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Is Alitalia that bad?

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I'm looking to fly NY-Sicily in May 2016 and the airfares and the scheduling on Alitalia are by far the best option. As there are no direct flights, and the stopover is in Rome, how concerned should I be with this airline? I had considered flying another airline nonstop and stopping over on the way there and back, but with 2 weeks only, a stopover in either direction isn't realistic.

I'm looking at keeping the duration of the 2 flights to 11-13 hours, which translates to stopovers in Rome of about 1 1/2 hours for the change of flight.

The cost with Alitalia is, on average, under $1300/ticket, which is reasonable from what I've seen. The Lufthansa flights are over $2000 each. Delta has fewer options and the timing of the flight that I would take is close to $2000 as well and, since it codeshares with Alitalia, at least one of the flights would be on the latter.

So it looks like Alitalia is the only realistic option. However, I have read so many bad reviews and so few good ones that it makes me more than a little concerned. Between rude service, lost luggage (we generally do carry on) and missed connections, I'm a bit worried, to be honest.

Thoughts, recommendations, reassurances? Any positive experiences with Alitalia to ease my concerns?

Greatly appreciate any feedback!

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