We have took an Alitalia flight from Bucharest to Firenze (Florence). There were two segments, both operated by Alitalia. To make the story short: connection flight from Rome to Firenze was just an illusion, staff was unfriendly and poorly qualified, travel took much longer than expected, I had the strange feeling that I was treated like all the customers during communism. My advice would be to avoid Alitalia, but if you look for details, read the full story.
Our flight was scheduled for 6.35 a.m. Bucharest-Rome was OK, except for the fact that one of us was not able to check-in online. They said that it was “web problem”.
We were waiting for the connection flight, at the gate indicated on all airport boards, but on the gate’s pone. Some 30 minutes to the announced departure time, they changed the departure gate on the main board. To the new departure gate there was no personnel. Suddenly, without other announcement, a cancelation message appeared on the gate board. On the airport main screens nothing changed, the flight to Firenze was still announced for 9:50.
After a long waiting in lane, at the transit/transfer desk, we found out that the flight was cancelled, but there is bus which will take us to Firenze. The flight was suppose to take 60 minutes (probably 20-25 of effective flight). The information about the ground travel was contradictory. They said 2 hours, 2 hours and half, maybe 3.
They said, at the transit desk, that we have to go out, than to enter the departures’ hall, to go to a certain check-in counter and to go to the bus. We have specifically asked if the luggage were already transferred. They answered positively.
After a new queuing at the respective counter, which ironically continued to display the same 9:50 for both planned and expected departure time, we discovered that it is our duty to get the luggage. So, we re-entered the airport (it was quite easy, which gave me the impression that this happens quite frequently), passed once again the security check, went to one of those belts for baggage claim, took out our luggage, run once again out the security area, entered the departures’ hall, queue the counter, and get a receipt for the bus. Then, an Alitalia employee led us to the bus. We were around 40 people, mostly Americans. Of course, we had to carry our luggage, some 900 meter.
The bus left around 11:10 (initially we were suppose to land in Firenze at 10:50). Now we enjoy the Italian highway. There was no time to buy water, so I wonder if there is any stop planned on the way. It will be welcome, in order to make a break in smelling burned gases from the (rather old) bus’ engine. We alos found out that we will get to the Firenze airport, not to the city.
Maybe nothing of these would seem strange if the personnel would have been more friendly (for instance, when first time at the counter we have re-asked about the luggage, and the answer was simple, but meaningful: “ask my colleague!”), and if I wouldn’t had the feeling that this is not happening for the first time, and that actually they never had the intention to operate a flight to Firenze (there were three different Alitalia employees that mentioned, independently, something about a second bus which supposed to leave later. Why having a second bus if they probably had flights scheduled???).
I wonder what will happen during the return flight… ;)
Later update: the bus took 4 hours to get to Firenze. When there, it crossed the city to get to the airport. There no stop during the entire trip… (it is true that we were supposed to get to the airport, but this was also supposed to happen some 4 hours ago). I can not stop thinking that if, when landing inn Rome, we had have headed to the railway, we would have arrived in Firenze some 6 hours earlier! Why we haven’t choose this from the beginning? It was simply because Alitalia offered this deal: the same flight cost no matter where in Italy…
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