Inquiry on Alitalia's current situation

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Mar 16, 2018
3
0
1
36
#1
Alitalia is currently offering very cheap prices for flights between Europe and Asia over the coming months, including July and August. However the current situation of the company, which after a very difficult 2017 is now the object of the attentions not only of several potential buyers (Air France, Lufthansa, EasyJet among them) but also of political debates in the wake of the recent Italian elections, makes me hesitate more than a little bit to entrust them with my summer holiday flights and I would love to get some external opinion.

Do you think there is a significant risk that tickets bought with Alitalia may become unusable - for example due to all bids falling out and the company entering into bankruptcy again, or because of continuous strikes, or whatever? Are there other historical examples of an airline continuing, like Alitalia, to trod along for years in spite of continuous difficulties ?

Thanks for any input !
 
Jan 6, 2015
2,002
1,960
113
#2
From what I read, they have been "on life support" for some length of time. So the risk for you would be if they stop flying again, can you accept losing your $$$ investment as well as the cost of replacement fares, perhaps even at "walk-up" prices? You might even be faced with this while in Asia.

Personally, I would label this as "high risk" and would not "take the bait" ...
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,150
6,254
113
San Francisco
#3
A solid NO from me, Ant. I bailed on an Alitalia tix London-Rome 7 years ago! I decided it was worth the $250 loss to avoid having to pay $1500 on a walkup fare. If your credit card has any travel insurance, that might be the way to go ... or check out purchasing a policy from a travel insurance company.

Have you posted on FlyerTalk? You might get some good observations/opinions from them.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
They have been in bankruptcy for over a year and there has been no mention of anyone definitely wanting to purchase them. We won’t book them but it’s up to you as to whether you want to go forward.

If you buy tickets and they should go under before your trip- you will hold worthless tickets and have to buy new tickets on another airline, probably for much more than what you paid if it’s last minute.

If you decide to go forward and decide to buy travel insurance, call any company you are considering and find out if they would cover Alitalia bankruptcy. Once a supplier is in bankruptcy many insurers put them on a do not sell list and the insurance might not cover bankruptcy. If the insurance does cover bankruptcy, it will usually only repay you for what you paid for the tickets- not cover any price difference between what your new tickets will cost
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,500
2,709
113
47
#5
What complicates matters is the result of the March election — new parties made strong showings — but no one really knows what the agenda will be. No one party won a ruling majority so it will be a coalition government — which may mean back room promises. And no one but the politicians know what promises they will make to each other. So this as you mentioned is a massive unknown.

As Neil pointed out many travel insurance companies will not cover the purchase of a ticket when a travel company is already in bankruptcy.

The concern is that an airline is hitting cash flow problems now — and to get money in now will sell inexpensive tickets just to generate revenue — and not worry about what will happen later — they are trying to stop the immediate loss and not able to think long term.

What is the risk tolerance? If it is an important trip I would not take the risk. If the flight is cancelled because there is no more Alitalia what would be the losses?
 
Mar 16, 2018
3
0
1
36
#7
Everyone - thank you very much for your valuable input. The consensus here definitely goes against booking Alitalia, the risk being in everyone's eyes just not worth taking.
As Christina pointed out, their policy is certainly to generate immediate revenue whatever the means without thinking long-term, which definitely makes you think twice... I note as well that Neil's company does not book them anymore. I'll also take a look at FlyerTalk as suggested by jsn.

Thanks again !
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
I’m glad you came and asked first. We have others asking after they buy- in those cases they can just hope for the best.

You might also look into travel insurance but need to call and make sure any company you consider doesn’t have Alitalia on their do not sell list and won’t cover them.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,150
6,254
113
San Francisco
#9
I’m glad you came and asked first. We have others asking after they buy- in those cases they can just hope for the best.

You might also look into travel insurance but need to call and make sure any company you consider doesn’t have Alitalia on their do not sell list and won’t cover them.
Neil, I'm curious about travel insurance reimbursement. I think I've read that TI would reimburse you for the tix you originally purchased that are invalid for some reason. But if you purchase a new tix to start or continue your trip, that amount is not reimbursed. For example, my $450 tix for a cancelled flight would be reimbursed, but the $1800 tix I have to purchase at the last minute to replace it would not be covered by TI. Can you straighten me out?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Neil, I'm curious about travel insurance reimbursement. I think I've read that TI would reimburse you for the tix you originally purchased that are invalid for some reason. But if you purchase a new tix to start or continue your trip, that amount is not reimbursed. For example, my $450 tix for a cancelled flight would be reimbursed, but the $1800 tix I have to purchase at the last minute to replace it would not be covered by TI. Can you straighten me out?
The is correct-the insurance would reimburse the original tickets, not the new ones that would need to be purchased at the higher cost.

One option is to buy refundable tickets on another airline now that could be canceled at the last minutes for a refund if Alitalia is running when she travels.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,150
6,254
113
San Francisco
#11
The is correct-the insurance would reimburse the original tickets, not the new ones that would need to be purchased at the higher cost.

One option is to buy refundable tickets on another airline now that could be canceled at the last minutes for a refund if Alitalia is running when she travels.
So you'd just include the value of the ref tix in your insurance coverage? Would travel insurance cover both tix on the same trip?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
So you'd just include the value of the ref tix in your insurance coverage? Would travel insurance cover both tix on the same trip?
No you can’t do that. There is no insurance that covers this- you are on your own for the cost of the new ticket. You can’t insure a cost of a future ticket because you aren’t insuring a future ticket- you are insuring this ticket.

All the insurance will cover is the flight you insured.

This is why we suggest staying away from Alitalia - you want to avoid the scenario especially since they are already on the list of many insurance suppliers that wouldn’t cover them anymore.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jul 27, 2016
785
972
93
#13
This sounds like the exact situation for which something like Freebird (getfreebird.com) would be great, but they only cover US carriers.

Looking at squaremouth, most policies do seem to cover financial default, and the way it's defined in the first policy I looked at (Tin Leg), it should cover a situation where Alitalia stops operating, so long as it takes place at least 14 days after you buy the insurance. Of course, as others have noted, this only helps you get your money back, it doesn't help you with "it's three days before departure, and tickets are now 3x as expensive as they were when you booked."

1521639214238.png
https://d120fd3cr6hk64.cloudfront.net/documentation/items/7413/original/GA.pdf?1515614982
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
This sounds like the exact situation for which something like Freebird (getfreebird.com) would be great, but they only cover US carriers.

Looking at squaremouth, most policies do seem to cover financial default, and the way it's defined in the first policy I looked at (Tin Leg), it should cover a situation where Alitalia stops operating, so long as it takes place at least 14 days after you buy the insurance. Of course, as others have noted, this only helps you get your money back, it doesn't help you with "it's three days before departure, and tickets are now 3x as expensive as they were when you booked."

View attachment 1714
https://d120fd3cr6hk64.cloudfront.net/documentation/items/7413/original/GA.pdf?1515614982
Most policies have a black list of Suppliers they already have on a do not cover basis so any insurance company you consider- call before and make sure Alitalia isn’t already on their “will not cover” list.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jul 27, 2016
785
972
93
#15
Most policies have a black list of Suppliers they already have on a do not cover basis so any insurance company you consider- call before and make sure Alitalia isn’t already on their “will not cover” list.
Interesting - I looked through the one I linked, and don't see any such blacklist, and I'd think it would have to be included in the detailed policy, wouldn't it?
 
Sep 19, 2015
1,500
2,709
113
47
#16
This sounds like the exact situation for which something like Freebird (getfreebird.com) would be great, but they only cover US carriers.

Looking at squaremouth, most policies do seem to cover financial default, and the way it's defined in the first policy I looked at (Tin Leg), it should cover a situation where Alitalia stops operating, so long as it takes place at least 14 days after you buy the insurance. Of course, as others have noted, this only helps you get your money back, it doesn't help you with "it's three days before departure, and tickets are now 3x as expensive as they were when you booked."

View attachment 1714
https://d120fd3cr6hk64.cloudfront.net/documentation/items/7413/original/GA.pdf?1515614982
The problem is that most of these policies have a 14 day wait — as in the operator has filed bankruptcy 14 days after the insurance was purchased. Alitalia is already in bankruptcy so this
Is what Neil is referring to — here is one policy where the default and filing date of bankruptcy is mentioned
 

Attachments

Likes: VoR61
Jul 27, 2016
785
972
93
#17
The problem is that most of these policies have a 14 day wait — as in the operator has filed bankruptcy 14 days after the insurance was purchased. Alitalia is already in bankruptcy so this
Is what Neil is referring to — here is one policy where the default and filing date of bankruptcy is mentioned
I saw this in the policy I was looking at, and it's certainly not clear from the description of "financial default" that it would apply in this case. It refers to the cessation of operations due to insolvency, not the actual bankruptcy filing itself. Unless the airline actually shuts down (or cancels your particular flight due to a bankruptcy-related reduction in service) during that 14 day window, I read that as saying that the policy covers you, even if they filed for bankruptcy prior to your buying the policy. As I read it, it's designed to prevent a scenario where someone buys a ticket, then later reads "airline XYZ has gone bankrupt, and will cancel all flights from tomorrow onward," and then rushes to buy travel insurance.
 
Jan 6, 2015
2,002
1,960
113
#18
I found this to be helpful:


It describes the difference between default and bankruptcy to be:
In the case of bankruptcy, the company has entered into a legal process with the goal of resolving its financial difficulties and it may not stop providing services. In financial default, the company ceases to provide any services and stops all operations with no hope of repairing the financial damage. Financial default coverage reimburses in-full only if you are unable to make alternate arrangements to continue with your travel plans. If you’re able to book another flight, for example, your benefits would then be adjusted according to the specific terms of your policy.

In the attachment that Christina H posted it references "or default", which to me means that it covers the scenario where Alitalia drops a flight or flights without filing for bankruptcy "if you are unable to make alternate arrangements to continue with your travel plans".
 
Mar 16, 2018
3
0
1
36
#19
Hey everyone - thought I'd get back on the topic of Alitalia's future in the wake of a recent development: Alitalia and the Japanese airline ANA signed on March 23 a commercial partnership in which they agree to implement codeshare flights between Italia and Japan from October 2018.

This is significant news; ANA, a Star Alliance member, appears to be a very reliable partner, unlikely to start crazy ventures, and this agreement suggests a certain degree of trust in Alitalia's mid-term stability on their part... It makes me wonder.

Does it make any difference in your eyes? What do you think? Thanks for any input!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,372
11,857
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
Unless someone outright purchases Alitalia - this doesn't make a difference in my eyes. The Italian government is refusing to bail them out again - unless ANA buys them outright - I am not sure what good the codeshare is going to do. Thats just my opinion, I am not and airline expert.