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ALITALIA- A REAL DISASTER
Posted by 12B on 07/12/2005
TORONTO, IDAHO -- This airline is heading for surefire closure unless they completely revamp their ill staff:
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I had a documented confirmed reservation from Toronto-Milan-Bombay with special meal request for 3 of us.
But to my astonishment at the time of Check-in the counter clerk told me,( even without looking at the ticket or confirmation on computer) that my ticket is valid only if I pay 255 CAN$ and asked me to go to ticketing counter with my 2 kids and baggage. All the counters were supervised by very bored predominantly frustrated staff looking forward to their retirements.
I wanted to know the reason for asking excess charges sought for confirmation. Rude and arrogant staff of Alitalia gave no response to my simple question & said if I want to fly then I pay or she will leave the counter and go. I paid 255$ since I had no option and that lady was not interested to talk.
After paying I went to check-in where I was told that my special meal is not confirmed though I had a computer print out from travel agent. I asked counter clerk to call their manager to clarify. An old aged man who was rudest of all, supposedly manager,said he cannot do anything since his system do not speak any thing and also he cannot make any alernative arrangement for vegetarian. His claim was that any documented evidence from travel agent is not genuine and hence invalid.
Any way I had to starve onboard without food upto Milan and kids remained on biscuits I carried.If Alitalia crew/staff was little professional, then could have made arrangement when we checked in 2 hours before. When asked for complaint form it was refused and crew forcibly kept plates with meat which was out of question to be accepted being vegetarian.
However onward journey from Milan to Bombay was little better with okay crew and proper food and service.
I heard couple of times before travelling about Alitalia which is on verge of winding up and bankruptcy.

I have decided never to fly this Airline again.

Staff/crew are mostly ill-trained with attitude problem with zero customer service. Arrogancy, harsh and unfriendly attitude seems to be way of their culture.They have no respect for the customers, young or elder.

Top of all Toronto Alitalia's old aged manager(?) looking for sweet retirement who is frustrated and only means a extra cut of money on the name of confirmation of reservation to save the Airline with bankruptcy and debts heading for tough competition with Aeroflot and Air India.

Keep Alitalia far from your travel ideas.Service onboard is not poor - it's almost non existent. Flight attendants are pathetic and unconcerned about their work. Service is not a word for Alitalia.If you ask for something you can hear them making fun of you with the rest of the crew. They strike once a month for extra incentives so that you are in trouble and cannot fly. They gather in the back of the plane to chat instead of doing their work. I don't know if this is an Italian thing but generally the crew had no manners and spoke to you as though you were a burden on them.
     
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Posted by socal1 on 2005-07-12:
Talk to your travel agent. Ask them to look into why you were asked to pay more money. Ultimately, they are responsible for your reservation, and can try to secure a refund from Alitalia for the excess amount paid. Should they fail to to that, you can try to demand payment from the agent, claiming they sold you a bad ticket.

The rest of your letter is filled with inuendo and conjecture.
Posted by wonder on 2005-07-12:
Try other Airlines even if it cost 100$ more.
If you google one can find tonnes of bad remarks and expriences posted by passengers who have used Alitalia. It is for sure heading for a major revamp or windup if it follows the same tradition of ripping innocents.
Posted by ABCD on 2005-07-12:
Alitalia has managed to get negative image and negative brand, jumping into race for worst airline of the world

read
A failing brand lives on borrowed time

http://www.johnkay.com/strategy/349
Posted by delezyka on 2005-07-23:
Please learn how to speak English.
Posted by 12B on 2005-10-31:
There seems to be some bad English teachers here....
Can we see them work?
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Rude, Arrogant, Unhelpful Alitalia Staff
Posted by Surrydad on 09/09/2013
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- We confused the date of departure from NYC with the date of arrival in
Rome on our round the world ticket. As soon as we realized our mistake we went straight to the JFK airport 6 hours before the flight the next day. We were confronted with very unhelpful Alitalia staff who told us the rest of our flights on our itinerary were cancelled. All they could offer us were were seats on the flight to Rome for $2500 each but the rest of our flights were still cancelled which would leave us stranded in Rome.

We were prepared to pay a penalty(up to $1000 each) for our mistake but not to be ripped off. It would have better for them to fill their seats with passengers prepared to to pay and spend tourist dollars in Rome than fly with empty seats. They would have to be the rudest, arrogant and unhelpful airline staff we have ever met.

We were fortunate enough to have cash on hand to buy new flights with another airline to Budapest and back home to Sydney. Many travelers may not be in this position and would be stranded have a world away from home. $4500 later and with a very bad opinion of Alitalia, back home safe and sound. Avoid this airline. Never again will we fly with Alitalia.
     
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Posted by John Nicholson on 2013-09-09:
Sorry, mate but you did make the mistake. I thought Aussies took responsibility when they made mistakes. As for rude Alitalia employees, that happens with most airlines nowadays, tho from what I hear from my military sons, United has the rudest, especially toward those in uniform.
Posted by PassingBy on 2013-09-09:
The problem is you missed the flight. Once that happens the remainder of your literary is automatically cancelled. The Terms of Carriage for all airlines and railroads clearly state this.

Airline staff are trained to remain calm in the face of irate passengers. There was a TV series that clearly showed this on a weekly basis. I'd venture that you were very irate and eventually they had their fill of you.
Posted by surrydad on 2013-09-09:
We always conceded it was our mistake and were quite prepared to pay for. We were pleasant to the Alitalia staff at the airport but were given the abrupt answer, no show your flights are cancelled, go away. This is not a low cost carrier and our tickets were not cheap. When we inquired at the air France counter regarding our continuing flights we were told our flights were still open and if Alitalia would let us continue on our itinerary we could continue with them. We didn't expect to fly without paying for it but to charge more for one flight than the amount we paid for flights to Budapest and back to Sydney on high quality fully serviced airlines is blatant extorsion. We put it down to experience now. Looking at the Alitalia history and complaints web site we don't think they we be around too much longer and the rude staff may find themselves in the dole line. No other airline would employ them.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
An out of touch airline-stay away
Posted by Grodolitz on 08/31/2012
ROME -- When checking in for our return flight from Rome to NY, Alitalia's online checkin service showed a seating chart and offered extra legroom upgrades for the bulkhead seats with no one in front. We paid a $150 upgrade fee for the 2 seats.

When we got on the plane, the seating was completely different than the seating chart on the online checkin, and the upgrades seats were not the bulkhead seats, did not have extra legroom. The extra legroom seats were one row in front of us, and never showed up on the online checkin screen. Simply put, Alitalia misrepresented what they were offering. The flight staff on the plane acknowledged the mistake but said there was nothing they could do, and provided a complaint form to be emailed to Alitalia.

Its now almost 2 months-- we emailed the complaint form, sent numerous follow up emails, but no response from the airline, no refund for the upgrade that wasn't provided, even though they took the money. Last time we fly with Alitalia - they just don't care about their customers and don't even try to make good on their screw ups.

     
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Alitalia - lost luggage! Think twice before flying this airline
Posted by Mr Frown on 08/07/2010
We have recently flown on Alitalia from London to Rome with a 45mins connecting flight to Chicago.

The flight was delayed in Rome by nearly 1 hour. Yet when we arrived in Chicago, to our horror our luggages never arrive. So we thought, well, it must be just shoddy service, and Alitalia does have that

kinda reputation afterall. The person who handled the complaint gave us a reference number, and a sour face. There were at least 20 other people, some with children, in the same lousy boat.

Everyone is given a piece of photocopied paper with a phone number to ring for luggage lost, and a New York customer relation number.

So we rang. And rang. And rang. But there was never anyone to receive the call. All we hear was a recorded message. It said 'we are open closed on Tuesdays, etc etc' yet we called on Saturday, Sunday,

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We couldn't get through to speak to any human being with the numbers we have. Finally when someone rang back, it was already day 5. The lady reassured us that our luggage was

on its way, within 24hrs. We were forced to alter our holiday plans for this, but we never receive our bag. We tried to ring the numbers, but nothing. Stress. The website baggage tracking was not working.

Judging by people's experiences, we were wondering if we would even get compensation for our lost luggage.

So in summary,

1. Customer service is extremely poor. You can't get anyone to answer their numbers. If you want to ring them for anything, you've been warned.

2. Alitalia seriously need to rethink how it is handling lost luggages - from customer relations, baggage tracking, to simply just answering their phone.

3. Alitalia baggage tracking on the website (end of July 2010 to date) need to be fixed.

4. Lost luggages seem to be common with Alitalia (just google around). Really check with them if they said your 'lost luggage' is on its way.
     
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Posted by Alain on 2010-08-08:
I've always had good luck with Lufthansa. Keep on working at the to get your bags or some compensation. Sometimes persistence pays off. Keep us updated, please.
Posted by carmen on 2013-08-05:
Alitalia lost the luggage of my son in a simple trip from Barcelona to Rome!
Amazing!
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Don't Fly Alitalia
Posted by Rsabelli on 06/26/2010
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- My luggage was lost by Alitalia in Dec and they still owe me $1465.00.
After landing in Milan in December 2009, after waiting hours for luggage that never arrived, after I realized that my luggage was lost, after waiting hours at the lost luggage desk, I was told to repurchase everything I would need for my week long vacation because Alitalia informed me that they could not get my luggage to me until one week later (the day before I was departing to return home.)

I was very accommodating but they refused to have my luggage delivered to any of the cities that we were going to be in during the week (multitude of excuses: holidays, wouldn’t pay for courier, etc…) and so we had to return to the first city at the end of our trip to retrieve it.

Because we were changing cities everyday on this “vacation,”and the luggage they lost was my ONLY piece of luggage, I not only had to buy all of my clothing, shoes, boots (it was snowing), makeup, toiletries, but I also had to buy luggage!

Alitalia assured me that I would be reimbursed as long as I kept all of my (itemized) receipts and submitted a claim when I returned to the states. (Which, of course, I did.) But after almost 4 months I didn’t hear from them, and when I followed up, they lied and told me that my luggage was returned to me the following day, and then they denied my claim. Naturally, I had proof that they were lying, (I received my luggage one week later, not one day later], and so then they made up a new fake nonexistent reimbursement policy, (there is no such policy, I have all the paperwork from Italy, and there is no such policy on their website), and so then they offered me $225*, instead of the $1465* they owe me. (However, I have not received a penny).

*Just purchasing toothpaste, a toothbrush, comb, hand cream, makeup, deodorant, sneakers and a tote bag, which I bought and used as LUGGAGE because it was cheaper, cost me $270.00! They offered me $225 as a “settlement” (which I never received), but WHAT ABOUT THE COST OF MY CLOTHES, BOOTS, UNDERWEAR?? WHAT ABOUT THE COST OF MY CABS, BUSES (to find these stores), AND PHONE CALLS (to track down my lost luggage)??

Should I be expected to pay for replacing my clothes—I packed them---THEY LOST THEM.
They broke their contract:
http://www.alitalia.com/IL_EN/Images/CGT_en_0605_final_tcm50-10352.pdf
see page 2 of THEIR document:
“…..provide the passenger with the agreed carriage according to the defined itinerary and
schedule, carrying the passenger and his/her baggage from the place of departure to the
place of destination…”

A simple search online will show you that Alitalia does not ever pay for lost luggage.
I have written to, emailed and called Alitalia 23 times. I have contacted Eyewitness News/7 On Your Side, The New York State Consumer Board, The Better Business Bureau, and Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General…..and various travel troubleshooters online……..I am still waiting for my check for $1465.00.
The other very frightening thing is that their prices are very CHEAP, and so students planning to study abroad find this very appealing….
STUDENTS BEWARE!—DO YOUR HOMEWORK---RESEARCH THIS AIRLINE BEFORE YOU BUY A TICKET! UNLESS YOU ARE PLANNING TO CARRY ON YOUR LUGGAGE CASES, DO NOT FLY ALITALIA!
     
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The most horrific travel experience ever
Posted by Alitalia is the world's worst airline on 11/25/2009
I booked a ticket on line. When the ticket printed it was not the info I selected. I called within 2 minutes and the US office said "too bad so sad", what you were trying to book was the Italian site and system defaulted me to US changing my entire itenarary and there was nothing they could do b/c they in the US did not have availbale my Italian itenarary. So I then had to pay a penalty to change my flight with Italy. It took me 3 days to try and book the Italian flight b/c each day they would take my info and never sent me a confirmation. I finally had to go personally to the airport to ensure I was booked on the flihgt I wanted. It was riduculous.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-25:
It sounds more likely that you made a mistake online and Alitalia is just enforcing their ticket reissue rules.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-25:
You might have a legitimate grievance if this was a inter Europe booking...their website is a horror story.
I would stop short of declaring Alitalia the worst as they are a very nice airline in front of the curtain...beyond, not so much.
Posted by Richard Gray on 2013-07-03:
We have had a similar experience. There was a technological error when we booked our tickets. The Alitalia customer services advised us to cancel the ticket that was problematic and rebook. They also assured us that we would get a refund for the ticket they had advised us to cancel. After five phone calls, we still haven't got the promised refund. And the responses from the staff we have contacted range from the disingenuous (one person we called assured us we would get a refund in 24 hours) to the just plain rude.
As far as customer care is concerned, this is the worst airline we've ever encountered.
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Alitalia: luggage delivered two hours after landing if at all
Posted by Philgood on 11/21/2009
Booking Alitalia to Rome was a mistake as even our Italian friends now tell us. It is Western Europe's version of Aeroflot. We had only allowed six and a half hours until our cruise left. The plane was three late in landing. The first bag off the belt appeared 45 minutes later. After an hour and forty five minutes, we received two of our three bags. During the delay, we had tried several times to file a missing luggage report with Alitalia; they had always refused--”just wait five more minutes.” Now, we had no alternative but to head for the cruise terminal (the shuttle cost E125, so much for our plan to take the train) without filing a report.

No, Alitalia has yet to return or reimburse us for our luggage; we've tried contacting the phone numbers and email addresses on their website, but all are out of service. P.S. Our departure flight, Alitalia to Paris left an hour late.
     
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Posted by Ben There on 2009-11-21:
"We had only allowed six and a half hours until our cruise left."... I suggest arriving in the port city a day before a cruise - too many things can happen like weather, mechanicals, strikes and delayed luggage. A 24 hour buffer normally allows plenty of time to catch up from issues like this. If your plane had been delayed a little longer, you could have missed the cruise and had no reimbursement.
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Alitalia: the worse customer service ever to be found
Posted by Nisticom on 11/16/2009
My parents were supposed to come visit me from Rome to New York, today 11/16/2009. Instead they spent all day at the airport in Rome, without even the possibility to check into their flight. There was a strike of the personnel and Alitalia did not give them any update for at least 8 hours. I, on my own end, called the NY customer service, but they never picked up. When I called the booking service, 5 times, after explaining the situation and requesting a reallocation of my parents on a new flight, the customer service person, always hung up on me. They were rude, absolutely insensitive to the fact that my parents are elderly and had been waiting the entire day at the airport. We still do not know whether they will ever make it to NY, or get the ticket reimbursed.
Alitalia is the worst airline there is. Shame on them. Avoid them at all cost.
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-16:
They weren't rude, they just couldn't do anything about the situation. If there was a strike who do you think was supposed to board the flights and follow procedures to make sure no terrorists were on that flight with your family members? If your company went on strike, wouldn't some customers be inconvienced?
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-16:
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-16:
If they were on strike, exactly who do you supposed was going to fly the plane? Or attend the needs of the passengers aboard? Or work the safety rotations & checks? Or answer the CSR lines? they are on STRIKE....no one is WORKING.

Sometimes, I think people should really go back and read their complaint. I bet half would delete it when they see how irrational it is.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-18:
The OP is not complaining that the flights were not being flown. The complaint is that the airline is not saying anything and they don't know if they will be reimbursed. The strike does not mean that they can't have someone answering the passengers. What Alitalia may do if they can't fly is to rebook the passengers on other airlines at Alitalia's expense, or at least refund their money so that they could try to rebook themselves
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-18:
James, the fact is when a company is on strike, very few people ARE working. Those who do not strike are the ones running their arses off trying to take care of everyone's jobs. Sadly, the OP and everyone else is going to have to wait till their turn comes or it plays out.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-19:
The airline is in a contractual situation with the OPs parents. The strike means that they are not flying. Customers should not have to wait until Alitalia's strike is over. It doesn't take much manpower to refund the credit cards of customers who want a refund. This just takes one person a few minutes. Otherwise the passengers can rebook themselves on other airlines and when "it plays out" the passengers can then sue the airline for the price of their new ticket on the other airline. So it's in the airline's interest to refund these passengers and let them go their way.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-11-19:
james - consider contacting a lawyer then if they won't issue a refund
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-19:
"This just takes one person a few minutes." Only if there were only a few people flying this airline. I would think there are a lot more than just a few. If the airline isn't moving fast enough for you, why not just dispute the charge with your credit card and be done with it.

When a company is on strike, it mostly shuts down. Minimal operation. People will have to deal with it. It sucks, but there it is.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-19:
Actually my estimate of a few minutes was for a whole flight. I once worked in the Accounts dept of a company and once the supervisor okayed the refund, the refund process was just a few seconds on the computer. Pull the account up and one click. So for a flight of say 200, some will wait and maybe 50 will ask for a refund, so for the entire flight its just a few minutes to process refunds. If there is no staff maybe the President will have to either settle the employees' strike or get off his butt and sit at a computer for a few minutes and process the refunds
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-19:
PepperElf, the OP's ultimate remedy is indeed to go to Court. This can be done in small claims court where you don't need a lawyer. But you don't rush to court. I am only saying here that the airline's best approach would be to find out how many want refunds and take a few minutes and refund their credit cards, instead of facing unhappy travelers waiting in the airport, a few of whom may really go to Court.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-11-19:
James, you aren't understanding. It isn't JUST your flight, it is ALL the flights that were delayed or cancelled. YOUR 200 people are only a drop in the bucket for the overall fiasco. Do you see now?
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Don't ever fly Alitalia if you can help it.
Posted by Masaro on 08/21/2009
I traveled on Alitalia to Italy recently and on the return trip, they lost my bags along with those of around 10 other passengers. The Aitalia agents at their "lost and found" in JFK airport in New York were rude and thoughtless, suggesting sarcastically that I should not have put medicine for my young son in the checked luggage when I pointed out politely that the medicine was in there and that it would go bad if we did not have the bags back in a few days. Then, when I tried to call the number they gave me to follow up I learned that it rolls right into voice mail with no one picking up. I left several messages, which went unreturned. I tried to call another number where an agent picked up and hung up on me when I asked to be put in contact with a live person to discuss my lost luggage. I have checked their web-site and two days have passed and they claim to still be looking for my bags. The bottom line is they care nothing about you once they have taken your money. I will never, ever fly with them again. If you are considering flying with them, I suggest your search the net for Alitalia and complaints and you will find many similar horror stories and also indications that they regularly lose customer luggage.
     
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Posted by Ben There on 2009-08-21:
All airlines recommend that you pack medicines and valuables in your carry on bag only...
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-08-21:
They were right, you shouldn't have put your son's medicine in checked luggage. As far as the lost bags, it happens.
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Cancelled Flight, Overbooking & Bumped, Lost Baggage, Sickening Bathroom Odor, Rude Staff
Posted by Mrs. Myers on 04/07/2008
NY- TO ROME, NEW YORK -- I booked our airline travel 6 mos. ahead to get the best price & seat availability. We were travelling to Italy to take a cruise. The cruise company called us 3 mos. before scheduled cruise to advise they chartered our reserved ship and we needed to re-schedule. Alitalia charged us $1800, to re- book scheduled flights. Then one month before our trip Alitalia called to say they were no longer offering flights from Newark on our Departure date. We had to change flights again. To leave & return to JFK. We were in no way compensated for this inconvenience of driving to a further airport. When we arrived at the airport on day of departure --they had overbooked our trans-Atlantic flight. When I insisted that we had to go-- they put us on the flight- but not seated together-- a few other passengers agreed to move so that my husband and I could sit with our daughter who is a toddler.

My son was on his own across the aisle sitting between two women who did not speak the same language.We were then bumped on the connecting flight from Milan to Rome. We were awake all night on the flight and then had to spend 5 hours in the Milan airport with exhausted children, attempting to sleep on chairs-- they did not offer us access to the Alitalia lounge. When we arrived in Rome-- we were also missing 2 pieces of luggage.My daughter's baby carrier and also her suitcase.We arrived late at our hotel because of the flight problems-- which had also overbooked-- and found we had no room there either!! We were transferred to another hotel in a questionable neighborhood with lots of graffiti on the outskirts of Rome-- then had to transfer back the next day-- we lost a day and a half of vacation time, school time & work time.We started our vacation very unpleasantly and exhausted!!

We were not compensated at all- and when we tried to discuss these problems we were yelled at and treated very rudely by Alitalia staff. I was so exhausted-- I ended up in tears. We had saved for this vacation for a year-- and I was extremely disappointed. After two days in Rome our lost baggage finally arrived at our hotel. On the way home, they seated us in the mid-section of the plane. Near the toilets. The stench was so bad it made us sick. Airline attendants did not deal with the problem and would not allow us to change seats.I used my blanket to cover my nose and mouth because the odor was so bad. Made me sick to my stomach. Overall this was a terrible experience. We were very disappointed with Alitalia.

I understand-- that with travel things happen-- but so many bad things happened at one time--- and the staff refused to do anything to improve the situation. I believe we deserve a refund.
     
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Posted by bob65 on 2008-04-07:
This is a State Owned Airline and is Near Bankruptcy. Even the Itialians won't use the Airline. Try another Airline and Get Flight Insurance. Use a Credit Card. Better Yet Stay Home or Go to Canada.
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