Alitalia (Short haul) on board struggles

Old Nov 10, 19, 7:52 am
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Alitalia (Short haul) on board struggles

Recently I purchased a rt ATH-FCO-AMS and flew the outbound legs yesterday afternoon. I fly ATH-AMS often but generally on other carriers. The AZ sales have this route for ~300 euro rt in business which, for the Flying Blue XP points alone, is worth it.

However the on board experience this time was particularly ..unsatisfactory. Perhaps not unexpected for the price and especially looking at whats going on with the company itself ..but still not on par with competition and I thought it would be good to share a few impressions.

On the first segment ATH-FCO the crew seemed in a particularly bad mood. The food was being served with all plastic covers still on (picture) and I personally didn't eat most of it. I love salads but a bowl of iceberg lettuce with only oil/vinegar I don't consider a salad.
They first served food to everyone (about 8 rows), and only then came round for drinks. By then most people had already finished their meal. When I asked for a tomato juice (the most typical in-flight drink right?!) I was told in an unapologetic manner that they don't have any.

At FCO the gate was setup for 3 boarding zones. But no signs showing which zone belonged to which lane. No priority signs, no GA's to point people to the right lane. As a result each lane had about 33% of the pax in it... and effectively there was no priority boarding.

The FCO-AMS flight started boarding with 20 min delay. Obviously the aircraft had only just arrived and at 30 min past departure time they were still loading luggage and catering. The captain came on to explain that the flight would be 2 hours today...but didnt mention the delay nor when we would be leaving. Eventually we did leave with about 45 min delay.

When we departed I noticed a bunch of bags and personal items on row 1. I was the only one in business so I found that odd. After departure a steady stream of Y pax came to use the C lavatory but the FA's were chatting and didn't send them back. Half hour after departure they decided that it was time to come close the C curtain, serve the food (picture) and then ...well, nothing. After the food service the FA sat in 1A and started going through the luggage that was on those seats. Obviously it was hers. She spent the rest of the flight sitting in 1A, fixing her makeup and looking out of the window. No offer for a further drink, no chocolates, no liqueur, nothing else.

Fortunately the checked bags did come out early (About 20 min after docking at the gate, which is a record for Schiphol) and I was able to catch my train.

I fully get that these AZ business class flights are sold at a low price. But the crew seems to always be either lazy and/or in a bad mood. They are the ones making this a bad experience...all the other stuff I can live with, especially looking at the price. If I were to have paid full fare for this flight I would have been very upset. I would recommend to be careful purchasing intra-european full fare business class on AZ.
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Last edited by Xandrios; Nov 10, 19 at 8:03 am
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Old Nov 11, 19, 6:43 am
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I donít know why you think tomato juice is a typical in-flight drink (itís not, Iíve only ever seen it on American carriers... and even then itís not tomato juice, itís Clamato) or why you think an Italian airline would have tomato juice. We donít drink tomato. I would be unapologetic as well if someone asked me for tomato juice. Tomato is not a drink.

Also, the lettuce in the picture isnít iceberg, as you say. Itís radicchio. Which begs the question if any part of the rest of your story is true...

Last edited by fmirenzi; Nov 11, 19 at 6:57 am
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Old Nov 11, 19, 12:19 pm
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Sounds like I stepped on somebodies toes here. Trust me my friend, I'm not making this up You may want to tone down your accusations a bit; we are all here to share experiences and learn from others. I have nothing to gain with lying about a carrier that I hardly ever fly..

Tomato juice is available with every main carrier in Europe, and generally even in Economy. The skyteam partners do; for example Air France even serves it with special sellery salt. But also smaller carriers like Aegean do have it available (served with salt&pepper). While I agree that on the ground tomato juice is not a common drink, in the air it is. There's even a scientific reason for that According to that articale beer-drinking nation of Germany drinks about the same amount of tomato-juice as beer on its Lufthansa flights.

In fact; I am pretty sure that Alitalia did have this available last time I flew them in business..about half year ago. Maybe somebody else can confirm that.

The salad may have contained some purple radicchio, but it definitely was based on iceberg or something similar. A kind of lettuce that requires a strong type of salad dressing to be enjoyable. In my opinion at least.

Last edited by Xandrios; Nov 11, 19 at 12:37 pm
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Old Nov 17, 19, 4:46 am
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I flew AZ again yesterday Ams-fco-ath. The food was identical to last week, however the service was very different.

On the first flight the FA was very polite and accommodating. He offered newspapers upon boarding as well (this was the only flight out of 4 where newspapers were offered).

Transfer at FCO was much better. Instead of B07 that lacks signage we left from B08 which has proper lines, and priority boarding was strictly enforced.

The flight to ATH was very good. There were 2 FAs serving 4 rows of business class. We first got drinks and a snack (the economy savory snack), then we're asked if we wanted a meal, meal was served with multiple drinks and multiple bread rounds. Also this was the only flight (out of 4) to not serve the plastic covers on the food.

After the meal multiple coffee rounds, Limoncelo and just before landing chocolates.

The food still wasn't great in my opinion, however that is fine with the low fares. What does strike me as very odd is the HUGE difference in service level on each flight. Every single flight had a different way of serving the food, if extra drinks would be served, if extra bread, liqueurs, chocolates or even newspapers. It is as if there are no standards or defined procedures for crew... Every single one seems to interpret their duties in a different way. That makes the product very inconsistent and ranging from very bad on two flights, to good or very good on two others.
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Last edited by Xandrios; Nov 17, 19 at 5:43 am
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Old Nov 17, 19, 8:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
...{snip}...What does strike me as very odd is the HUGE difference in service level on each flight...(snip}...
Perhaps the influence of Magna Grecia?
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Old Nov 18, 19, 5:32 am
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I'll be flying CDG-LIN on these fares at the end of November. Hopefully, the lounge will have re-opened and I'll benefit from the higher level of service. Not holding my breath, though 😉.
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Old Nov 18, 19, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
Perhaps the influence of Magna Grecia?
Well...Γνώθι σαυτόν or its latin version temet nosce, right

Actually you have flown both AZ and A3 plenty of times right...you decide

Last edited by Xandrios; Nov 18, 19 at 12:43 pm
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Old Nov 18, 19, 7:30 pm
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I always loved the AZ long haul product, while within Europe there was no incentive for me to fly them after they abolished the business class seats on their DC9s (or were these MD80/90s? I forgot) when they switched to Airbuses. In general, both AZ and old OA were extremely inconsistent: anything between best and worst!
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Old Nov 19, 19, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by KLouis View Post
I always loved the AZ long haul product, while within Europe there was no incentive for me to fly them after they abolished the business class seats on their DC9s (or were these MD80/90s? I forgot) when they switched to Airbuses. In general, both AZ and old OA were extremely inconsistent: anything between best and worst!
I agree with the judgment about an extreme inconsistency between the best and worst: in fact the airline is not able to settle and maintain always the standard at the same level. It's a kind of roulette which sometimes is annoying and depending too much on personnel mood.
Nevertheless, to be honest, with approx 20 flights/year on AZ I can say that finally AZ stay in the European average especially if you fly Y. Nothing special but also nothing sooo bad. In the same league as KL or AF or LH when you are onboard while you dont get the same messages/updates if something happen before boarding (delays...).

By the way, the lounge Alitalia in MXP is still one of the best around Europe even if limited to the few direct flights originated from MXP and that's a pity.
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Old Nov 26, 19, 10:22 am
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Well, Sala Sforza had a sign saying (only today ?) "lounge closed "so I had to go to Sala Monterverdi, which IMHO is still a dump. Sorry. I ll be able to compare tonight with a CDG 2F lounge on my way to TXL. And yes, it was the best connection, one that allowed me to leave Milano late and still arrive in Berlin this evening ;-).
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Old Nov 26, 19, 10:26 am
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Flying AZ to LIN, I had a quite pleasant experience, with a very courteous purser. It made up for the breakfast tray that was disappointing with its assortment of canned fruit :-(.
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Old Dec 3, 19, 8:33 am
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I have flown also few times AMS-FCO-ATH in C class last 12 months and have mixed experiences with the crew, then again thats not something just for AZ. In C class i order Seafood meals and they are surprisingly good, Different meals as well with fresh fruit on the side. AZ is good in this way as several other airlines don't offer special meals on shortfall flights in C class. As matter of fact they also offer them on economy class flights over 3 hours - eg to SVO.

Lounge in AMS/ATH very god and connections in FCO perfect. Also price wise with deals around 351/357E return in C class and only a bit more travel time a steal. And 60 XP and around 8000 Miles! Booked sunday another deal am confident they will be around 2020
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