There are many online reviews about the appalling service provided by Alitalia both in-flight and on the ground. I also experienced poor in-flight service but this was not the worst part of my experience.
On September 21, 2013 I was returning from Rome to Toronto on an Alitalia flight with 3 friends. Despite arriving at check in a full two hours before our flight, we were told that there were no seats for us and we had to take a connecting flight some hours later.
Under European Community rules, we were entitled to compensation for “denial of boarding” but it is now August 11, 2014 and I have yet to receive compensation.
My advice to anyone in a similar situation:
1. Alitalia will occasionally send you e mails but don’t expect them to respond to any of yours.
2. Don’t bother trying to contact the Alitalia office in your home country; they will merely tell you to contact Alitalia headquarters by e mail. (see 1 above)
3. Don’t try and contact Alitalia headquarters by phone. Even if you are willing to invest in the expense of the international call, you will find it almost impossible to find anyone at the other end that speaks English. I did find one but she lied to me that my claim was being processed when it was not.
4. Don’t bother trying to contact the Alitalia Conciliation Service. This is an agency set up to handle consumer affairs for Alitalia but it is owned by them, so guess whose side they are on. I did not manage to get a single response from them via e mail or registered letter.
5. Do try and contact ENAC. This is the agency in Italy that handles all civil aviation issues. They will reply to your e mails (eventually) but they seem to have limited power to get Alitalia to follow European regulations
Above all, learn your lesson as I did and vow never to fly on this useless airline ever again.
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