Yesterday 12/12/11 My wife and I flew Alitalia Flight 610 from Rome to JFK. Now my wife and I are both 6' tall and I have had both knees replaced, so we asked at check in if we could have bulkhead seats for the extra leg room. The fellow at check in said no problem and gave us boarding passes for seats 15 G and 15 D. When we arrived at the gate area, I again checked with the gate agent to make sure our seats were bulkhead, with extra leg room. The agent at the gate check here computer and confirmed - yes you have the bulk head seats, enjoy your flight. Surprise, upon boarding we had center row seats one row behind the bulkhead seats. When I requested help from the chief stewart, he said not to worry and he would try to help us. Further, he said the gate agent and the check in agents do not tell the truth, they only want to move you on your way. Hello, the chief stewart was useless. All he could do was smile and give us a useless " caring more about you card " I will never fly Alitalia again and may not return to Italy as my wife and I were miserable on the flight. The flightr attendents stood arround and let the restrooms become pig sties, while they were busy chatting.
Hello. While it may have been nice to get the extra legroom you must note that if all seats were taken at check-in there's not much the attendant could do, although the check-in agents were evidently quite clueless about the seating layout. If you absolutely want specific seats you could consider selecting them when booking, at online check-in, or by calling the airline beforehand.
Finally you may have liked the extra legroom but so do other passengers, not everyone can get them, and I hardly think that the normal seats are the type which do not have enough space for your knees, so the excuse of an injured knee only works up to a point.
I hope you enjoyed the flight other than the "awful seats" which are the same for everyone and a good deal better than on some airlines ;-).
You will not return to Italy because of a check-in agent at the airport on your way back?
I have medical issues too, I broke both my knees while skiing (by the way not at the same time, but in two consecutive years... how stupid am I? ;-) ) and after a while I have to stretch my right knee otherwise it become really painful, and I simply choose my seats online or I call the airline to make sure I have a bulkhead seat or at least an aisle seat before the flight... I've never been disappointed...
Programs: United Plat, AA gold, Southwest RR, Alitalia Freccia Alata+, Hilton gold, Marriot Gold, Accor
You sound like a flying lieutenant, was this your first trip overseas or too Italia?
While service on Alitalia is hit or miss, and yes it can miss more than hit, so is UA, BA etc. Seatguru or carpe google might have helped you in advance, and while it does sound like the agents "moved you along" get over it. If you let that affect your trip, wow. Plenty of other airlines fly to Europe.
Believe it or not, the entire plane's staff is not for you.
In Japan a fully loaded ANA 777 can be boarded full in under 20 minutes; on UA it takes an hour...