Alitalia Cancels Tickets Booked with Japan Promo Code: What Are Your Options?

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This past weekend was a whirlwind, with several Alitalia promo codes floating around that made certain flights very affordable. However, around 8am on Sunday I noticed that Alitalia canceled my flight booked with the $315 off Japanese Promo Code:

“Dear Customer,

Thank you for choosing alitalia.com.
We regret to inform you that your ticket purchase has not been processed.
Any amount debited on your account, will be credited back.

Your Alitalia Customer Center Team”

I personally think the email was very vague and almost fake- heck, it didn’t even reference the exact flight I booked. You’d think if an airline was going to unilaterally cancel a flight you legitimately purchased from their website, they would at least clarify which flight and why.

Clearly they wanted to undo all reservations made with the code and it appears that all bookings have been cancelled with this unless they were departing from Japan. As the ticket I booked yesterday was completely free after the discount, it was cancelled, and checking with some friends who used the $315 off, but still had to pay a small amount, their ticket was also cancelled. The terms and conditions have since been updated saying that the flights must take place from Tokyo or Osaka.

Is this fair? No. Legal? Probably. My best advice would be to let the airline know by reaching out to them on Facebook or Twitter and telling them it’s not okay to cancel tickets that have been bought and paid for. Feel free to use the hashtag #honoryourpromo so perhaps we can get the subject trending, which is always a pain for the airline. However, so far Alitalia’s Facebook response to customers complaining about the canceled tickets so far has been disappointing:

“Our anti-fraud systems have suspended transactions with credit cards or I.P addresses from countries other than the site where the reservation was created.

For all uncommitted transactions, the system has sent an email to the address used for the reservation.

Please try again taking advantage of the discount of 25% off by using the code shown in the e-coupon Facebook page.”

As if using their promo code was fraud! If they didn’t want it to be applicable to itineraries starting outside of Japan, they should have coded the system as such. In general, I wish they would honor these tickets, but really it’s not the end of the world since they let us know right away. And if you still want to buy discounted tickets, you can use the 25% promo code which is good until October 26th, 2012.

Other customers who booked the special fares and had them canceled have started a Facebook campaign, which will be a good resource to follow up on people who decide to go after Aliatalia- airlines will generally give people some sort of compensation to quiet them, so in the end some people may make out pretty well (I have on many canceled mistakes in the past).

There is a very lengthy Flyertalk Thread that you can check out and see how other people are going to handle the situation. Since Atitalia is based in Italy, rules aren’t followed by the D.O.T. but rather the European Union. Here is  some info on flight cancellations and the general policies. They specifically mention you must be informed with 14 days of departure, so if anyone has a flight before that, you should definitely have a look. To file a complaint with the European Union, you can view the details here.

I think Alitalia should honor these promo codes, but I at least give them credit for making a decision very quickly. Please feel free to share your experiences if you do end up pursuing the issue with the airline or relevant authorities.

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