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
435 Munich-Rome 0645-0820
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
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
. I did and have not received yet any information.
I will never fly them again !
So what compensation should I receive by EU law ?