COMPLAINT: Turkish Airline: CDG-IST...Faulty tray table and terrible service

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Old Apr 22, 2013, 11:04 PM
TLWONG TLWONG is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1

Here's what I wrote to Turkish Airline but had not heard back from them since. Whereas United immediately credited 5000 bonus miles into my account even though United had nothing to do with this particular flight except my ticket was booked through United:

Dear Dr. Temel Kotil, Hope this e-mail finds you well!
I started visiting Istanbul from Memphis TN,USA since 21.01.13 for vacation and took my third trip during 29.03.13 - 01.04.13. Istanbul is a beautiful city, if I may add. THY lounge at IST is a little piece of heaven!
All together I took 6 flights in and out of Istanbul in 2013 so far. Experience with THY is mostly pleasant. Most personnel deal with customers professionally with a few exceptions. As with any other airlines, there's bound to be a few that you wish not to be a true representation of any airline, nor would you like any passengers to associate them with your airline.
With my United 1K membership and my Air Canada Altitude Gold, either will qualify me as Star Alliance Gold. I proceeded to First Class counter upon check in at CDG. I handed my passport as well as my United 1K card to the agent. He immediately scanned my passport, checked with the computer and looked up to me and said, "You must join the economy line! This is for first class passengers only!". It took a couple of explanations before he understood that I'm a Star Alliance Gold member. All the while, there's another gentleman in suite standing behind him while offering no help to him nor me. As soon as I looked to him, he immediately turned his head away to avoid the whole situation. I requested a window seat and he told me I was already assigned a window seat. He further explained to me that I will use the fast lane for security check point by scanning my boarding pass at the Flight Crew access.
To make a long story short, I didn't get my window seat. I was denied boarding with GROUP A because it wasn't printed on my boarding pass, while other Star Alliance Gold members were allowed to board anytime they would like. As for the Flight Crew security access, evidently some of the THY passengers got through but all all.
I was seated 10H. The lock on my tray table was missing. Multiple layers of masking tape were put on to attempt to hold the tray table. While passengers were boarding the plane, I already pointed out the the tray table kept falling off because the masking tape is not holding up the tray table. I spoke with at least three different attendants requesting to be reseated. They explained that they knew about the tray table for a long time and have no time to take care of it until later and walked away.
Finally the cabin door was closed and they walked through the aisle one last time to check everyone's seat beat and tray table is up. Robotically she looked at me and said,"Tray table UP!" and walked away. On her way back to the front, she said again, "Excuse me sir, Bring your tray table up!". I told her that this is a defective tray table and I requested to be reseated three times already. Then she tried to press the masking tape to see if it held up. It fell right back out. I asked again,"Can you reseat me please?" She said the flight is full. So I asked,"How about your business cabin?". She turned to me and said, "I cannot make that call. Let me see what I can do!"
The head attendant finally came over to look into the issue. I asked him if it is against safety regulation to have an unsecured tray table for taking off and landing. If so, why do they sell this seat especially the whole crew knew about this problem on this plane for a long time. Secondly, why do they refuse to reseat me at the beginning of boarding.
He unfriendly said to me,"Look around yourself, where do you want me to reseat you? The flight is fully booked! The cabin door is closed and we're approaching the runway for take off. If you want another seat, you need to take another flight! But I'm not going to do that because we're very late already and we cannot afford to have more delay anymore!"
"What about the business cabin? I've flown over 150,000 miles last year, so please don't treat me like this is my first time flying. I'm not trying to take advantage of the situation. If I had wanted to try to get an upgrade, I would have asked at the check in or at the gate, which I had done neither."
"I just told you the flight is full!" "What about your jump seat? I had been put there upon the captain's approval on another flight" "Cannot!"
Both the flight attendant and the manager walked away. He then came back with a new tape and taped it over the old masking tape. Without saying another word, he walked away. The tape that he put on eventually started to get loose and I had to keep pressing it back on to prevent it from falling down with all the rattling during take off.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. The flight attendants were joking with me about the whole situation and of course I laughed it off with fellow passengers. One common topic was their experiences with THY. They explained to me this is typically how most of the head attendants with THY are. The moment you complain about anything, they become very defensive and make sure that they are in control and the passengers are just the chickens that they are herding. The moment you ask for a preferential treatment because of your status, they will make sure to belittle you and the situation will only get worse.
Food was being served and I had to take down my tray table.
Prior to landing, safety check started. Of course the tray table cannot be held up by the new tape anymore. Same routine by the attendants. She robotically said to me while passing through the aisle, "Tray table up!". As she walked back from behind, she said again,"Excuse me sir, tray table up please!". I looked at her in disbelieve that she doesn't remember what had happened with the tray table. She finally realized and tried to press the new tape to hold up the tray table. As soon as she walked away, the tray table fell down. Then a second flight attendant walked pass by and did the same thing, but this time it fell again even before she walked away.
The head attendant came to me and said,"Did you take the tape off?" "Yes, I did. I had to use the tray table for my drinks and food! Can you tape it with new tape?" "I'm reseating you to the business class for landing." "Didn't you refuse to reseat me while we take off because you told everyone that this flight is completely full? We are in rapid descend right now and I don't feel safe to walk to the front of the cabin anymore." "Are you refusing to be reseated?" "I'm refusing to walk through the cabin unsafely when we are rapidly descending for landing!" "Just so we are clear. You are refusing to be reseated!" "Well, you can all stand around until we touch down. But I'm not walking through the cabin when the plane is rattling like this!"
If the defective tray table was discovered and attempts were made numerous times to secure it failed, does that seat become unsafe? If the seat is unsafe, should it be blocked from sale? If the blocked seat was sold, whose liability for safety should it fall under?
Under the circumstances, is it reasonable for a passenger to request to be reseated particularly the passenger feels that personal safety is being compromised? The safety issue of the seat was brought to attention before the cabin door was closed. Should it have been dealt with before the plane took off?
What proper procedure would you recommend if the flight crew failed to assess and amend the situation while they have the chance to do so when the plane is still on the ground and cabin door is opened and still have means and resources to rectify the situation? In your opinion, did the flight crew follow proper procedure to attend to a safety concern of a passenger?
In your opinion, did I make excessive demand upon your crew? In your opinion, what would you do if you were the head attendant? In your opinion, what would you do if you were me as the passenger?
I will follow through the situation with IATA, but I think it's also fair to learn from you before doing so. I await your education on flight safety issues as well as THY customer service guidance.
Thank you so very much for your time! I truly appreciate your reading my e-mail and look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience!
Yours Sincerely, Thomas Wong.
Attached Images:
File Type: jpg Broken tray table3.jpg (73.3 KB, 4 views)
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