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FCO, anyone?? I'm venting -- apologies in advance

GailS

100+ Posts
The end of my story: this morning I find our bags on our front porch. The last notification from Air France was Monday saying they had located the bags. Checking their online tracking portal, I could see that yesterday it had been updated to say the bags were in Boston. Not sure when they arrived (I'm guessing overnight since we didn't see them late yesterday and nobody rang the bell) but I'm happy they are here and I didn't need to go to the airport to pick them up.

Already planning our next trip for late Sept or Oct and I'm only considering routes with no connection in Europe (at least on the way over).

Just noticed that the lock on one bag is gone and it had definitely been opened. Not sure yet if anything is missing.
 
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italian excursion

100+ Posts
Sorry for your troubles, Alpinista! Well, I flew Delta in May. They were a mess, canceled a flight on my way home and then a 5 hour delay in Salt Lake, of all places. They are having staffing issues like all the US airlines, I guess. I still maintain that the European airlines do a better job but I suppose it's just a crap shoot these days. If I've relaxed and well rested I don't get too bothered. Just have a few good reads with me to keep distracted from the aggravation. Yes, summer seems a very difficult travel time. It hasn't been so bad in October or May of last year. Fingers crossed.....
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
The travel gods punished us. After a really good set of flights in August on Icelandair (to/from Reykjavik), noticed that we no longer had seat assignments for our trip to Italy with United (jumping to end of story, we’re in Italy as I type, however). Had made the current reservations on April 2. Had seat assignments on April 2 (and seem to recall that very few seats were taken at that time). On September 17, after multiple calls to United, still had no seat assignments, but lots of calming reassurances. Right. Got bumped out of business, but the steward brought me a pair of slippers and a bottle of water and a heartfelt apology once under way — my wife, who was sitting beside me and also bumped, got neither slippers, water, or apology :)

United made the mistake of sending her a “How did we do? email today. 20 minutes of angry typing later, she had told them.

As always, thanks for the venting platform.

Made our jet lag recovery stop at Bagno Vignoni yesterday night and now at her home in Tuscany, so life is still always good.
 

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Mom83

100+ Posts
Oh, no…I am so disappointed to read about your recent experience, Alpinista. Especially as we are to fly United from Dulles to FCO 2 weeks from this Wednesday.
We booked these tickets Easter weekend…shortly after you booked yours.
I just checked our reservations and it looks like we still have our business class seats, but who knows what will happen between now and then!
- Were you given actual notification of your seat change or did you just happen to see it when you went to check in?
- Were you then given seats in Premium Economy or just plain regular economy?
- Were you reimbursed the fare difference?
This really makes me mad…I wonder why you guys were bumped? Someone with higher priority? We have no priority on United as we pretty much only fly Delta anymore.
I am so glad you are safely there and enjoying your visit!
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
Hoping your trip goes smoothly!!

For ours, I just happened to notice. I’m OCD about travel plans and chronically recheck things (meds and/or counseling would probably be indicated). My first call to United customer service just said that there had been an equipment change and that the seat assignments were “grayed” out and that reassignments would be made. Waited a couple of weeks and nothing, so called again. This time told that seats would be assigned “before flight”, but eventually (after a lot of prodding) told that it could be anywhere from on-line check-in to counter baggage check to boarding gate. Asked for supervisor at that point and that was first time the word “overbooked” was used. Was told that we would not be bumped off of flight ??!! but that the only path to regaining our business seating was for people to voluntarily opt out of seating or flight. They offered us business if we flew with a connection through Newark (at least we had a good laugh).

At Dulles, had 5 business passengers, including us, who had been bumped. Very fortunately, there was available seating in premium economy, or I have no doubt that we would have been wedged into center Coach seating. One of the bumped business passengers was half of a honeymoon couple — the husband took the business seat and the bride was a row behind me — not sure how happy that honeymoon was going to be.

On the flight, the guy beside my wife was horribly flatulent and had reeking BO. The guy and his wife across the aisle from me (we were in the center, 3 seat arrangement) had carryon that spanned three bins and he started a search through all three bins in the middle of the night using his iPhone flashlight for something. Just to cap everything off, my wife’s entertainment screen had a short in it and any turbulence turned the screen on in floodlight mode.

At the beginning of the flight, the steward brought me a pair of slippers and a bottle of water and apologized for the problems (will pause here to let you imagine how impressed I was with this). My wife, sitting beside me, got none of the above. He did say, “Anything I can do during the flight, just ask”, do once our backs began to ache from being scrunched in seat, we asked for extra pillows — “We don’t have any” wrapped up that little chat.


So….yes, they are supposed to refund the difference between business and premium and they gave us a voucher for application to future flights — but who knows if they will honor any future reservations. As to priority, made reservations early; have long-standing mileage club memberships; make multiple international flights per year; checked in as soon as available; etc.

Have had FAR too many very long delays and/or cancellations with United over the years. Have a ton of miles that we would lose if we change carriers, so feeling in a bind.

To end on a high note, United sent my wife a “How did we do?” message today. I have never seen so much intensity for such a long period of time as she pounded away on her screen.
 
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italian excursion

100+ Posts
Oh, so awful for you! Very sorry. Did you purchase your business class seats or obtain them with miles? I paid for my business class so no one (Lufthansa, a partner with United) had better try bumping me from them or I'll scream bloody murder)......
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
Your experience is so frustrating…flying is just a crap shoot and not a whole lot of fun anymore. I must agree with you regarding United. One problem I have noticed is crew staffing issues that were occurring long before the pandemic. I cannot count the number of times I have had my flights between CLE and DCA delayed or canceled due to the fact that the crew has timed out or not otherwise available. I usually fly United to DCA from here in CLE 3-4 times/year to see my daughter and her family…hardly ever does a round trip flight go smoothly. My nephew flies for United…he agrees that they have real issues…he blames management. Now my husband and I usually just make the 6 hour drive and avoid the hassle of flying.
I will be so happy when and if Delta resumes their nonstop flights from Detroit to FCO. The Detroit airport is a short 2 hr 15 min drive from our house…the airport is great…and Delta checkin is before you even enter the main terminal.
Hopefully your return flight goes smoothly.
One quick question…what are business class seats like on United. We paid a lot for them…I hope they are worth it! First class seats on Delta are wonderful.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
I bought my ticket with miles. Paid cash for wife’s ticket. Both bumped. For return flight (FCO to Dulles), she has a seat; I don’t.
 

vicogirl51

10+ Posts
That’s so odd getting bumped out of business class and both passengers . My girlfriend and I were bumped out of Premium Economy bulkhead seats to other premium economy seats on Delta 9 yrs ago flight Atlanta to Rome to accommodate business class passengers when their seats were reconfigured so perhaps that’s what happened.
Imagine the PE passengers that were bumped out of their seats to economy to accommodate the business class passengers and how annoyed they are today?
I wrote to the Delta CEO at the time and both of us were given $600 vouchers for future travel that did not expire plus 30k in miles to Delta Skymiles account and the best was a phone call here in Italy at my house from the Executive desk with a name and # to call direct with future problems and huge
apology! That made my day as we were loyal Delta flyers !
We fly home very late Oct on United but we have assigned seats as I checked last nite.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
One quick question…what are business class seats like on United. We paid a lot for them…I hope they are worth it! First class seats on Delta are wonderful.
The Polaris seating is really nice. Pods are very roomy and the lie-flat seating is great for sleeping. The configuration we normally fly has single pods along the windows and paired pods in the middle with little dividers you can lower if you want togetherness with your flight partner. I feel claustrophobic in those center seats since your view is basically the window pod, but my son and his wife enjoy them (they’re newlyweds, though, so never too much togetherness :)

Dulles has a United Lounge and a Polaris Lounge — the latter is much better appointed and has a better food selection. Not sure what determines which lounge is available — we’ve used both depending on what gate we’re flying from and how much time we have to walk to/from lounges.
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
Alpinista…thank you so much for that information! I assume we are taking the same flight you did…a 797-8 Dreamliner that departs Dulles about 5:40pm…arrives FCO about 8:15am.
I chose a single pod along the window on both flights…a few rows from the front. My husband also wanted a single pod window seat, but he decided he wanted the bulkhead seats. So…we will not be sitting near each other coming or going! We have been married 40 years, so I guess that togetherness is not top priority anymore!! (;
Good to know about the lounges…we will opt for the Polaris Lounge if it is close enough and we have the time to enjoy it.
Fingers crossed that we do not get bumped out of these seats!
 

italian excursion

100+ Posts
That’s so odd getting bumped out of business class and both passengers . My girlfriend and I were bumped out of Premium Economy bulkhead seats to other premium economy seats on Delta 9 yrs ago flight Atlanta to Rome to accommodate business class passengers when their seats were reconfigured so perhaps that’s what happened.
Imagine the PE passengers that were bumped out of their seats to economy to accommodate the business class passengers and how annoyed they are today?
I wrote to the Delta CEO at the time and both of us were given $600 vouchers for future travel that did not expire plus 30k in miles to Delta Skymiles account and the best was a phone call here in Italy at my house from the Executive desk with a name and # to call direct with future problems and huge
apology! That made my day as we were loyal Delta flyers !
We fly home very late Oct on United but we have assigned seats as I checked last nite.
Vicogirl, I'd like that contact information as Delta screwed up my May trip home.....Thank you!

Cheryl
www.italianexcursion.com
 

BEERMAN

10+ Posts
Our recent travel to and from Milan from Dulles Virginia had "minor" hiccups. First, 2 weeks prior to departure our Lufthansa flight was cancelled, only option was to leave a day early, luckily our 3 personal schedules were not inconvenienced, thus "minor hiccup" for us! Dinner on the red eye was dry pasta in red sauce, served its purpose, I guess. Curry Chicken with rice was a tad better on lunch flight home, just not momma's cooking.

No luggage issues along the way, but I did not enjoy return connection through Newark, having to retrieve bags and be processed through security again is a drag. Two things that drive me a little nuts is the herd mentality boarding and retrieving luggage. In Munich we were about 100 people back in mass, boarding group 2, we had to squeeze through all the people when group 2 was announced. Luggage, all I can say is that in Newark I knew I was home.... with people refusing to budge from their primo carousel position when I saw our bags from a distance. Even with a little discomfort it was great to be traveling again!

P.s. that "burger" doesn't look appealing.
 
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Colo

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Not sure if we were smart or dumb, but we purposely chose an Iberia (AA partner) Flight vs using AA. IAD to Madrid transfer to Porto. Plenty of time to transfer. Hoping bags will make the trip with us, but will have a few days worth of clothes with us just in case. These are some scary stories of arrival and departure. October 5 cannot come soon enough - ready to return!
 

italian excursion

100+ Posts
Not sure if we were smart or dumb, but we purposely chose an Iberia (AA partner) Flight vs using AA. IAD to Madrid transfer to Porto. Plenty of time to transfer. Hoping bags will make the trip with us, but will have a few days worth of clothes with us just in case. These are some scary stories of arrival and departure. October 5 cannot come soon enough - ready to return!
It's a crap shoot so I always expect the best and deal with whatever shows up the best I can. I found that my patience with airline staff served me well! They are all struggling with so much.....
 

Allen

10+ Posts
All of these shared negative experiences have led us to redouble efforts to pack for carry-on only luggage no matter the limitations, which I realize is not an option for many travelers. But with online check-in (on American and United, 24 hrs in advance), downloaded boarding passes, and no baggage to check - thus bypassing need for time consuming check-in counter lines - we’ve had honestly smooth sailing through FCO with both airlines early this spring and later summer (about 30” from start to gate both times despite confusing route through required airport stations as reported above).. We also buy FCO fast track passes for security (7 euros), but it really was not a time saver at all on either trip.
We’ve never had lounge access so can’t add anything to that discussion.
Only airport snafu we encountered was recent return at ORD where 3/5 GES kiosks were out of order creating a longer line than usual, plus there was a new, longer and somewhat bottle-necked 2nd line to go through for GES holders after getting through the kiosk where an agent rechecked passport and checked your name off a list.
 

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