Never, ever, fly with VolareWeb
I do not expect a great in flight service by a low cost company like www.VolareWeb.it but I do expect them to fly...
I flew with VolareWeb for my first time this summer when I booked a return flight from Milan to Athens for my summer vacation. They called me on my mobile phone two days before I was supposed to leave to tell me that my outgoing flight was cancelled. I didn't make a lot of fuss when they booked me on a flight the next day as I did not have any reservations in Greece and more than enough to do at work.
After a couple of weeks of some fantastic island hopping it was time to head back. At my last day of vacation, on my way out for dinner, I checked my mail just to prepare for my return back to reality. That "saved my life". I found a mail from VolareWeb that my booking had been updated and told me to call a free number in Italy, that cannot be called from abroad... But all my mails is on Google Apps so it didn't take me long to find the original reservation and a international phone number.
I called VolareWeb just before they closed in the evening. This is an shortened and edited transcript:
Me: I am calling from Athens. I have a flight home to Milan tomorrow morning. My reservation number is xyz.
VolareWeb: Yes. It has been cancelled. You have been booked on a flight in a few days.
Me: Sorry, but I have to be back in Milan tomorrow for several reasons.
1) I have my parents coming tomorrow afternoon to Milan and I have to be there to pick them up.
2) My brother in law just left on vacation so someone has to take care of our animals.
VolareWeb: That is not may fault. Your flight has been cancelled
Me: As I explained, I have to be back some time tomorrow. Can you book me on another flight?
Me: Will you cover the costs if I book another flight
Me: Will you at last cover my extra expenses (rental car for an additional day, hotel for me, hotel for my parents, etc.)
Me: So…. What can I do
VolareWeb: Nothing. The flight has been cancelled
End of story. A 30 min phone call with Volarweb (with outrageous roaming charges) which refused to cover any costs at all. Serious companies cover meals, hotel etc while you wait for the next flight.
The story had a happy ending though. We had already paid cash for the hotel room (to save time the next morning), but we jumped in the rental car in hunt for a travel agency and a flight home. We found our saving angel in Elena at erasinos Travel & Tours. She found a flight the next morning with Olympic Airlines and reserved it for us at no cost. The online booking system was unable to confirm our flight as it was late at night so she adviced us to drive to Athens airport to by the ticket at the Olympic Airlines counter. A couple of hours later we were back at the hotel with two very hungry and tired kids, but thanks to Elena we had tickets to go back home!
I thought the saga was over when I came home, but no. What really convinced me that VolareWeb is incompetent is the message I found on my answering machine. The day before I should have left I got this message at home: Hi. Your return flight from Athens to Milan has been cancelled. We have booked you on another flight.
Eh? I am in Athens waiting for my return flight to Milan, why are you calling me in at home? You have my mobile number, in fact you have called it before, and now you call me at my home number to tell me that my return flight is cancelled???
VolareWeb, it is official; I will never, ever, fly with you again. Leaving people on the ground without providing alternatives, helping out in any way, or covering any costs at all is bad, very bad...