Alitalia fined after dog refused flight home for Christmas

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An unrelated American bulldog called Irma. Photo: Lucassen Emmanuel
11:03 CET+01:00
Italy's flagship airline has been told to pay €1,580 in damages for not allowing a passenger's dog to travel on a national flight - even though the pooch had a ticket.

Student Maurilio Favilla, from Marsala in Sicily, had bought himself and his American bulldog, called Cash, tickets for a flight home on December 23rd 2012.

Tickets for the Milan to Trapani flight were bought through a travel agency, which informed Favilla that Alitalia would also allow Cash to travel inside a pet carrier in the jet's hold.

But when he arrived at the airport, Favilla discovered that the flight was being operated by AirOne – a subsidiary which at the time was owned by Alitalia.

While the Alitalia ticket was valid, AirOne's policy on animals was different and Favilla was told his four-legged friend could not board the plane.

“Alitalia had authorized the travel agency to issue a type of ticket that it shouldn't have," Favilla's lawyer, Antonino Rallo, told La Repubblica.

As a result, Favilla and his dog faced a race against time to make it home for Christmas. They were forced to take the first train to the Ligurian port town of Genoa, from where they took a ferry to the Sicilian capital of Palermo - a journey that took more than 24 hours.

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The court ruling stated that the event “had caused indecent distress” and that the carrier had “willingly misinformed clients over their rights and expectations.”  

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