Alitalia continues to operate … for now.Back to Forum
Thank you both for your advice – appreciated. I haven’t used a OLTA before and only considering as the fare is £350 less than booking direct. The agent is ATOL protected and I will of course use a credit card so should be safe enough. I think my main concern is AZ going down and then having to re-book last minute at much higher price.
Any thoughts on AZ long haul product?
Just to add one important caveat, just because an agent / operator holds an ATOL licence doesn’t mean that everything they do / sell is financially protected, ie some operators provide ATOL cover for holiday packages but not flight only. You should always clarify such matters with them before booking (preferably in writing) and then, if they confirm that you are ATOL protected, make sure that they issue you with an ATOL certificate.
1 user thanked author for this post.17 Jun 2019
AZ will never ‘go down’! They have been more or less bankrupt for more than 30 years but will for Italy’s national pride always be kept alive by the Italian Govt.
They are based in Rome, most of their employees especially cabin/cockpit crew are from Rome, and their unions wield enormous power with the politicians and the Govt also in Rome. The present day AZ is not even the old AZ of yesteryear, it was the old ‘AirOne’ airline regurgitated and renamed again as Alitalia. The major shareholders in AZ regularly change, but they remain on the whole, state enterprises, such as the purported present day take-over by FS (Ferrovia del Stato) the national railway company. So don’t worry about them going under. Italy ignores EU rules consistently and will bail out their beloved national icon over and over again, as they will never make money. and I believe never have!
As for their cabin product…. Y is awful and J is a bit ‘hit and miss’ dependent on how surly the cabin crew are. If its male, its usually much better as men make good hosts/waiters in Italy, if its female its usually awful as Italian women generally do not have the mentality i.e. an attitude of servility, and more likely have a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. They know that they will never be fired/sacked, regardless of whether they smile or not!18 Jun 2019
If you book a flight only with a travel agency (regardless of whether they have an ATOL licence) you will not be covered by ATOL and that won’t offer any financial protection. For it to be ATOL protected you need to add a ground arrangement (at least 1 night hotel / car hire) for it to be ATOL protected and it must be issued as a Leisure Trip (if booking via a Business Account it would fall outside ATOL regulations).
Watch out if using an Online Agent as they often have “linked” arrangements where one website sends you to another and though they should then have an ATOL certificate – in most cases OTA’s have failed to do this correctly.
Anyway everything we sell is 100% financially covered. Not many agencies offer that in UK but something we have always done. Just be careful when researching this as many claim to do this but then have the dreaded * with some things excluded.18 Jun 2019
Last year my son wanted to go to Seoul. Being then on a ‘student’ budget he wanted the cheapest ticket possible, which worried me, so I told him I’d pay the difference between what he could find and a better alternative.
As it happened, AZ was almost the cheapest so he opted for that. He said the EU flights were awful, ROM transit was better than expected, and the long-haul segments were very good in a clean new aircraft with good food and service. Obviously that was in Y.
Many years ago I used to travel a lot on AZ between ZA, Kenya, and Europe (free tickets). The food was always good, it was never a particularly bad experience, and sometimes being upgraded to F class, I generally have reasonable memories of them. I was a lot less discriminating in those days, and they were never full.18 Jun 2019