggage.

Our bags took a little over 20 minutes to arrive on the belt after we deplaned. From there, we navigated the crazy, hectic maze that is Fiumicino Airport over to the parking garage to pick up our rental car.


Summary

As someone that loves to fly, it is always exciting getting the chance to try out a new carrier. While ITA is essentially a rebrand of Alitalia, it was still a neat experience. AvGeek excitement aside though, the flight was fine. There wasn’t anything that stood out about the experience but also nothing terrible. We got where we needed to go on-time which makes for a good flight in my book. I’d fly with ITA Airways again if the timing and price was right, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly with them.


In this Trip Report

Comentarios


bottom of page