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Turkish Airlines - Cancel Fees

Jan 23, 2020
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Naperville, Illinois
Due to the extremely dangerous/turbulent situation recently in the Middle East we had to cancel our trip to Israel and Pakistan. We were originally going to Pakistan for our son’s wedding on February 1-2 and going to Israel prior. Due to recent anti American demonstrations in Karachi, Pakistan and Iran’s threats against Israel we do not believe it is a safe time to travel there.
We cancel our reservations on Turkish Airlines and received a refund on the tickets but were charged a $150.00 per ticket penalty fee. I would like to get your opinion/thoughts on getting that $300 fee paid back due to the unusual circumstances.
I had tickets purchased on points for other legs of this trip on Turkish thru United Airlines partner and United refunded me the points without any fees and refunded me all taxes paid as well. The same happened with British Airways thru American Airlines. All points and taxes were refunded and all fees waived due to the world circumstances.
I feel Turkish Airlines should waive their fees as well due to these very unique circumstances.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, the flights are still flying to both places and there have been no issues going to either place. As long as the airline is flying and there haven’t been any security threats to either place- there is no reason for the airline to refund those fees.

If there had been an actual incident - it’s a different story.

What I would suggest you do is use our company contacts and write to the airline and ask for an exception to the rule. There is no harm in asking- the worst that can happen is they say no, but you might find an executive that might make an exception.

Here is how to write:
https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

Give it a try and let us know how you make out.
 
Jan 23, 2020
12
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Naperville, Illinois
I have already tired writing to the executives and none have responded.

I understand your comments but if you look at the flight path of Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Pakistan they typically fly over Iran. And if you remember Iran shot down a passenger flight during the missile attacks. I believe that counts as an actual incident.
I have also attached three recent news articles about that region.
I am asking Turkish and Emirates to put themselves in my position, if you had a family member traveling with you to a region of the world that has recently become extremely unstable what would you do?
I am appealing to your sense of protecting your families and doing the right thing for your customers.
 

Attachments

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I have already tired writing to the executives and none have responded.

I understand your comments but if you look at the flight path of Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Pakistan they typically fly over Iran. And if you remember Iran shot down a passenger flight during the missile attacks. I believe that counts as an actual incident.
I have also attached three recent news articles about that region.
I am asking Turkish and Emirates to put themselves in my position, if you had a family member traveling with you to a region of the world that has recently become extremely unstable what would you do?
I am appealing to your sense of protecting your families and doing the right thing for your customers.
I flew Emirates to Africa and know exactly how it routes. If you have written to all the contacts and done it as we recommend - one at a time with a week in between each email - I'm not sure there is much we can do. If our advocates thought it was a case they could help with, they would have helped - when you filled out your help request, did anyone say they were going to take the case or did they suggest you post here to see if anyone had any other ideas?
 
Jan 23, 2020
12
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Naperville, Illinois
I have only heard back regarding the Turkish airlines case not the Emirates case.
Regarding the routes, I was talking about the Turkish airlines from Istanbul to Karachi route which goes right over Iran air space.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
1,260
1,149
113
I would not cancel if I were in your position. I believe Israel is at least as safe to be in as the USA is. Iran (just like many other countries) has been threatening Israel for years. Nothing has changed. I would go if I had the ability to.
 
Jan 23, 2020
12
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Naperville, Illinois
Thank you for your comments but both Israel and Pakistan were tied together on the same trip. I had to do what I thought was best for my family. I realize Israel has been threatened for many years.
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,430
4,171
113
the United States
I will post here, with the understanding that this applies to both of your threads.

My colleagues have articulated their case well, as have you. You have already received a refund, less the penalty fees, and reached out to the executives (all of them) who have said no. So unless I have missed something, you have taken all the steps that are reasonably possible.

For what value this may have, in the end analysis you do not have to convince us here. Your concerns, in my opinion, are valid. You have only to convince the airlines, which you have attempted but failed to do. But it is equally true that my colleagues have offered a valid perspective. Airlines and governments alike control the travel alerts, which then translate into cancellations and refunds.

Speaking for myself, then, I think you have gone as far as you can. In the future, you will be faced with the same dilemma. Perhaps choosing a different route will still get you there while addressing your safety concerns.

I hope you find a way to attend the wedding. Best wishes going forward . . .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Hundreds of thousands of US citizens travel to Israel and continue to do so. I am hoping to get there this year and have no fear of going. I can understand your concern about Pakistan but with no current threat I think you have an uphill battle.
 
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Feb 3, 2019
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a region of the world that has recently become extremely unstable
Unfortunately, this region has been "extremely unstable" for decades. Tensions have long been very high, with regular spikes of varying duration. The State Department Travel Advisory has Pakistan at a Level 3: Reconsider Travel since April 2019. While there have been short-term alerts based on very specific security situations (and limited in location and duration), there has been no significant change to the State Department's overall travel advice for Pakistan in nearly a year.

I certainly understand your hesitation to fly through Iranian airspace right now. Were you unaware of the path of your flights before you booked the tickets, or did it simply not concern you enough to choose a different airline or buy insurance that would have covered your cancellation fees?

You are of course the ultimate authority on ensuring your own security, and absolutely should not have flown a route and/or to a destination that made you uncomfortable. However, it seems neither Turkish nor Emirates sees any increased risk to your flights that would warrant waiving their fees. That's always a chance you take when you buy fares that impose penalty fees for changes. Expecting Turkish and Emirates to waive the conditions to which you agreed when you bought the tickets based on your change of heart simply isn't reasonable.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
All good points, and no I never thought to look at the path of the routes at the time I purchased the tickets.

Thank you
When did you purchase the tickets? Was it after the April 2019 advisory was issued? If it was before, that’s what you should stress. If it was after- that’s when the airline might say the advisory was there and you bought anyway.

I do understand your reticence. I recall being uneasy when we flew Emirates and we saw we were over Iraq and Iran on the tv screens as we were tracking the flight. Is your son still getting married there?
 
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Feb 3, 2019
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When did you purchase the tickets? Was it after the April 2019 advisory was issued? If it was before, that’s what you should stress.
The State Department has had Pakistan at Level 3 since they switched from issuing Travel Warnings for some countries to Travel Advisory ratings for all countries in January 2018. (Parts of the country are at Level 4.)

The current page shows April 2019 as the last revision date for the Travel Advisory, but Pakistan has not been considered "safe" for a very long time.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,047
20,864
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The State Department has had Pakistan at Level 3 since they switched from issuing Travel Warnings for some countries to Travel Advisory ratings for all countries in January 2018. (Parts of the country are at Level 4.)

The current page shows April 2019 as the last revision date for the Travel Advisory, but Pakistan has not been considered "safe" for a very long time.
Which can be the issue with asking for the cancellation fees back.
 
May 30, 2019
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Each of the airlines mentioned above have differing policies on refunds due to events. DL & UA have Travel Notices pages (such as this UA page) that note when they will proactively offer a refund or change.

I could get into the details of the Iran incident and how the does not pose a risk to airlines flying over Iran airspace, and how many airlines are avoiding it anyway, but the high-level points were covered in regards to advocating for a refund. IMHO getting a refund from an airline less a modest fee given current circumstances in Iran/Pakistan/Israel is fair.