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Alitalia stops selling tickets, prepares to shut down and be replaced

Aug. 24, 2021
3 min read
Alitalia stops selling tickets, prepares to shut down and be replaced
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Italian national carrier Alitalia announced Tuesday Aug. 24 that it would stop issuing tickets and will effectively shut down operations as it prepares to dissolve and be replaced by a new airline.

The new carrier, Italia Transporto Aereo (ITA), plans to begin operations on Oct. 15, 2021, according to the airline. Alitalia will consequently stop selling tickets for flights on or after that date, and will allow passengers with tickets for later to reschedule or request a refund.

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Passengers with award tickets for travel after Oct. 15 booked through the airline's frequent flyer program, MilleMiglia, can either change their dates of travel (including booking on SkyTeam partners) or cancel their flight and get their miles redeposited.

It was not clear, however, what will happen to unspent MilleMiglia miles after ITA takes over on Oct. 15. ITA is a new airline, rather than a post-bankruptcy reformation of Alitalia. Under European Commission rules, the new airline was unable to take over Alitalia's frequent flyer program, although the airline will buy some of Alitalia's other assets

While there is a possibility of another entity purchasing MilleMiglia and operating it for ITA passengers — similar to the setup between Aeroplan and Air Canada — there is no guarantee. Consequently, it could be wise for those holding MilleMiglia miles to try to burn them before Oct. 15.

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ITA plans to launch as a significantly leaner operation than Alitalia, which has been in bankruptcy since 2017, and was nationalized by the Italian government in March, 2020 as the COVID-19 crisis threw the airline industry into turmoil. The newcomer will have fewer slots at Milan’s Linate Airport (LIN) and at Rome's Fiumicino Airport (FCO) than Alitalia previously held. Still it says it plans to eventually expand.

More: How Africa’s No. 1 airline avoided layoffs and losses during the pandemic

Although ITA will buy the old Alitalia brand and livery, and will have the Italian government as its largest shareholder, it plans to avoid the mistakes that led the former flag carrier to years of bankruptcy and an eventual collapse. The new airline plans to have fewer employees, a smaller and more efficient fleet, and use fewer slots.

It's unclear, however, how resilient the new airline will be to competition from Europe's low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet, which have put heavy pressure on the continent's mainline carriers. While ITA plans to fly long-haul routes, international travel remains severely depressed due to the pandemic, along with business travel, which could severely impact the feasibility of launching those routes. And the carrier it's set to replace — Alitalia — suffered through numerous reorganizations during its hugely unprofitable modern era. Now, it remains to be seen if successor ITA can chart a different course. Stay tuned ...

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023