Monthly Archives: February 2007

Alitalia Sucks

Published / by Bagheera / Leave a Comment

Welcome to this aptly named first post – Alitalia does in fact suck. Allow me to elaborate.

After booking flights for my winter vacation with Alitalia (I really should come up with a clever variation of the name to show just how much they suck but that will have to wait), I fully expected everything to go smoothly.

I was wrong. Very wrong. OK so I didn’t lose any limbs, and miraculously they didn’t lose my luggage either (even if it was delayed) – but their planes, oh the horror, they are designed by some greasy 5 foot tall Italian no doubt. The headrest if placed firmly at the shoulder blades, the crash position (knees at chin, rather than chin at knees) is mandatory (or rather the only position physically possible if you’re taller than 6 feet), and it is physically impossible to stand up in the lavatory .. actually I found it rather hard to sit down too, so .. uhm.. did I mention everything seemed to be 20+ years old? I’m not afraid of flying, but there were a few times there, where I really wished I’d taken the train.

That was the actual aircraft (and my journey involved 3 different models, all very very bad), now on to the ground staff. The information on delays was almost non-existent, and they managed to delay departure by some 20 minutes or so, even with the plane having been at the gate for an extended period of time. There was 1 person checking in the entire flight, and she was doing it by hand.. not using one of those machines that read boarding cards, nono, she was doing it all manually.

Let’s do the food next. We were treated to a sandwich that mostly resembled a moldy sponge. It was a feint green spread of some sort, the bread was stale, and the whole thing was extremely bland. For some of the other legs of the journey they had substituted the sponge for something resembling bread, but still very very stale. OK they did orange juice well, but really, can anyone mess that up?

Did I mention everything was in Italian? OK, so it’s an Italian airline – but when you’re flying to non-Italian destinations, you could at least give very basic messages in English. I do understand a little Italian, and most of the things the captain said in Italian was not repeated in English at all. We basically got the “fasten seat-belts, turn off electronics” and that was it. Most airlines do native language and English (at least).

Alitalia also has the only pilot I’ve ever flown with, who has attempted a non-straight line start. He was parked perpendicular to the runway, then gunned the engines while making a 90 degree turn and took off. Very unsettling.

I’ve forgotten half the little annoyances along the way, but these were the major points.

AVOID!

Pros:

I get my miles credited to my SkyTeam account .. after faxing copies of everything of course. Maybe.. if they don’t lose it, or deny it for some arbitrary reason (like they did with my lost luggage claim last time). OK maybe this really shouldn’t go in the pros section, I just really wanted to post SOMETHING positive, but God knows they made that very difficult.

Their logo isn’t bad. There, I did it!