✅ Trip Verified
| Catania to Tel Aviv via Rome. I booked a flight a few months in advance, with a 12 hour stopover in Rome on my way back from Catania to Tel-Aviv. On the day before my return flight, while attempting to check in online, I found out that Alitalia has changed the time of my CTA-FCO flight from the morning to the evening, thus reducing my layover in Rome to two hours. They did this a few days before the flight, without alerting me to the fact that they're changing my itinerary (my understanding is that an Airline is not allowed to change the itinerary within 14 days from the flight, and that they must notify the passenger). Since I had plans in Rome, I contacted Alitalia by phone. From here on my experience was truly unbelievable. The first representative I spoke to, told me that my original flight was canceled, and there's nothing she can do. But I had reasons to suspect that the flight was not canceled (it was possible to purchase tickets for the flight online). Since she refused to acknowledge this, I asked whether I could be placed on some other morning flight. The representative responded that she can't find any available flight. Then she told me that there is a regional problem and all morning flights from Catania are canceled - which, as I found out after the call ended, had no connection with reality. I called again, after verifying online that it's possible to book my original itinerary on the Alitalia web site. I also spoke with several colleagues who attended the same conference as me, and none of them were notified of any flight cancellations. The same representative got my call. She told me now that she simply cannot offer me my original itinerary, even though the flight was not canceled, and that the airline has the right to do this (which is incorrect). She offered me some other choices which were completely irrelevant to me, and explained to me that I must accept one of these offers. I asked to speak with a supervisor but she refused to let me do this (claiming that all supervisors are away, or in a meeting, depending on the time I asked). She also kept demanding that I check availability online once more, but as I was traveling I wasn't able to talk on the phone and access the web at the same (this, she said, was 'my problem'). After 45 minutes of futile attempts to get this representative to help me, I ended the call and called again. This time I reached another representative. This one started by repeating the incorrect claim that my original flight was canceled. But I confronted her with the fact that the flight was being sold on the Alitalia web site. She then acknowledged that the flight was not canceled, but claimed that she cannot put me on my original itinerary anyway. I insisted. After a lengthy discussion she asked that I wait (probably seeking assistance from a more senior team member), and finally placed me on the itinerary that I booked. I wasted overall an hour and a half on this, and missed several talks in the conference that I attended. By the way: there were a number of empty seats on the flight, so there was absolutely no logical incentive for refusing to put me on it. The whole experience felt like pure harassment. Seems like Alitalia representatives are simply trained to do as little as possible to assist passengers. This is either a policy of the airline, or perhaps the representative are super lazy and incompetent, and nobody in this airline cares.