28 September 2009

Not a Flight of Fancy, but a Flight of Discontent

Is it worth it that the Italian government negotiated with private entrepreneurs to succumb to the entitled moaning of Alitalia staff to save the airline from inevitable bankruptcy?

The one plus hour flight into Milan Linate this July was as if I were walking down the spiral stairs in Purgatory, but my experience wasn’t as poetic.

The flight attendants, one a disheveled brunette who looked like she just awoke, barely greeted us as we came aboard, almost missed my hand when passing me my cup of water, and threw down packets of biscotti on my trade table as well as those of my row mates. The attendants simply didn’t want to be on this flight. In addition, the trade table was dirty, replete of biscotti crumbs from the last passenger, not to mention the head rest that smelled.

The most amusing part of the flight was when the pilot in his thick Italian accent thanked us for our cooperation as we were delayed at the gate. However, he instead said, “thank you for your creation.”

Alitalia Airlines’s corporate brand webpage declares: "Our commitment is to provide top quality ground services and onboard services so that every travel experience has that distinctive touch of Italian style."

I appreciate the complexities that airline businesses are faced with. But I also recognize that training and personnel come first, maybe even before mission statements are posted for the public...and investors.

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