Has anyone flown Alitalia to Italy? If so, how was the flight and service? Would you fly that airline again? Any recommendations on which airlines to fly to Italy?
Alitalia has a reputation for losing luggage, and having very poor customer service. If you use the search box in the upper right of this page, you will find numerous recent posts on this site about Alitalia.
Alitalia is a partner of Delta, so if you book through Delta you may end up on Alitalia anyway. Sometimes it's okay, usually not much fun.
A good friend of mine lives in California and is married to an Italian woman. Every year they make at least two trips to Italy. I once asked him if they ever fly Alitalia. His response: "No, we prefer to fly a real airline."
Most Italians are always ready to denigrate anything Italian. Italians are probably the people that is least proud of being what they are and are usually more than happy to indulge in self criticism, even when it's not necessarily justified. I've flown Alitalia numerous times, including from California, and frankly I never had any complaints. I've flown over the Atlantic at least 60 times, the Pacific a few times, and I can't even count how many times I've crossed the American continental divide, yet so far Alitalia always brought my luggage to my destination. Something I cannot say about all airlines. Anectodal evidence aside, I think your chances of being perfectly fine with Alitalia are just as good as with all other airlines. And in the unlikely event they'll lose your bag, just relax. There are plenty of stores in Italy where you can replace your stuff. Over 10 years ago AirFrance lost my bag on the way to Europe. They never Found it again. I was forced to buy every stitch of clothes for that vacation. I totally renovated my summer wardrobe and AirFrance paid me $640 for it (they usually pay you $20 per Kg to the max of 32kg per bag). Just pack the bag with very cheap garments and just hope they lose the whole thing.
I have never flown them , and I never will. Simply type in "Reviews of Air Alitalia" and read pages of misery.
I love everything Italian except their airline. Flew from Heathrow to Rome in 2008 and the plane was very shabby. I really did not feel safe and was glad that the flight was only a little over an hour. The Italians on that flight were extremely pushy and rude and the staff at the gate just opened it up like a free for all. I don't know how their International flights are. Sometimes the local and International are different.
Flew Alitalia on October 11, 2013. From Chicago to Rome. Husband's luggage lost for 6 days of our 7 day stay. Honestly no one seemed to care at Alitalia and that made for some sadness on our first trip to Europe. Spent over $400.00 to buy "non-stinky" clothes. Who knows if we will ever recoup cash. NEVER flying Alitalia again. Sprout your own wings before flying Alitalia...
We were forced to use Alitalia for a New York to Rome fligt last May and dreaded it from the moment we realized we were booked on Alitalia. What a surprise. It was clean, efficient, with good service in economy class. In fact the service and meals were better than this month on Lufthansa and United. I am sure people have horrid stories but it went very well for us. So you might be surprised and lucky. With code sharing and consolidation of airlines, you don't always get the choice you want.
"Alitalia is a partner of Delta, so if you book through Delta you may end up on Alitalia anyway." As good of reason as any to only travel with a carry-on.
I flew an Alitalia code share with Delta a year ago; never again. It's the only time I've had a customer "service" rep actually yell at me... for trying to book a seat reservation (per Delta's instruction). Departure from Florence was amazingly bad: one desk and one gate agent for a huge plane (with a few other employees chatting among themselves at the gate), so we were almost 2 hours late taking off. My luggage didn't make it to the connecting flight, which wouldn't have been a horrible problem on the way home... except the person who called to tell me where to get it left a message that neither I nor my coworkers could understand, neither Delta nor Alitalia considered it their problem since my luggage was now at some unidentified 3rd party vendor, and the two phone numbers on the Alitalia website for recovered baggage at SFO were both disconnected (HONESTLY). I finally searched on the internet for the companies that handled return of lost luggage at SFO and phoned them until I found who had my suitcase. Hours worth of absolutely unnecessary work, when I should have been catching up on things at the office. I will not fly Alitalia again. And after an experience last week, I've decided decided I'm avoiding Delta, and when possible, codeshares (although avoiding codeshares may be more difficult). It's worth paying extra dollars up front to decrease the odds of dealing with chaos upon return.
Although I never had a bad experience with Alitalia (although haven't flown with the new Alitalia born in 2009) I generally avoid anything made or operated by Italians (I won't buy a FIAT 500 either). I have however lost my luggage with AirFrance (and never found it again), therefore I avoid them too, especially because CDG is a monster airport. Since KLM is part of AirFrance, I avoid them too, especially because their airplanes are the oldest outside of Africa.
I also avoid US based airlines because they charge me for wine and other alcohol also on International flights. Also if you get stuck somewhere because of weather, they don't pay for your hotel either. So now I'm pretty much stuck with Lufthansa/Swiss (same company) from SFO to Europe. If one day Lufthansa betrays me too, I'll have no choice but fly to Europe with Emirates via Dubai.
@Roberto, "I generally avoid anything made or operated by Italians (I won't buy a FIAT 500 either)." Should you win the Lottery, does that rule extend to buying a Ferrari or Lamborghini? @Laura, I've never flown with Alitalia, and one reason for that is the number of comments I've seen on travel forums regarding bad (abusive) service towards passengers and also a history of losing luggage.