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I planned a trip to Europe this December and booked the flights quite in advance. A few days ago they sent an email informing me that a flight has been cancelled and they offered a different flight or refund of the booking amount. However there are several other booked flights (with different carriers) and hotel bookings which would suffer because of this change.

Here's my itinerary:-

  1. Delhi (DEL) to Milan (MXP), Air Italy, dep. Sunday, 6am India time
  2. Milan (MXP) to Rome (FCO), Air Italy, dep. Sunday 12.45pm Italy time
  3. Rome (CIA) to Athens (ATH), Ryanair, dep. Monday, 10am Italy time

Return:

  1. Athens (ATH) to Rome(CIA), Ryanair, Thursday

  2. Rome (FCO) to Milan (MXP), Air Italy, dep Friday, 9.40am Italy time

  3. Milan (MXP) to Delhi (DEL), Air Italy, dep Friday, 4pm Italy time

  4. Delhi (DEL) to Hyderabad (HYD), Indigo, dep Sunday

Of course the onward and return journey is separated by a few weeks. Not mentioning the dates due to privacy reasons.

They informed about two cancellations: Delhi to Milan (onward - Sunday) and Milan to Delhi (return Friday)

However they offer these flights on different days which totally break my itinerary which might cause me missing the connections of good amount of money to get other flights rescheduled.

I tried to communicate with them but

  • Sent messages on whatsapp but I'm not receiving response after one reply
  • Sent a couple of email on separate days but didn't get a reply
  • Couldn't get connected on Phone.

It is causing a lot of stress.

What can I do about it?

I'd like to know what are my rights regarding how airlines is bound to (1) attend to customer communications, (2) offer multiple alternatives which do not break the itinerary, and (3) offer additional compensation for additional costs involved (hotels, other flights re-schdeuled).

  • 19
    Air Italy have no responsibility for the flights you have booked with other carriers. Do you have travel insurance? – Traveller Oct 7 '18 at 19:59
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    @Aditya Certainly you had enough time for a small change, but not enough for a large one or a cancellation. I'm afraid the answer posed by jpatokal is indeed correct. All I can suggest is to ask Air Italy if flights some days earlier might be substituted. If so, while you might have to secure additional interim lodging, you could use the other bookings you've made. – David Oct 7 '18 at 21:26
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    Talk to your travel insurance company. You do have travel insurance, right? – Doc Oct 8 '18 at 3:10
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    I do have travel insurance @stannius but Idk if it would help in this case. Anyways I was able to get connect to Air Italy through their area agent in my country - lets see how much time they take to fix it. – Aditya Oct 8 '18 at 20:27
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    @Doc The concept of "travel insurance" as a wholistic type of insurance may be uncommon in the OPs place of residence. As a non-Indian example, the German wikipedia page for "travel insurance" states that the term is used for all types of travel-related insurances, include travel cancellation insurance, travel health insurace, travel accident insurance, travel baggage insurance, ...; and they are offered individually or in combination (I can tell you that the latter is rare). Insurances that also cover connections may be very hard to come by if they are uncommon in the OPs place of residence. – DCTLib Oct 9 '18 at 8:25
56

I'm afraid that, because you booked your Air Italy and Ryanair flights separately, your connections are not the airline's concern.

Air Italy is obliged to offer you a choice between alternative transport to your destination (which does not have to be on the same days etc) or a full refund. That's it. You can try to negotiate for better flights than the ones they're offering you, maybe even an alternative connection straight to Athens, but at the end of the day you can't force them. You are not entitled to any compensation.

  • 17
    May be worth re-iterating that one should book all flights via the same airline to avoid this situation. I'm still surprised this is not more widely known. – Matthieu M. Oct 8 '18 at 6:56
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    Realistically that's often just not possible. For one thing, not all airlines fly all routes or go to the desired locations, and "choose different destinations is unhelpful advice. For another thing, most people are working and get very limited numbers of days for vacations and personal travel, so "allow a day between flights" or similar advice may also be impractical in real-world scenarios. I'm not sure if there is a solution, but the above comment feels like it should be a "try to do this if practical" rather than "you should always do this". – Stilez Oct 8 '18 at 7:35
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    @Stilez In all my years of travelling I never had a problem getting from A to B on a single ticket. Just because you book on one airline doesn't mean you'll actually fly with it, just with one of their partner airlines (and all major airlines are parts of large networks these days). Delhi-Rome is anything but impossible to get on one ticket. It might be a bit more expensive than buying separate tickets, but this here is a good example of the trouble you might get in. So no the advice is pretty universally valid. – Voo Oct 8 '18 at 7:55
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    @Voo I agree that's it's valid advice, but it's still not always practical. Consider for example Poznań to Paris, where the only direct flight is with Wizz Air, a small Hungarian outfit that is not part of any major network. Flying with another airline (to remain on the same ticket) takes more money and more time and may not be practical. – rturnbull Oct 8 '18 at 8:36
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    @rturnbull yes, sometimes it's impossible to book everything on a single ticket. Like when I was in Indonesia we had to fly with a small local operation because Garuda didn't offer flights to where we were going. We did calculate in delays and took a 24 hour overlay just in case in Denpassar because of that. Turned out we didn't need it, but better safe than sorry. – jwenting Oct 8 '18 at 10:27
4

Your only option is to pick an earlier flight so your itinerary is not messed up.

In Europe we have usually a very good compensation system for denied boarding and cancelled flights. You can check up on the rules if you search for passenger rights.

SADLY, it does not apply to you, since you have booked each flight on their own and also the airline informed you well ahead of time (> 14 days)

The General rules for refunds in Europe are as follows (Any flight leaving Europe and any European Airline flying to Europe):

Cancelation < 14 days of flight / denied boarding (even with alternate flights, but refunds may be reduced if you get there in time) / Flight Delayed >3 H :

  • full refund AND compensation based on distance traveled between 250 and 650 € (Cash, not vouchers)
  • Hotel in case of needed overnight
  • food/phone calls in case of delay >3h

Claiming these benefits you need to contact the executing airline. I suggest you do not use any 3rd party website in order to claim, since they take a cut of the refunds and its only 2 emails or so to get the compensation.

Unforseen events may void this. Plane breakdowns are not unforseens/unexpected since they happen all the time.

0

Assuming you paid 'Air Italy' just once, the good news is that your contract with 'Air Italy' is to get you from Delhi to Rome and back again. If they cancelled the DEL-MXP legs, they should be offering you an alternative. They have NO responsibility for the Ryanair flights or the Indigo flight to Hyderabad, assuming you paid separately for these. If 'Air Italy' can reschedule you to arrive in Rome before the Ryanair flight to Athens (and also reschedule your departure from Rome after your Ryanair flight arrives), you might be able to keep the other flights.

To echo some of the other replies and comments: Why would you want to fly such a complex routing, when many airlines seem to offer Delhi to Athens with just a single stop? A complex routing like this is big a chance for something to go wrong: delays, cancellations, lost luggage, endless hanging around in foreign airports, and perhaps the need for a transit visa as well. An added complication is that once in Rome, you would need to collect your luggage, transfer to another airport and check in your luggage again. Also, if you are a non-EU passport holder, flying Ryanair has the added difficulty of needing to visit their special desk so your visa can be 'validated' before they will let you board.

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