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

by on October 22, 2012 · 86 comments

in Alitalia

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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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Aaron

    As borderline as many mistake fares/deals are, this was a no-brainer to not be honored. It was purely exploitation of a less than well implemented foreign promotion. You knew that better than anyone, and your try at it was, as you stated, totally free after discount, not “paid for.” Yes, I get your point, the ticket was “purchased”, they shouldn’t be able to cancel it.

    You are setting a poor example for all the readers you have, many aren’t anywhere near as seasoned as you either, who will now repeat your fake grief after every unhonored internet deal. Please stop, it’s embarrassing.

    Goodbye subscription to TPG.

  • John

    I don’t understand what you mean by “Since Atitalia is based in Italy, rules aren’t followed by the D.O.T. but rather the European Union.” Aren’t all airlines required to follow DOT rules on flights that are to/from the US? DOT should apply to some of the canceled flights (the ones booked to/from the US.

  • GiToRaZor

    Actually, if you’re not able to comprehend why what you did in the first place was simply exploitation of an error, then I can not understand you as a human beeing, but merely as a rulebending parasite on society. The company would face a loss of millions of dollars because of the glitch and maybe even face insolvency. That is far away from amiability.

  • John

    DOT specifically put these rules in place with respect to “mistake fares”. Do you feel the same why when companies charge fees when passengers make mistakes (wrong dates on a ticket, wrong name, etc)? Why should companies get to erase their mistakes without any penalty but when the consumers for companies to follow their T&Cs and the DOT rules we are “parasites”. You’re an idiot.

  • Michael

    Thats funny, when I make a mistake the airline charges me $150 to correct it and make a change.

  • Guest

    Goodbye to TPG in future as well as I don’t agree on the view of airlines honoring a clear mistake/exploit/abuse by the public. You know better

  • Guest

    Is this the point where someone’s supposed to slow clap while you exit the room?

  • Julieasparks

    Well, you win some and you lose some. I’m just commenting because I disagree with some of the posts below. Who knows why, but airlines do throw out some crazy good stuff. They do it on purpose. Maybe it’s PR. Who knows? Maybe this was. Just wanted to say that I, for one, am very appreciative of the time you spend to inform us of great deals. They’re out there. That’s why we follow your blog. The airline folks can (and probably do) follow you too. It’s not like any of this is a secret. You handled this topic well. Keep it up. Thanks!!

  • http://twitter.com/Peachfront Peach Front

    Is the code still bookable for flights departing Tokyo?

  • John

    Do you agree with airlines charging $150 change fees when we make mistakes? Next time don’t post on your way out just stop reading, no one cares.

  • Guest

    “who’s coming with me”

    awkward silence.

  • DonM

    @GiToRaZor @Aaron @Guest. Nice to hear from representatives of the airlines every once and a while! Now that you’ve said your piece and are planning to leave this site, I suppose you’ll have more time to figure out new fees to charge us.

  • GiToRaZor

    I never said that this is fair, but one bad doesn’t justify another. Or are we back in the eye for an eye world again?

  • GiToRaZor

    Thanks for insulting, even though you were unable to find the reply button and I clearly do not like to be insulted, I don’t hold a grudge against you. Actually I am already forgiving you. I also don’t like companies charging such fees. But I am rather oblidged to use democratic ways to change this instead of your reckless retribution approach.

  • John

    Not sure what world you live in but we never weren’t in an eye for an eye world. So yes, if a company charges fees for mistakes it’s perfectly fine for you to do the same to them. In this case that will involve either having DOT fine them or forcing them to honor the fares which touch the US. Feel free to write the airlines and suggest that they change the way they treat customers and if they do then I’ll not hold them to the T&C of our contracts like they do to me.

  • John

    This was directed @GiToRaZor

  • Socalac1983

    A rulebending parasite on society? Why do you come to this site? To insult people. When companies post promotions they go through a number of steps to ensure the authenticity and the T&C of the offer. So… since we pay $75-$150 for change fees are the airlines parasites too? You have never taken advantage of a deal? Never boarded a plane early? You a clown. Find a new site

  • GiToRaZor

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I am nothing but a humble student of mathematics. Of course I can’t speak for the others, but I gladly accept your wish to donate some money to me, I would call it “bothering charge” for me, since I could really need some money.

  • Socalac1983

    Oh no Aaron don’t go.. What will the site do without you? Major loss -

  • Socalac1983

    What a bunch of idiots on this site huh? A parasite? lol…

  • John

    Umm we are using democtatic ways. Out elected government will hold the airline accountable since there is zero percent chance they will act fairly to customers. In this case they will force an airline to give a $320 discount on airline tickets to from the US to Europe. It’s not reckless at all. The airlines receive billions of dollars/euros/yen in the form of fees some of which are due to passengers errors. There is zero reason why we shouldn’t hold the airlines to the same rules.

  • John

    Oh and I insulted you because you called me a parasite.

  • GiToRaZor

    I googled the site out of curiousity. This affaire was reported in main stream media and couldn’t believe that people actually could be upset about a cancelation of a deal that clearly was too good to be true. Sometimes this stuff is real, but usually it’s an error and in my opinion, one shouldn’t be too angered about if it does come out to be false.

    In my opinion it should be illegal to ask of such high fees as the airlines take, since it is way out of proportion. I take deals, but I also consider the authenticy of them.

    You should appreciate my existence, since it gives you a target to vent your anger on.

  • Socalac1983

    So your comment of a “parasite on society” was out of love? Not out of anger or disgust? I appreciate your existence? Lol for sure… I come to this site for travel tips, deals, promotions, etc.. just like any loyal visitor to this site knows, everyone once in a while an idiot like you comes around… A booking of an airline ticket is a contract – when you book the ticket the company should honor their ticket – unfortunately companies are setup in a way they have all the power to change the T&C as they deem neccessary.
    But really cool post – I’m sure you are in a dark room somewhere blogging all over the internet about parasites…

  • GiToRaZor

    We were about 2000 years ago, the phrase comes actually from the bible and was applicated quite literally, it is to this day in iran. Google “acid bliniding iran”, this incident was posponed, but the general application still is part of the law in iran.

    You’re logic is fault, first you say we are not in an eye to eye world, then state that the application totally suits you fine. At least as long as it is only applyed to faceless organisations as airlines, my conjecture of your argument goes.

    Question: Imagine to be demonstrating for something, you see a person in civilian clothes being beaten up by police officers in a distance. Is it right to attack and severly injure any police officer that is in your reach?

  • GiToRaZor

    I didn’t mean to insult you, I was stating a fact. A person that takes anything he/she can get for free, even if it is obviously a error or at least is steted so in short order and even complaines when rejected from the object of desire has more in common with a leech than then a creature of understanding and empathy.

    The same goes for modern banksters, who kick you out of your house just because they can per law, or companies that actually take the half of the price of a service as a fee to make a cancelation, even if there is no time bottleneck.

  • AQ
  • GiToRaZor

    Maybe all airlines together actually accumulate such numbers just by fees. Even though I doubt it. But the same hardly is true for this particular single airline alone. I wouldn’t be too surprised if the airline would be able to at least cut this affaire down to the offered 25% + 100$ refund on your next flight, or is there a point in the general T&S of the US that prohibits companies from stepping back from a contract?

  • GiToRaZor

    You have to press the reply button in Socalac1983′s comment, not your own.

  • Guest

    To all the idiots saying that we shouldn’t try to force the airline to honor their mistake because it’s wrong: Why are you even on this site? The whole points/miles game basically rips off the airlines (and credit card companies) as it forces them to let us fly for free in ways they never intended. Stop being hypocrites.

  • John

    No, if you reread my post I say we are in an eye for an eye world. You may have deluded yourself into think we aren’t in an eye for an eye world but we are. Your analogy is so stupid it’s not worth responding to.

  • John

    Thanks, I wasn’t trying to respond to his post. I posted (This was directed @GiToRaZor) before he posted. Thanks for trying though.

  • John

    Why are you on this web site? Do you collect points and miles for free and then use them for free airline/hotel travel? Are you a parasite?

  • John

    The DOT can fine airlines if they cancel “mistake” fares to the point where it makes more sense to honor them. The fares that the DOT has power to enforce in this case were US to Europe fares (and vice verse). These were booked for around $300 instead of the $450 that you can now get. So really you have no idea what you’re talking about. No one is taking anything for free and your proposed solution (25% off + $100) is basically what I’m asking for and what I agreed to with the airline.

  • GiToRaZor

    Oh, then you might find the edit button helpful.

  • GiToRaZor

    It was actually out of hope that one might understand my point, no emotion whatsoever was intentionaly inserted.

    I do only have a single lightbulb, if that’s dark for you. Sorry if my newly arrival to this site doesn’t allow me to join your veteran club. But at least my comment is worthy not only of your attention, but also of reply, even if it only is for you to have the final word.

  • GiToRaZor

    Right, I got it this time. Well, I do believe otherwise how this world is like and still believe in the good of man. Maybe to no avail. The above question (in slight modification) actually was answered with yes by a person I once met. The opinion was even shared by the majority of the peploe present (about 50). Actually without me asking it, so I was curious about your opinion, since you do seam to share some personal traits with him, considering the idea of justice.

  • GiToRaZor

    Out of curiosity and the believe in the good of people. One those is endangered on a regular basis by my experience with the internet. Still, hope dies last, I guess.

    I do not have the money to fly, I go by shared tickets of reginal train services. Also I try to give more than receive in general, or at least find common ground so that all thrive.

  • GiToRaZor

    Well then that is great news for you, but the US is not the world. US cancelation was as I recall one of many. Most of the flights are rather short and thereby cheaper, resulting in flights for free. Same goes for the article: “As the ticket I booked yesterday was completely free after the discount…”, and that’s what I am refering to. Any more questions?

  • John

    I’m not registered and don’t plan to. Keep trying.

  • John

    I wasn’t asking you a question. I was informing you since you were ignorant of at least some of what was being discussed.

  • John

    There is no reason to believe “in the good of man” in cases like this. Airlines are always trying to rip of their customers. In cases like this you should believe in a (legal) eye for an eye which is what we are doing as far as DOT goes.

  • John

    Well I hate to break it to you but the whole point of this website and ones like it is “gaming” the system to fly for free. Most of us do it through credit card sign up bonuses and other legal means. I highly doubt you’re going to change anyone view on the morals of using airline and credit card (who are in business because they rip off poor people) companies policies for our own benefit so you’re really just wasting your time here.

  • GiToRaZor

    Well, at least we have that in common.

  • Michael

    I don’t think it is right to take advantage of situations like this when it is obvious that this promo was not intended this way. This is part of the reasons why airlines lose money which in the end hurts hard working people and economies. And you Mr. TPG are just another shark.

  • Michael

    I completely agree with you!

  • Mike

    I completely disagree with you

  • Michael

    “rulebending parasite on society” is a spot-on description.

  • John

    No, trust me, we thankfully don’t.

  • John

    … for the airlines.

  • Michael

    You obviously have no clue what it takes to operate and airline and the enormous overhead associated with it. This ain’t a cab company. Get your facts straight.

  • guest

    dork

  • Tom

    I am completely with you on this, GiToRaZor.

  • John

    I’m an analyst in the financial markets that covers and trade airline companies. So I analyze and make a ton of money knowing how the airlines operate. Most of them are awful because they don’t know how to run a business. They try to make up for this by ripping off their customers through fees and other shady practices. It’s a near certainty that you work for an airline, most likely one I’m short.

  • guest

    I agree with you. TPG sucks

  • John

    bitch

  • Jim

    You’re the idiot and the hypocrite.. You’ve got no idea about the business and how much money credit card companies make off of transactions and interest rates. The miles that they give away is a drop in the bucket for them but the returns are so much bigger. Why else do you think they’d be doing it?? Doh

  • Michael

    I don’t own anything dude, but now that you described what you do aka short selling companies the description of “parasite on society” fits you perfectly. No respect

  • John

    No idiot. I go long good companies and short bad companies. The companies I go long provide a good return to shareholders mostly by providing high quality products and good customer service. The ones I short do the opposite.

  • John

    OMG this could be the dumbest thing posted here yet and that’s saying something. What this site is mostly about is applying to credit cards for sign up bonuses in order to fly for free.

    Let’s take a look at the economics of this and see how much of an idiot you really are:

    The credit card companies buy miles from the airlines. They pay around $0.005 per mile on average (which is probably low, they pay more). Now let’s pick a credit card, how about the citibank 50k american airline cards. You get 50,000 American Airline miles after spending $3,000. The credit card companies make about 3% on fees for you spending money (assuming you pay off the balance and they get no interest. So they’ve paid $250 (50,000 miles * 0.005) and earned $90 ($3000 of spending * 0.03) for a loss of $160 (this card also offered a $100 statement credit which would increase the loss but we can ignore that). Most people on this website will then move on to the next card after getting their bonus so the credit card company will have lost $160 on this transaction.

    Now let’s look at how the airline made out…

    They sold 50,000 miles and made $250. These 50,000 miles are enough for a round trip coach ticket to Europe which is valued conservatively at $750 so the airline lost $500 in the transaction.

    So by taking out one credit card the card company “lost” $160 and the airline “lost” $500 and you got a free flight to Europe assuming that you paid off your credit card and therefore didn’t pay any interest or fees.

    The way credit card companies make money is by charging crazy interest often to lower income people who don’t know any better. They lose money on people that do what is discussed on this board. Luckily not many people churn credit cards so we are not enough of a loss that the credit card companies change how they operate.

  • JoC

    You said you’re a financial analyst, what “shady practices”, please enlighten me on this. I’d very much like to know.

  • Michael

    no, for you

  • Michael

    Yawn

  • Mfr

    You have no understanding of leverage in economics, dork

  • JoC

    A good and profitable company cannot just rely on , like you said ” high quality products, good customer services”. There are many factors in a successful business. I thought you should know as an “analyst”.

  • Sdfsg

    dork

  • John

    It doesn’t take someone that covers the airlines to see the shady practices. I just realize how much money they make from them. A couple of examples:

    Overselling flights especially during during the holidays with the hope that (not everyone is going to show up and fly home to their family). They used to not be required to pay customers anything for being bumped when this happens but now the law requires some compensation although I’d rather be able to fly as the contract between myself and the airline was written.

    If you mistakenly put the wrong name on your ticket and don’t realize it they can and will charge a fee ($75-150) to correct the mistake even though it costs the company a small fraction of that (5 minutes of an employees time).

  • http://www.frequentflyeruniversity.com/ Frequent Flyer University

    FYI: The tickets HAVE NOT been canceled yet. Go to Saudi Airlines website, the click on Manage My Bookings, and then eTicket. Enter the first 3 numbers of your ticket (055) in the first box, and then the rest of your ticket numbers (less the 055) in the 2nd box, and it will show that the tickets are still valid and issued. The only thing is that the coupon code is showing as void, so all the tickets are full price. But most of the intra-EU flights didn’t ask for a CC to begin with!

  • John

    The companies that proceed high quality products and good customer service provide high ROEs in the long term the ones that rely on ripping off customers provide low ROEs over the long term. Obviously there is more to it but that is generally the case.

  • John

    Didn’t think you’d have a decent response.

  • John

    What the fuck are you talking about? You realize by changing the name you post under and replying you aren’t “winning” you’re just making yourself look stupid.

  • John

    no, for the airlines.

  • The Points Guy

    Hey everyone, I appreciate all your comments and feedback, but please let’s keep the tone civil when responding to fellow readers. There’s no need for name calling or rudeness. Thanks!

  • Riku Nevala

    BOO HOO!

    While it is sad not to get the tickets free, this is still the reality of the situation. Even if there were a [security] hole in the bank, allowing people to take money from the vault, it still would not be legal to do so. Someone made a mistake and people were abusing that mistake – tickets cancelled and case closed.

    Is it fair? Would it be fair if the company lost hundreds of thousands only because someone made a mistake? Certainly they did not do it on purpose, they did not gain anything out of this.

    I think people are being childish over this thing.

  • JoC

    and you call this “shady practices”?

  • JoC

    There are times when traders go short, because the stock goes up too much, and too FAST, and it doesnt necessarily has to be a bad company..

  • JoC

    @ John
    What is ROE, I only know ROI.

  • BobChi

    This was totally inevitable and follows the usual cycle – company makes a mistake, Flyertalkers and bloggers get excited, lots of people jump on it, company realizes mistake, company cancels “deal”, bloggers and Flyertalkers whine profusely and look for some government to get their freebies for them. I think there’s too much attention to obvious mistakes lately. I’d like to see the conversation back on legitimate deals that will hold up.

  • BobChi

    Completely agreed. That name calling just ruins the spirit of the blog.

  • Juho

    The difference in this case is that the company hasn’t exactly admitted their mistake to include the condition “travel must originate from Japan”. Instead they accused their customers of fraud… I booked flights to Japan and they cancelled them… To me it’s very far from fraud to use Japanese website to book flights to Japan!!! I think most the anger comes from this, not from cancelling the tickets…

  • John

    The fact that you don’t think those are shady practices confirms you are a shill for an airline(s).

  • http://www.ecouponsdeal.com/ John lenon

    Well that is too much discount you were going to get that may be the reason they canceled your ticket.

  • asdf

    bitch

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