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