Alitalia Ends the Year By Sucking as Usual

Alitalia, Worst Airline Ever

I couldn’t let this year finish up without squeezing in one more post on Alitalia. It’s just too much fun. The airline has finished up the year just as it started, by being completely and totally awful in every way.

The sale of the airline is now completed and CAI will be relaunching the carrier in Alitalia Worst Airline Everthe next few weeks. We still have no idea which partner airline CAI will choose for Alitalia. I’m not sure what the holdup has been this time, but I’m not really going to bother trying to figure it out. They say it’ll be a “few weeks” but at the same time they say they’re close. Right.

But more importantly, the employees are unhappy (surprise, surprise) and they decided to take action at the worst possible time. You always have sympathy when people are at risk of losing their jobs, but I lose all sympathy completely when they decide to throw a wildcat strike only a couple days before Christmas, stranding travelers who just want to be with their families.

Apparently about 100 flights were scrapped on December 22 and another 40 or so on December 23 as the extremely selfish employees decided to walk off the job and take out their frustrations on innocent passengers. Shame on you all.

On the management side, Alitalia continues to try to shrink. The airline strangely decided to take ads out in a bunch of papers including the Financial Times saying that it was soliciting bids for 46 aircraft. That hardly sounds like the right way to handle this. Heck, it doesn’t sound effective at all.

But if you’re interested, they’re trying to pawn off a couple 767s, 22 MD-80s (I hear Allegiant knocking), 14 Embraer regional jets, and 8 ATR 72 turboprops. You could probably talk them into parting with one of those ERJs for a couple sheep and a bottle of wine.

Let’s raise our glasses on New Year’s Eve with the hope that Alitalia will continue to provide me with excellent blog fodder for years to come. Somehow I have no doubts.

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13 comments on “Alitalia Ends the Year By Sucking as Usual

  1. Oh don’t worry. It’s only the 30th. My list of “airlines we lost” will go live tomorrow. As you can imagine, it’s a long one this year. Creating all those tombstones took a LONG time.

  2. “But if you’re interested, they’re trying to pawn off a couple 767s, 22 MD-80s (I hear Allegiant knocking), 14 Embraer regional jets, and 8 ATR 72 turboprops.”

    Can you provide a price list? :)

    I’ve used Alitalia a few times. I haven’t had any problems, but it was enough flights to make a recommendation. I have heard word-of-mouth disappointment in the airline though. Something missing there. Competency, perhaps.

  3. Ha! i cant wait to see more Alitalia things. i have an italian friend that was traveling to italy, and when he came back i asked him : “did you fly Alitalia?”

    “ALITALIA!?” ARE YOU CRAZY!?” mid you, he was born in italy and lived there for a long time…. so it seems that the italians dont even want them around:)

  4. My mom had the worst flight of her life with Alitalia, it was the first time I have ever heard her say next time she’s willing to pay more for a flight. I can’t imagine that they will get any better in 2009.

  5. Brett,

    Alitalia is like a Phoenix of sorts. It seems dead and there it is rising again.

    The two 767s being sold off should be replaced by Air One’s two A330, which are more cost effective and will match more evenly with Alitalia’s fleet of A319/320/321 aircraft.

    The rest of the aircraft will be replaced by Air One’s fleet in one way or another. the MD-80s….good riddance! Who will buy them? Who knows. I think AA’s MD-80s were sold for crap rather than to other carriers.

    Honestly, I think if Alitalia can get labour and management on the same page they can be a significant carrier, especially if partnered with either Air France-KLM or Lufthansa.

    Do I see the Unions & Management getting along? Unfortunately I don’t, in envision them seeing eyes to eye. If they can’t get on the same page this is a €1,000,000,000 cash pit doomed to fail and drag Air One down with it.

    A few days ago I wrote about “An Alitalia Christmas” here:

    If you get bored give it a read….canceling 140 flight in the days leading up to Christmas…at least have a severe snow storm to try and pull that off!

    Happy Flying & Happy New Year


  6. This is the letter I just sent to my travel agent:

    “We wanted to let you know that you should NEVER EVER EVER let anyone travel Alitalia again. They were by far the WORST airline we have EVER flown, and that is saying a lot since between us we’ve travelled on many, many, airlines.

    They lost our luggage on the way over, and we received the last suitcase (the one that actually contained our clothing) 3 days before returning home. My seat on the plane was broken, and we couldn’t change because the plane was full. The attendants were surly and very unhelpful. The food was DISGUSTING — I was shocked that the staff weren’t ashamed to be serving it. It was inedible. They were unhelpful and surly in Rome airport, after we arrived 7 hours late (due to the snowstorm in Boston).

    They lost all our luggage on the way back. We got home yesterday, and we have no idea if we will get it back or not. The attendants on the plane were also surly. The food was marginally better than on the trip over (we actually ate it this time because we were starved) — but still disgusting. When I went to the galley to get a drink, the attendants were sitting and gossiping behind closed curtains, and were visibly annoyed to be interrupted by me asking for more drinks and cups to replace the supplies missing on the “self-serve” drink cart they had left out. (I have never seen self-serve before on a flight, have you?) After losing our luggage, we had to wait in line with about 30-40 other people with only one person at the desk to take the reports. When I told an Alitalia baggage employee that they SHOULD go bankrupt as no one should suffer through what we did, she told me I was “mean.” (This is while she was downloading dozens of bags from the carousel of our flight which belonged to no-one on our flight, but to people who had lost their bags days before).

    We really wish we could say we were better rested from our vacation, but unfortunately, that’s not the case…. I’d like to write to Alitalia, but I’m not sure that with all their problems it would find its way to an office of anyone who cares. If you have any ideas, let me know.

    Wish us luck that we get our luggage back… “

  7. Returned to the States via Rome Dec. 31st. Just got my suitcase (January 13th) after filing detailed inventory loss report. Camera and other valuables stolen. “DOP” kit opened and items removed. Sad commentary. The hours wasted trying to get my bag back only added insult to injury. Alitalia lost more than my camera. They lost me as a customer and worse, the trust of anyone reading these blogs.

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