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Problems with Alitalia Frequent FlyerTicket

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I just returned from Greece last week and had a nightmare time with Alitalia on the way over. My husband and I were flying business class with myself using the ff ticket and he had a purchased one, because our tickets were not linked and we have two diffrent last names I confirmed these tickets and our seats about 4 times on and off prior to departure.

On the morning we were leaving as we were heading out the door I got a call from Alitalia saying they were moving me to a flight that was connecting through Milan instead of Rome, I said no that would not be possible because was I flying with my husband and we wanted to stay together. The man said no problem and I confirmed we were still in the same seats then my husband took the phone and also confirmed the same thing. At that point we figured they were looking for a person travelling alone who wouldn't mind changing flights.

So we drive to the airport in Atlanta fearing the problems that we were going to encounter. At the Delta check in we get our boarding cards for all the flights (we were connecting through Newark and Rome) and we were not seated together on the overseas portion of the trip I was in row 2 him in row 9. The Delta check in person could not access the seats for this flight and suggested trying to change them in Newark.

While waiting for our flight to Newark we call Alitalia who again confirm our flight but cannot change the seats because the flight was full. Once we touch down in Newark we decide to go to the check in counter to see about the seats. We are greeted by both Delta and Alitalia agents and it got ugly. There was people who had been waiting for days for a flight to Italy and tempers were short including ours. We were informed that not only were they not changing our seats but that I would not be flying that day. My husband since his ticket was "paid" for still had a seat but since mine was "free" they gave it away. I couldn't believe a few things about the situation one being that business class was oversold I did not know that any airline did that also that they felt that frequent flyer tickets were somehow worth less than other tickets I always thought that airlines liked their loyal customers and have always been treated well using a frequent flyer ticket.

It got bad at the check in counter so I excused myself because I was working myself into an anxiety/asthma attack and my normally sweet and quiet husband was cursing at the Alitalia woman. Anyway while I tried to get my breathing back under control I decided I needed a story to get on a flight that night. Since I was carrying a garmet bag full of clothes for a wedding I decided that telling them it was our wedding was the best course of action. It worked sort of. There was no way we were getting on the Rome flight but they could get us on the Milan flight seated together but we would be arriving 7 hours late which sucked for my brother in law who was waiting for us in Athens but better than losing another day.

The flight to Milan was on a much older plane it didn't even have personal screens in business class but at this point I was an admitably bad mood and was not looking on the bright side. The other problem came at meal time the food was actually good except that the didn't have a main course for me even though the mean Alitalia lady did confirm that would put my vegetarian on the flight for me. When we asked the flight attendent about my meal he informed me that they had an economy vegetarian meal for me because I had been upgraded to business ( basically he was saying I was lucky to be there and shut up). So it was nice to know that Alitalia felt 90,000 f/f miles was an upgrade.

I was flying home from Greece on KLM and Delta so I didn't have to deal with Alitalia but my husband made out fine coming home with them on his "paid" ticket. Two other disturbing factors about Alitalia was that they made a point of telling me that they bumped other people off the Milan flight to let us on and they also made a point of telling me that if I hadn't come to the counter to ask they about seats I would have just been denied boarding then it may have been too late for them to find me another flight.

Sadly this may have been completley avoided if Alitalia had realized this overbooked problem before we ever left Atlanta as there were a lot more options for flights to Greece leaving from Atlanta than from Newark.

Alitalia gave my husband $400.00 cash for compensation for his inconvienence but nothing for me because my ticket was "free". We have used business class frequent flyer tickets with Air Canada, Lufthansa, Delta and Air France and have never had a problem like this so I doubt we'll be giving Alitalia a chance again.

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