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jerseygirl3
November 4th, 2004, 06:57 PM
Is anybody familiar with this airline? They appear to have the best fares for New York to Rome for our European cruise next year. I'm not fond of flying, so I want something nonstop and this airline meets those specifications, plus their schedule works with ours. Does anybody have any experience with them? Are their planes comfortable? Schedules reliable?

Globaliser
November 4th, 2004, 07:34 PM
Are you referring to a cruise on 18 September 2005? That's a long way away.

I don't have personal experience with flying Alitalia, but you ought to know that it remains an airline in deep financial trouble. A few weeks back, they were within days of shutting down. The Italian government had been allowed to give them an emergency bridging loan of 400 million, which they needed to keep operating for the time being, but only on condition that the unions agreed to substantial changes in conditions. That agreement was initially difficult to secure, and there was talk of strike action.

Agreement did eventually come, along with a proposal for restructuring the company, but the emergency bridging loan remains exactly that. AZ will need significant new investment from somewhere. Although the Italian government would like to put more money in to keep its national airline alive, the chances of this being allowed are not high. If nobody else wants to have a flutter on this perpetually loss-making enterprise, it may well shut down.

If you decide to buy tickets on AZ, make sure that you are covered (eg through your credit card, or a travel insurance policy) for a refund of your money if they do cease operating before your trip. The same applies, of course, for buying a ticket on any of the other airlines which are currently also in dire financial straits.

Leejnd4
November 4th, 2004, 10:37 PM
Sheesh, it seems in this day and age, you have to worry about this happening with almost any airline you might choose! I would echo the advice about purchasing it with your cc or insurance. Regarding the airline itself, I took it to Rome a few years ago and found it to be fine. I don't recall any particular problems with it anyway, either with the comfort, seats, service or food.

I would NOT say this about AeroMexico, which we recently took on a vacation to Mexico! I swear the plane looked like it was a reject from some rinky-dink airline that didn't make it through it's own financial crisis. And the seats were about as uncomfortable as you can get...I thought springs were going to pop out any moment and puncture my backside. :eek:

But anyway, if Alitalia is the best price (and it was for me too), I say go for it, and if it folds, you can go to plan B, right?

LeeAnne

shoshona2
November 4th, 2004, 11:41 PM
Hi,

If this airline is in big trouble, why would you buy tickets on it because of the price? There must be another airline doing the route you want. My friends who have taken this airline swear they wouldn't take it if someone paid them to fly on them. Insurance won't buy you a ticket if they go out of business the day you are flying on them and don't expect them to find you another way home. We flew from Bangkok to Japan to LAX on Tuesday. When we arrived at the airport in Bangkok at 5:30 a.m., we learned our United airplane had mechanical trouble. We were sent over to their partner airline, Thai, and were immediately ticketed for a flight which left 15 minutes later. We had visions of sitting around all day to get out of Bangkok. We are World Travelers and fly almost every month. Do yourself a favor and find a reputable airline.

carlmm
November 5th, 2004, 05:29 AM
To react on: "Do yourself a favor and find a reputable airline."

Do not get a wrong impression: Alitalia is a reputable airline not an obscure company with three fifty year old airplanes or something like that. True, it is in financial distress like almost every other airline but at least it is government backed.
Worry about partner airlines? Alitalia is member of SkyTeam as are e.g. Delta, Continental, KLM and NWA.
Where ever you book such a long time before the advice to make sure that you are covered (eg through your credit card, or a travel insurance policy) is wise anyway.

Enjoy flight and cruise!

Globaliser
November 5th, 2004, 10:13 AM
To react on: "Do yourself a favor and find a reputable airline."

Do not get a wrong impression: Alitalia is a reputable airline not an obscure company with three fifty year old airplanes or something like that. True, it is in financial distress like almost every other airline but at least it is government backed.I partly agree - AZ has a long history and a long reputation, and I would agree that it's reputable despite its current financial problems.

However, the reality is that many of its big competitors are not in financial distress, and "government backing" means nothing if the government is not allowed (by law) to put any more money into the airline to stop it going bust.

Even if AZ doesn't go bust in the next 10 months, there are also risks as to the shape of its network: What routes will it still be operating?

By choosing a low fare, you are also buying a certain amount of risk - that's one of the reasons for the pricing. The way I see it, most leisure air travel can absorb a certain amount of risk. Flying to a cruise, however, is less flexible than most leisure travel, because you have to be there by a certain time on a certain date. You'll need to weigh up what savings you'll get by buying an AZ ticket rather than some other airline's, and whether you're prepared to take on that degree of extra risk for those savings.

lorideco
November 5th, 2004, 04:34 PM
I have my air booked on Alitalia also. I had Delta frequent flyer miles and they are an affliliate so I have my flights using my FF miles. I have a family of 5. If I have to pay for my tickets, it would cost $4500. If they go out of business, I will be really stuck.

Aussie Gal
November 5th, 2004, 05:38 PM
Alitalia has been around forever. It used to fly to Melbourne, I think it still comes to Sydney and my sister has flown on it many times. To me, it is the airline of Italy. If it goes under, then what about all the other airlines that are under presssure. I know that United is in a similar situation.

Jennie.

vacationhappy
November 5th, 2004, 05:40 PM
I also booked on Alitalia...for the same reason. We are a family of four and got 2 free tickets using FF points.

The flights we picked are also listed under Delta as a codeshare partner. There are very few airlines these days not in financial distress.....

jerseygirl3
November 5th, 2004, 06:26 PM
Since I purchased my travel insurance (through Travel Guard) within a week of booking the cruise, I will be covered for financial default if the airline or cruiseline were to go under. I still plan on waiting awhile before booking, but I do like the fact that the flights on Alitalia are nonstop from NYC and the times are right.

elin
November 5th, 2004, 06:32 PM
I flew Alitalia with friends a few years ago. They were hands down better then our Canadian carrier (who I do have to admit is much better overseas then domestically)! Domestically in Italy, the food/beverage service was a huge step up from what we are used to (wine was standard with the lunch served, our flight time was about 1 1/2 from Nice to Rome).
The airline was fine. They were large planes (so they have the large plane layout 3-5-3). The food was good, the service good.
Elin

jerseygirl3
November 5th, 2004, 09:44 PM
Don't get me wrong...I'm not getting a bargain basement price on Alitalia. I can pay much less on Continental and leave more conveniently for me out of Newark rather than go to JFK. However, Continental's flights leave too early in the morning from Rome for us to comfortably debark the plane and make the hour or hour and a half trip to the airport and still make our flight on time. Alitalia's non-stop, convenient flight times are what appeals most to me. The fare is $886, so it's certainly no bargain. I still plan on waiting awhile, but I'm concerned that anybody who booked their air through Carnival will be on the flight that I'm looking at, because it's the only reasonably priced one that leaves enough time to debark the ship and make it to the airport.

The other option is to spend an extra day in Rome and take a flight out the next a.m., which isn't out of the question. It's just that after a two week long vacation, I'll be anxious to get home

Leejnd4
November 6th, 2004, 11:54 PM
The other option is to spend an extra day in Rome and take a flight out the next a.m., which isn't out of the question. It's just that after a two week long vacation, I'll be anxious to get home

Okay, I can understand that...but I just gotta say that if I had a chance to spend an extra day in Rome, there's not much that would keep me from doing it! :)

LeeAnne

jerseygirl3
November 7th, 2004, 10:37 AM
Yeah, but spending the extra day at Rome would most likely be spending it at the hotel. After two weeks of sightseeing, I doubt we will be up for much more. By the time we get to the hotel, we'll probably be ready to crash, and we'd have to leave for the airport very early the next a.m. So it's not really like having an extra day in Rome; more like staying overnight to make sure we don't miss our flight the next a.m. It just kills me because the hotel will run us at least another $200 (staying at the Rome airport Hilton since it's so convenient to the airport), meals for an extra day, and the flight itself is $80 more pp to leave the next a.m. (even though it's the same exact flight, only leaving on a Saturday instead of a Friday).

Globaliser
November 7th, 2004, 11:23 AM
Well, there you have it. There is no one right answer. There almost never is even when there is no doubt about the financial stability of the airlines involved, but this is just one more factor to throw in. Everything is a question of mixing all the factors together and deciding what's best for you.

For example, in your shoes I would personally junk the idea of flying non-stop, partly because of the timing problems and partly because I have some specific reasons for picking one of the airlines which requires a connection.

One thing you might look at is asking the cruise line to organise your air travel. While that may involve a connection or a charter flight, it may not - and one thing is pretty much guaranteed namely that you won't miss the flight back to the US at the end of the cruise.

jerseygirl3
November 7th, 2004, 02:40 PM
There are several reasons for selecting the flight I am probably going to book. One, I don't like to fly. The fewer take-offs and landings involved, the better. Therefore, a non-stop is a huge plus. Secondly, we can depart from Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey, rather than going to New York City. That's another huge plus, as we live in south Jersey and it's much more convenient to leave out of Newark. The only other airline that has decent airfares that are non-stop (but we'd have to go to JFK in New York) is Alitalia, and as others have mentioned, their financial solvency is in question. I don't think Continental is having any financial difficulties.

I think I'll just bite the bullet and go with the Continental flight. I still think $684 pp RT is a good price.

jerseygirl3
November 7th, 2004, 02:41 PM
Oh, and as far as letting the cruiseline book my flights, they want $1,064 pp. It's still much less expensive to stay an extra day and get to select the flights I want by booking on my own.

shoshona2
November 10th, 2004, 09:55 PM
Hi Jerseygirl,

I'm a Jerseygirl myself -- born in Newark a long time ago -- but a Californian for over 40 years! I'm glad you are going for Continental airlines -- it is a lot closer for you than JFK. Have a great vacation.