Reply To: Alitalia

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Apart from the maxim that passengers need to be aware of their documetary requirements, nearly every passenger with an Iranian passport, or related to someone with an Iranian passport or of Iranian birth, after 35 years of sanctions and srtict visa requirements, is hyper sensitive about visa requirements. A popular expression in Persian states that while most languages have three tenses, Persian has four: Past, Present, Future and Before the Revolution. So the realities of post Revolutionary Iran form an every day part of life, maybe even form an obsession — and post Revolutionary social changes and internatioanlly dictated restrictions on travel are part of this national obsession. Even if not Iranian, the passenger clearly does not hold a US or EU passport, or a passport from a country whose nationals do not rerquire visas for EU’s Schengen area; as such it is reasonable to expect that the passenger should have been apprised of visa requirements of their passport . Also, travelling to Tehran, which is as safe and routine as one can get, but which nonetheless has is ruled by a regime with particular regulations — covered daily in the world news and press since the fall of the modernising monarchy in 1979 — should have given the passenger cause for special thought about travel details. Finally, I assume the AZ ticket routed via FCO on the way from the US to Tehran. What happened to this visa requirement? Did the check in agent in the US miss the requirement? This is highly unlikely as the computer’s check in system brings up a an automated message to check visas based on the passport / nationality inputted at check in. My experience has been that no matter how bad the service of a major European or North Amercian airline can be, nearly never do they act unreasonably in the face of clear regulation when these are brought to their attention. The review should focus on the fact that AZ uses short haul A320 planes, and dubious service and catering, on the FCO-IKA sector but charges long haul fares, including in business class which has 6 across 31″ pitch economy seat with the middle seat unoccupied and which provides what is probably the worst flying experience of any airline flying in and out of Tehran. Even this falls under caveat emptor – when paying thousands in Euros and buying this AZ business class ticket, one cannot expect the website to state “beware, we charge full business fare but give you an economy seat, indifferent service, minumum number of cabin crew, dated and window less lounges and small portions of cold and bad food”. This is why we have a concept called “branding”….

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