segunda-feira, 18 de junho de 2007

Imbrogllio d’Alitalia en Milano

Milano, the 14th day of June, 2007
Dear fellows from Air France,
(still)   Dear fellows from Alitalia
The reason for the qualification (in brackets) of my dearness for my Italian friends of Alitalia will soon be understood.
In December of 2007, I was victim of the lost-luggage airport syndrome, in a 3-leg-trip from Rio to Dubai (passing by São Paulo and London), via British Airways. Summary: my luggage came back to me at the exact time of the check-out in Dubai hotel, 5 days later. For sure, I had to purchase new clothes, to properly represent my company, and some artifacts for personal hygiene. No problem, I was properly indemnified by British Airways, with money enough to cover my direct expenses, and some surplus, fair to partially cover the time spent in shopping, drugstores and traffic. British Airways acted in a very responsible manner, as it would be expected for a very serious company, who cares for their business. 
In the Portuguese idiom, we have a popular saying: “Gato escaldado tem medo de água fria!” I do not know the proper correspondent in English, but it talks about those who don’t like to commit the same mistake twice. New trip, this time not so ‘so’ far away, only two legs, Rio-Paris, then Paris-Milano, with a few hours spent in CDG, as per the below details:
Rio-Paris          Flight AF0443             11-Jun,             16:25               Class Z
Paris-Milano    Flight AF9804             12-Jun,            10:00               Class C
Well, ”gato escaldado”, I decided to take my luggage with me this time, to avoid problems in my arrival at final destination. The trip would be short, the luggage was proper to be carried as hand baggage. No problems in first leg, no problems in CDG, using the special customs/security rows for those in Class L’Espace. The flight to Milano was a code-sharing with Alitalia flight AZ0303, in an aircraft McDonnel Douglas Super80. I’m not sure if the name is right, point is that my baggage did not fit in the overhead compartment, thus not honoring the name of the class I was traveling (L’Espace). Crew told me it would have to be removed from cabin and ‘carried in the hold’ as it was stated in the TAG they gave to me,  Number AF730013. That’s OK, let’s follow the rules, doors closed, the flight went fine, good service, nice view of Le Mont Blanc, the plane landed lovely in Malpensa Airport in Milano. Unfortunately, the good moments terminated with the stamp in the passport. My dear baggage was not there! I went to Lost and Found, Alitalia counter, and explained to the kind attendant the weird situation of having traveled in the same plane of my dear baggage and not having it with me in that moment. She found it very strange, checked, re-checked, and finally decided to open a Lost Baggage Process, with the details below:
File Reference:           MXPAZ27491 12 giu 2007 12.05 LT
Name:                          VENTURA
Title/Initials:  MR/HV
Flight/Date:                AZ0303-12
Number Of bags:         1
Ticket number:            05749717951040
Colour/Type:               GN22WHX
TAG Number:              AF730013 (as you can see, it is an Air France Tag)
Although I was very upset with the situation, my past experience told me that ‘everything would gonna be alright’. I asked to the kind attendant if Alitalia had any ‘cash advance policy’ for this situation, because, for sure, I would have to spend some money. She told me to keep the receipts and that everything would be properly dealt with (!!!), the reimbursement would come smoothly.
I left the airport, 40 minutes after the scheduled time, with the plans of next hours: check-in in the hotel, fast shower, buy some clothes, put them on, straight to the afternoon meeting with the company I came to visit. So I did it, and purchased clothes enough for two days: the 11th, that was almost lost, and the 12th, according to the list below:
As expected, my baggage did not arrive in the 12th, only in the next day, and in the evening of that day, at least for me, that arrived late in the hotel after another full day of meetings. So I had opportunity to use each and every item I had bought. As you see, I was very reasonable in the shopping because I did not buy (but should have bought) a replacement for the suit that was in my baggage, and decided to use the jacket I had during the flight. I did not buy even a single tie, and used two that I borrowed from a friend. I was very scared with the prices in Milano.
Well, the baggage arrived on June 13th in my hotel, Pallazo delle Stelline, accompanied by a document called ‘Modulo Di Consegna Bagaglio‘, as follows:
N.ro Pratica:                200713200801 MXPAZ27491
Numero posozione:       A04-051422-13/06/2007-SCH           
           I noticed that, although the mess was made by Alitalia, it was Air France who paid for the Courier service that brought the baggage back.

Happy with my dear baggage back, I began, on that very night of 13th  the process of getting the proper compensation. First call was a Milano answering machine, that told me that my baggage had been delivered to my hotel. Good news, indeed (!!!). I needed some living person to give me some instructions on how to get the proper reimbursement or whatever means of compensation I would have. Second call, information, they gave me the Alitalia General phone, in Rome; Third call, Alitalia Rome, sent me back to the Milano answering machine, I complained; Fourth call, to the phone Alitalia Rome gave to me, Alitalia Milano, but nobody spoke English, my Italian is poor, I gave up and called it a day. No more calls!
Next day, today, the 14th, I had the collaboration of an Italian secretary of the company I was visiting, so the proper idiom to talk with them could be used. After a few hours, she came with the news that the guys in Alitalia told her that as my baggage was back, I did not have any right of reimbursement. In other words, go complain to the Pope!
           No, I’m far from Rome, I will complain to you, for this is not the right response of a serious company to a client that had been not properly treated in a service provided by it. So I am here jotting these lines, comfortably seated in my room, drinking a Coke, looking to a giant magnolia tree, through a full-view window of the 17th century refurbished building of Pallazo delle Stelline, hearing Italian songs, inspired by the strong, yet romantic, latin idiom.
           I finalize this letter asking, please, for either one of you to contact me. I hope that I can remove the qualification of the caput of this message and still consider the Italian fellows of Alitalia dear, so they can honor the name, and the colors of the flag, of this beautiful and ancient country, that they carry in their company’s logo.
           I kindly ask you to, in the calculation of my indemnification, include the one hour lost to write this letter.
Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain,
Respectfully yours,

           Homero Ventura
A Alitalia, dona do avião trapalhão, fez a continha básica: 50 Euros por dia sem bagagem. Fiquei um dia sem minha mala, deram-me cinquentinha;
Já a Air France, que era apenas a operadora do vôo, foi muito mais correta e devolveu cada centavo de euro que eu gastei, e apresentei recibo: 226,1 Euros (recebi um cheque de R$ 586,63). Nem reclamou de eu ter comprado uma camisa esporte, de 70 Euros. Se  soubesse, teria comprado um terno italiano! Brincadeira, na verdade, eu até usei meu 'comedimento' como argumento para convencê-los a me reembolsar.
É, então, minha segunda experiência de mala perdida com sucesso: a mala também foi achada, e obtive indenização: com a Brittish Airways foram US$ 600 + US$ 200 da AssistCard. E, na época, eu gastei só US$ 300 em roupas em Dubai (que diferença com os preços de Milão!).
Desse jeito, vou começar a torcer para a mala  ser perdida mais vezes. Em poucas viagens, renovo meu vestuário (HeHeHe). Que nada, não compensa a dor de cabeça!