Alitalia Reviews?

Has anyone flown Alitalia? I have purchased tickets, and now am reading reviews online, and it seems like most people have very negative experiences with customer service, missing or damaged luggage, and rude attendants.

Since I'm flying from Chicago to Pisa (with about a 1.5 hour layover in Rome) from May 6 - May 15, I hope it's just a case of the people with good experiences being quiet about it and the people with negative experiences voicing their displeasure.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

It is an airline that has been in serious financial trouble for a long time. If it is not in bankruptcy now it is on the verge of bankruptcy. I lost track of that saga some time ago. Given those conditions, I doubt if there service level is all that good. I hope you put the ticket on a good credit card that will stand behind you if need be.

Posted by Sharon
New York
24 posts

Did you purchase the cheap $400 per person Alitalia tickets to Italy? I fell for their ad campaign back in March 2009. Not sure if you've read my recent message titled 'Flights Cancellation' in the Transportation section of RS. It is my first time flying Alitalia next month. My credit card has not been charged since I purchased the tickets 3+ weeks ago. The Customer Service call center sucks. Their typical answer so far has been "... the computerized reservation system is not working". I'm not having good vibes about Alitalia. I just hope they honor my flight tickets. I've lost count of the number of stories about Alitalia resisting various merger & acquisition attempts.

Posted by Chris
Puyallup, WA, USA
881 posts

Hello, Antuany. When I was a travel agent, Alitalia was absolutely the worst airline to deal with - (even worse than one airline that would not refund a passenger who died before his trip). I have never flown with them personally, but with the experiences of my customers, I would never fly them personally, nor recommend them.

I hope you have a great trip. Is it a direct flight from Chicago to Rome? That should help. Also - after reading all the horror stories on here, and other places, I'd keep any valuables in your carry-on. Clothes can be replaced quick enough! :)

Posted by Frank II
USA
4377 posts

In January, Alitalia was bought and merged with Air One, Italy's largest domestic airline and rebranded Alitalia. They are going through some growing pains.

There were a lot of problems late last year prior to the purchase and the airline was virtually a day away from bankrupcy before it was bought.

You don't say when you're going to Rome, but you might think about taking out some type of insurance in case something happens.

Posted by Dick
Victor, NY, USA
62 posts

I have flown Alitalia to Rome a couple of times. I found it to be no better and no worse than most US airlines. I've come to expect very little and I settle mostly for an on-time departure and arrival with bags intact. Alitalia met my expectations -- and I always get a reasonable airfare.

Posted by Deb
Greenfield, Ma, USA
14 posts

I am flying this June with Alitalia from Boston. I am hoping for a smooth trip.Can someone let me know about the carry-on policy. It seems small since it only allows the weight of a bag to be about 11 pounds. Thanks Deb

Posted by Antuany
Chicago, IL, United States
120 posts

Thanks for all the responses.

Yes, in late March, I did get the great round trip ticket prices from Chicago to Pisa with a stop in Rome for $387.30 each. I was not able to get the tickets to go through on-line, so spent 3.5 hours, 5 calls to my bank, and another 2 calls to their customer service in Sicily, but the tickets finally went through. My credit card has already been charged, and I have the e-tickets.

I'm departing Chicago on May 6 and returning on May 15.

It's good to know to pack my valuables in my carry-on. I might pack an extra pair of clothes to based on their tendency to lose luggage.

Hopefully at least the trip to Italy is trouble free. For the price I paid, I can deal with customer service in Chicago, but would hate for it to put a damper on the trip while there.

Posted by Lori
Coffeyville, KS, US
42 posts

Hello Antuany, I to am flying Alitalia soon and after reading the reviews I am a little concerned. I do agree with Dick, I don't expect much from any airline and therefore I'm not disapointed with what I get. I will be going from Tulsa to Chicago and then to Rome (my Chicago Rome flight is Alitalia). I figure my luggage is in the hands of the baggage crew in Tulsa and Chicago (coming back is a different matter but by then who cares). Check your flight often for cancelations or changes, do pack extra clothes in your carry-on and think possitive, you're going to Italy!

Posted by Liz
Seattle, WA
1311 posts

Not to put rose-colored glasses on, because I might have gotten lucky, but I flew Newark-Rome and back again in December 2007 and the flights were perfectly fine. I did carry on only going to Rome, but all my checked luggage made it on the return trip (unlike the subsequent trip when KLM left our bags in Amsterdam despite assuring us they had been loaded onto the plane!)

The flight attendants were professional, if not memorably nice, the food was airplane food but not horrid and I even recall liking the fish I had. The first there landed about half an hour early, the flight home departed about half an hour late. The plane was an older model and so there was no seatback entertainment. Instead, the movie played on overhead monitors spaced out down the aisle. On the way over this was OK, but on the way home I was at a bad angle. Also, you obviously can't control what's being shown.

Despite being quite concerned, having read the bad reviews and it being my first international trip (and first out-of-state trip alone), I have nothing bad to say about my experience with Alitalia. Hopefully you will be just as lucky. :-)

Posted by Gio
Chicago, Illinois, USA
584 posts

We've flown Alitalia without incident, even checking bags...direct from Chicago, and with changes. I think this airline has serious problems with financing and labor and customer service, not exactly things that inspire consumer confidence. But on the other hand, hard to imagine the nation's only major carrier being allowed to go under, no matter what the EU advises. While it seems apparent that a much higher percentage of travelers have problems with Alitalia than with other airlines, I imagine it's still true that the majority--as has been my experience, now, with two trips--make it through just fine. I guess it comes down to this: if you get a good price with Alitalia one decides to roll the dice a bit with customer service or pay more for peace of mind.

Posted by Michael
Bloomsbury, NJ, United States
6 posts

My wife and I recently flew Alitalia from Newark to Rome and back. The two flights could not have been more different. Going to Rome, we checked in in about 5 minutes, the plane was nice and the crew was friendly and efficient. The food was not that bad either.
However, our return trip was anything but pleasant, and memorable for all the wrong reasons. We got to Fiumicino a little over 3 hours ahead of our 10:45am flight the Saturday before Palm Sunday. It took us nearly 2 hours just to check in. Passengers on flights to Miami, Boston, and Chicago were leaving before ours and the staff called them ahead in line. There were periods where only 3 booths were open and there were hundreds of people in line. Some employees would come to the desk, take 15 minutes to check in one person, then LEAVE!!! It was really frustrating. I understand that things don't always go smooth in Italy, but this was the weekend before Easter with 5 flights going out within an hour and only 3 employees checking people in?!?!?
The return flight was on AirOne(?). The staff was very rude. We were in the last row and they kept slamming the cabinet behind our seats, even after we asked them to stop. It took them forever to serve lunch and a snack (granted we were in the back). When it finally did come, the food was terrible. So, I suggest getting a meal at the airport before. The airline attendants didn't even throw our garbage away when we were done. I had to take it back to the kitchen area and the made me throw it away after looking at me like I was crazy. We also hit a LOT of turbulence on the descent (everyone was starting to get worried) and we didn't get any communication from the pilot that everything was OK.
I am a pretty easy traveler, but this was the worst airline and worst flight that I had been on.

Good new is that was the worst of a fantastic, Rick Steves' guided trip.

Posted by Tom
Farmingville, New York, USA
303 posts

We just flew Alitalia round trip JFK to Rome. I didn't like them. I call it an airline with an attitude. Not that friendly, foor less than good and can be decievingly pricey. Now, saying that we took off and landed on time both ways. But I would fly Delta next time.

Posted by Antuany
Chicago, IL, United States
120 posts

Tom - what do you mean deceivingly pricey? What were the extra or hidden fees?

Posted by Tom
Farmingville, New York, USA
303 posts

To answer you question, we bought our tickets in the early part of the summer when ticket prices were high. We had friends that did the same thing on other airlines. Our friends were able to get money back when fares lowered. In fact, one airline offered it without even asking. When I asked Alitalia they didn't even respond for the first few requests. When they finally did they were rude and did refuse any discount. I think we would have gotten friendlier service and better pricing from another airline. I also found the people that worked for the airline to be 'unfriendly'. We booked months in advance and they even screwed up our seating. Our family had to sit apart.

But,I wll say they were on time. I will give them that. But next time Delta. I don't need the attitude or the price

Tom

Posted by Antuany
Chicago, IL, United States
120 posts

Thanks Tom. I got a really good price on tickets, and was worried that there was some kind of hidden fee that I wouldn't find out about until I was in the air.

Posted by gio
new york, ny, usa
6 posts

Hi, I'm flying Alitalia (operated by Air One) from Newark to Pisa, with a 90 min layover in Rome. I don't plan to check in luggage but is 90 min sufficient to clear immigration and make it to my connecting flight? I can't find any information on the alitalia or FCO airport website on layovers. Please help! Fingers crossed that my flight doesn't get canceled or postponed!

Posted by Anne
Old Bridge, NJ, USA
26 posts

My husband and I flew Alitalia in October 2008. Our flight was canceled 10 minutes before boarding time due to an Alitalia strike. We waited 2 hours to retrieve our luggage, and another SIX hours in line to get re-ticketed. They did put us in a hotel overnight though, and we flew out the next afternoon. Not just Alitalia, but customer service at the Rome airport was not great in general.

Posted by Lin
Sacramento, CA, United States
1 posts

My family just flew Alitalia from Rome to London two days ago and, although the flight on board went well, everything else was a nightmare. We arrived at the check in counter over 2 hours ahead but were informed that Alitalia had overbooked the flight and we (as were several others) couldn't get on the flight. We had a connecting flight the next day with another airline and the experience cost us over $3,000. Everyone we dealt with from Alitalia was rude and tried to blame us for their mistake. We were sent from counter to counter and even to another terminal and no one helped. We spent over 10 hours trying to get another flight out before we left the next evening. I have never encountered such dismal customer service.We twocouples who were not allowed on board due to similiar situations. We will NEVER fly the airline again and I would strongly urge anyone else to consider another airline if possible.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

This is a three year old thread, revived by a first-time poster. Take it with a grain of salt until it's determined that "Lin" actually exist. FWIW, we really enjoyed Alitalia and had no problems.

Posted by Antuany
Chicago, IL, United States
120 posts

Agreed Michael...Hopefully there's more to the story. One leg of my flight over 2 year ago was canceled (Pisa to Rome), but the ticket agents and other Alitalia staff were not rude and did not blame us. After some initial confusion, they arranged a bus to Rome for everyone scheduled to fly. When we arrived, right after the gates from Rome to Chicago had closed, we got in line, got our flights rebooked (for not fee), and put up in a hotel. While there were some minor language barriers, it was nothing that we couldn't resolve.

Posted by Jane
Key West, FL, United States
71 posts

I flew from Miami to Rome twice on Alitalia (once it was listed as a Delta flight but it was Alitalia) and once from Rome to Lamezia Terme and from Reggio Calabria to Rome. I have never had any problems, the flights have always been on time and no one was rude. The food was good. One year I used another airline after reading all of the bad press but last year decided to fly with them again since they had the best price. And frankly, all of the airlines have problems. Check out the website flightstats.com to get actual performance information.

Posted by Patricia
Burbank, CA, USA
30 posts

It was bad. I have really taken Rick Steves' advice about becoming a "temporary local" to heart, and adopted an attitude of all smiles, attempts to learn the language (I try, and am understood 90% of the time) and being polite in the face of abject rudeness. I would never, EVER fly this airline again. I had no real need of customer service, but when we tried to call just to ask a few questions, it took days to get a person on the phone - then they hang up on you. The food was awful - just horrible, and the flight attendants seemed annoyed I didn't clean my plate. I don't need attitude on a 12 hour direct flight. I think that this airline and the FCO airport exist in their own little rudeness bubble - the people in Italy were not at all like this, and even taught me a little Italian. I'd rather sit on a Southwest flight for 12 hours and exchange tiny seats for pleasant service.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

Wow, Patricia. What a lousy experience you had! Do you mind if I ask when this was? They've really turned things around in the last few years under new management. For example, the food we got last year was delicious! And the customer service was wonderful.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

I heard privately from Patricia. This happened to her just a couple of weeks ago on the nonstop flight between LAX and Rome. Yikes!

Posted by Contessa
ROME (EUR), Italy, Italy
1 posts

I never take the time to write a review but this time I had to! I have never had a good experience with this airlines. The staff is rude in Italy and in the states! I need wheel chair assistance and literally was only pushed in a chair...I was told it was my job to handle my carry on and purse. No one helped me put it in the over head compartment or to get to me seat! I called 10 times to see if my flight had been cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. I was never contacted by the airlines to let me know! Every time I called someone gave me a different story. Not one operator gave me the same answer! I was stuck for a week after my original flight date! Once I arrived they charged me $350 in luggage which was different then what it had said online. I asked to speak with a supervisor and the supervisor treated me like I was garbage on the street. I was told that I had to pay now and ask questions later. So basically they steal your money and then when you ask questions later there is no one there to answer them! I live 1/2 the year in Italy and 1/2 the year in the states and I travel often...I have had a bad experience with Alitalia in the past and swore to never fly them again...I should have kept to my word. So my suggestion to anyone is if they offer cheap tickets it's for a reason...They will get you in the end! Pay a little extra with another airline and be happy!!

Posted by Danielle
Paxton, Massachuse, USA
36 posts

Yikes I just purchased tickets for our trip to Italy at the end of June. I sure hope things have improved! I wish I had checked this first!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

Although Alitalia is definitely not an award winning airline in service, however I bet most people have had problems with all airlines at one time or another. Overall however the chances of having a really bad flight are low even with Alitalia. The problem with Alitalia employees is that they feel entitled since it's so hard to fire people in big companies in Italy. There is no incentive for them for doing a good job nor penalty for not doing a good job. So you are left at the mercy of those employees who take it upon themselves to do a good job out of their own good will. So if you run into Alitalia employees who do do a great job, show your appreciation with a smile and a thank you, because you've been blessed. I'm sure they'll at least appreciate that, in spite of working in a country where merit and excelling at work takes you nowhere.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8757 posts

Note that the thread, regularly reopened by a few, is from April 2009.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
1012 posts

Alitalia is now in a "code share" agreement with Delta Airlines, and they've improved service dramatically since this original old thread.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

Alitalia has had a code share agreement with Delta for much longer, since both airlines are part of the SkyTeam alliance. What might have improved the service is certainly not the Delta codeshare agreement, but rather the fact that the new Alitalia has been privatized and is no longer State owned since 2008/2009. Actually I have not yet flown with the new Alitalia since its re-birth, however judging from this very recent blog entry in "Il Giornale" by Nicola Porro (an Economic and Business journalist for that newspaper), Alitalia seems still to have some improvements to make. The title of the blog entry is "Alitalia and their mileage program scam". http://blog.ilgiornale.it/porro/2013/03/12/alitalia-e-la-truffa-delle-miglia/

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Check the date, people !!! This is a three year old posting with much out dated. Digging up old posts to rehash out dated problems doesn't advance the cause. State a fresh posting.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

One addition about the Delta code share and possible impact on Alitalia... I saw no improvement. The ONLY time I've ever been yelled at by a customer service rep was Alitalia, last fall, in response to a very typical request for airline customer service. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, Alitalia refused to connect me to a supervisor or another agent. And those high standards were maintained through the remainder of the experience: nightmare checkin lines, with only one desk open for a 727-size jet, and one gate agent for the same flight (although 2 others were standing at the gate chatting with each other and ignoring customers); a resulting 1.5 hour late departure; missed connection; lost luggage for several days; when they found it, they left an unintelligible voicemail with instructions; the website for obtaining found luggage directed me to disconnected phone numbers; hours of effort to try to figure out what to do to get my luggage.

Posted by Laura
Williamstown, MA
74 posts

We flew Alitalia a couple of years ago. Nothing special but no problems.

Posted by Frank
Asheboro, NC, USA
2 posts

We just returned from 9 days in Italy. The flight over was a code share Delta flight from Boston run by Alitalia. The plane was brand new and certainly no less comfortable back in steerage than any other plane I've been on. Having the Italian flight attendants just made it seem like we got to Italy more quickly, and they did something I've never seen on a domestic flight: they stopped a couple of pushy Americans who were trying to jump the line and made them wait until their zone was actually called. Any airline can have a bad day, and my sample size is surely small, but I think the concerns about Alitalia are a bit overstated.

Posted by Frank
Asheboro, NC, USA
2 posts

We just returned from 9 days in Italy. The flight over was a code share Delta flight from Boston run by Alitalia. The plane was brand new and certainly no less comfortable back in steerage than any other plane I've been on. Having the Italian flight attendants just made it seem like we got to Italy more quickly, and they did something I've never seen on a domestic flight: they stopped a couple of pushy Americans who were trying to jump the line and made them wait until their zone was actually called. Any airline can have a bad day, and my sample size is surely small, but I think the concerns about Alitalia are a bit overstated.

Posted by Antuany
Chicago, IL, United States
120 posts

As the original poster, I would suggest to Danielle, and anyone else who's worried about, to not worry about things beyond your control. Danielle, you already have your tickets, instead of worrying about the potential flight problems (which others have noted are possible with any airline), try to focus on the excitement of your upcoming trip instead! I spent months up to the flight worrying about it, but honestly, had no issues whatsoever. It may have actually been one of the better flights I had been on. I didn't fly with them domestically, so can't say with any amount of authority, but I would assume that international flights have to abide by much more stringent requirements which even the playing field between carriers.

Posted by Denise
Chicago
32 posts

Has anyone been able to pick seats, or upgrade their seats, prior to arriving at the airport on Alitalia? We are flying out of Chgo, ORD, and I am not able to pick seats at all. Thanks

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

Could you please let this poor thread die of old age? If you have concerns with Alitalia, just start a new thread. Alitalia is a new company since the old Alitalia was sold in 2009. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but it's a different company with different management, just using the same name and logo.

Posted by Patricia
El Cerrito, CA
3 posts

This is a reply to Denise's question... Not sure this will help but we have the same issue in that we don't have seats booked from Amsterdam to Rome. We are flying KLM from SFO to Amsterdam in mid May and then Amsterdam to Rome. I just spoke with KLM about booking seats on the Amsterdam to Rome leg which is on Aitalia and was told that we can book seats 48 hours prior to departure. So, you may want to check to see if this applies to you as well.

Posted by Chris
NJ
1 posts

To reply to Denise's question: You can get seat assignments prior to 48 hours before your flight if you call Alitalia directly. If you booked using miles from a partner airline (Delta, etc.) you need to know your Alitalia specific reservation number - which will be different from the reservation number that you received from your home airline.

Posted by Denise
Chicago
32 posts

And they still must somehwhat suck. At least their web does, cannot get flight status or seat assignments and it is the day before travel. Annoying.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5765 posts

Yet another reason to avoid checking bags. The check-in line for those with only carry-on bags is much much shorter than the one for people with bags. It seems all the horror stories I read are about people who check luggage.

Posted by Susan Daniels
San Diego, California, USA
1 posts

On July 8th, 2013 We arrived to the airport in Rome close to 3 hours before the flight was scheduled to depart. My husband and I had been in that line for over 1.5 hours when we finally arrived to the woman at the desk. We were ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIED to hear from that woman at the SKY PRIORITY desk that our seats had been given to someone else and the reason for this was that the flight was oversold. She continued by saying that if we wanted to take this flight, there were only 4 economy seats left...AND that was our only choice! We had been downgraded and NOW HOME, We still haven't heard from Alitalia about a refund, compensation, not even an apology....
Too many other competent companies to choose from!