MSYYZ From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 851 posts, RR: 8 Posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:
Before I start my first trip report on A.Net , I would like to give you a general idea on how this report would look like : This report will cover my trip from Toronto to Cairo via Milan on Alitalia , another trip from Cairo to Hurghada on Egyptair , a third one from Hurghada to Cairo on Egyptair as well and finally from Cairo to Toronto again on Alitalia .
Because this report is long with more than 150 pix , I had to write it in 4 parts . This trip will take me to a lot of (1st times ) :
First time with AZ , my first B767 flight , first domestic Egyptair flight , first time in Milan Airport , first time in Hurghada international Airport as well as my first time on Egyptair's new A330 and old B735 , as I have only flown on their B777 and A340 .
YYZ-MXP-CAI on ALITALIA :
when I originally booked the trip , I had a choice between Air France , Alitalia and Etihad Airways . The later has been excluded for many reasons : It is almost impossible to book online , the transit times are horrible , it was a one stop service between YYZ and AUH in BRU , and finally the fares are not at all competitive . AF and AZ offered the best fares , so I booked with AF ( It was almost 3 months before my travel date of April/2007 ) .
I mainly chose AF because the lay over at CDG was only 4 hours , and I have also flown them before and really liked them plus they have a superior service compared to AZ , they also have PTV's and newer A/C's .
You may ask yourself what happened then that made me switch to AZ . Here is what happened :
Only 3 days after I booked the flight and received my tickets , AF started to make schedule changes between CDG and CAI which increased my lay over at CDG to 6 hours , 3 days later another change lay over now is 8 hours , and in another 4 days another change to 11 hours lay over . Literally , everytime I log on to the AF website , I find that they keep playing with the schedule , I called them and cancelled my booking ( although the ticket was non refundable but because it was a schedule change , they refunded me all my money without a penalty ) . 4 days later I got the refund .
Although I heard horror stories about Alitalia( service wise ) , but I didn't have any other choice than booking with them because of the short transit time in Milan . Alitalia flies a daily B767 between YYZ and MXP and 2 daily A321 between Milan and Cairo , hence the short lay over both ways ( only 3 hours ) .
I also had another concern : The Airline is in a difficult economic situation and loosing hundreds of Millions of Euros every year and could go bankrupt at any moment .
Two things reassured me , the travel agent told me they have been in this situation for years and never went belly up , the other thing is that 3 of my friends have flown them recently on 3 separate occasions and told me the service is basic so not to expect much but at least they will get you safely to your destination.
I finally took the risk and booked with AZ ,they had the same fare as AF . Out of curiosity , I checked their business class fares and I was shocked : A YYZ-CAI business class ticket would cost only 3.5 times the Economy class fare , while with AF it is 7.5 times the Economy fare , very affordable if you ask me .
The journey started with my friend and neighbour picking me up and giving me a ride to YYZ Airport's Terminal one .
YYZ terminal one
It was the 1st time to see the sun in Toronto for quite a while . For more than 3 weeks , the weather was cloudy,cold and depressing .
No body was in line so check in was a breeze( I love those E.Tickets ) .Alitalia uses the new Pier F that just opened at YYZ 2 months ago . It is a very long walk to the gates area , a walk that was made very easy by the people's mover .
A view of the Apron from the people's mover
Security clearance was professional and quick . 20 minutes after arriving the Airport , we were at the gates .
Gates area at YYZ
Our bird waiting to carry us
Up close and personal with our beast
This second male F/A was not smiling during the whole flight and showed some attitude towards passengers while collecting the garbage after food services .
Sky service B757
Finally , it was time to board our plane , they started boarding old and incapacitated people then families with babies and young children .
Carrier : Alitalia ( AZ )
Flight number : 653
Equipment : B767
Route : Toronto (YYZ) - Milan (MXP)
Load factor : 16/20 in J 189/194 in Y
Departure : 16:55
Actual : 17:05
Flight duration 8:20
Arrival : 10:20 ( on time )
We were greeted by smiley and beautiful female F/A's as well as 2 males ( one is smiley the other had an attitude )
AZ's affordable Business class
AZ Business class , no PTV's in J
AZ Y class
The B767 is clearly showing its age . The A/C was very dirty , Arm rest ash trays were not cleaned , seats are very hard , the air conditioning was not efficient and uncontrollable which made the cabin very hot ( I was sweating for the whole flight ) .
My overhead bin was broken.
45 minutes into the flight , drinks were offered , I had a coke and mineral water .
Half an hour later , dinner was served
It consisted of :
Bread , butter , crackers and a small bloc of cheddar cheese
Appetizer : Saumon fume with beans,mushrooms and carrots salad , which was delicious
Main dish : Chicken , croquette potatoes and cauliflower in a tomato base , spinach stuffed ravioli topped with a cheese based sauce , excellent quality and very filling .
Dessert : Fruit salad
Garbage was collected , and as mentioned previously , this male F/A had an attitude while collecting the trash .
There are only 4 washrooms in the plane for Y class which resulted in long line-ups .
the flight was almost full , mainly Italian Canadians seniors going back to visit family and friends along with a lot of connecting passengers to India , the Middle East and Eastern Europe .
They dimmed the lights to allow passengers to sleep which was almost impossible in this tropical climate .
Water and soft drinks were available at the back all the time for those whose calls were not answered by the F/A's . While I was in the back to fill up on my water , I witnessed the F/A's showing their dissatisfaction of the repetitive calls from passengers .
There was no map showing the flight progress , they only played the map for 20 minutes after take off and then switched to some movies ( freedom writers ) as well as another Italian movie .
An hour and a half before landing , a disappointing breakfast was served , consisted of stale croissant , hot cheese and ham sandwich and coffee or tea .
The map was switched on again 20 minutes before arrival and we landed on time into foggy Milan , a lot of passengers clapped upon touch down , a thing I was led to believe that it is non existent in Europe anymore .
Soon after de-boarding , we headed to the security clearance which had a huge line up but was moving fast . A lady was doing the security check-up and was confiscating a lot of liquids including baby milk that people got on the airplane .
Then we headed to our gate to catch our plane for the second leg of this flight that will take us from Milan to Cairo .
Milan Airport is a basic airport , some areas of the airport are so run down that I feel I am in an underground parking lot in down town Toronto ( especially the area before the security check up ) .
The gates area is very small and definitely not enough seats for everybody , for example gates B1,B2 don't have a waiting area , they share the seats with gate B3 .
The airport was busy , there were 2 long-haul flights next to our gate , a B767 to Caracas and a B777 to New York ( which was delayed 2 hours to the dissatisfaction of the passengers ) .
Although the A/C was at the gate before we even arrived in Milan , but The flight was delayed for 1 hour because of a technical problem ( so we were told by the captain after boarding the plane , no body gave us a reason at the gate for the delay ) .
The A321 looked new and was spotless , the seats were much softer , better seat pitch , much cleaner plane than the B767 . The air conditioning was much more efficient as well .
The airplane as a whole was in a much better condition and more comfy than the poor old B767 .
Not only that , service was existent and much better than the first leg of my trip , to the extent that you get the feeling that you are travelling on an another Airline . However , one seat back was broken and had a big sign not for use ;D
The cabin of the AZ A321
45 minutes after take off breakfast was served , here is what we got :
strawberry yogurt , foccacia bread with soft cheese , cheese slice , smoked turkey a strawberry cake and a fruit salad
The breakfast was excellent and filling .
No maps were shown during the whole flight , so it was impossible to figure out where we are .
But I am sure these 2 pictures were somewhere over Italy
The A/C had only 2 toilets for the Y class , so use your imagination on how long the line ups were .
After a smooth crossing of the Mediterranean sea , Egypt is welcoming us through its northern coastline
A stadium in Cairo
A bridge over the Nile in Cairo
The great river Nile finding its way through good old Cairo
Ain al seera water springs south of Cairo
Al Moqattam mount southeast of Cairo
City stars mall ( Cairo's newest luxury shopping centre )
Almaza Airport , the first Airport in Egypt,Africa and the Middle East opened in 1933 , 1 year after Egyptair was created
Finally we landed into congested yet sunny and beautiful Cairo .
All in all , my experience with Alitalia was ok , or may be I am saying that cause I expected the worst . Service needs a lot of improvement .
Food quality was very good , except for the breakfast between YYZ and MXP . AZ is not Air France or Lufthansa , but it can do the job if you don't have any other choice .
It is about time to replace their B767 .
I hope you enjoyed the first part of the trip report , what happened next ? How did I get to Hurghada ? What happened in Hurghada ? You will find out in parts 2,3 and 4 of this report .
DALCE From Netherlands, joined Feb 2007, 1796 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 3 weeks ago) and read 32767 times:
Very interesting read, I am surprised that the breakfast served on the MXP-CAI stretch looks far better than the breakfast served upon arrival in Europe.
Very nice pictures aswell, and I look forward to read your next reports about your HRG trip.
Vio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1507 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report and photos. Does AZ use another aircraft on the YYZ-MXP route?I flew Alitalia from Amsterdam (AMS) to Bucharest (OTP) via Milano (MXP) and I thought their service was very good. I only had one problem with a male F/A on the MXP-OTP leg. He seemed very tired and almost hung over, but everyone else was really nice. I find AZ's front seats on the MD80 very comfy. 2 & 2 instead of 2 & 3 across.
Malpensa isn't a bad airport, but it needs some improvements.
Can't wait for your next report.
Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
CA228 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 92 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I went on a simiar AZ flight as you - out of YYZ to TLV via Milan. I will post a TR soon when I sort out the photos. My observations were very similar to yours - old plane, screen monitors that didn't work, worn seats and dirty toilets, small portion (and not very good) meals, and a lack of variety of drinks. They only had house red, white wine, coke (from a 2L plastic bottle which was not very carbonated), some very sweet italian brand fruit drink, and water. The FA's were professional, though they weren't very pleasant. They will smile as they serve the meals, but if you try to go to the washroom while they are serving meals or do anything to interrupt their work (such as asking for something that is not on their tray during service), then they are not very accomodating. The audio entertainment was not very appealing, and neither were the films. On my transatlantic flight, the airshow only came on at the beginning and end of the flight like yours. Another thing that bothered me was that they don't allow you to use digital cameras during flight - I got told off on my outbound and inbound flights that no cameras are allowed, so I had to "sneak" in photos when the FA's are not around. I guess you didn't have problems with photos because you didn't use flash?
Thanks for reading my Trip report , hope you enjoyed it
There was no comparison between the breakfast we got on the 767 and the one on the A321 , like I said the difference between the two sectors of the flight makes you feel that you travelled on 2 different Airlines .
Aleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3240 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting MSYYZ (Thread starter): First time with AZ , my first B767 flight , first domestic Egyptair flight , first time in Milan Airport , first time in Hurghada international Airport as well as my first time on Egyptair's new A330 and old B735
And first TR here, too, which is great. Well done, mate.
Quoting MSYYZ (Thread starter): Literally , everytime I log on to the AF website , I find that they keep playing with the schedule
If you'd waited a few more days, you could have a nice vacation in Paris, too
MSYYZ From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (7 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting Lucky727 (Reply 4): Great report and pics - fascinating to see Cairo from above...
Thanks a lot Lucky727 for stopping by , glad you liked the report . Cairo is a very interesting city , it could be somewhat crowded and congested during the day , but it is absolutely marvelous at night , I have taken some pics of Cairo at night during take off in the CAI-MXP flight , I am sure you will like them .
Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 5): I have a lot of experience with AZ myself and the staff attitude is often very bad (as with Iberia & SAS).
But sometimes can one single flight be like heaven... Very strange!
Could it be the exception that confirms the rule ?
Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 6): Was smoking allowed on the flight? How come the ashtrays are dirty if no smoking is allowed?
Thanks JAGflyer for your post , it was of course a non-smoking flight , but the ashtrays were filled with paper tissues and other sorts of trash , some armrests didn't even have ashtrays .
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9): First and foremost, why would you fly AZ in the first place?
The only reason is the short lay over at MXP ( 3 hours both ways ) .
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9): Why would they allow these people to take on the job?
As far as i know , AZ is not a private Airline , it is owned by the government . And AZ employees ( including F/A's ) are unionized , so they have a job security that allows them to sometimes be rude and get away with it .
Quoting 9MMAR (Reply 9): But isn't baby's milk allowable? How mean!
Yes , baby milk is perfectly allowed , I witnessed this lady confiscating a small sealed carton of milk the passenger got on the airplane for her baby .
Quoting CA228 (Reply 10): some very sweet italian brand fruit drink
Did you mean this red orange juice ? Although i have never seen an orange juice in that color but it tasted ok .
Quoting CA228 (Reply 10): The audio entertainment was not very appealing
In my case , i couldn't even test the Audio system because in my row the jack of the earphones didn't even suit the hole in the armrest . The loud Italian lady who was sitting behind me had the same problem too , i guess it is Alitalia's touch .
Quoting CA228 (Reply 10): the airshow only came on at the beginning and end of the flight like yours
I find this very annoying .
Quoting CA228 (Reply 10): Another thing that bothered me was that they don't allow you to use digital cameras during flight - I got told off on my outbound and inbound flights that no cameras are allowed
The same thing happened to me but i totally ignored them .
Quoting CA228 (Reply 10): I guess you didn't have problems with photos because you didn't use flash?
I did use the flash in some pics , but like i said i totally ignored them .
DALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 24
Reply 24, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Top notch TR. Great pics!! AZ seems to be better than its reputation according to your report.
Food served was plenty but a strange combination.
Anyway, anyhow, it is good to get to know AZ a little better , since they are a Skyteam Member.
Thanks for posting your TR.
They loved to fly and it showed..
: Thanks a lot ATLFlyer323 Well , i can't say it is bad but definitely it is very basic . They need to work a lot on their service though , and they de
: Thanks DALelite It is nothing like AF or LH or OS , but it does the job . They have to get rid of their old 767's though , and work on their customer
: Service and aircraft condition on the YYZ-MXP sector looks pretty bad. But to be honest, the food looks quite good and I think the second pre-arrival
: Absolutely. The main meal ( dinner ) was excellent quality and quantity wise . The second one ( the pre-arrival one ) was very bad in both quantity a
: I flew FCO-YYZ on AZ two years ago; it was the worst transatlantic flight I've ever taken. I was seated in row 11, two or three rows behind the bulkhe
: When they want to be rude , they really ARE rude . May be , you never know Thank you WA707atMSP , glad you liked the Pics