Air Italy Cancels Chicago Flights Before They Even Launch

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Qatar Airways recently acquired a 49% stake in Air Italy, which was formerly known as Meridiana. This seems to be Qatar Airways’ attempt at putting Alitalia out of business (though I doubt that will ever happen).

Qatar Airways had big expansion plans for Air Italy. To start Qatar Airways leased them some A330s, but soon the airline is supposed to be getting 787s from Qatar Airways as well, to further fuel their expansion.

Up until recently, the airline had announced that they’d serve six destinations in North America and three destinations in Asia, all from their hub in Milan.

As I covered yesterday, within weeks of launching the flights, Air Italy has already revealed that they’ll be canceling flights to Bangkok, Delhi, and Mumbai, meaning that they’re completely canceling flights to Asia.

This nonetheless left the airline with six longhaul routes to North America. Air Italy already flies to New York JFK and Miami, and over the past couple of months they’ve announced that they’ll start flying to Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto, as of spring 2019. But even that isn’t happening now.

Air Italy has canceled plans to operate their Milan to Chicago route, which was due to launch 3x weekly as of May 14, 2019. The airline hasn’t given an explanation for the cancelation, though has zeroed out all the inventory on the route.

Like I said yesterday about Air Italy canceling all their flights to Asia, this is just plain embarrassing, and this airline is being run by amateur hour. You’d think that Qatar Airways would have learned from Etihad Airways’ mistakes, as they invested in a bunch of unprofitable airlines and continued to run them in unsustainable ways.

However, at this point I can’t help but believe that they didn’t actually learn any of those lessons. In addition to the originally announced destinations of Miami and New York, the airline has announced service to seven additional destinations, and four of those have been canceled — one before launch, and three just weeks after launch.

I guess we’ll see how long Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto last…

(Tip of the hat to Niko_jas)

  1. They used to be the cheapest options out of New York and Miami but with the Basic Economy fares now available AA is the same if not slightly cheaper.

    As a side note I’m curious why Chicago has such limited multiple flights a day to international destinations

  2. Strange, because the past few months they have been advertising like crazy on the radio. (Chicagoland market)

  3. Pure speculation, but you think politics has anything to do with this? Maybe Qatar gave in to the big 3 a little, and got concessions somewhere else whether for the airline or Qatar as a country in general?

  4. I had a terrible experience with Air Italy last year on a series of flights and with customer service on phone & email. I booked soon after they announced schedule and before they began to unbundle fares. They lost my seat assignments & claimed I never had any, they kept me waiting for an hour on hold then hung up before I spoke to anyone & told me complete an online complaint form which was then ignored. I was surprised by your good review but I guess when everything goes okay they’re okay. Amateur hour indeed.

  5. So in all reality, what’re we calling the over/under on how many more months AirItaly will actually be around? All these route cancellations must portend something bigger/worse down the road; it’s not a matter of if, but when.

  6. @Markus : ORD has a poor showing of international flights or foreign airlines ? in what sense ? for an interior airport, i’d say their foreign airline representation is definitely up to par.

  7. no way! I already bought my flights and non-refundable hotel reservations….Does anyone know my rights in this situation? cant believe this is happening =(

  8. I have Avios tickets on their LAX flight and I’m wondering what happens if they cancel that route…?

  9. Declining GDP growth over two consecutive quarters (July to December 2018) has put Italy in recession – it’s the third time the country has fallen into recession in a decade. You have to wonder how much this may have played into Air Italy becoming more cautious in their growth plans for 2019.

  10. mark, me too and wondering the same… just about to put down non refundable money for the trip we’ve planned. wondering what our best options are. thoughts?

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