If you are traveling to or from Italy tomorrow, you might not be saying “Thank God It’s Friday.”
As an exercise in caution in preparation for the strike to be conducted by unions representing ground handlers at the airports in Venice and Milan, some flights have already been cancelled by airlines such as Alitalia and EasyJet in order to give customers an opportunity to change their travel plans; while Vueling has changed the departure times of at least two flights.
In addition, employees of Alitalia and Meridiana also plan to strike at various times during the day; and passengers of ground transportation — such as buses and trains — may also experience effects as a result of the strike, which is reportedly over a dispute pertaining to pay and working conditions.
“No thanks to Alitalia (or AF where I booked the flight originally) but my flight tomorrow (Milan-Paris) was cancelled and the only way I had any idea was that online checkin did not work”, reported FlyerTalk member ckendall.
Sure enough, I could not find any news regarding this strike at the official Internet web site of Alitalia — unlike Lufthansa, which kept its customers updated when pilots threatened to go on strike last month.
As far as the ground handlers and their potential effect on your travel, FlyerTalk member slawecki “experienced one of those at MXP a few years ago. I think those are the people who drive the skywalks and the busses between the terminal gate and the plane. If that is the group, you can’t get there from here.”
Depending on how many passengers could be stranded as a result of this strike, vacancies of rooms at hotel properties — especially in Milan and Venice — may become scarce. You may want to consider reserving a hotel room just in case — but please only do so if absolutely necessary to keep a hotel room open for someone else who may need it. If your schedule allows flexibility where you can change your travel plans to or from Italy, that would be a better option.
Renting a vehicle is another option — albeit a typically expensive one in Italy. As with hotel rooms, it is possible that available rental vehicles may become scarce. If you intend to pursue this mode of transportation, ensure that you have a vehicle reserved for rent as soon as possible, as buses and trains may not be reliable.
Also, contact the airline on which you are scheduled to be a passenger for the latest updates. If you do decide to change your travel plans, any fees to do so should be waived in this case.
If you cannot change your travel plans, expect delays and other possible interruptions of your travel — including the cancellation of your flight.
Of course, there is a chance that your travels may not be interrupted at all; but please be prepared — just in case.