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Turkish Airlines- horrible experience

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Mar 27th, 2011, 10:49 AM
  #1
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Turkish Airlines- horrible experience

I wished I had known this information beforehand. A quick google search would have provided multiple discussions on how Turkish Airlines' customer service is non existent. My husband and I found out the hard way.

We planned a multi-leg trip with Turkish Airline from Rome to Istanbul to Cairo to Athens. We only ended up taking the flight from Rome to Istanbul.

The flight itself from Rome to Istanbul was pretty smooth- no problems. The staff was cordial. We only had carry-ons because of the horrible experiences other users have had.

However, our overall experience with management turned out to be extremely frustrating and awful. Our first interaction with them was when we tried to cancel our Istanbul to Cairo part of the trip because the US department highly suggested that no US citizens should travel to Cairo (during March 2011). We had called Turkish Airlines prior to the trip. The conversation was difficult as the staff spoke limited English. They couldn't change only one leg of the trip without canceling the entire trip without a refund. Apparently in February they were allowing travelers to change their flights to Egypt, but they did not send out a notice about this via email or phone. I don't know how passengers were "magically" supposed to know. We happened to find out on March 2nd when we did a google search and found one obscure online article saying that Turkish Airlines was offering this. It was too late to take this offer.

We then decided to keep the trip but use one of the layovers that was originally intended from Cairo to Greece but stops at Istanbul to get to our final destination- Greece. However, due to their international rule and regulation, they canceled our entire trip because we did not board the flight to Cairo leaving us no way to get to Greece. They didn't inform us via email or phone like many other airlines do that they had canceled. We found out the day before we were supposed to leave Istanbul for Greece when trying to check in for our flight.

We accepted the fact that there was nothing we could do at this point but when we asked on the phone what we could have done to have prevented this surprise cancellation, the manager started yelling that she couldn't help us, and that it was our fault for losing the tickets. We asked again, "What could we have done in the future to prevent our flights from being canceled? If we had tried to change it, our entire flight would have been canceled. If we had gone on the flight, it would not have been safe for US citizens to go to Egypt yet." She admitted that she couldn't understand our question and started shouting at us that it was our fault that our flights were canceled and hung up on us. I was furious. She never answered what we should have done and she kept accusing us that it was our fault. Her tone was rude and never let me finished a sentence, Talking to "English" customer service at Turkish Airlines is no help as they do NOT understand English.

I tried calling Customer service again. The person on the phone said he would find out more by calling me back in 30-45 minutes. I waited one and half hours. During this time, I did a simple google search and found so many complaints about this airline and how the customer service is non-existence. The 2nd person at customer service never called back. I gave up on Turkish Airlines.

Usually the customer service is a place you go to for help and service. If the customer service is horrible, where else can you turn to? I've seen other frustrated customers and it seems like there is nothing else you can do. What have other frustrated customers do? Thanks.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 12:34 PM
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I'm sorry you had such a difficult experience. I have flown with Turkish many times in Europe and the Middle East and have always had very good flights and service. That being said, I never had occasion to try making the changes you wanted.

However, I think you will find, if you investigate further, that you wouldn't have been able to make those changes with any other airline either, unless you purchased fully refundable/changeable tickets initially.

And most airlines also will cancel the rest of the itinerary if you are a no-show for one leg. I believe that's pretty standard throughout the industry.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 12:38 PM
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I'm sorry, but I don't see where you have a complaint at all. It appears you didn't read the fine print when you were purchasing the tickets regarding changes/cancellation. What you are describing is standard on most airlines, not just Turkish Airlines. If you want to change/cancel any ticket, you must pay the fees to do and any expenses if flight prices are higher or you can get a refund (they offered you this and you didn't accept it). If you fail to show up for any portion of your ticket on any airline, the rest of the ticket is canceled. Standard procedure for all airlines.

>>>"What could we have done in the future to prevent our flights from being canceled?<<<

In the future, instead of buying discount tickets, you can buy a full fare ticket (which most people won't do because they are expensive) that can be changed, but it will still be canceled if you show up for the first leg or two, but then decide to skip a leg of your trip.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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And I will add that just because the US government advises against travel it is not an international law. You do not automatically become a candidate for no cost cancellation. Generally, regardless of advisories, if an airline is flying to a destination their rules apply.

But there is a bright side ... your travel insurance may cover some parts of your loss. You did have insurance, right?
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Mar 27th, 2011, 01:41 PM
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You have to look at a plane ticket as an entire package. It's more than the sum of its individual legs. If you want to change just one leg, it means reissuing the entire ticket, with the change fees involved and any differences in fare that apply. If you miss a leg, the rest of your itinerary is cancelled. That's not just Turkish Airlines. That's the way it is with any airline.

What could you have done to prevent these problems? 1) Have trip insurance. You'd have stood a good chance of being able to recover the added costs given the situation in Egypt. 2) Not miss any of your flights.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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Which "trip insurance" policies cover the OP's situation?
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Mar 27th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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A couple of thoughts:

1. The OP clearly doesn't understand when you skip a leg of a journey within the same itinerary without first resolving/rebooking it, the rest of the itinerary gets canceled. That is industry norm.

2. I wonder when the OP books his/her ticket. Mubarak resigns on Feb 11, and the protest mostly died down since then. So, he/she didn't care about problems in Cairo until March 2nd? Only because the State Department says one shouldn't go to Egypt in March?

Anyways, I agree with others that there's little chance the OP can get anything from TK. Maybe their customer service people did a poor job in explaining the issues to the OP, but I don't think TK owes them anything.
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Mar 27th, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Jellybelly, in the future, if you have trouble understanding an agent, or if the agent is clearly not someone you want to talk to, hang up and try again.

If you cannot resolve the issue, do not just blow off a flight in the middle of a ticket. Keep trying to resolve it, either on the phone or go to the airport if need be.

My husband and I flew three TAL flights last fall. My daughter flew five flights, including one from Sweden to Ist and Istanbul to Bangkok. Booking them, flying them was a nice experience. They were prompt in applying our miles to Continental airlines as well. I would fly them again!
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Mar 27th, 2011, 04:47 PM
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A large portion of the blame here goes to the OP. You don't just get to "change" your routing, schedule, etc on any airline without issues. When you decide NOT to get on a plane that you booked that can, and probably will, mess up the rest of your flights on almost ANY airline (SW being the only exception I know of and they don't fly to Turkey!)

And to expect other country flag carriers to give changes based on the US State Dept is probably just not realistic. Time to face facts on that folks.

I agree the airline could have responded better, but I also think we are getting "half the story"
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Mar 27th, 2011, 08:17 PM
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I personally wouldn't spend anymore time/energy trying to explain things to the OP. She registered this AM just to post this and likely as not, she won't be back to read the responses. She is probably posting the same rant on other travel sites . . .
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Mar 28th, 2011, 07:22 AM
  #11
 
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Turkish is ok not great airlinequality.com

OP is a "grudge" poster pretty clueless

just trash talktalker on all boards.

insuremytrip.com would have reimbursed her

cheap always wise to have in these uncertain times.
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Mar 28th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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qwovadis, doesn't insuremytrip.com just sell other company's insurance policies? If so, isn't the blanket statement that insuremytrip would have reimbursed her at least an exaggeration, since some policies would have and some would not?
sf7307 is online now  
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Mar 28th, 2011, 01:52 PM
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sf, of course you are correct. qwovadis has been pushing the insuremytrip outift for weeks.

Trip cancellation insurance (as opposed to medical/evac insurance for traveling) is a bad buy, no matter who sells it.

In this instance, qwovadis's advice is just foolish and costly. At least it's better than his previous advice to use a shady and unscrupulous airline ticket seller who deals in buying/selling air miles. Given the combination of poor advice and mostly incomprehensible posts, I would expect that most people are learning that qwovadis's posts can safely be ignored.
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Mar 28th, 2011, 02:14 PM
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and lack of punctuation....
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Mar 30th, 2011, 06:55 AM
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I've flown Turkish airlines several times and they were pretty good in the customer service department, and attentive in the cabin.

I spoke with their customer service on the phone while in Turkey, and they were able to cancel a domestic flight before my international flight home so I could rent a car and visit Aphrodisias, Pamukkale, Ankara, Hattusa, take the overnight train back to Istanbul.

The agent spoke English well, was kind, and happy that I was enjoying Turkey so much that I wanted to see more places before I went home. I had way more fun than spending the time in Istanbul (I'd been there before). As always, you attract more flies with honey...

A friend of mine was booked to go back to NY with the group (rigid OAT air dept), then had to turn around and fly back to Paris the same day. The original flight was delayed, and while rebooking, the agent just booked her straight to Paris, making my friend MUCH happier.
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May 29th, 2011, 06:19 PM
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Just yesterday my friends and I were talking about how much we like Turkish Airlines! Certainly always pleasant service with excellent food. No complaints from us.
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Aug 27th, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Your experience sounds typical of a lot of airlines, especially some of the third world carriers. Service is usually above average when you follow your original itinerary, but problems usually occur when you need to make changes.
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Aug 27th, 2011, 09:18 PM
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Turkish is a Third World country???
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Aug 30th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Turkish is an adjective and Turkey is indeed a third world country. That is not to say it isn't a great country with a rich history and culture.
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Aug 31st, 2011, 12:13 PM
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Turkey is a well-developed developing country.
"Third world" is an obsolete term.
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