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Author Topic: Flying Alitalia ... advice on carry on challenges  (Read 10339 times)
Wayne Fox
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« on: September 03, 2009, 01:14:40 PM »
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Headed to Florence in a couple of weeks.  My flight is booked from Chicago through Rome on Alitalia.  Just checking their website to make sure I didn't have problems with carryons, I discovered they have an amazingly insane restriction on the weight.  They only allow 1 carry on, and while it can be a small roller bag, total weight is limited to 5 kilos ... 11 pounds.  The bag alone probably weighs 40 to 50% of that total.

They make exceptions for things like musical instruments.  Anyone have any experience with them trying to carry their camera equipment? Can you get permission to carry an extra bag with your camera gear like a musician can?
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framah
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2009, 01:23:44 PM »
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Can you get your camera to make a noise like a trumpet??
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 01:55:23 PM »
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I would use Michael's idea of wearing a multi-pocket photographer's vest into which you stow most lenses, etc., while the carry-on bag is being weighed. You can put things back in the bag once you are on the plane. I have done this successfully a few times now and it does bring me some peace of mind.

I agree that attaching a tuba mouthpiece to your MFDB might not be a bad idea.

Have a great trip. Florence is a fantastic city, and the surrounding countryside is gorgeous, too.

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 02:21:32 PM »
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Quote from: EricM
I would use Michael's idea of wearing a multi-pocket photographer's vest into which you stow most lenses, etc., while the carry-on bag is being weighed. You can put things back in the bag once you are on the plane. I have done this successfully a few times now and it does bring me some peace of mind.

I agree that attaching a tuba mouthpiece to your MFDB might not be a bad idea.

Have a great trip. Florence is a fantastic city, and the surrounding countryside is gorgeous, too.

Yeah, that's my current plan - the vest with lens loaded.  I may try calling and seeing if they grant exemptions for value.  I know fine musical instruments are very valuable, but my camera gear is in the same territory of value.

Wondering if I told them it was a musical instrument if they would open it and check ...

With these weight restrictions, I'm afraid the PhaseOne system won't be making the trip.  Will be doing some street shooting as well as landscape, will probably have to opt for the 5d mark2 and a couple of lenses.  I'll pack my pano gear in the suitcase ... hopefully it will get there.

Pretty bummed out right now ... disappointed in Delta who partners with this carrier.  I just can't imagine any reason they are so restrictive.
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framah
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« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2009, 02:53:48 PM »
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If your flight originated thru Delta, then you "might" be able to use Deltas weight limits and Alitalia should honor their limits.

I know other airlines do that. Check with Delta if that is the case.

I was checking out  a trip to Africa once and it originated  with a US company and switched over to a  British airways flight and they honored the US companies limits.

Not sure about now but it's worth a look see.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2009, 05:48:48 PM »
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Quote from: framah
If your flight originated thru Delta, then you "might" be able to use Deltas weight limits and Alitalia should honor their limits.

I know other airlines do that. Check with Delta if that is the case.

I was checking out  a trip to Africa once and it originated  with a US company and switched over to a  British airways flight and they honored the US companies limits.

Not sure about now but it's worth a look see.


Thanks.  Good idea.  I'll give Delta a call.
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Thomas Krüger
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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2009, 01:27:36 AM »
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Alitalia and the Rome Airport Fiumicino had A LOT of trouble with late or missing luggage the last time. Be sure to have a good assurance!
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francois
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2009, 01:34:18 AM »
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Quote from: ThomasK
Alitalia and the Rome Airport Fiumicino had A LOT of trouble with late or missing luggage the last time. Be sure to have a good assurance!
I second that warning! If you go through Rome expect to have your luggage delayed.
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Francois
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 01:38:44 AM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
Yeah, that's my current plan - the vest with lens loaded.  I may try calling and seeing if they grant exemptions for value.  I know fine musical instruments are very valuable, but my camera gear is in the same territory of value.
Be aware that if your vest looks heavy they might ask you to check it with your suitcase. Even if they tell you that you'll be OK over the phone, have plan B ready. Alitalia can really be a major PITA.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 11:20:38 AM »
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Another idea:  You need the camera gear, but not the heavy bag.  Find ways to transport the camera gear that are lighter, so much more of that 11 lb can be gear rather than baggage.  For example, a school-type backpack is far lighter than a rolling carry-on, and you can pad the gear in something light like clothes if your camera bag is relatively heavy.  If your checked luggage with the camera bag is lost or substantially delayed, well, there are plenty of camera stores with camera bags you can buy once you get there, and the bags are a heck of a lot cheaper to replace than the gear.

If you try to use the more generous Delta weight limits when boarding the Alitalia flight, there's a good chance they will ask you to gate-check your carry-on if it's over the Alitalia weight limit.  When there are draconian weight limits, it's usually because the plane is a very small one, and the weight limits are there for a reason and are frequently enforced.  (That happened to me when transferring from a United 777 flight to a small Croatian Air flight a couple of years back.)

Lisa

P.S.  Another warning on Florence:  I flew through there a year or two ago.  It's a *small* airport, with a lot less in terms of guidance equipment for the pilots than most airports.  What that means is that if it's foggy, planes don't take off or land there.  I got stuck there for several hours in fog (in January) before they finally bussed us to the larger airport at Bologna, but by then I had missed my connection in Frankfurt and had to wait until the next day for a flight home.  Be prepared for a delay if the weather is foggy, and next time fly into Pisa (which has a larger airport that can handle a little fog, and isn't far away) instead of Florence!
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kikashi
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2009, 12:29:10 PM »
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Quote from: framah
If your flight originated thru Delta, then you "might" be able to use Deltas weight limits and Alitalia should honor their limits.
Worth investigating, I agree, but even if it works on the way out, it might well not work on the way back, when you're getting onto an Alitalia flight first. Just a thought.

Jeremy
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framah
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2009, 01:06:01 PM »
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Worth investigating, I agree, but even if it works on the way out, it might well not work on the way back, when you're getting onto an Alitalia flight first. Just a thought.

Jeremy

Yeah, but the flight originated in the USA thru Delta whose rules should be the ones working there.

It's pretty much a crap shoot no matter where you go.  It all depends on the mood they are in when you get there. If the guy before you ticked them off, you are the target.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2009, 01:33:38 PM »
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Hi,

Some ideas...

1) Bags are heavy, I use a Gura Gear Kiboko right now
2) If you fly with Delta Delta limits probably apply
3) It is not customary that luggage is wighted, happened to me only once, needed to check my camera bag at that time.
4) The west is a good idea. Don't know how to fit my 400/4.5 in my west ;-)

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Wayne Fox
Headed to Florence in a couple of weeks.  My flight is booked from Chicago through Rome on Alitalia.  Just checking their website to make sure I didn't have problems with carryons, I discovered they have an amazingly insane restriction on the weight.  They only allow 1 carry on, and while it can be a small roller bag, total weight is limited to 5 kilos ... 11 pounds.  The bag alone probably weighs 40 to 50% of that total.

They make exceptions for things like musical instruments.  Anyone have any experience with them trying to carry their camera equipment? Can you get permission to carry an extra bag with your camera gear like a musician can?
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2009, 06:13:49 PM »
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Thanks for all the tips.  This is my first venture across the Atlantic, and I'll be alone so I'm a little nervous about the details.

I gave a Delta a call, and he reviewed the policy.  Basically because it is a Delta flight and a delta flight number, the carrier is supposed to honor Delta carry-on policies.  However, Alitalia reserves the right to make excepts based on circumstances.  The risk I take is the connecting flight to Florence, although it isn't a small jet, it may have restrictive carry-on space.

So while this was somewhat reassuring, there are still risks.  Guess I'll see what I can get into my backpack, with the vest on in case I need to lighten it up.  Wouldn't be so bad if they allowed one carry-on plus one personal item ... I could handle that.  Unfortunately talking to someone from Alitalia wasn't very successful, the only time I managed to get through they claimed they couldn't hear me, told me to call back, and hung up.

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kikashi
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2009, 04:46:17 AM »
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Quote from: framah
Yeah, but the flight originated in the USA thru Delta whose rules should be the ones working there.
You'd need better Italian than mine to argue the toss with the Alitalia checkin girls in Florence!

Jeremy
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abiggs
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« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2009, 02:45:59 PM »
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Wayne, what are you looking to take as far as gear?

The problem with flying on another airline, even though you booked through Delta and it is a Delta number, is going to be the return trip home. It is generally easy to get gear there, but coming back will likely be your thorn in your side.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2009, 04:42:44 PM »
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Quote from: abiggs
Wayne, what are you looking to take as far as gear?

The problem with flying on another airline, even though you booked through Delta and it is a Delta number, is going to be the return trip home. It is generally easy to get gear there, but coming back will likely be your thorn in your side.

Thats been a concern as well.  I've decided  to eliminate the p65 system, and going only with my 5DMk2 and 4 lenses, and I may drop the 100mm macro out as well since a couple of others i am meeting up with will let me borrow theirs if I have a need.

  I've got my carry on down to a single backpack with 13"mbp and the camera gear, around 15lbs right now but the size works.  My guess is it will end up around 18lbs total once I add a few other items.

Sounds like many European airlines have very restrictive policies.  Would be nice if they would recognize the value and care needed for high end photography gear as much as they do musical instruments.

That brings to mind another question ... if I "gate" check in Europe does that work as well as it does in the states?  I have to do this frequently with delta since many flights out of Salt Lake are on regional jets and the camera case won't fit.  Never had a problem, camera is always waiting for me.   The short hop from Rome to Florence might require "gate" checking because of limited overhead.  How risky of a proposition is that?

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francois
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2009, 02:54:08 AM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox

Sounds like many European airlines have very restrictive policies.
That's right but some others offer no-limit carry-on weight (not on size!). EasyJet is one of these.

I can't help you for gate checking as I mostly travel by car or train in France/Italy. By the way, Florence is just a mere 3-hour car drive from Rome.

I hope that you'll enjoy your first visit in Italy!
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Francois
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« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2009, 02:41:27 PM »
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Quote from: francois
That's right but some others offer no-limit carry-on weight (not on size!). EasyJet is one of these.

I can't help you for gate checking as I mostly travel by car or train in France/Italy. By the way, Florence is just a mere 3-hour car drive from Rome.

I hope that you'll enjoy your first visit in Italy!

I assume a train ride would also have been a good option ... regretting I didn't check into that before I bought my ticket.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2009, 02:50:11 PM »
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Hi,

So would be a rental car. I almost suggested it but I presume that the Italian way of driving could be a chock for Wayne, as it was for me. Driving in the Dolomites is OK but real Italy seems to be something "different".

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Wayne Fox
I assume a train ride would also have been a good option ... regretting I didn't check into that before I bought my ticket.
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