I have been traveling all around the world for years and have been on hundreds of planes by now, in fact more than 6 months of the year I spend traveling and on planes. Clearly in the world of travels nothing is ever perfect and a million things can go wrong. I’ve had my share fair of bad experiences with airlines. When you travel as much as I do, something is bound to go wrong at some point. I’ve had bad food experiences on planes, seat issues, baggage issues, but nothing like what I had to experience on my recent flight with Alitalia airline.
Alitalia airline is by far the worst airline I have experienced in all my years of traveling, everything was terrible, except for the flight attendants.
Oddly enough, I was already pre-warned by my little sister, who flew with them in the past and called me from the airport left in tears from her bad experiences with them and said to never fly with them. But in the world of travels, between booking a last minute ticket and trying to get the best/cheapest deal, you can’t get too picky.
My original flight left Los Angeles to Israel with Air-France and my return ticket was with Alitalia from Israel back to Los Angeles.
I remembered what my sister had said to me, but I believe in trying things on my own and getting my own opinion, which clearly backfired on me.
My flight was set to leave Ben Gurion Airport at 5:55am on September 14, 2015.
I got to the airport 2 and a half hours ahead of time, so that I can have some time to grab some food before my flight. When I got to the check-in line, I saw 4 lines, 2 for regular check-in, 1 for online check-in and another for business/first class. Every line was crowded, just like it normally would have been. There was less than 20 people in each line waiting, except for the business class line. The first problem was that none of these lines were moving, not even a little bit. It was worse than being stuck in a traffic jam, it was just not moving at all.
Knowing the way international airlines work, the plane normally starts boarding an hour before the flight takes off. So I knew I had some time, but NO, I didn’t! It took 2hrs for me to actually check into the front desk and get my boarding pass! 2 HOURS! I kid you not! Also take into consideration that almost all of these people weren’t traveling alone and all the lines were exactly the same thing, so it should have been faster. This was already a bad sign of a lack in good customer service.
I ran through the airport to make sure I didn’t miss my flight, which then came problem #2. When I got to the gate, we had to take a shuttle to the actual plane. The problem was, the employees at the check-in desk double booked seats for almost half the passengers on the flight, which now meant they had to reissue new tickets to almost all the passengers. Luckily for me, I wasn’t one of them and thank God!
So as you can imagine we left late.
When I got to my seat, I was shocked at how small the seats were, they were a gray leather and someone decided to be artistic and take a marker and draw all over the back part of the seat, very dramatically! Wish I had a photo to show you guys, but it was bad and besides that both of the planes were very dirty, outdated and super old.
Later on as we were up in the air and I had already fallen asleep, I woke up to a lady who sat behind me in the middle seat screaming at the top of her lungs because the man behind her kept pushing her chair forward aggressively as she was trying to recline her seat. It got really serious and the entire plane started freaking out and started filming the fight on their iphones because they almost got into a physical fight, all because he didn’t have enough room. Of course, the flight attendant solved the problem by moving the man and his wife to a different seat, but it got really intense for a few moments.
This of course was all fine and some what “normal”, until we landed in Rome and boarded the flight to Los Angeles.
I originally asked for a window seat on both of my flights and was assigned to sit at 42A. When I got to my seat, I was completely disgusted! There was what seemed to be chocolate or poop smeared ALL OVER MY SEAT! Like are you people kidding me?! How do you expect a person to sit on that for the next 14hrs!? I’m not sure why the cleaning crew or the flight attendant didn’t see it, but this was just too much. Again, I wish I had a photo of it, but I was too shocked to even think of taking a photo of that.
The flight attendant quickly apologized and called to get me a new bottom cushion. It took about 15-20mins and a man came on board and replaced it. I thought all was well, until I actually sat in my seat and noticed what looked like a desktop computer or a big metal box between my legs! This was ridiculous! I seriously had no place to put my left leg and half of my right leg. I have knee problems on my left leg and need to stretch my leg out on long haul flights, otherwise I will have pain on that leg for a few days.
Regardless, I have honestly never seen anything like that before and really hope to never seen anything like that again because it was terrible and clearly not comfortable. I later found out that many seats had these metal boxes where your legs are suppose to go, which I find to be so ridiculous! Someone at the front desk should let you know, before seating you there. I think we all pay enough money to have a decent traveling experience.
Then it came time to check out my TV, which again, I have never ever seen an older TV system and I’ve been traveling since I was a kid internationally. It was a small TV and the format of it looked like an old 90’s video game, with faded colors, even the font style was so outdated. At first I was scared that it wouldn’t even be able to play actual movies, but it did.
The movie menu was so small that you barely can see a poster/picture of the actual movie and there was no trailers, like in most planes. There was probably 3 new movies and the rest were really old or in Italian. Even when you played the movies, the quality was so bad and kept freezing that you didn’t want to see a movie anymore. Plus, 2 of the TV’s in the hallways were in black and white.
You can clearly tell that the plane was super old.
When the food finally came, I was in disbelieve as to how gross the food was. I know, I know, this is airline food, not a 5-star restaurant, but still it was really bad.
I’m a vegetarian and always get the veggie meal, but one of my meals were so gross, it was this yellowish green thing, that smelled so bad and I had no idea what it was, it almost looked like meat to be honest. I made friends with the 2 guys that sat next to me and they were all shocked and grossed out from my meal and no one could figure out what it was. So I asked the flight attendant which said it was mushrooms. I have never seen greenish yellow mushrooms and the smell of it was killing me, it was the first time in my history of flying where I returned my meal untouched and didn’t eat anything, but the small snacks they passed out in the beginning of the flight. Again, this wasn’t just me, the 2 guys next to me were also pretty grossed out from their normal meal and didn’t eat either.
For the first time in my traveling life, I seriously thought I was gonna lose my mind on the never ending plane ride from hell! I couldn’t fall asleep because there was a piece of metal sticking out from my chair. I tried fixing the cushion and put a pillow there and later my 2 new friends gave me their pillows to put there, but nothing was helping. I was starting to get bad thriving pain both on my knee and now my lower back.
Every time I looked at the time, I felt like time was only going by slower and slower! I was getting sooo antsy and frustrated and couldn’t wait to get off this plane already!
Normally I sit in my seat the entire flight, I fall asleep, watch movies, work and edit videos. I’ve never had problems sleeping on planes or problems sitting in my seat the whole time, but this time things were REALLY different. For the first time, I decided that standing up in the back of the plane was the only way I could be comfortable and hey, I wasn’t the only one. I met 3 other people with the same problems from Italy and Colombia and we all just kinda hung out, laughed, talked travels and life and nicely enough we met a nice flight attendant, who was nice enough to give us a bottle of red wine and some more snacks. Those little snacks were my breakfast, lunch and dinner for that 24hrs.
He shared with me that he has worked for the company for over 20 years and that it was filing for bankruptcy and then Etihad airline bought the company. He also mentioned that all their benefits as a flight attendants keep getting worse as the years go by. This was not surprising to me at all to be honest.
A few more people ended up joining us at the back of the plane and thank God for these people, 3 more hours went by and then it was back to the seat from hell, until we finalllly landed in LAX!
I seriously couldn’t wait to run as fast as I could away from this plane, but of course their was more problems. Due to the fact that this flight also left late, we arrived an hour late and then it took another 45mins to get us off the plane because another plane was using our spot to board.
For 3 days straight after that flight, I was suffering with terrible lower back pain and I seriously don’t wish that kind of a flight experience on anyone! Where the food is beyond gross, the hygiene on the plane is terrible, where you can’t sit comfortable in your seat cause there is a huge box between your legs or a piece of metal poking you in the back or a flight that makes you 2hrs late to your destination. Just all around terrible! The only good thing I have to say about this airline is that the flight attendants were great and to be honest I feel bad for them.
Funny enough, one of my best friends flew the same flight as me 2 days before and had the SAME EXACT experience! and also thinks its the worst airline she has ever been on and she travels a lot too. In fact, if you google Alitalia review they have 1-star on many websites.
I honestly think that Alitalia airline needs a MAJOR makeover because this is beyond unacceptable! and if you ever have the chance to fly with them, do yourself a favor and just DON’T, you will highly regret it.