Cityjet From Germany, joined Sep 2005, 32 posts, RR: 0 Posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6280 times:
So this is my first trip report - please bear in mind there are few technical details but a lot of info on the lack of service of Alitalia.
I recently had to travel to Bucharest for a two day business trip. After checking the prices I was amazed that LH wanted over 1000Eur for the flight for which I would get the flight plus the sandwich of minute proportions and a drink. Alitalia had a fare around 500Euro so in these hard economic times I was forced to take Alitalia.
I was booked as
AZ 435 Munich-Rome 0645-0820
AZ 500 Rome- Bucharest 0945-1040
Return 2 days later
AZ503 0605-0820 Bucharest-Milan
AZ440 0930-1040 Milan-Munich
So at the crack of dawn, the alarm clock woke me at 0430hrs. I was well prepared as I am used to these early morning flights from Munich so I got my kit ready and headed to the S Bahn. Surprise, Surprise the S Bahn was on time and I got to the airport for before 0545.
In Munich airport, for Alitalia the passenger handling land side is managed by Air France and airside by Aerogate. I approached a friendly AF staff and gave her my Etix receipt and she started to look up my reservation. I noticed that she spent some time and eventually I asked her is everything OK. She then informed me that she could not find my reservation. She phoned a colleague and then I got the bad news.
Due to a strike at Rome, the Rome-Bucharest flight is cancelled and Alitalia have rebooked you to fly via Milan leaving this evening at 17.35. Would you like me to check you in for that flight ? Needless to say I was not happy.
I immediately went looking for the Alitalia desk at Muc airport only to find that there is a sign but no desk. AF would not rebook me on any of the Lufthansa flights or indeed any other airline. They said they could not change anything in the system. If I have a complaint - sure ! please phone Alitalia at Frankfurt airport. I did but no reply !!! I said any compensation ? No ! you have to contact Alitalia ? I phoned but again no luck ! AF eventually said "we have many problems like this...."
So what to do - drink a coffee and eventually decided to go home ! Tried again Alitalia no go. In the meantime the travel agent that booked the ticket for me phoned to know where I was. According to their information there was no strike and the flight was cancelled due to a defective aircraft. They could not rebook me as I would have to buy a new ticket - 1400€ I said no way.
So I spent the day at home and eventually made it back to Munich airport. As I had my boarding card from 12 hours previous I sailed through the formalities like a breeze and took the bus to our little Brazilian jet and got on board. There standing informants of me was an immaculately attired female flight attendant. Another passenger sat beside me and asked the flight attendant if she could move to the front and the answer "No, we have a balance problem!" and off she goes to the front of the aircraft. The passenger turns to me and asks "what does she mean...is the aircraft safe for take off". Obviously, the attendant was only used to dealing with A netters who understand balance problems !
So in the end the "balancing scenario" worked out as we were airborne. Snack boxes given out and bar trolley followed. Uneventful flight and landed at Malpensa on time. Went to the gate to see a shining MD80 for the flight to Bucharest. Had dinner, drank a coke, espresso and red bull to ensure that I stayed awake for the flight.
The plane was at the gate at least 2 hours before the departure time. The boarding time passed and sure enough a new boarding time 30 mins later appeared on the sign. Any announcement - NO ! I approached to be told by a man waving his arms for me to get lost -it is due to the late arrival of the aircraft........I went for a beer at this stage ! Eventually boarding commended - I have to admit , the seats are comfy on the MD 80, plenty of leg room. Now the fun started, 3 or 4 people started to complain in Italian to one of the flight attendants, so she put her arms in the air and screamed back in Italian and told them to go to business class. Once the whole economy class saw this, a riot like environment erupted where it took 4 flight attendants to calm screaming people.
Flight was uneventful, again snack box given out - of course exactly the same contents as the much MXP flight.
Two days later
From the previous experience of AZ, I said, you better be on time. So I was at Bucharest airport at 04.45, well in time for our 06.05 am departure. It seems that AZ had computer problems as it was incredibly slow to check in. Eventually at 05.10 a supervisor came and yelled out in English - Check In is now closed as the flight is over booked. Please come with me to be rebooked. She instructed the check in staff to stop checking in passengers so it got me to think if Alitalia were more interested in leaving on time or checking in all the passengers.!
If somebody could look up the loads on this flight it would be great - Sept 1st the 0605 flight to MXP.
So off we go to the desk, where we see a lady chatting to another man. I was first in the queue, where she informed me -we will rebook you to travel on the circa 5pm flight back via milan to Munich to arrive at around 10pm (I don't have the correct time) - I said directly no way - you will rebook me to an earlier flight - no, sorry the flights are full. Eventually after speaking 30 mins with this person I decided to check other airlines for availability.
Tarom - available on their 2pm flight to be in Munich for 3 pm
Lufthansa - fully booked. But they put me on waiting list with my senator status
Austrian - very understanding customer agent - who explained that I could take the Tarom flight to Vie at 0845 wait 3 hrs and arrive in Muc at 1400. I decided to take this. Got a print out and ran to alitalia desk.
At the desk, it seems they had problems rebooking people. I went back to OS and she came to the rescue at the AZ desk and rebooked me and others while the AZ staff was getting the cigs ready.l
Thank you OS for training your staff !!
Took the Tarom flight and Whow! was met by a smiling crew, set in very comy seat with a bright interior. It was a B737-300 and looked pretty new. The service was excellent - we got a hot breakfast, 2 rounds of hot beverages and a round of alcholic/ cold beverages for a 1hr.30min flight. I got the impression the service never stopped. Full marks to Tarom. Friendly crew, clean planes and i felt a little bit valued as a customers. Tarom, that meant a lot I'm flying Tarom the next time !
Got to Vie - mid morning it is mad time at Vie - so many people. so many flights and a relatively small airport for the amount of air movements. Got to the senator lounge where breakfast was being replaced by lunch - so I tucked into some Asparagus soup followed by some exxcellent beef rolls with hand made noodles - boy, I was hungry - I felt as if I had been travelling 12 hours.
Flight to munich was on EN, a little ATR72, the serive also was fab - snack box but no plastic food - containing some real Italian salami, some Parmesan cheese,some fruit and some bread sticks - perfect for Eco for a 50 min flight.
I arrive home-exhausted
If you want an adventure fly Alitalia, if not pay 1000Euro to have service or stay at home.
I complained the whole way through the trip - All I got from AZ , please write to AZ at FRA. I did and have not received yet any information.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6265 times:
No idea what you should get, but sure your experience was poor... OS saved you at OTP - how funny. I would write to AZ and request full refund. IMHO only ok compensation. And repeat it to the AZ office until you get it. Not acceptable.
BAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 6232 times:
Thank goodness my travel plans have recently changed and I'm flying to DUB with FR instead of Rome with AZ (although I can see the irony in that statement)! I've heard good and bad stories about AZ, however unfortunately, it seems that there were more bad than good. I know that all airlines/airports can have off days, but all the stories that I've heard seem to make AZ sound nothing more than incompetent.
BTW, welcome Cityjet! Thanks for sharing your report. Whereabouts in Munich are you from? My cousin has a house in Deisenhofen - what a great city!!
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
you can also opt to contact the Europe Direct freephone on 00-800-67891011 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may inform the European Commission, B-1049 Brussels of the follow-up given to your complaint by fax (32-2)2991015 or email: email@example.com
BA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8697 posts, RR: 54
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5664 times:
Well, what a trip, a complete nightmare if you ask me.
I've only flow AZ on 3 occasions, all back in 1992, flights on DC-9-32, MD-80 & MD-11. Back then, they were pretty good, especially the Business Class flights, however in todays world, they are far from the best.
A big thumbs up to OS & Tarom, now that is great work and good service.
Udo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5641 times:
Very interesting and entertaining report. No wonder that airline has been close to bankruptcy for decades.
Btw, I have heard several times about chaotic conditions at SkyTeam's MUC check-in. They really need to improve that.
Quoting Cityjet (Reply 3): Munich is a fab place....but there is no Ryanair here or infact any LCC !
Come on, we have easyjet, flynordic, Germanwings, HLX...
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (9 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5556 times:
very interesting report of an unfortunately very bad experience with Alitalia! My only experience with AZ was a direct service STR-FCO and back - no problems on this trip, but the risk on a non-stop flight is obviously lower than on a connecing flight. I found your statement about Tarom interesting as well - I haven't heard too many things about them until today.
Airconti From Germany, joined Jun 2004, 148 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5108 times:
Well, want to be neutral on the issue - flying AZ last time last year....was Booked on LH/EN from MUC to TRS, but flight was cancelled due to strike of ATC in northern Italy....LH rebooked me without any discussions to the next possible connection through FCO - with FCO-TRS on AZ. Unfortunately we arrived late in FCO - also due to traffic congestion in Mid-Italy. And I found one of my most beloved quotations "Don't worry - nothing is as reliable as the unreliability of AZ"...Despite of arriving late by almost an hour, got to the connecting flight, which was late by almost 3 Hours - due to strike of the ground handlers - nevertheless, AZ was quite effective in downgrading rerouted passengers....After Arriving in TRS, the first to catch their luggage was AZ Crew - and one of the poorest persons on earth was my friend, picking me up - waiting after a scheduled arrival of something like 16:00 until 02:00.....Would even consider in the situation of being INVOL RRTD to decline AZ. But nevertheless, I have monthly meetings with a colleague from Rome, who is regularly flying AZ - and she never experienced any problems....So much for this.
BTW - Cityjet, if you read it - best regards from Erding , cheers A.