There are many horror stories regarding travelers stuck in other countries due to COVID-19. The most harrowing are Italians cemented in Argentina. Italians are price gouged for overbooked reparation flights costing 2200 euros per person. Stories are surfacing where travelers paid the 2200 euros only to arrive at the airport and find out the flight was overbooked with no reschedule date. Overbooked flights with no refunds and no reschedule date are a recurring theme.
Over forty people with 2200 euros tickets in their hands watched the most recent reparation flight from Argentina to Italy take off without them.
Italian YouTubers Sara and Luca of Leave Everything And Wander (LEAW) who are also unable to leave share Renzo Malaladra’s sad story of the Rossi family stuck in Argentina with no hope in sight. Please note that the Rossis are a family of four who paid a total of 8800 euros for their tickets. Adding additional costs associated with the flight, the Rossi family spent a total of 12,193 euros only to watch the airplane fly away without them.
The Rossi family, father, mother and two children, were in Argentina in early March, when decrees were issued in Italy that started isolation. They were on holiday in southern Argentina, Patagonia, and in a few days the Argentine government decided to close air traffic with Italy (12 March) and internal transport (March 17). Obviously repatriation operations remain allowed, if there are flights operated.
After contacting the consular authorities, who ventilated the possibility of a flight for April 8-9 from Buenos Aires, the Rossi family to reach the capital from El Calafate tourist resort is forced to rent a car. After 2800 km and three days of travel, on March 28 they arrive in Buenos Aires, where they found a hotel, not without effort, since tourism has ceased and most hotels have closed or don’t host for the risks associated with contagion, even more if Italian.
Since that March 28th, they start waiting. They wait. They wait in total absence of information and forecasts from the authorities. Finally, on April 21, almost a month later, an email announces that two days later a commercial flight of Alitalia to Fiumicino would start, to be purchased on the company’s website. You don’t understand why after a month of waiting you have to give a two-day notice, but in any case on the Alitalia website you offer a ticket at 1881 € per person. The Rossi spouses try, dwell, in the end they decide and when the following day they return to Alitalia’s website, the ticket went up to 2202 €. They buy it anyway, and the following day they go to the airport of good morning, in a taxi. There they find many people, confusion, and they are finally told that their flight is rescheduled for April 25 and that they will have to return two days later. Then they’ll find out it was a lie: Alitalia didn’t stop bookings from exceeding the available seats (overbooking), so only part of those who bought the ticket could leave.
Another taxi, two more hotel nights, more taxi in the morning, and hopefully they’ll be able to leave tomorrow. After that all they have to do is rent a car in Fiumicino and drive to Trieste, where they reside.