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I recently booked a flight from Munich to Delhi via Rome. The layover in Rome was around 2.5 hours when I booked the flight, which is good enough for a change, considering I have to go through security and passport control. However, Alitalia changed my itinerary and the flight from Munich to Rome is now postponed by 1 hour 45 minutes, leaving only 45 minutes to change the connection at Rome (The minimum connecting time at FCO is 45 minutes). I am quite certain that it's almost impossible to make it to the next flight with such a short layover.

I talked to both the airline and the agency. Initially, they were not willing to help and the airline was asking me to talk to the agency and the agency was asking me to talk to the airline. Eventually, I convinced the agency to sort the matter out. However, they couldn't find any alternative options since there is only one flight from Munich Rome and Rome Delhi (on that day).

What are my options now? The layover of 45 minutes is too short in Rome airport, even if the inbound flight arrives on time (and in that case, I am sure that Alitalia would not provide me with the next available flight as told by their customer support).

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    You can request a cancellation and refund, which they may also decline. That's about it because as of now you have not missed the flight so it's all speculation. You don't know for a fact that the connection cannot be made. – user 56513 Aug 6 '18 at 13:34
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    Does your departing flight leave from T1? (which airline?) Look it up here. Do you have children, lots of hand luggage, elderly relatives or any other complicating thing with the transfer? Was it actually gotogate or Alitalia which changed the booking? What reason did Alitalia give for changing your itinerary? How much would it cost you to rebook with other airline? – smci Aug 7 '18 at 1:28
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    considering I have to go through security and passport control. I have checked both AZ437 and AZ770 fly at T1. There is no security check for domestic flights as you will be using the transfer desk. Only passport control is required. Schengen flights are considered domestic. All other answers apply then. – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Aug 7 '18 at 7:08
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    Note that there is a possibility that your checked luggage won't make the flight. I had a 45 minute connection at FCO once and while I made it with plenty of time to spare, my bags didn't and arrived on the next flight. – Tom van der Zanden Aug 7 '18 at 12:07
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    Re. checked luggage: I recently had a 1 hour transfer at Heathrow. When depositing my bags at Piza the person behind the desk attached "Priority - Short Transfer" (or similar worded) stickers. Whether they make a difference, or are just to reassure passengers, I don't know... but it might be worth asking if they don't offer to do this. – TripeHound Aug 7 '18 at 13:56
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It should be possible to make the connection, or Alitalia would not state a minimum connection time of 45 minutes. So you have a good chance of making the second flight. However, I agree that it is uncomfortably tight.

If you do miss the connection, Alitalia are obliged to put you on the next available flight to Delhi and to look after you in the meantime, so you needn't worry about that. Of course, that flight (or connecting flights) may be the next day or possibly even later. This assumes that both your flights are on a single ticket, which seems to be the case from what you write.

For such a short connection, Alitalia may well send someone to meet you off the flight from Munich, take you through immigration and security (straight to the front of every queue if necessary), and then get you to the departure gate ASAP. They have done this for me in the past.

I don't believe the airline has any obligation to change your itinerary now, although they might sometimes be prepared to do so. If there is only one flight per day for each of the legs, there is not that much they can do.

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    If you’ve booked a single through journey with the same airline then that airline is obliged to assist you if you miss your connection. It looks like you booked through an agency, are you sure both your flights are with Alitalia and we’re booked as one ticket? – Traveller Aug 6 '18 at 14:34
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    If you got separate tickets, you need a new travel agent (or just do it yourself; buying flights does not often require the assistance of a travel agent). – Michael Hampton Aug 6 '18 at 14:46
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    I made sure to book both legs under one ticket having the same PNR. That is not a problem. I used www.gotogate.co.uk to do the reservation. – Arpit Bajpai Aug 6 '18 at 14:55
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    Thank you for commenting. Not even in my wildest dreams, I can think of going to the duty free stores considering the 45 minutes layover. Since, I never had such a short layover and read the bad reviews about Alitalia, I decided to ping their customer support. The agent maintained : "if your inbound flight arrives on time and still you miss your next flight due to passport control or security, you will have to pay for the outbound flight in that case since the MCT is 45 minutes and the connection is legal for the airline" – Arpit Bajpai Aug 6 '18 at 15:03
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    When you get to the gate at Munich, make sure you talk to the gate agent nicely and tell them about your tight connection time in Rome. They will be able to look up the gates in Rome and tell you how far apart they are (subject to last minute change, of course). They'll also be able to communicate w/gate staff in Rome who can help you out. I've been escorted off the back of a plane, across the tarmac and back into the terminal to avoid all the lines by very helpful, pre-9/11 airport staff, so it's possible that you'll find friendly folks. – FreeMan Aug 7 '18 at 11:44
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Something feels fishy here. You should make sure that both flights have are indeed on the same ticket and not just two tickets bundled into a single booking. gotogate has pretty bad customer reviews, so there may be something shady going on.

I couldn't find any update to date data on minimum connection times for Alitalia in FCO. The most recent data I found was from 2014 where domestic to International was 60 minutes. Only domestic to domestic and international to international was 45 minutes. Since Munich is Shengen, it would probably count as a domestic.

This will be a very hard connection to make. If things are on time, you'll be arriving at the gate from MUC by the time the Delhi flight starts boarding.

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    Yes, I have checked that. It's under same PNR. Moreover, I can see the same connection available on Alitalia website and also I called the Alitalia customer support and they verified the connection. As far as the connection is concerned, I am also scared about that and I am not sure what should I do now. – Arpit Bajpai Aug 6 '18 at 16:45
  • @anomuse I am not actually afraid of missing the connection and perhaps I will be okay as long as they provide me with the ticket on the next flight (even if it's on the next day). The problem here is that when I called the Alitalia customer support, they told me that if my inbound flight arrives on time & I am not able to board the outbound flight then I will be held responsible and will have to pay for the next flight. – Arpit Bajpai Aug 7 '18 at 15:08
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    @anomuse Alitalia not wanting to take responsibility for the connection is the "fishy" part. – Hilmar Aug 7 '18 at 16:58
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I'll add a few pieces of advice to the other answers:

  • If you can, get a seat as close as possible to the front on the Munich-Rome flight. This would save you a few minutes.

  • In Munich, let them know you have a short connection, and that the next flight is a day later. Start at check-in/bag drop, then at the gate, then when boarding. They may be able to move you to a seat closer to the front. In some cases they may be able to rush you out of the plane before everybody else.

  • Check out terminal maps beforehand, and try to get gate information for both flights. Get the airline app, it's probably the most efficient way to do it (though I don't know specifically Alitalia's app).

  • Check out terminal maps in advance. Check gates used for those flights on previous days to get an idea of what you'll have to do.

  • Be prepared to walk fast, and have your passport ready to go through passport control quickly.

  • Most probably, you will arrive at B gates, and depart from E gates. Probably over 1 km, which will take about 15 minutes. Add to that time to deplane, and going through passport control. No time to linger, but should be doable. The only real issues are if the incoming aircraft is parked at a remote stand and you have to take a bus, or if your departing aircraft leaves from gates E31-E34 and you have to take the people mover. Then it becomes real tight.

  • You might make it while your luggage doesn't (it would then be sent on the next flight and usually delivered to your home/hotel). Be prepared for that.

  • If you don't make it, they may reroute you via a different city, or put you on the next day's flight. If you have to stay overnight, I'm not really sure what happens to your luggage (i.e. if you can reclaim it), so have whatever you need to spend the night with you.

  • If you have any specific requirements (medical treatment for instance), be prepared for the possibly extended duration.

The upside is that if they screw up, you're eligible for compensation. So they have quite an incentive to make sure you do get to your destination timely.

  • I don't think I will be eligible for compensation if I miss the flight (and the inbound flight is not delayed) – Arpit Bajpai Aug 8 '18 at 9:40
  • If you don't wander around, and you don't have an issue at passport control (I mean something specific to you), then it's the carrier's fault if you can't make the connection. It's up to them to make sure you have enough time to transfer from one flight to another, so I doubt they could argue you are not entitled to compensation if you get to your final destination late. – jcaron Aug 8 '18 at 10:30
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    You might make it while your luggage doesn't ... Be prepared for that. - If Delhi is not your home, pack spare underwear and a T-shirt (or equivalent) in your carry-on bag. The spare clothes airlines typically provide for lost/delayed luggage are not very comfortable. :( – CactusCake Aug 8 '18 at 13:40
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    To add to the list: Make sure you already have the boarding pass for the second flight. You don't want to have to go via the transfer desk with such a tight connection. – Abigail Aug 8 '18 at 15:19
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Assuming (as you said) that it's a single ticket then you really don't have much choice. Alitalia is convinced you can make it though from personal experience it's certainly possible you won't:

  • Prepare for a day in Rome (it's a beautiful city), if you do end up there - you are entitled to compensation as well as accommodation and food.
  • Let your flight attendants know in advance and ask them if they can contact the airport staff to have someone accompany you when you get there.

It's a pretty unfortunate situation, but other than contacting the airline and agency ahead of time and leaving a paper trail then other than scheduling a different flight with them you have little choice.

On the upside - Rome is a decent place to be stuck in for a day. This sort of thing happened to me a few times (most recently in Amsterdam with KLM a few months ago). Not much one can do.

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Find out what airlines are partners with Alitalia and see if one of the partner airlines connects though to another city and ask for another connection airport. If that does not work, be prepared by knowing the partner airlines and when and how to reroute from Rome to Delhi. For making changes in the fly, I use the TripIt Pro app on my phone. Their alternative flight functionality lets you know how you can reroute in transit. When I talk to the airlines, I have options to present to the airlines rather than just accepting the options offered to me. If your flight to Rome is delayed, obtain WiFi service on the plane and get yourself rerouted before others who will try to reroute upon landing or ask the attendant to reroute you before landing if you are unable to obtain WiFi..

https://www.tripit.com/pro.

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So I took the flight and as expected my first flight from Munich-Rome was delayed by 40 mins. When I reached Rome, there was an Alitalia agent waiting for me at the gate. She took me through immigration and then to the transfer gate. It was quite some walk and I eventually boarded the flight 30 minutes after the scheduled departure. The Alitalia agent at the departure gate told me that the outbound flight was delayed because of me and one other passenger. Eventually, Both me and my checked luggage made it to Delhi on time.

I took care of the following things:

  • I made sure that I get the seat at the front of the plane and disembark asap.
  • I asked the Alitalia agent behind the desk at Munich airport to put "Priority - Short Transfer" sticker on my baggage but she refused to do so, However, later on, I got to know from the other passenger that he got that particular tag when he boarded from Munich for the same itinerary which was quite weird.
  • I also sent multiple emails to Alitalia requesting them for an alternate flight to leave a paper trail just in case if something went wrong.
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I also had relataively short transfer time (30 min) at FCO with Alitalia. In my case, the plane was already waiting for us fully loaded and after we boarded we still waited for our luggage to come.

You may want to check up with alitalia if they would be waiting

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