Alitalia Strands Passenger In Iran

John writes:

Alitalia Airlines
Customer Relations
350 Fifth Avenue
Suite 3700
New York, NY 10118

To Whom It May Concern:

On October 21, 2007 I attempted to check in on time for an Alitalia flight from Tehran, Iran to Milan, Italy for which I was ticketed and had confirmed my reservation the day previous. The check-in agent informed me there was a problem with my ticket and that I would not be allowed to travel. I found this horrifying, as my Iranian visa was expiring and any delay could cause serious problems with Iranian immigration and could bar me from leaving the country.

Through no fault of my own, your mistake forced me to purchase a full-fare ticket on the spot for US$830 to board the flight and leave Iran while my visa was still in effect. In my fax and the attached copy I explain the details of this and attach a handwritten letter from the check-in agent describing the problem. I, in effect, was caused by your mistake to purchase the same seat twice, and for the inflated walk-up fare.

Your airline’s actions on October 21 nearly left me stranded in a hostile country with no United States embassy to turn to for help. Had I been unable to purchase that second ticket for US$830, I might still be helpless in Iran struggling to deal with an expired visa at the mercy of government officials. This is a nearly unforgivable way to treat guests on your airline.

On October 25, 2007 I spoke with Teresa in your New York customer service office. She informed my that my initial fax to that office had been lost and advised me to send the correspondence to her personal attention. Upon retransmittal of that fax, Teresa told me any refund from Alitalia would take 100 days and that the refund would likely be only for the less expensive unused ticket for which I was denied travel. The US$830 ticket I was forced to purchase because of Alitalia’s mistake would probably not be refunded, Teresa told me.

I hope you understand why this outcome is unacceptable. Your mistake forced me to purchase a second ticket for US$830 on a flight I had already paid for, was ticketed for and for which I held a confirmed reservation. The only acceptable action on the part of your company is to refund to me, in the form of check or credit card return, the US$830 cost of the ticket I was unnecessarily forced to purchase in Tehran.

Further, the projected delay of 100 days to resolve this matter is unnecessary, insulting and ridiculous. I am shocked and angered by your company’s mistake and its response to this situation thus far. As such I find it necessary immediately to involve other parties in its resolution.

I have forwarded copies of this correspondence to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Division of Consumer Protection, as well as to the investigative reporting unit at WBAL Television in Baltimore.

I hope you will review the enclosed materials immediately and move expeditiously to bring this matter to its only fair resolution: a refund to me, in the form of check or credit card return, the US$830 I was forced by your mistake to spend on a second ticket from Tehran to Iran on October 21, 2007.

Please contact me at any time to discuss this matter further, by telephone at [redacted] or by email at [redacted]



Know what it’s called when you tell people you’re going to give them something in exchange for their money, and then you don’t? Stealing. It is called stealing.

Why wait 100 days for them to maybe feel like not being criminals? Let’s say it all together now….charrrrrgggeeebackkkkk. Call up your credit card company and tell them your story and get your money back. That’ll get Alitalia’s attention better than any letter sent to a fax machine that feeds directly into the waste bin.