The Road to Rome – Mar 2014

After a week of jet lag, work and life I’m finally ready to start recapping my trip to Italy and the Rome Marathon.  Warning 🙂 this will be a bit long & lots of pictures.

Where to start…well let’s start with the flight to Rome.  I was so unbelievably lucky to find flights on US Air using my miles and not only that, I was able to fly to Rome in US Air’s Envoy class on an A330 plane.  I had to make 2 stops, but it was worth it to be able to be in one of the Envoy Suites for the flight to Italy.

I fly a least 4 – 6 times a year and I’ve been lucky to sit in first class on short domestic flights, but never internationally so this was a nice treat and perfect since I would only have 2 days before the marathon and I needed to get some sleep on the way there.

First Flight to Rome
First Flight to Rome

Domestically, I had stops in Dallas and Philadelphia.  The flight to Dallas is relatively short so there was just beverages and snacks.  It was quite nice to see that one of the snacks was actually something that pretty healthy, Nature’s Valley Fig Bars, Non-GMO, relatively low sugar, no cholesterol, no transfat – super yummy!  I had a raspberry one on the plane, but I actually had blueberry, apple cinnamon & peach-apricot in my bag.

Coffee & Nature's Valley Fig Bar
Coffee & Nature’s Valley Fig Bar

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the US Air magazine and saw that the featured city for March was none other than Winter Park, FL.  How cool is that!

US Airways March 2014 Magazine, Winter Park, FL

After a nice and easy flight to Dallas, I had a relatively short layover, during which time I started sneezing and getting a little bit of a sore throat. Oh, no! Not a fun feeling to have, fortunately, a zyrtec and I was feeling better in no time.

The flight to Philly was a bit longer so we were served lunch on-board.  I’ve flown first class before, but normally either short flights or on red-eye flights where you don’t get fed so this was a nice treat.

As we were getting ready to take off, the flight attendant asked us what entree we would like.  There were 2 to choose from, a miso beef with bok-choy or a pasta duo (penne with marinara sauce & tortellini with alfredo sauce), since I knew I would be eating some amazing pasta, I chose the beef.

After we took off, she brought us drinks in glass cups, and then about 20 minutes later our meals.

Real Glasses!
Real Glasses!

First Class Entree

My lunch included, Miso Beef, cooked well done, but it literally just melted in my mouth, it was so tender.  It was served with white rice and a vegetable medley of carrots, green beans & I guess there was some bok choy, I couldn’t really tell.  There was also a salad with a balsamic dressing and a chicken & slaw side too (I tried it but it wasn’t one of my favs).

For some reason, I didn’t expect dessert, but there was one, an amazing chocolate cake.  For someone who isn’t a huge fan of chocolate for me to say it was amazing is huge :).  Not that I didn’t enjoy the rest of my meal, but this was by far the best part.  Super rich chocolate flavor, incredibly moist with a fudgy topping and cocoa on top.

Chocolate cake first class us airways

The flight itself was fine, long, when you are anxious to get on your way to your final destination.  The pilot told us we would be landing early and then we ended up having to circle the airport until our original arrival time, which was frustrating since I only had about 45 minutes to get to my gate for my flight to Rome.

Finally arriving in Philly and I literally got to the gate, had my passport checked and they were ready to board – talk about timing :).

Passport checked, boarding pass ready, Zone 1, Seat 2A
Passport checked, boarding pass ready, Zone 1, Seat 2A
Finally just about on my way.  US Airways plane to Rome
Finally just about on my way. US Airways plane to Rome

As I was boarding the plane, the flight attendants were directing us to the various areas of the plane, the A330 is pretty large and in both Envoy & economy there are 3 sections, window, middle and opposite window so they want to make sure you go to the right side to make it easy for everyone.

My Envoy Suite was super cute and I immediately made myself at home, I even forgot to take a picture of it empty because I was so excited!

Envoy Suite US Airways A330

Extra space, Envoy Suite US Airways A330

Chilling in my Envoy Suite US AIrways A330

Not too long after I got semi settled, the flight attendants started coming around with a tray of beverages, they offered prosecco, orange juice or sparkling water.  I very rarely drink alcohol before a race or on a place (don’t want to be dehydrated) but this was a special occasion and as I told my boss and friend, I was like what would R.J. do and said Prosecco it is! lol

Prosecco to start US Airways Envoy to Rome

They came around and asked us what we would like for our entree before we took off, there was a nice menu with 4 dinner options, Tenderloin of Beef, Sun-dried Tomato stuffed Chicken Breast, Citrus Mahi Mahi and for the vegetarians Spinach Lasagna Rolls.  I chose the beef, I hardly ever eat beef in my normal day to day life, but you’ll see as I continue to recap, I eat a lot of it during this trip, interesting…

US Airways Envoy Menu

One last thing before we take off, they brought us cute little bags with some supplies – let me tell you the eye mask came in super handy.

US Air Envoy Amenity Kit

And away we go…

Taking off for Rome

Once we took off, things started happening quite fast.  The flight attendants came by first with bottles of water, then hot towels, then to bring our starter for dinner.

Warm mixed nuts to start
Warm mixed nuts to start
Appetizer course, Sliced pesto chicken breast with tomato-caper relish, salad & hot rolls
Appetizer course, Sliced pesto chicken breast with tomato-caper relish, salad & hot rolls

I loved that they let you pick your own rolls and had wheat and multi-grain.  The chicken portion of the appetizer was ok, nothing special and I tried the relish, but it had way too much onion in it for me.  The salad was good – they had darker greens in it, none of that horrible iceberg lettuce, thank goodness.

Super cute, tiny balsamic vinaigrette
Super cute, tiny balsamic vinaigrette
Entree Course - Tenderloin of Beef with morel mushroom sauce, served with sweet potato mash & broccoli florets
Entree Course – Tenderloin of Beef with morel mushroom sauce, served with sweet potato mash & broccoli florets

The beef was really good, I don’t use a lot of sauce so I left most of that, but the sweet potato mash, so so yummy.  That’s really the reason I choose the beef, of all the sides, that was by far the best option in my opinion.

Ben & Jerry's Health Bar Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry’s Health Bar Ice Cream

There were several choices for dessert, Raspberry Mousse, a cheese plate or ice cream.  This looked the best and it was good, although, the chocolate cake from the DFW – PHL flight was way better ;).

After dinner, they dimmed the cabin lights, I finished watching This Means War and went to sleep.  The nice thing about the envoy suite is that the seat lays flat, however that doesn’t mean it’s super comfortable. I have long legs and while the seat laid flat, there was a bit of space between the seat and the extra portion for my feet so I felt that a lot.  They gave us really nice thick blankets, but for the first time ever on a trans-atlantic flight, I was so hot.  I feel like even with that, I was able to sleep pretty well and fortunately when I woke up I did not look like Debra Messing in The Wedding Date.

I woke up just in time for breakfast and we were about 1.5 hours from Rome, over the Alps at this point.

Sunrise over the Alps
Sunrise over the Alps

Breakfast is served…

Spinach & Turkey Bacon Quiche
Spinach & Turkey Bacon Quiche

There were 2 choices for breakfast, the spinach & turkey bacon quiche that I picked & a yogurt & fruit bowl.  This was good, but unfortunately it wasn’t cooked all the way thru so I kind of just ate around the edges.  It’s such a nice change to see lots of veggies & fruit accompanying the entree.  They also served warm croissants and coffee.  I tried a chocolate croissant and was a little disappointed, it wasn’t really worth it, but it was seriously only 2 bites.

Not too long after breakfast we were on our final descent and landing in Rome.

Roma Fiumucino Passport Control

First stop passport control and then on to Rome…

Come back this week to see what happens next :).

Have you ever flown business or first class internationally?  What was your favorite part?