On the 10th of November we have started what turned out to be one of the worst trips ever to Buenos Aires. We have booked business class tickets with Alitalia, as the price was considerably lower as for example Lufthansa offer. But what is the price if you cannot get to wherever you wanted to go?
Our flight from Vienna to Rome was delayed due to bad weather. Alitalia representatives at the gate gave us conflicting information, including offer to stay in Vienna, as apparently all Rome hotels were booked and Alitalia would not be able to guarantee us a hotel if we would have to stay in the city. Eventually we flew, knowing, that our flight to Buenos Aires could be gone.
But it wasn’t. We made it due to the same bad weather conditions that caused delay of the first leg of the trip. We boarded the plane and sat on it for three hours, when we heard the voice of the captain of the flight: “I have very bad news for you…” We had to leave the plane. This was caused by the crew work hours – the flight stayed on the ground too long, their hours would be (with the flight) over allowed limit. Instead of changing the crew, we were told to wait at the terminal. Alitalia never told us the truth, we got only lies. We never got water, food, or hotels. The airline completely ignored laws of European Union, even worse, they completely ignored well-being of its passengers. Here are some images from that day:
Above: right after leaving the plane, we struggled to get some information. Alitalia did not even have a PA system to be able to talk to all of us. All passengers were handled by two people with no idea what they were doing.
Eventually we got this: the flight would leave at noon, delayed 14 hours. No hotels or food or drink were provided. I took below images at 4:30 am, the info says Boarding…
We did eventually board the flight, with buses. Just before that the Alitalia crew kept us waiting again at the gate, people started to should “fuck you” and be generally rowdy. Alitalia had no idea what to do, finally they let us go to the airplane. This is what they carry as their motto:
By the way: we never came back with Alitalia. Their flight back landed in Brasil (due to an accident at the Buenos Aires airport) and was cancelled. We were rebooked onto Air France flights. I am now at home – my luggage is not… no wonder: both airlines belong to the same losers club called Sky Team. A handy list of airlines you should avoid.
Mistakes happen. Flights get delayed, cancelled or moved all the time. But the quality of the airline lies in the way they handle those crises – and Alitalia has no idea about it at all. We will of course try to get compensation as per the EU laws. We will see what (if anything) we will get. One thing I know: never again. If this is the best of Italy, as the slogan says, then Italy is really in deep shit.