ITA Airways’ Fake SkyTeam Membership

ITA Airways’ Fake SkyTeam Membership

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Over a year ago, ITA Airways joined the SkyTeam alliance. For context, ITA is Italy’s new national airline that launched in October 2021, replacing Alitalia. So, how is ITA’s participation in the SkyTeam alliance going? Not well, if you ask me…

ITA Airways’ non-participation in SkyTeam

ITA Airways is formally part of the SkyTeam alliance. From the perspective of passengers, the biggest benefits of an airline belonging to an alliance include reciprocal mileage earning, reciprocal mileage redemptions, and reciprocal elite perks.

Only virtually none of those things apply with ITA Airways:

  • You can’t redeem miles with SkyTeam partner airlines for travel on ITA Airways
  • You generally can’t earn miles with SkyTeam partner airlines for travel on ITA Airways, unless it’s a codeshare flight marketed by the program you’re crediting to
  • In some cases you don’t get reciprocal partner elite recognition; not all SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus status from partners isn’t honored on ITA Airways, while those who have ITA Airways status don’t receive some elite perks on SkyTeam partners

For example, take a look at Delta’s partner page for ITA Airways:

Please note, earn is temporarily unavailable on ITA Airways-marketed, ITA Airways-operated flights denoted by AZ*/AZ airline code. Additionally, SkyTeam Elite and Elite Plus benefits will be temporarily unavailable on ITA Airways-operated flights.

Similarly, I’m thinking of going for status with Air France-KLM Flying Blue, so I figured an ITA Airways review trip would be a good way to rack up some XPs (Flying Blue’s metric for earning status). Unfortunately you also don’t earn miles or XPs unless you book an Air France or KLM codeshare on ITA Airways. Per the Flying Blue page for ITA Airways:

Earn Miles and gain XP on flights marketed as Air France (AF) and/or KLM (KL) and operated by ITA Airways (AZ).

It would appear to me that the extent of ITA Airways’ participation in SkyTeam is simply painting the SkyTeam logo on planes…

ITA Airways Airbus A350

This is disappointing and confusing

If we’re being honest, the global alliances aren’t quite as hot as they used to be, as they’ve largely been deemphasized in favor of joint ventures, equity investments, etc. You’d think the major alliances would be doing everything they could to at least make the travel experience seamless for travelers, in hopes of justifying their purpose.

ITA Airways belonging to SkyTeam for over a year without actually belonging to SkyTeam undermines the core value proposition of the alliance concept, which is that passengers can expect a level of reciprocity regardless of which member airline they fly. I would understand if it took a month or two after joining for things to get up to speed, but over a year?

I can’t help but wonder why this is the way it is. Is it SkyTeam or ITA Airways dragging its feet?

If there were an alliance to have an issue like this, I’m not surprised it’s SkyTeam. After all, SkyTeam generally has the weakest reciprocal elite recognition and the weakest reciprocal award redemptions of any of the “big three” alliances. That’s not to say that individual SkyTeam airlines aren’t good (SkyTeam has some great airlines), but the alliance isn’t quite as consistent as oneworld or Star Alliance.

ITA Airways Airbus A350 business class

Bottom line

Italy’s ITA Airways has now belonged to the SkyTeam alliance for over a year, yet reciprocal mileage earning, reciprocal mileage redemptions, and reciprocal elite perks largely remain unavailable. This is something I really can’t make sense of…

What do you make of ITA’s strange non-participation in SkyTeam?

Conversations (30)
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  1. Klaus Guest

    “ We are pleased to inform you that Korean Air, the national airline of South Korea and member of the SkyTeam alliance, is now a partner of Volare. […] By choosing to fly with Korean Air, as our alliance airline, Elite Plus members will enjoy SkyPriority services, including priority check-in and boarding, drop-off and additional baggage, and many more.

    The benefits don't end there: you will also have the opportunity to accumulate points on flights...

    “ We are pleased to inform you that Korean Air, the national airline of South Korea and member of the SkyTeam alliance, is now a partner of Volare. […] By choosing to fly with Korean Air, as our alliance airline, Elite Plus members will enjoy SkyPriority services, including priority check-in and boarding, drop-off and additional baggage, and many more.

    The benefits don't end there: you will also have the opportunity to accumulate points on flights operated by Korean Air. Simply provide your Volare frequent flyer number when booking or check-in to earn Volare points.“

  2. Lisa Guest

    Yup just got screwed on using ITA flight (purchased thru Delta!) and could not get miles on Delta.

  3. Gregory James Guest

    I had a flight booked with ITA last month, but my wife and I caught Covid a few days before the flight. (incidentally from being crammed next to a couple in coach who continuously coughed on me during a Skyteam flight a few days before). Figured I would be good and not spread my covid around, so canceled our entire Italy trip, losing thousands of dollars...
    Anyway, I contacted ITA to cancel my flight...

    I had a flight booked with ITA last month, but my wife and I caught Covid a few days before the flight. (incidentally from being crammed next to a couple in coach who continuously coughed on me during a Skyteam flight a few days before). Figured I would be good and not spread my covid around, so canceled our entire Italy trip, losing thousands of dollars...
    Anyway, I contacted ITA to cancel my flight and they said I could get a airfare refund if I sent proof of my Covid test, which I did.
    Never got the refund.
    Never going to fly ITA.
    They suck.

    1. Klaus Guest

      Did you book a refundable fare? Did you have travel insurance? Is there any airline that refunds your money after sending a photo of a negative Covid Test?

      Oooh…and why did you not wear a FFP2 mask to protect yourself on the flight a few days earlier? Since your neighbor was coughing on you that might’ve been a good idea.

  4. iamhere Guest

    Good news is there was a notice that told you in advance. It would be different if you found out by experience. I think the problem is both. I think the systems of the airline have not been integrated yet and I think the problem is also on the Skyteam side too. Also, its important to note that not all accruals are the same value. Many people think they will just get it with the...

    Good news is there was a notice that told you in advance. It would be different if you found out by experience. I think the problem is both. I think the systems of the airline have not been integrated yet and I think the problem is also on the Skyteam side too. Also, its important to note that not all accruals are the same value. Many people think they will just get it with the one airline they use in the alliance which generally is good to not spread yourself too thin as you can't combine miles with various members of the alliance, BUT that does not mean your earnings will be the same. I have to say in general I don't really value airline miles as much as I used to. Its much more expensive to redeem tickets in terms of the cost in miles and often it's much more cost effective to redeem for short trips and credit card points are looking as if they are increasingly flexible with less devaluation.

  5. Manuheit Guest

    Did not get XPs for my ITA LIN-BRU flight this summer. And when checking-in online, even with FB status did not get the opportunity of the added hold luggage. Check-in staff confirmed I could take one more for free but I already purchased the additional bag online. Still waiting for the reimbursement... Very disappointing!
    It is the same for DL flights operated by Accessrail (Thalys train between AMS and Antwerpen (ZWE) and Brussels (ZYR))....

    Did not get XPs for my ITA LIN-BRU flight this summer. And when checking-in online, even with FB status did not get the opportunity of the added hold luggage. Check-in staff confirmed I could take one more for free but I already purchased the additional bag online. Still waiting for the reimbursement... Very disappointing!
    It is the same for DL flights operated by Accessrail (Thalys train between AMS and Antwerpen (ZWE) and Brussels (ZYR)). No XPs even if with KL or AF marketed "flights" you collect these...

  6. Adam Guest

    This is incredibly frustrating and not very transparent as all the wording is in fine print. I flew business class on ITA from Boston to Israel and get 0 miles. It was not clear when I booked the trip and would never have done so if it were.

    1. Klaus Guest

      You can at least get ITA miles - sooner or later, Volare will be fully integrated into Miles&More :)

  7. David Guest

    Agreed. I took an ITA flight in March. They allow you to put your Delta FF in the reservation but then no credit. Also waiting for DL to credit my daughter for Latam flights taken this summer. You also get no response from DL when you file. With DL having the worst reward redemption offers I’m shifting away to other airlines.

  8. Jeremy Guest

    Has anybody who writes this or similar stories actually asked ITA why none of these benefits exist and if they plan to offer them in the future? Has anyone reached out to sky team?

  9. Reed Guest

    This seems like a Scam to me. Don't fly ITA Airlines.

  10. Steve Sorko New Member

    Did the status match as I was Flying Blue Silver at the time. Website was useless and couldn't even print off the info. Business Class flight in May Barcelona to Rome was once a day and rescheduled from noon to four hours later. No lounge access in Barcelona for Business Class although AF/KL uses the same lounge. I used my Priority Pass to get in. The lunch was so horrible on board I left it....

    Did the status match as I was Flying Blue Silver at the time. Website was useless and couldn't even print off the info. Business Class flight in May Barcelona to Rome was once a day and rescheduled from noon to four hours later. No lounge access in Barcelona for Business Class although AF/KL uses the same lounge. I used my Priority Pass to get in. The lunch was so horrible on board I left it. Half the materials still has Alitalia on it. Ground staff rather confused about many issues. Domestic Economy in June Rome to Bologna okay. The only benefit I got was checking in for the Economy flight with Sky Priority and getting to use the Fast Track through Rome Security but I had to ask for everything politely. Points useless now and I keep getting requests to apply for Back credits as originally I put my Flying Blue number on file not knowing the flights had to be marketed as AF/KL to get points. A total waste of time and energy dealing with them.

  11. TranceXplant Member

    Let's face it. ITA status (matched just like everyone else's) has been a joke from the get go, with no way to add the FF number to partner itineraries and basically no knowledge of the airline's existence among partners' staff. The only perk I've received is free baggage on Delta. And that only came about after I showed the person at check-in my physical card AND the list of member airlines on the Skyteam website. This was in late July.

  12. Zee Guest

    I purchased $600 worth of miles from them during a promotion back when they were still Alitalia, in the hope that I could redeem these miles for a one-way reward ticket in the business class later.

    And voila! When I needed to redeem the miles, they told me that I couldn't because I haven't met their "minimum requirement" of getting 40% of my miles from flying on their birds, which they never mentioned during the...

    I purchased $600 worth of miles from them during a promotion back when they were still Alitalia, in the hope that I could redeem these miles for a one-way reward ticket in the business class later.

    And voila! When I needed to redeem the miles, they told me that I couldn't because I haven't met their "minimum requirement" of getting 40% of my miles from flying on their birds, which they never mentioned during the mileage purchasing process.

    That's why I will always be staying away from them, no matter how many times they change their names. It's just low for them to do business in a way that almost looks like scamming, despite being a "first-world" airline, not some Nigerian airline scam.

  13. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    At least Delta (proper) warns you.

    Delta Vacations loveeees to book people on ITA, because it's often the cheapest TATL cnnx priceout... and the never say a thing about inability to earn on an AZ code.

    Cost me approx 19K MQMs that I was counting on this year. Seen it even worse for others, on sites like FlyerTalk. :(

  14. AlliW Guest

    Rome/FCO airport lounge for Delta Biz Class passengers = ITA Lounge !

  15. Raylan Guest

    The Italian government is in the process of selling off ITA. It's rumored that AF/KLM are the frontrunners to buy ITA, with LH group lurking. Assuming that goes through, I suspect integration will meaningfully improve. It's possible that SkyTeam isn't doing more to integrate unless and until a sale goes through in case LH group ends up buying ITA.

    1. Daniel Guest

      It makes sense, given that the deadline for the sale of the airline has been extended until Oct 31, but its rumored that it might be extended again until the end of 2022 or early 2023.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      the potential investor group - which has exclusivity so LH is not part of the discussion right now - includes Delta and a US-based investment group.
      The Skyteam membership preceded the negotiations to buy a stake in ITA and follows Alitalia's SkyTeam membership.
      Given that AF and DL are founding members of Skyteam as well as future potential investors, the decision to allow ITA to operate at a limited Skyteam membership level is clearly with their approval.

  16. Michael Skriver Guest

    This is akin to Iberia's participating in the OneWorld alliance, if you are a Qatar member. All benefits and status really doesnt matter on an Iberia flight - nor are qpoints and avios redeemped on certain flights - even they are codeshared. So actualoy this better, but still bad.

  17. 305 Guest

    Let’s be honest, the best ITA perk was the free status match, and then turning around to use that for Royal Air Maroc status for OW Sapphire/Emerald

  18. Frog Guest

    For what it’s worth, I recently used my FB Platinum status to access the lounge in Rome while flying ITA. And it was not an AF / KL marketed flight.

  19. Lee Guest

    Ben, I'm certain that you've also recognized that the Flying Blue XP system is (intentionally) stacked against US and Canadian members. Transcon business class in Canada and the US earns 6XP. Non-stop business class to Hawaii, 6XP. In spite of being a hair over 200 miles but because it is "international," AF economy from CDG to LHR earns 5XP. Air France knew exactly what it was doing when it added the "domestic" category without distance tiers. No thanks.

    1. Reyyan Member

      Oh please, in the US you can get Flyingblue Silver status with a simple creditcard. That’s something we don’t have in Europe, let us have those 5XP :)

    2. Lee Guest

      It's not just in the US. Soon to be a member of SkyTeam, Virgin Atlantic offers it in the UK. Sounds like an opportunity for feedback to Flying Blue. That being said, I will fall back to my position that premium cabins receive (virtually) all of the benefits of tier status, so what's really the point of tier status?

    3. Reyyan Member

      True for many status is not really worth it. But for me who flies economy in Europe a lot, having status makes all the difference, it's essentially all the business class benefits minus the empty middle seat.

    4. glenn t Diamond

      Yeah, stop your whining Lee! You've never had it so good.

  20. Rob Guest

    I will say as one with the status matched ITA elite plus but normally flies OW carriers and don’t have an Amex plat, I was able to access DL skyclubs both in EWR and ATL late last month on a EWR-ATL-MEX itinerary by showing them my digital ITA membership card on my phone without much trouble at all. So at least for SC access on intl itineraries, you get STE+ benefits.

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Reyyan Member

Oh please, in the US you can get Flyingblue Silver status with a simple creditcard. That’s something we don’t have in Europe, let us have those 5XP :)

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Zee Guest

I purchased $600 worth of miles from them during a promotion back when they were still Alitalia, in the hope that I could redeem these miles for a one-way reward ticket in the business class later. And voila! When I needed to redeem the miles, they told me that I couldn't because I haven't met their "minimum requirement" of getting 40% of my miles from flying on their birds, which they never mentioned during the mileage purchasing process. That's why I will always be staying away from them, no matter how many times they change their names. It's just low for them to do business in a way that almost looks like scamming, despite being a "first-world" airline, not some Nigerian airline scam.

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Andrew Guest

I do not understand this analogy.

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