Meet the New Alitalia, Same as the Old Alitalia

Alitalia, Mergers/Finance, Worst Airline Ever

Just remember, today is your last chance to vote in the 2008 Weblog Awards. You can vote once per day, so even if you’ve voted before, head on back and do it one more time. Voting ends at:

The 2008 Weblog Awards9a in Sydney (Jan 14)
7a in Tokyo (Jan 14)
10p in London
5p in New York
2p in Los Angeles
12n in Honolulu

My guess is that it’ll be a close race all the way to the end, so make sure you head over and vote for the blog you like best.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Hallelujah! It’s official. Alitalia is born again. Praise Silvio! Last night, the last “old” Alitalia flight landed and the 09_01_13 Alitalia Still Worstairline completely shut down for a few hours in order to get some sort of certification change. This morning, Alitalia woke up merged with Air One under the “new” Alitalia name. That means we need a new “worst airline ever.” Yes, that honor will now be bestowed upon . . . the “new” Alitalia. I’m operating under the premise that they are guilty until proven innocent.

And why would I automatically pass it on to the new Alitalia? Well not much is changing yet. Yes, we have a new, smaller Alitalia that now owns Air One as well. The combined airlines will continue to operate separately for now, but they’re beginning to merge pieces together. But most importantly, we still have those oh-so-stubborn unions which are still rattling their sabres, hoping for a miracle to save all their jobs. There’s probably only room for one miracle here, and that’s the fact that Alitalia still exists. Instead, we’ll see protests all day long and maybe even a strike or two considering how things work over there.

Oh, and there is one other big piece of news. Alitalia has now officially chosen Air France as the winner of the ownership lottery. For a mere 323 million euros, Air France gets 25 percent of the airline. Looks like the French have succeeded in stopping the German march southward, sort of. Lufthansa will still start up its Italia subsidiary to fly out of Milan, and they own Air Dolomiti as well so there will be strong competition.

But Air France now gets three out of nineteen (19?!) board seats and Alitalia will remain in Skyteam. Alitalia frequent fliers probably won’t see a big change on that front at all. So now we have a private Alitalia that’s a little smaller, but those are really the only changes so far. Can it really find its way out of last place in the race for worst airline ever? Time will tell, but of course, I highly doubt it.

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18 comments on “Meet the New Alitalia, Same as the Old Alitalia

  1. CF – have you considered seeing a psychologist ? Obsession with Alitalia ain’t natural… the articles are funny tho !

  2. My Kugelhopf??? WTF is that? Sounds too similar to exercises pregnant women do (look it up, lol). Her latest post is about Balinese rice fields…OMG. Where the heck is the voting block coming from, the darkened reaches of an obscure library corner? It’s hacked Brent…no two ways around it. The Minnesota Canvassing Board must be running the show over there.

    FWIW, voted.

  3. I have never had the pleasure of Alitalia’s onboard product. All the soap-operatic shenanigans with management aside, what is Alitalia service like? I’m sure the horror stories will come flooding but does anyone have good things to say about flying with them?

    It really is a shame to me that the national carrier of such an incredible country and culture is so badly managed and shabbily treated.

  4. Should Alitalia rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of its “Worst Airline Ever” title, might I suggest Bangladesh Biman as the heir apparent?

    Just a thought…

  5. David – There’s no question I have a sick obsession with the airline, but as long as it’s entertaining, then it’s ok. (Um, so I think.)

    Bill K – Thanks for the vote. I’m down by about 100 now, so I need a big last minute push.

    Optimist – I’ve never flown them either, but I’ve heard very mixed reviews. The product is a relatively tired one, I’ve been told, and the service can either be fantastic or indifferent (like most airlines). I like beating them up more for their business than their service.

    Zach – They’re still around? Certainly a worthy candidate, as is Aerolineas Argentinas.

  6. I flew the dreaded AZ from ACC to MXP one night. The flight was late, old MD11, the emergency horns and lights went off during take-off, the food was unedible, and the wine was vintage gasoline. I was never more disappointed in my flying carrier. I realize decent food is hard at 39,000 feet, but one would hope that could have at least found a decent bottle of wine somewhere in the country. And this was in Business Class.

  7. Bill – I’m willing to bet your flight was “double-catered” out of Milan for both legs, down to Accra and back. Airlines use this option if the out-station either has no facilities or the ones available are unreliable for any number of health, supply or cost reasons. Either the food was just plain bad to begin with or might have spoiled unexpectedly. As for the wine, again either spoilage happened or they may have used previously opened bottles from the trip down.

    Either way, though I’m sorry to hear of your experience, “vintage gasoline” is an instant classic! LOL.

  8. Alitalia may be bad in a same old, same old’ kind of way, but United continues to develop new and innovative ways to suck. Surely creativity counts for something!

  9. Hey, Cranky! Run a contest on the most unusually god-awful airline experience and give the winner a Donkey Shirt!

  10. jk – I’m guessing second prize is the same as first – nothing. And that’s a good thing since it appears I’ve lost by 29 votes.

    Phil – You definitely bring up a strong argument, but I don’t think United is anywhere near as dysfunctional as Alitalia and that says a lot.

    Optimist – I should run another contest one of these days. The response to the last one was good.

  11. 19 board seats is par for the course in big European companies — often the law in those countries has bizarre ways to calculate how the board is comprised. Something like three seats for labor, two for entrenched management, one and a half for the government commissioners, a seat that flips back and forth between Sean Connery and Roger Moore, you get the idea. Shareholders end up with really half-arsed authority in the end.

  12. Joe Jones – Funny, I thought the Connery/Moore stipulation only applied within the UK. (That did make me laugh out loud.)

  13. I am an Italian born American citizen (since 1972), living in Chicago area.
    I can only think of one thing that is funnier, sadder, and a more tragic story than Alitalia’s demise (It was very good in 1970s to mid 80s! on my visits back to Italia). That is the government of the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago over the past 2 years. I do not think that the most brilliant comedy writers in the world could possibly conceive stories as these which have unfolded since 2007 ! I cannot wait to see what happens next!

    As for Alitalia, I have not flow it since 1990 even though I went to Itlay 4 times since then. They flew may elderly parents in 1990 to New York instead of Chicago, saying not enough people to Chicago even though was suppose to be direct flight Milan – Chicago and Alitalia rerouted a few minutes before the flight.
    Parents had to go to Kennedy airport and walk massive airport late at night to barely make a connecting flight. They told me never fly Alitalia again and I have and will not. Never forgot how rude and arrogant US Alitalia agent was.

    Arriverderci Alitalia!!! Fallite!!

  14. If you want a lesson in how NOT to treat your employees, look at the ‘new’ Alitalia. Air France has a 25% stake in this mess of an airline and will buy it out completely in 3-4 years. The new Alitalia cut many, many employees without 1 cent of severance pay and barely two weeks notice. Since their takeover on 13JAN they had zero official communication with their employees, only communication were letters of termination. They new owners are in it for the short term, looking for big, big returns on their investment. They could care less about their employees and customers. Hopefully they will never see a single Euro of profit. Greed=Doom. This is a low down, dirty group of business people. Steer clear of this airline on all accounts.

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