Air One, Italy's second-largest airline after Alitalia, is taking over the routes between Chicago (O'Hare) and Milan and between Boston and Milan that Alitalia gave up because of financial troubles, which we've blogged about before. Air One will use Airbus A330-200 aircraft that is less than five years old. Each plane has 201 economy seats (plus additional business-class seats.
Air One starts its first transatlantic flights on June 14, nonstop between Boston and Milan, with connections to Rome, five times a week, and June 21, nonstop between Chicago and Milan, with connections to Rome, six times a week.
I spoke this week with Air One's head of marketing, Giorgio De Roni. He explains that Air One is a partner of United, US Airways, and Lufthansa. If you are a member of any of those airlines' frequent flier programs, you can earn miles on your Air One flights (and you can redeem your miles to fly on Air One). Air One currently flies to 22 domestic, 10 international and, as of June, two U.S. destinations. In 2007, the airline flew more than 7 million passengers.
To toast its new service to the U.S., Air One is offering economy-class fares for $799 round trip, including all taxes, fees, and surcharges. (Other airlines only list the base fare on their websites; for comparison, Air One's base fare is $491 round-trip, economy-class, with taxes and fees of $308.)
Want to fly to Rome? Pay $999—including all taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges. Ditto for flights to the Italian cities of Bari, Lamezia Terme, Naples, and Palermo.
What's the fine print?
These special non-refundable fares require a 14-day advance purchase with a Saturday overnight stay and are non-changeable. Tickets must be booked by June 13 and you must fly in 2008, You can fly in July and September, but the deal is not valid for flights in August.
What about its luggage rules? Many European airlines have tighter luggage allowances than American carriers for transatlantic flights. What is Air One's policy? Giorgio says that Air One allows you to check two bags that weigh up to 72 pounds each for free. If you want to connect to Rome via Milan, you are allowed the same amount and weight of luggage for your on-ward connection. (For comparison, British Airways only allows bags that weigh about 51 pounds. American Airlines maxes out at 50 pounds.)
See details at FlyAirOne.com.