Kurt Piemonte is annoyed when Expedia calls to tell him that his upcoming Airberlin flight to Barcelona has been canceled. He requests the next available flight and is stunned to find that there aren’t any — ever again. And a new shock soon follows: A refund will not be forthcoming. Airberlin is out of business. “Airberlin is out of business. How can I get a refund?”
Chantal Legge is supposed to fly to Toronto on an Alitalia flight from Rome, but the flight is canceled, and Alitalia rebooks her for the next day. But the new flight is overbooked. Legge ends up flying through Boston to get to Toronto. Alitalila promises compensation, but doesn’t deliver. Can we help Legge get what she is due? “Will this traveler ever see her Alitalia compensation?”
Duncan Fox saw a glimmer of hope when Mexicana Airlines recently announced it would return to the skies. Back in 2010, he’d booked a flight from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but shortly before his trip, Mexicana filed for bankruptcy protection and then folded.
“When dead airlines rise, where’s my refund?”
Noah Markewich’s lost-luggage case had “lost cause” written all over it when he contacted me last week.
Why? It involved Alitalia, the historically troubled Italian airline.
It was more than three years old. Old cases are almost always unsolvable.
And it involved misplaced baggage, which is a problematic complaint category.
Still, Markewich epic, four-page, single-spaced letter is such a stunning documentation of an airline’s awful customer service, that I wish I could publish it in its entirety. It describes how Alitalia ruined his Italian vacation by losing his luggage — and when I say “ruin” it may be something of an understatement.
“Three years later, Alitalia still owes me $528 for my lost baggage and ruined Italian vacation”
It’s no secret that the airline industry has seen better days. But how bad is it this time?
Not as bad as the mainstream media would like us to believe, according to airline analyst Robert Herbst, who publishes the Web site Airlinefinancials.com. And not so good that we shouldn’t be cautious with future bookings, he adds.
In the above chart, you’ll see a few first-quarter numbers for the major airlines as they compare to pre-bankruptcy. None of the airlines are in serious danger of coming close to the dreaded red bar.
“US Airways, United are closest to the bankruptcy cliff”