Old Jan 9, 2012, 11:35 PM
tony.mullins tony.mullins is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Thumbs down Alitalia: See if you've ever been treated this bad!

On September 30, 2011 we flew from Norfolk, VA to JFK airport in New York on Delta flight 6090. When we arrived at JFK we checked in at the Alitalia ticket desk for flight AZ611 from New York to Rome. I handed the lady at the ticket counter my passport and specifically told her that it was amended in the back to reflect my married name, the name that I made my flight reservation in. However, she looked at my passport and looked up a reservation by my maiden name. When she handed me my boarding pass I immediately noticed that it had the wrong last name. I told her that it was wrong, but she said it was fine because that was what was in the front of my passport. I did not think anything else about it. However, when I got on the plane I quickly realized that I had been assigned to the exact same seat as someone else. Then I looked at my boarding pass again and realized that not only was the last name incorrect, but the first name was also wrong! She had issued me someone else’s boarding pass with the same last name as my maiden name. And it was even a man’s name! She gave me a boarding pass for someone named Freddie Sanders. I understand that all companies make mistakes from time to time. But I believe what determines whether a company has good customer service is what they do after they have made an error. This is where Alitalia failed miserably, first during this situation and then later when you lost our baggage. The flight attendant came and got me and escorted me off the plane. She took me to the supervisor working the gate for that flight. Unfortunately, I did not get her name in all the chaos that took place, but I know she was the supervisor working the gate for flight AZ611 on September 30, 2011. She was a middle aged woman, maybe 40s or perhaps 50s. She was thin and blonde. She proceeded to yell at me, telling me that the mix up was my fault! This went on for about five to ten minutes. She was yelling so much she actually made me cry. Evidently, she thought I was responsible for issuing my own boarding pass. I do not know how that is possible since a passenger never issues their own boarding pass. While I was standing there they were trying to close the gate and let the plane take off without me and with my purse and everything still onboard. Had it not been for the young female flight attendant who originally escorted me off the plane, they would have closed the gate but she told them not to let it go without me. That woman checked me in in the right name and gave me my correct boarding pass. But before I got on the plane, the supervisor who had been yelling at me then threatened me! She told me good luck getting back to the US, suggesting that she was going to try to mess with my return flight. When I got back on the plane, everyone was staring at me and wondering why I had been escorted off. I was totally humiliated. I was so shook up by this whole experience that I was physically sick for most of the flight. Amazingly, my experience at JFK was only the beginning of a horrendous customer service experience with this airline. When we arrived in Rome our luggage was not there. We went immediately to the Alitalia lost and found counter to file a claim and give them the address of our hotel in Rome. Our claim number was FCOAZ70223. At this point, I was not terribly upset about the baggage. We have had an airline lose our baggage before but it was not so bad because they delivered it to us the very next morning. I thought we would be one day without a change of clothes and then we would have our bags. But once again, Alitalia failed miserably at correcting its error. We checked into our hotel in Rome on October 1, 2011. We were there for four nights. We checked out on October 5, 2011. During the five days and four nights that we were in Rome our bags were never delivered. After our bags did not arrive on the second day, we started calling your airline trying to find out when they would be delivered. We were told that you knew where they were, that they had been left at JFK and they would be on the next flight to Rome. Every single day we were told our bags would be delivered the next day. After a few days without any clean clothes, contact lenses, medicine, or shampoo and not having any luck trying to call ourselves we started having a friend in the US call for us. We accumulated a phone bill of 163.60€ at our first hotel just from trying to call your airline about our bags. One representative that we talked to suggested that we send an email to [email protected]. We emailed that email address and the customer service email address ( [email protected] ) a total of four times while we were in Italy and as of this writing we have yet to receive a single response.

During the time that we were in Rome we never received any kind of explanation from anyone at your airline about why our bags were not being delivered when you claimed to know exactly where they were. On October 4, 2011 we received a message at our hotel while we were out requesting the address for the next place we would be staying because our bags would not be delivered before we checked out on October 5th. There was never any explanation for why it could not be delivered and no apology whatsoever. When we got to our hotel in Venice we started trying to call again to get our bags sent to us in Venice. We were hung up on several times. We accumulated another phone bill of 184.60€ trying to call your airline about our bags from Venice. We even had the staff at our hotel trying to call, hoping that having someone who spoke Italian might help. Once again, we were told that you knew where our bags were (at this point we were told they were in Rome and had been there since October 1st!) and promised that our bags would be delivered the next day. And once again, our bags never came. After many phone calls to New York, Rome, Venice, and a customer service number in Sicily, we finally tracked down our bags ourselves and found out exactly which flight they were supposed to be on and when it was supposed to arrive in Venice. Our bags finally arrived in Venice on October 8, 2011 at 9:30 p.m., the night before we were supposed to fly back home. We were told they could not be delivered to our hotel that night and since we were checking out the next morning to fly home, we had to buy bus tickets, go to the airport ourselves and pick up our bags. We went our entire nine day trip without our luggage. We were never given any kind of explanation or apology by anyone working for this airline. We were never offered any kind of assistance and you were completely unresponsive to our numerous calls and emails while we were in Italy. Because we had to spend 348.20€ on phone calls trying to track down our bags, 20€ on bus tickets to pick up our bags that you were supposed to deliver, and 272.46€ on very basic clothes, medicine, toiletries, etc., we were not able to do many of the things we planned to do on our trip because we did not have enough money. We spent a total of 640.66€ because we did not have our bags. But what is even more upsetting is that we lost entire days of sightseeing sitting in the room trying to contact your airline and trying to get to shopping centers to buy clothes or to pharmacies to buy toiletries or medicine. We did not take a lot of extra money with us. We took what we thought we would need for food and sightseeing. Therefore, we went all the way to Venice and never even got to ride a gondola. We had also planned to go on a nice dinner date but were not able to do it because our dress clothes were in our luggage and we could not afford to buy dress clothes that we needed to eat at the restaurant we wanted to eat at. This trip was supposed to be my graduation gift from my husband, but I spent a good part of it crying because I was so stressed about us running out of money and about not having clean clothes. My husband actually had to wear the same flannel shirt for ten days because we could only afford clean undershirts, etc. So as I said in the beginning, this airline basically ruined our whole trip. My problem with this airline is not that you issued me the wrong boarding pass or did not get our luggage there at the same time we got there. My problem is how you responded to each of these errors. After issuing me the wrong boarding pass, you kicked me off the plane, yelled at me, blamed it on me, and threatened me. After losing our luggage, you did not deliver it to us the entire time we were on our nine day trip (even though your website says your policy is to deliver it within 24 hours), you would not help us on the phone, you would not respond to emails, and no one would explain why it was not being delivered or offer any kind of apology. That is terrible customer service. I have never experienced customer service like this from any company of any kind, not just airlines. We want to give you one final opportunity to remedy the terrible service you gave us. First, we want a reimbursement for the 640.66€ that we spent as a direct result of not having our luggage during our entire trip. Second, we would like a formal apology in writing for the way I was treated by one of your employees at JFK when I was given the wrong boarding pass by another one of your employees and for all the stress that not having our luggage caused us. Third, we would like a full refund for our airfare for both our flights from JFK to Rome on September 30th because you ruined our vacation, our first one in almost seven years. I was stressed out from my first encounter with an Alitalia employee at JFK until we got back home. Because no one has been responsive to our complaints so far, I am skeptical about whether we will ever receive any type of response. At this time, it has been 100 days since our trip, and over 90 since our return, and, contrary to the promise of the Alitalia complaint acknowledgment letter we received, we have yet to receive any type of communication in any form regarding our complaint besides that letter. DO NOT FLY WITH THIS AIRLINE IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER ALTERNATIVES!
Old Jan 10, 2012, 12:01 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Send a complaint to the DOT... There is a link on the quick links on this website. Youare entitled to a minimum of your expenditure as a result of their incompetence
Old Jan 10, 2012, 3:26 AM
tony.mullins tony.mullins is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Default Thanks

Hey Jim. Thank you VERY MUCH for your suggestion. We are at our wit's end with these people. My wife is actually a lawyer, and we were considering filing a formal lawsuit against the company this week. Maybe we won't have to go through that now.

Take care.

Old Apr 7, 2012, 8:59 PM
johnyboy johnyboy is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1
Default Could poor customer service from companies such as Alitalia lead to financial ruin an

sent to Alitalia customer services:


Could poor customer service from companies such as Alitalia lead to financial ruin and EU expulsion for Italy?

My wife was left distraught following what I can only describe as abuse by your staff today. As a consequence she has vowed never to return to Italy despite having family there.

A basic search on the internet suggests that she is far from alone in this sentiment and indeed that Alitalia could seriously undermine Italian tourism.

This would in turn affect the Italian economy, the European Economy, the stock markets and the viability of the European Union.

Italy, as an unfortunate member of PIIGS has an awful lot to lose it Alitalia continues to abuse tourists in the way you appear to be doing at the moment.

I have and will continue to raise this matter with every finance minister in Europe.


Article follows:


Could poor customer service from companies such as Alitalia lead to financial ruin and EU expulsion for Italy?

In 2011 tourism represented 4.8 per cent of GDP for Italy and employed 9 percent of the Italian workforce.

This means that for every 10 people in Italy at least one of them works in tourism, or for every two Italian families, one breadwinner works in tourism.

Unfortunately, for Italy, this means that customer service and tourists are not only important to Italy as a country, but also as an economy and as a member of the European Union.

This becomes very troubling indeed when we take into the account the concerning drop in tourism in Italy and then read about the appalling treatment of tourists by Italian companies when they are in Italy that appears to have led to this decline.

Consider the case of Alitalia who are not only the subject of mass customer complaints due to their appalling treatment of tourists using their services but have also been the subject of Class Actions in the United States for their failures, with web sites growing up to co-ordinate disgruntled tourists who believe that not only have they been mistreated but also that Alitalia has not complied with European legislation.

A recent complaint passed to the UK Foreign Office detailed a lone female British tourist who not only felt that she had been discriminated against, but who lost her luggage, wedding photographs and gifts as a result of what she claims is the negligence of Alitalia staff who then left her stranded in Rome FCO airport suffering from a medical condition that needed first aid and with no attempt whatsoever to help their customer.

Does Italy really want to send a message to its tourists that they are unwelcome, unnecessary and unimportant or is it time for the Italian Government to undertake a thorough review of companies like Alitalia to ensure the safe return of tourists to the Italian heartland and economy.

Can Italy as an economy afford to allow this abuse of its tourists to continue and indeed can Europe as a United Economy afford for Italy to drive away 5 per cent of its GDP resulting in the loss of 9 percent of its workforce.

Surely now is the time for the Italian Government and the European Union to wake up to the disaster-in-waiting and financial ruin for Italy and the EU that is poor customer service in Italy.
Old Apr 8, 2012, 3:12 AM
tony.mullins tony.mullins is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Default I believe it....

If the government doesn't do something about the issues with companies like Alitalia, the market will.

And, by the way, the airline finally sent us a check for $387 after we spent almost $1,000 trying to cover for our lost luggage, clothing, and phone calls trying to recover our bags. If Alitalia is the only airline flying into Italy in the future, even if it is partnering with Delta, we will NEVER visit Italy again,....unless maybe we fly into another country and then drive into Italy.

God bless.

Old Apr 8, 2012, 8:00 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

There are loads of alternative ways into Italy, Lufthansa via Frankfurt or Munich, Air France via Paris, British Airways via London, Aer Lingus via Dublin.... need I go on. There is never a NEED to fly Alitalia...they are a nightmare.
Old Mar 19, 2013, 1:58 PM
nkomp18 nkomp18 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Default Similar experience

I had a similar experience and out of everything that happened, the thing that bugged me the most is how incredibly RUDE and unhelpful the customer service was. It's as if they really want their customers to suffer
Old Jun 13, 2015, 4:30 AM
fool_me_once fool_me_once is offline
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1
Default Unbelievably poor service! very disorganized and they JUST DON'T CARE!

I had a horrible experience with Alitalia in early May. I could not believe it was really happening!

I was flying Marseille to Toronto via Rome on Alitalia. It was my first time flying with them. Its also my last! It started when I tried to do the online check-in. The Alitalia online system would not recognize my ticket or PNA number. The Expedia for TD agent tried calling Alitalia and was told my reservation was fine but I would need to go to the check-in counter at the airport. That chewed up a good three hours on the phone out of my trip. Strike One.

I was sure to get to the airport at least 3 hrs in advance but barely made the flight. First after waiting a good 45 mins in the checkin line the check-in agent denied me boarding because of my CPAP machine. After frustrating all the folks behind me in line, without ever looking at the machine she decided I was trying to bring an oxygen tank on board. Her mind was made up and when I tried show her the machine or get her name she covered her name tag and rapidly turned her head away. She didn't speak english so we did this in French with the help of my friends. Thank goodness they decided walk me to the gate when dropping me off. That check-in was the most humiliating and stressful experience I ever had at any airline and I needed to get out of the line as the folks behind me were getting pretty frustrated with the hold up.

If I still wanted to fly home that day I was now to line up at another another counter were a nice lady there after about 15 mins on the phone and said the the check-in agent said I had an oxygen tank. I showed her and it was one of the most popular CPAP (ResMed S9) machines out there and I had never had a problem flying with it. The security folks always recognized it. I could not believe the attitude of that check-in agent. She was a pretty brunette in her early 30's but boy what a mean spirited lady.

So back into the check-in line I went. but I made sure to get another check-in agent. He rolled his eyes about the other agent especially when he saw her hide her name tag and shake her head so rapidly away to hide her face when I again asked for her name. Then she stormed off to the gate saying something to the effect "I am doing my job and I'll see you at the gate very soon". She was obviously not pleased that she was over ruled and my CPAP machine was cleared for boarding. Not sure what her issue was that day or why she would not let me see her name tag. I had never experienced that lack of professionalism by a gate agent ever. It was just not necessary!

Now this fellow is trying to check me in and he says my reservation IS NOT CONFIRMED. So he is on the phone for a good 45 mins typing and trying things on his computer. Its now getting close to the departure time and I'm exhausted from the 2.5 hours of stress and humiliation. Finally he says I'm ok to go to the gate. By then I was sweating and my heart was pounding. I said all would be forgiven if he upgraded me to first class for the 9hr crossing from Rome to Toronto. He said the first class was booked solid but to check with the gate agent in Rome.

Not knowing how long it would take to get to the plane I ran like hell as it was less then 15 mins of departure time. I made it as they were about 20 mins behind schedule but by the time I was on the plane I was a mess. It took a good 4 hours before I could settle down. I still could not believe the bad treatment and how poorly trained that gate agent was. Kind of scary really when you think how important processes and training are for an airline.

In Rome I explained what happened to the gate agent and she said first class was fully booked.

The inside of the plane seemed old. It was old TV screens in the ceiling and my tray table mechanism was broken. The staff were ok but they didn't seem as cheerfull. Everything was all business and smiles were rare but that of it part was ok. I did stroll up to first class and there were at least two unused seats. The blankets and pillows where still in their plastic bags on the seats. Strike two!

When I got home I emailed a detailed account of this horrible experience to their customer relations dept. After a few days I got a phone call from a lady with a horrible attitude and poor english on a poor phone line. She kept saying she could not hear hear me. It was a low grade connection with a lot of delay but I could always hear her. She called me back twice but the connection seemed the same so it was totally unproductive. She said there was no record of my reservation problem just the CPAP issue but she said her investigation showed it was only a small delay (I was fabricating it all. Luckily I took a video). I tried several times to fill her in on the entire 3 hours of stress and how insane their process was but she kept saying she could not hear me. I heard her fine so I think she was using this as a tactic. How a company could claim to serve Canadians with such a poor phone connection and attitude was unbelievable.

She said because I was allowed to to board the schedule flight (no matter how bad the experience was or how hard I had to fight past their obstacles) that they kept up their part of the bargain. She even said "we're glad she did that, she was doing her job". I tried to explain I have gone through all types of security screening and it was always well managed and reassuring and I never had a problem with it but how this was handled at the check-in line was insane. The agent never looked at the CPAP and why did the security screening folks not have an issue with it. I kept trying to tell her she did not have all the facts but she kept saying she could not hear me. She just rudely said she could not hear me and was going to send me an email and hung up. The inmates were running the asylum that day!

The email offered me a 75 Euro credit but only if I booked on Alitalia and paid them directly. No travel agent or air miles. Basically an impossible scenario. They refused to consider any information I had about what really happened at the gate and just wanted me to go away. I refused to accept that and asked them to take this to the next level and listen to the phone call. They said no way. I asked them to show my complaint to the presidents office so they can get the proper info about how their front line people operate and they just stopped replying. All they wanted to hear was that I was allowed to board the flight I booked. Nothing else mattered. STRIKE 3!!!

I can't believe how bad Alitalia treated me and how broken their processes are and poorly trained they were that day! I was telling a few friends and neighbors and they all said "never fly Alitalia". So I'm now just finding out they had all been burned. In fact I could not find anyone who didn't have a bad experience story about Alitalia. Its hard to imagine they are still in business!

We entrust our lives to an airline and from what I am experiencing trying to get Alitalia to evaluate all of what happened that day, I cant ever imagine risking my safety by flying Alitalia again. Who knows how deep these problems are across the organization! I can't rest now until this is properly addressed. They should not be allowed to operate in and out of Toronto with such poor functioning in english, such poor phone lines to Canada and such flawed processes by civilized standards. It was far worse than 3rd world!

Until they address what happened properly and rationally I have no choice to go out of my way to share my perception of the risks of flying Alitalia. I still shake my head in disbelief. I can't rest until this gets to the president's office Alitalia! If need be I'll post the videos of the experience they said never happened and a picture of the agent that refused to identify herself and covered up her name tag.

Never again Alitalia! Worst Airline experience I've ever had and I've flown hundreds of thousands of air miles over the years. Flyer beware!

Please Mr. Gabriele del Torchio CEO of Alitalia Airlines, hear what your customers are going through and have your office contact me. Its not the Italian hospitality I grew up with in Torontos Little Italy!
alitalia, bad customer service, bad flight, terrible service

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