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COMPLAINT: Turkish Airlines Nightmare in Istanbul

 
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Old Dec 23, 2018, 9:41 PM
CaliforniaPilot CaliforniaPilot is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
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After a wonderful vacation in Greece, we headed home for Los Angeles via Turkish Airlines: Athens to Istanbul, with a 1 ½ hour transit for the TKA flight to LAX. The flight from Athens was delayed 30 minutes, and on landing in Istanbul discovered we had to go through an enormous security line taking 45 min to reach the gate for our next flight. My wife and I ran as best we could through the terminal to a remote gate only to be refused boarding, although the aircraft was still there connected to the ramp. While we pleaded our case, others ran up to be refused also. We were told to report back to the transit information desk. Arriving there we witnessed several loud angry exchanges between Turkish customer service and passengers stranded similarly to us. We explained our problem and were told by an agent to “wait 10 minutes” at a nearby seating area, never to hear from that agent again. It took 2 hours, returning periodically to the desk to another agent, again being told to “wait 10 minutes”. Finally, we were escorted to another desk area and told that in spite of the late Turkish Airline arrival from Athens, there had been sufficient time to reach our connecting flight and we would have to pay $800 to book another flight. Several Turkish Airline passengers in similar situations were shouting, some crying. They had payed hundreds of dollars for a now worthless ticket, and had insufficient money to buy another. “What do I do now?” an African passenger in front of me asked , received only an unsympathetic shrug from the Turkish agent. We are fortunate enough to pay for a new ticket, but realized that evening that there are many hundreds of passengers stranded in Istanbul’s airport, unable to leave because one must pay about $50 for a visa to just exit the terminal. The terminal looked like a refugee camp that night, stranded people sleeping on floors, sleeping on waiting chairs (we among them), some having to wait days trying to contact friends and family in their home countries for the ransom Turkish Airlines demands to let them go home.
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