British Airways vs. Alitalia

Oct 1st, 2005, 02:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2005
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British Airways vs. Alitalia

Hello Fodorites. Again, I need your opinions.

We're flying from Rome to London Heathrow one-way. (We're going to fly later that day to Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic.)

I have heard that Alitalia is not the most efficient or reliable airline. However, the time that flight arrives is better for us than BA's.

Our Virgin flight to LAX leaves at 3:00 PM. The BA flight arrives at LHR at 1:35 PM, while Alitalia's flight arrives at 11:10 AM.

In your opinion, if we book the BA flight, will we be cutting it too close? (Will we have to clear customs at LHR after being in Italy, or since they are EU countries are we exempt?)

Should we take a chance with Alitalia and have nearly 4 hours at LHR, or take a chance with BA and have less than 1.5 hours?

My inner voice tells me, go with Alitalia. But again, I have heard negative things about the airline. So.... what would you do?


BobNCheryl is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 02:18 PM
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I gave up on British Airways after flying them twice. The first time was great but the interval between that flight and the final one was 10 years. Things changed for the worse in my opinion.

And while I've never flown on Alitalia I've read horrible things about them more than I have about BA. So if I were to choose between either BA or Alitalia, I'd choose BA.
francophile03 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 03:42 PM
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Will you be ticketed through or will you have to collect your baggage and re-check it? If the latter, 1.5 hours is not enough.

It also depends on which terminals are involved. If you have to change terminals, that means you go through the security line.

Listen to your inner voice.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 04:00 PM
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I suspect that every day there are many Alitalia flights which travel and arrive pretty much on time without too many complaints; same with British Air.

IMO the greater "issue" here is the time between flights. Whatever you do, try to have the luggage checked all the way through.
Voyager2006 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 04:25 AM
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Interesting, I have a similiar thread going about connection times in Paris. Everyone is telling me an hour and a half is not enough. I have flow into and out of both Paris (CDG) and Heatharow numerous times but have never made a connecting flight in either one. In your case though I would definitly go with the longer connection time.

Here's why: the flight to the US is not on the same carrier as either of the ones you are considering so if you miss it you are out of luck, they have no reason to be accomodating as it wouldn't be Virgin Atlantic's fault in any way. And since it's not the same carrier you will have to recheck luggage, check in as if for a new flight, etc. Defiitly requires more than an hour and a half in Heathrow. In the last two years I've flown Alitalia two round trip transatlantic flights and one intra European flight and they were all on time.
isabel is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 07:17 AM
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When are you traveling? If it is a holiday weekend, silence that inner voice and jump on British Airlines.

I was at the airport 1 hour before I needed to be on my return flight and I was told straight out that I would be bumped. I thought that was something that was decided on closer to the flight take off. Still saw people being checked in after me.

This was Sunday after Thanksgiving (I am American), a lot of air traffic that weekend. I was put on a bus with everyone else that was bumped and shifted to a plane heading for LHR for a 3 hour stop over, ALL YOUNG PEOPLE. Not a single family in the group, no one looked middle age.

I arrived at a different destination airport 5 hours later taking me into the early hours of the morning before work. I was originally on a direct flight that brought me home early in the evening.

I asked about compensation leaving Milan. Told them I paid for a direct flight, arrived well before I needed to. Was told people arrived even earlier than me alough there was no one in front of me or in back of me yet. When I came home I wrote a couple of letters, made phone calls never received a single voucher, courtesy, apology. Wait, at JFK I was offered a taxi voucher that was NOT honored by any cabs they directed me to! I was not looking for a free ticket but a $100 we are sorry for your trouble credit would have satisfied me.

UNLESS PRICES ARE EXTRORDINARY I would never ever use Alitalia again. Customer service with this company is in the toilet.
Sarah is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 07:25 AM
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Ok you can see I am hot headed about Alitalia. Sounds like other posters do have the right idea if so many other flights have been missed. Go with the longest connection time.

I do think BA will be better about re-routing you if you miss. Alitalia and consider airport hotels ON YOUR OWN DIME in London that evening. Sorry I am confusing you more.
Sarah is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 07:52 AM
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I'd go with the longer layover. I always do about 3 hours when I pass thru Heathrow, which seems about right for conneccting flights honestly.
suze is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 09:07 AM
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Forget any prejudice you may hear about either airline. Just consider the facts.

Whether BA or Alitalia, you have to change terminals at LHR. ALL my recent experience with BA is that will not through-check bags if the two sectors are on separate tickets, and if the other airline is outside OneWorld. Unless they've changed the policy lately, that means you'll have to go through Immigration, collect your bags at T1, hoik them over to T3 and then check in at Virgin. And you are very, very unlikely to do this in 95 mins. - especially if you're not European.

You're even less likely to get either airline to take any responsibilty for this. If you miss the Virgin flight, it'll be your fault - however BA might have contributed.

Under virtually every circumstance imaginable, BA is a better bet than Alitalia (I did say bet, not guarantee. BA is merely less likely to foul up than AZ, and more likely to handle it professionally. But nothing's certain). 90 mins to change terminals, though, is one of the few such circumstances.

Unless you've got a 100% guarantee from BA that they will through-check, they will give you an LAX boarding pass at FCO and they do confirm the connection's legal.

But those sheep outside my window are more likely to take off and fly to LAX themselves.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 03:10 PM
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The flight from Rome to Heathrow is too short to worry about which airline is better. I totally dislike Alitalia. I can go on for ever about how bad it is. BUT, if I had the choice of taking Alitalia and having 4 hours to wander around Heathrow or BA and rush through the airport and hope I make the flight...I'd choose Alitalia and deal with it's awfullness.

I don't like 1.5 hour changes in Heathrow because of changing terminals. The last time we changed in Heathrow with a 1.5 hr., we just made it on the end of the line boarding our plane to the US and we rushed.

If I were connecting to a flight to LA from Heathrow, I'd rather have time to walk around and exercise a little between flights.
Ann1 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 03:31 PM
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I suppose Alitalia would be OK for just a short jaunt.

However, I was its prisoner Chicago/Milan round trip. The cabin crew disappeared for hours, then reappeared quite drunk. A woman seated behind me had a three-year-old kid who kicked the back of my seat all the way across the Atlantic westbound despite my requests to stop. Never again.
USNR is offline  
Oct 17th, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 27
I had a crying kid in Luftansas all the way from Houston to Frankfurt it was terrible it happens on every airline not just Alitalia.

But it seems people just like to complaine about Alitalia all the time.
rickker20 is offline  
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