Beware of Alitalia call center charges

Nov 12th, 2011, 05:40 AM
  #1  
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Beware of Alitalia call center charges

At the end of August Alitalia discontinued free calls to its call center in Italy. The only number available now is an expensive toll number. We recently received e-mail while in Italy instructing us to call the toll number because "your flight had been rescheduled and to make new reservations." No further details were given. Despite running up 5E in charges for about 3 minutes on hold, our hotel was unable toget through to the call center. (We had received two previous e-mails informing us of a 10 minute delay in departure, obviously not a big deal but the last cryptic e-mail was disturbing.) Since the Alitalia site displayed our flight, we gave up trying to make contact with the call center. The last "you must call the call center" e-mail appears to be just a money raising operation. Beware.
Marija is offline  
Nov 12th, 2011, 06:12 AM
  #2  
P_M
 
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You've got to be kidding. Airlines are charging for everything they possibly can these days and God forbid the others should follow suit with this.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 06:13 AM
  #3  
 
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Disgusting! Really disgusting.

Signed, Disgusted
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 12th, 2011, 06:16 AM
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Maybe there's a way for us to charge them for calling and leaving cryptic uninformative messages?

I wonder if it's even a real Alitalia number? One of those scams?
Dayle is offline  
Nov 12th, 2011, 06:34 AM
  #5  
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It was definitely the correct Alitalia call center number. When I googled it I found much Italian outrage about the new procedures.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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dumb question maybe but would it be cheaper to call the toll free US # and pay the toll charges ?
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Nov 12th, 2011, 08:47 AM
  #7  
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That's a good idea mztery but one never knows how long the hold time will be. It seems to be much longer than the good old days when the airlines welcomed our calls.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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call the US toll free number on skype ( free) if you are outside the USA
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Nov 12th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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We recently received e-mail while in Italy instructing us to call the toll number because "your flight had been rescheduled and to make new reservations." No further details were given. Despite running up 5E in charges for about 3 minutes on hold, our hotel was unable toget through to the call center>>

so how did you get your reservations sorted out then?
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Nov 12th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Alitalia has to be one of the most amazing companies in the world. They do almost everything wrong, have done all they can to make customers mad, operate like they are run by 6 year olds and yet they still keep on flying. I mean from the non-stop "we'll be bankrupt next year", to the international flights where the seats collapse, to the strikes, it just never ends with these guys. At least with RyanAir you know you might get a good deal if you know all the rules.

However, with all that said, I must admit that back in 2007-8 I was able to purchase tickets for a whole group of family members to fly from NY to Rome R/T for about $500 per person, over Christmas-New Years.

This scam though has to be a new low, even the folks at RyanAir have to be envious.

dave
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Nov 12th, 2011, 01:01 PM
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ryanair, envious? try calling THEIR call center. they refuse to answer anything by email, either. it will cost you a FORTUNE.

Many companies have now started this call center idea where you PAY for information or the right to talk to someone to resolve a problem. Alitalia is not the only one.

(If the email thing is a scam.. that is different, but paying to speak to an agent now is becoming more and more frequent).
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Nov 12th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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From the Alitalia website:

"For Call Center reservations, flight re-confirmations, arrival/departure information and special/medical assistance procedures, call 800-223-5730."

As for this "appears to be just a money raising operation," people in the global economy need to make up their minds whether it's okay for Italy's government to keep subsidizing companies or whether consumers should pay for the services they consume while they are in Italy, especially when they are luxury services, like travel for pleasure. It hard to see why pensioners, school children and hospitals should face austerity budgets so that affluent travels can get free services from Alitalia.

In addition to reporting ire at the new charges, the Italian press reports I read noted that Iberia, Air France and Meridiana also charge for using their call centers.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 01:58 PM
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I want to add that I probably fly Alitalia more than most people, and unlike Air France, Lufthansa, British Air or Meridiana, I have never experienced a flight cancellation due to a strike or simply because they decided they didn't have enough passengers. I have never had a reason to complain about the service and have found them cost-competitive and usually cheaper than most of the inter-Europe carriers. If you are flying from Italy, the most convenient flights to the greatest number of destinations are usually found on Alitalia.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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One more suggestion:

If you are in Italy and don't want to call Alitalia to re-confirm your flight, go to a travel agency. They can look it up on their computer.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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@ann--since the flight from Catania for which we had reservations was showing online as not cancelled but slightly delayed (a delay we had previously been informed about by e-mail), we hoped that the alarmist vague e-mail was warning us of this delay again and we took our chances, especially since Alitalia was still selling tickets for our flight. If we couldn't check in online the day before the flight, we would have had to continue trying to contact Alitalia, as instructed. Fortunately there were no problems.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:25 PM
  #16  
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@zeppole--We did go to a travel agency and they refused to have anything to do with us other than repeat the call center number. They said we had to call what they termed the "very expensive" number ourselves.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Truly impoverished international tourists interested in winning a free flight from Alitalia still have time to vote in the Barbie Likes Alitalia contest (ends Nov. 20)

http://www.avionews.com/index.php?co...ante=index.php

http://www.barbiecollector.it/barbielikesalitalia
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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For Lin, what I meant by "envious" is that RyanAir must be envious that they never thought of this one. Bet it is a new option in the near future. I can see it now...

You can contact RyanAir customer service by either calling our 900 number, which will provide you with hilarious advertising as you wait, for only $1 per minute. Or you can contact us by carving out a stone tablet, floating it down a local river and hope that a good-hearted maiden retrieves it and brings it to our corporate offices. Replies will be in the same manner, so be sure to be downstream.

dave
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Nov 12th, 2011, 02:33 PM
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@marija,

I wouldn't have asked the travel agency to call. I would have asked them to look it up on their computer.

Like a lot of other services, companies are trying to get out of the business of maintaining expensive call centers, since most people now look up things online -- like you did. If they can't export their call center to the 3rd world, they charge for it. You are paying for a pricey service that the internet has otherwise replaced.

As you can see from my responses, I really don't see injury here, and the amounts of money being talked about are trivial for people who can afford extensive international trips every year or even twice a year.
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Nov 12th, 2011, 03:04 PM
  #20  
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@zeppole, I had internet access and could find the flights just fine. What I don't understand is why they sent me e-mail instructing me to contact the call center "for further information and to make new reservations" when there was absolutely no need for it. The only information in that e-mail was to contact the call center. That's not playing fair.
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