Alitalia changed my itinerary, leaving me with an impossibly short 45min connection time at FCO

Arpit Bajpai 08/06/2018. 6 answers, 7.778 views
layovers short-connections fco alitalia

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).

6 Answers

anomuse 08/06/2018.

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.

Hilmar 08/06/2018.

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.

jcaron 08/08/2018.

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.

Benjamin Gruenbaum 08/07/2018.

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.

Russell 08/07/2018.

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..

Adam Golebiowski 08/08/2018.

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 - Download Hi-Res Songs

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