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Old 12.08.2015, 09:58
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Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

This year I seem to be having no luck with flying. After this incident I decided to avoid problems in future and to only book direct with the airline. Hence for long weekend bread to Rome over Whitsun I decided to fly Alitalia.

The flight there was uneventful enough. Though you can't get a beer on board which already gave me doubts as to whether I'd fly with them in future. The return journey experience however left me in now doubt.

We arrived at Rome airport to be informed due to a strike our afternoon return flight had been cancelled. Why they couldn't have contacted us before we arrived at the airport I guess can be put down to their being Italian.

We were directed to the ticketing desk to rebook the flights. 4 hours we stood in a queue with no offer of refreshments or even water. Eventually we arrived at the desk to be told the earliest they could get us back to Zürich would be in 36 hours’ time including a 3 hour layover in Paris.

Using the 4 hours productively I'd found there was a last train out of Milan which we could make as a last resort. Work commitments meant a 36 hour extended stay wasn't possible so I asked to be rebooked to Milan instead. Upon landing we hightailed it across town in a taxi and made the last train to Zürich with minutes to spare, eventually arriving home at 1:30 in the morning, just the 11 hours later than planned.

A few days later I wrote to Alitalia, highlighting what happened (no notice of cancellation, long queuing, lack of refreshments, no rebooking possible for 36 hours etc.). I also said I understood it was strike action, so if they would be so kind as to reimburse my train ticket costs (about €100) we could forget about the matter and move on.

The monster that is Italian efficiency roared into action and 3 MONTHS LATER I received a reply. Basically, I was blamed for rebooking the flights to Milan and told no reimbursement would be given. The fact this €100 Euro is a lot cheaper hotels and meals for a day plus rebooking on a rival airline seemed lost on them.

You do really have to scratch you head at how utterly thick these people must be. Anyhow, my advice is to avoid these shits. Next time I'll fly Squeezyjet. At least you know what you're getting with them.
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:06
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

Alitalia lost my luggage the only time I flew with them.

As it stands though, shit happens in the travel industry - quite frequently based on my experience.

100eur to get back to where you need to be, in time to do what you need to do - my advice, take a deep breath and move on.

I am 300chf out of pocket due to the feckwittery going on at Calais but fighting to try and get some/any of that back is just not worth the time/hassle/stress.
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:08
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

They are absolutely right to refuse to pay for the train ticket.
However, under EU laws (applicable for a flight from an EU airport) you were entitled to a payment exceeding the 100 EUR per passenger. There are even companies that handle your claim on your behalf (for a success fee).
Plenty of information on EF re this.
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:13
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

I am time and time again baffled by airlines not being interested in resolving issues satisafctorily. If there is a train that gets delayed passengers home faster and more efficiently than the next available flight and the passenger is willing to take that train, it seems a bit bizarre not to encourage that. Especially if the hotel costs would exceed that of the train. Waiting 36 hours for a short hop flight such as Rome to Zurich is ridiculous by any standards.
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:19
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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Alitalia lost my luggage the only time I flew with them.

As it stands though, shit happens in the travel industry - quite frequently based on my experience.

100eur to get back to where you need to be, in time to do what you need to do - my advice, take a deep breath and move on.

I am 300chf out of pocket due to the feckwittery going on at Calais but fighting to try and get some/any of that back is just not worth the time/hassle/stress.
It's not about the money, I'm really not that bothered about that. It's just the disbelief that they'd rather piss off and lose a passanger than pay such a small amount. What goes through these peoples heads? If I'd have taken their suggestion for the rebooking then they'd have had to cough up a few thousand for the new flight plus hotel and food expenses. As it is I'm only asking for 100 bucks.

Anyhow, I'm not going to chase this up any further.
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:25
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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It's not about the money, I'm really not that bothered about that. It's just the disbelief that they'd rather piss off and lose a passanger than pay such a small amount. What goes through these peoples heads? If I'd have taken their suggestion for the rebooking then they'd have had to cough up a few thousand for the new flight plus hotel and food expenses. As it is I'm only asking for 100 bucks.

Anyhow, I'm not going to chase this up any further.
I had an issue with Swiss some months ago and after the first round of complaint emails they wrote back to me saying the matter was closed. I then kicked up a fuss on their facebook page (as well as here on the EF) and they got back to me saying sorry it was an error and they offered me a more adequate compensation.

Just saying. Maybe worth a try?
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Old 12.08.2015, 10:53
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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It's not about the money, I'm really not that bothered about that. It's just the disbelief that they'd rather piss off and lose a passanger than pay such a small amount. What goes through these peoples heads? If I'd have taken their suggestion for the rebooking then they'd have had to cough up a few thousand for the new flight plus hotel and food expenses. As it is I'm only asking for 100 bucks.

Anyhow, I'm not going to chase this up any further.


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I had an issue with Swiss some months ago and after the first round of complaint emails they wrote back to me saying the matter was closed. I then kicked up a fuss on their facebook page (as well as here on the EF) and they got back to me saying sorry it was an error and they offered me a more adequate compensation.

Just saying. Maybe worth a try?
That's what airlines count on... They say no and then most people will go away even if they are legally owed compensation.
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Old 12.08.2015, 11:00
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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I had an issue with Swiss some months ago and after the first round of complaint emails they wrote back to me saying the matter was closed. I then kicked up a fuss on their facebook page (as well as here on the EF) and they got back to me saying sorry it was an error and they offered me a more adequate compensation.

Just saying. Maybe worth a try?
Perhaps I'll put something out on Twitter. I don't think writing to them again is worthwhile though. They took 3 months to answer my first email.

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That's what airlines count on... They say no and then most people will go away even if they are legally owed compensation.
Definitely not entitled to compensation. Strike action is regarded as "extraordinary circumstances". Which, is ironic considering the number of Strikes affecting Alitalia recently. Ordinary would be a better fit.
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Old 12.08.2015, 11:20
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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You do really have to scratch you head at how utterly thick these people must be. Anyhow, my advice is to avoid these shits. Next time I'll fly Squeezyjet. At least you know what you're getting with them.
I had an almost identical experience with BA @ Heathrow several years back. Flight to Zurich was endlessly delayed due to rotation issues, and then finally we board the flight late in the evening and were sat there for over an hour before being informed by the 1st Officer that they could not locate a Captain for the flight and therefore it was now cancelled (7 hours after arriving at Heathrow)

Schlep back to an almost deserted terminal, collect bags, through customs etc... and then a massive queue with only a bloke with a walkie-talkie dishing out hotel vouchers and promising a rebooking on 'a' flight the following day. No further details, so once I was at the hotel I decided to call BA USA (since the UK helpline were closed) and found out that I had been rebooked on a flight 2 days later because that was the only flight that had seats. They couldn't rebook me on anything else.

Using the net I eventually managed to find a London City flight leaving at 7am the following morning so got 3 hours sleep and then high-tailed it from Heathrow to City at 5am. I obviously wrote to BA to try and claw back some of the money from my City flight + taxi ride but no dice.

So basically Alitalia aren't the only shitty airline when it comes to dealing with customers. I guess its just the sheer volumes they have to deal with e.g. a cancelled flight creates 200 new cases, multiplied several times a day, 7 days a week etc..
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Old 12.08.2015, 11:25
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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Schlep back to an almost deserted terminal, collect bags, through customs etc... and then a massive queue with only a bloke with a walkie-talkie dishing out hotel vouchers and promising a rebooking on 'a' flight the following day. No further details, so once I was at the hotel I decided to call BA USA (since the UK helpline were closed) and found out that I had been rebooked on a flight 2 days later because that was the only flight that had seats. They couldn't rebook me on anything else.
This is crazy. If you can get from London to Zurich faster by train than you can by plane, they really shouldn't be insisting you wait for the plane.
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Old 12.08.2015, 11:59
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

Not specifically had problems with Alitalia, but I have found Italian airport staff are totally useless and unhelpful even at the help desks.
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Old 12.08.2015, 12:29
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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You do really have to scratch you head at how utterly thick these people must be. Anyhow, my advice is to avoid these shits. Next time I'll fly Squeezyjet. At least you know what you're getting with them.
I wouldn't be too sure. My sister and family were flying home to Manchester from Geneva with Easyjet a couple of weeks ago. Their flight was cancelled, they were booked onto another flight later that day which was also cancelled, no reason, no explanation.
At least they were booked into a hotel overnight courtesy of Easyjet, but were then told that the earliest flight they could get would be three days later!
Luckily my sister's husband found them flights home with Brussel airlines, changing at Brussels, so it was a "thanks but no thanks" to Easyjet.
I haven't heard yet whether EJ will refund their money, let's hope they don't think the same way as Alitalia!
Personally, I will never fly with Easyjet.
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Old 12.08.2015, 12:39
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

These airlines don't make that much profit per passenger; it's all economies of scale. Plus they tend to pay shit salaries so end up with unmotivated ground staff.

Suddenly a day's worth of flights are cancelled (I've no idea how many flights Alitalia has out of Rome a day - let's just pretend it's 50) and so 10,000 people are now needing to be rebooked. And the planes are all in the wrong places.

The cheapest way to resolve this is to put people on later flights going to/from the same places they had booked, and to put them on the planes which have been grounded due to the strike and need to be flown to where they\'re meant to be anyway.

You got rerouted to Milan which was already something. Asking them to refund your train ticket costs then about 5€ in their time to say "No" compared to having to say yes, process the money and, of course, actually refund you.

I once had problems flying out of LCY due to fog. Swiss asked if I'd fly from LHR so I said yes, took the tube, got a £10 voucher at the airport for a couple of beers and then they flew me to Zurich. At Zurich they FLEW me to Basel. I mean, surely the train is cheaper and faster?

It was pointed out to me that the plane should have been in Basel anyway and hence Swiss would otherwise need to fly it there empty, plus some people would complain that they were taken to Basel SBB and not Euroairport where they may have left a car, or be staying nearby etc.

So, in summary, airlines just delay you and will usually refuse to pay you for other means of transport. Insurance and EU regs will refund out of pocket expenses and pay compensation. Except if there's a strike, or bad weather, or any other "unpredictable" item that an airline will try to claim.
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Old 12.08.2015, 13:08
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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I once had problems flying out of LCY due to fog. Swiss asked if I'd fly from LHR so I said yes, took the tube, got a £10 voucher at the airport for a couple of beers and then they flew me to Zurich.
I think this already makes a huge difference. Mention the words beer and voucher in one sentence and you already create buckets of goodwill.

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It was pointed out to me that the plane should have been in Basel anyway and hence Swiss would otherwise need to fly it there empty, plus some people would complain that they were taken to Basel SBB and not Euroairport where they may have left a car, or be staying nearby etc.
I think it depends on where you need to go, so it's definitely fair to offer people that choice but maybe less so to force them. When I was living in Freiburg in Germany I sometimes caught the last bus at night from Basel airport to Freiburg. Our house was actually quite close to the bus depot and if we asked the driver nicely, we could stay on the bus beyond its official stop and he'd drop us off virtually in front of our house while on his way to the depot. I guess a dead-heading plane is in the same sort of category, although I've never been offered that personally.

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So, in summary, airlines just delay you and will usually refuse to pay you for other means of transport. Insurance and EU regs will refund out of pocket expenses and pay compensation. Except if there's a strike, or bad weather, or any other "unpredictable" item that an airline will try to claim.

True.
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Old 12.08.2015, 13:15
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

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I guess a dead-heading plane is in the same sort of category, although I've never been offered that personally.
Ah, maybe I wasn't clear. I was originally booked LCY-BSL but due to fog they said I could fly from LHR but it would be via ZRH (as they didn't fly LHR-BSL).
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Old 12.08.2015, 14:07
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Re: Alitalia: another flock of bwastards

I'm lovin Alitalia at the moment.


They "status matched" my Swiss frequent flyer gold and gave me their version of Gold. So now I get to use the priorty check-in, lounges, and even got some free upgrade vouchers.


But I have never flown them, and have no idea if I ever need to. But the gold status is valid across the whole Skyteam, so lets see...
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