Review of Alitalia flight Tel Aviv Athens in Economy

Airline Alitalia
Flight AZ822
Class Economy
Seat 11C
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 00:50
Take-off 08 Jun 18, 19:40
Arrival at 08 Jun 18, 20:30
AZ   #126 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 251 reviews
bldavid
By SILVER 1400
Published on 22nd June 2018
I went on a two week holiday in June to:
- visit Moldova, one of the few countries in Europe where I'd never been before,
- visit Transnistria, a self-proclaimed independent country,
- visit Odessa, a city where I'd been planning to go for a very long time,
- visit a friend in Tel-Aviv,
- fly to Geneva to meet my family taking the direct Icelandair flight from Keflavík, and then spend a week in France.

I booked the following flights:
- Icelandair from Keflavík to Copenhagen, economy, successful bid to business class,
- Turkish Airlines from Copenhagen to Istanbul, business class,
- Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Chisinau, business class,
- Ukraine International Airlines from Odessa to Tel-Aviv, economy, extra legroom and pre-booked hot meal,
- Alitalia from Tel-Aviv to Athens, economy, extra legroom,
- Aegean from Athens to Geneva, business class,
- Icelandair from Geneva to Keflavík, economy, using my Icelandair miles (no review)

I needed to fly from Tel-Aviv to Geneva and I considered many options, both in economy and business class. Shall I just fly direct with Easyjet? Or fly Swiss to Zurich and take the train? Or fly Royal Jordanian via Amman? I eventually chose to fly Alitalia to Athens and then the next morning from Athens to Geneva with Aegean for the simple reason that with a scheduled departure time of 19.55 this was one of the last flights so I could maximize my stay in Tel-Aviv.

Starting a week before departure I received the same push e-mail from Alitalia five times: bid to upgrade to business class. The e-mail said “Rilassati nelle nostre lounge e approfitta dei banchi check in, controlli di sicurezza e imbarchi prioritari.” and “A bordo della Business Class i piatti vengono proposti a rotazione e variati nel rispetto delle diverse stagioni, ogni pasto è accompagnato da una selezione di vini.” (All e-mails from Alitalia to me were in Italian, although I booked in English). The lowest bid was 130 €. While I usually go for an upgrade bid (see my flight report from Keflavík to Copenhagen) this time I didn’t for several reasons: there is no lounge at Terminal 1 at Tel-Aviv airport, so this was simply false advertising; I had pre-booked an emergency exit row seat in economy which offers more legroom than a business class seat; I didn’t have any high expectations about Alitalia’s business class meal on such a short flight.

Anyway I asked at check-in if there was an offer to upgrade to business class. The answer? “It’s not worth it, there’s no lounge and only very little food onboard.” OK then…

So my flight was booked with a departure time of 19.55. The day before, just out of curiosity, I checked the price of my flight – and I saw that the departure time changed to 17.40! I checked my e-mails: no message at all about it from Alitalia. What do you think of an airline that does not notify its passengers that the flight leaves two hours earlier?

I got to the airport about two and a half hours before (the new) departure time. I was through the security questions in five minutes, I was checked-in in about 10 minutes, passport control took two minutes, and I was through security in about 7 minutes, so I had plenty of time before my flight.

Alitalia uses Terminal 1 in Tel-Aviv, the same as Ryanair, Wizzair and other low-cost airlines.

photo 01

Yes, the terminal is very basic in terms of facilities and services (Terminal 3 in Tel-Aviv is beautiful and has a good range of services). On the plus side, it was not crowded, there was free wi-fi and I could charge my phone and laptop. If you’re hungry your options are limited.

photo 02

I had this:

photo 03

Some other parts of the terminal look nicer with a few shops and ample seating.



Important: you can charge your devices.

photo 08

There is a view of the apron although there were not many aircraft.

photo 09

Boarding started at 17.35 for a scheduled departure time of 17.40 and was by bus.

photo 10

Some interesting views before boarding:



Our aircraft today was an 10 year old A320.



There was an aircraft change from A321 to A320 (no notification of course) but my pre-booked emergency exit row seat was changed to 11C at check-in so I still had the extra legroom – which I appreciated. So the legroom was good.

photo 19photo 26


There was no welcome at boarding. The crew member at the door was busy setting something on the PA, while the two others standing at my row were busy chatting with each other, ignoring the passengers completely. On the plus side, the cabin was in good condition with the standard 3+3 configuration.

Boarding was completed at 18.15 for a scheduled departure time of 17.40. At 18.30 a further delay of 40 minutes was announced so I had time to read this in the on-board magazine:

photo 20

Take-off was eventually at 18.50. Things got back to normal after take-off except the man who was sitting by the window in my row beong very worried about the otherwise perfectly normal engine sounds.
Meal service started about 45 minutes after take-off; a soft drink (water, coke, juice) was offered alongside a small pack of biscuits.

photo 21

Alitalia’s route network:



Start of descent was at 20.15 and landing was at 20.30, 35 minutes behind schedule. I was through passport control in about two seconds and outside the terminal building in maybe a further two minutes.

Thank you for reading my flight report and please feel free to leave your comments about Alitalia.
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Verdict

Alitalia

3.0/10
Cabin5.0
Cabin crew2.0
Entertainment/wifi2.0
Meal/catering3.0

Tel Aviv - TLV

3.8/10
Efficiency4.0
Access2.5
Services0.5
Cleanliness8.0

Athens - ATH

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

I’ve flown over 700 segments in commercial aircraft and I don’t remember ever having seen an airline not to notify its passengers about such an important change of schedule. Terminal 1 at TLV is a low-cost terminal with limited facilities but at least I was through security fast and it was not crowded. The flight itself was OK except the very poor attitude of the cabin crew.

Related

9 Comments

  • Comment 451538 by
    viajero90 73 Comments

    Toda raba for this report!
    I didn't know Alitalia operates from Terminal 1, I thought it was only for low cost airlines.
    Cheers!

  • Comment 451551 by
    marathon GOLD 9442 Comments

    Alitalia sends upgrade offers in Italian to a passenger using English, for using a lounge which does not exist, but does not send a warning about the flight leaving two hours early: does Alitalia really want to recover from its dire financial situation ? Or did they want to make sure enough passengers would miss the flight so that the A320 would not be overbooked ?

    You can charge your devices airside... but only if you need USB power or have a Type M plug adapter. Granted, TLV is not a major connecting hub, so if you are there, you are likely to have compatible devices.

    Thanks for sharing !

  • Comment 451659 by
    KL651 TEAM 4431 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    I wonder why AZ flies from Athens to Tel Aviv in the first place.
    Disappointing service to say the least.
    It seems AZ crew only make an effort in Business class...

  • Comment 459944 by
    Dor 80 Comments

    As Israeli who always take off from Tel aviv airport, I really can't understand your scores for TLV airport, even if you're writing about Terminal 1, it's not so bad.

    • Comment 460069 by
      bldavid SILVER AUTHOR 118 Comments

      Hi Dor, thank you for your comment. I believe there is a huge difference between the two terminals at TLV: Terminal 1 is very low-cost with no lounges and very limited food options while Terminal 2 is really nice.

      • Comment 460070 by
        Dor 80 Comments

        There's no terminal 2 in TLV airport, I think you meant to say teminal 3.
        Anyway, my last flight from Israel was LC flight with UP, so I visited in terminal 1, I agree that terminal 3 is better, there's no doubt, but in my opinion, terminal 1 isn't so bad.
        Still, I can't understand the low scores.

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