Accidentally booked tickets on Turkish Airlines

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Dec 10, 2018
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#1
On 2018-11-16 my wife and I had a flight booked from Chicago to South Africa on Turkish Airlines. When I went to check in on the day of the flight, the Turkish website indicated that no seats were available, which made me very concerned that our vacation could be impacted.

In order to try to figure out if the flight was overbooked, I went through the process of booking four business class tickets with bogus customer names, just to see if seats were available, which in hindsight was really dumb. I filled out the form to buy the tickets, with the understanding that I would get a confirmation screen asking if I was sure that I wanted to purchase the tickets and that I could just cancel before confirming the purchase. However, I discovered that no such confirmation screen exists for Turkish Airlines, so I ended up booking the tickets before I could cancel the transaction.

At the time I wasn't too concerned about it accidentally purchasing these tickets, since my incorrect understanding was that it was always possible to chancel airline tickets within a 24 hour window after they are purchased. However, I later learned that the 24 hour cancellation window does not apply for tickets purchased within 7 days of the flight.

After I realized that I had erroneously purchased the tickets, I immediately contacted the Turkish Airlines customer service number in order to try to cancel, and I was told that the tickets could be canceled, but that there would be a $400 fee per ticket penalty. I was also told that I could fill out a form on the Turkish Airlines website to appeal the fee, which I did (reference number TK-1605645).

I've issued several rounds of phone calls and e-mails (TK-1641201, TK-1653015, S1-2302182, TK-1660697) and each person that I've talked to has told me that it isn't possible to waive the cancellation fee. In the meantime, I have a $15,705.60 charge on my credit card. I'm hesitating to request the partial refund, since everyone I've talked to from Turkish Airlines has told me that once a partial refund has been issued, no further refund can be given. I also tried sending an e-mail with all of these details to primary contact Cenk Ocal using the e-mail contact listed on this website, but I did not hear back.

I accept full responsibility that this mistake is my fault due to a careless error, but I'm hoping that Turkish Airlines can make an exception to the policy and grant me a full refund. Other than for trying to get this issue resolved, my experience with Turkish Airlines was really good, and I really enjoyed the service from the airline on our flights from Chicago to South Africa and back. Can anyone help me?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,255
14,020
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Wow! I don’t even know what to say about this.

On foreign carriers, they usually charge extra for seat assignments. You can’t assign a seat with no fees until 24 hours before check in. You should have just waited until 24 hours before.

This is a huge error on your part. If you ha eat followed our entire process, use our company contacts for Turkish Air and follow the information exactly as written here:

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

Follow exactly- going up the executive chain one person at a time once a week and see if you can find a sympathetic executive who might help you out.

Your best option is to accept the cancellation fee and a credit for the flights because you can only use the credits within six months to a year from the date you booked. What is the amount of the partial refund they are offering?


Good luck.
 
Jun 30, 2017
992
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Maui Hawaii
#3
On 2018-11-16 my wife and I had a flight booked from Chicago to South Africa on Turkish Airlines. When I went to check in on the day of the flight, the Turkish website indicated that no seats were available, which made me very concerned that our vacation could be impacted.

In order to try to figure out if the flight was overbooked, I went through the process of booking four business class tickets with bogus customer names, just to see if seats were available, which in hindsight was really dumb. I filled out the form to buy the tickets, with the understanding that I would get a confirmation screen asking if I was sure that I wanted to purchase the tickets and that I could just cancel before confirming the purchase. However, I discovered that no such confirmation screen exists for Turkish Airlines, so I ended up booking the tickets before I could cancel the transaction.

At the time I wasn't too concerned about it accidentally purchasing these tickets, since my incorrect understanding was that it was always possible to chancel airline tickets within a 24 hour window after they are purchased. However, I later learned that the 24 hour cancellation window does not apply for tickets purchased within 7 days of the flight.

After I realized that I had erroneously purchased the tickets, I immediately contacted the Turkish Airlines customer service number in order to try to cancel, and I was told that the tickets could be canceled, but that there would be a $400 fee per ticket penalty. I was also told that I could fill out a form on the Turkish Airlines website to appeal the fee, which I did (reference number TK-1605645).

I've issued several rounds of phone calls and e-mails (TK-1641201, TK-1653015, S1-2302182, TK-1660697) and each person that I've talked to has told me that it isn't possible to waive the cancellation fee. In the meantime, I have a $15,705.60 charge on my credit card. I'm hesitating to request the partial refund, since everyone I've talked to from Turkish Airlines has told me that once a partial refund has been issued, no further refund can be given. I also tried sending an e-mail with all of these details to primary contact Cenk Ocal using the e-mail contact listed on this website, but I did not hear back.

I accept full responsibility that this mistake is my fault due to a careless error, but I'm hoping that Turkish Airlines can make an exception to the policy and grant me a full refund. Other than for trying to get this issue resolved, my experience with Turkish Airlines was really good, and I really enjoyed the service from the airline on our flights from Chicago to South Africa and back. Can anyone help me?
Did you book 4 seats under "bogus names" on a flight scheduled on 2018-11-16 and then did not take the flight, so you were obviously a now-show X 4? If that is the case they could have refused you any refund unless these are refundable tickets (for which you were a no show). You should take the refund minus the $400 X 4 rather than risk losing the full $15+K.
 
Dec 10, 2018
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#5
@Neil Maley: They are offering a refund of $15,705.60 minus the $1600 cancellation fees.
@weihlac: They were refundable tickets with a $400 cancellation fee per ticket. I called to cancel the tickets before the flight, so they were not no shows.
@ADM: They said they would refund the credit card.
 
Jan 11, 2017
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#6
WOW! Your credit card company let through charges for 4 last minute tickets for bogus names???
I often have problem to get through even legitimate high value plane ticket charges...
 
Likes: jsmithw
Dec 10, 2018
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#7
Yes, I wish they would've blocked this. I submitted the credit card info with my real name, so I'm not sure how they would've detected the bogus names used for the tickets.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
7,463
7,252
113
San Francisco
#8
OMG, I am flabbergasted. I can feel your pain, this is a whopping error. Turkish is not known for their customer service skills. Has the bogus flight date come and gone? This is awful, just awful. At least you got the flights cancelled before departure. The more I think about this, the worse it gets. Will YOU be able to use those credits?

This is so hairy and Turkish so unlikely to waive the Xll fee, that I'd get the refund back on my credit card ASAP. I'm worried about the timing of their offer to refund less the fees, and your letters going through their system. I would be especially worried about ending up with nothing.

After your refund is received, I'd start a letter campaign per our instructions. Ask them for your $1600 back. Admit that you made a horrible mistake and throw yourself on their mercy. Don't give them any silly stuff like you're a senior citizen or a student on a limited budget, just state that you made the error and beg them to help you. Do tell them that you didn't understand seat assignments for your real flight and were trying to make sure that there were seats for you. I am so very sorry that this happened.

ADVOCATE ADVICE
Phantom bookings can be very helpful when planning a big trip. But you have to be super-vigilant and not enter a credit card number. Never, under any circumstances, enter your payment details. You can't buy anything without a method of payment.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,255
14,020
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Thank goodness you did refundable tickets- that’s why they said they will refund to your credit card.

You really don’t have a choice- accept the penalties and get the rest credited back. Especially if you booked under bogus names. You don’t want them to offer a credit in the bogus names- you want the refund on your card.

Sorry this was such an expensive mistake- consider using a travel agent in the future. They would have told you that you could get a seat assignment 24 before the flight. If you booked direct- you can usually pay in advance for seat assignments. International airlines don’t offer free seat assignments like most US airlines unless you book business or first class in most cases.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
Accept the penalty and get the refund.

Likely the seats were under airport control which meant all assignments done at airport not online.

You buying bogus tickets may have theoretically prevented a real passenger from getting on the flight.

Accept the 1600 as the learning experience cost.
I doubt Turkish will have sympathy for someone accidentally buying tickets in fake name because they suspected the flight was overbooked.
 
Feb 11, 2018
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#12
OMG, I am flabbergasted. I can feel your pain, this is a whopping error. Turkish is not known for their customer service skills. Has the bogus flight date come and gone? This is awful, just awful. At least you got the flights cancelled before departure. The more I think about this, the worse it gets. Will YOU be able to use those credits?

This is so hairy and Turkish so unlikely to waive the Xll fee, that I'd get the refund back on my credit card ASAP. I'm worried about the timing of their offer to refund less the fees, and your letters going through their system. I would be especially worried about ending up with nothing.

After your refund is received, I'd start a letter campaign per our instructions. Ask them for your $1600 back. Admit that you made a horrible mistake and throw yourself on their mercy. Don't give them any silly stuff like you're a senior citizen or a student on a limited budget, just state that you made the error and beg them to help you. Do tell them that you didn't understand seat assignments for your real flight and were trying to make sure that there were seats for you. I am so very sorry that this happened.

ADVOCATE ADVICE
Phantom bookings can be very helpful when planning a big trip. But you have to be super-vigilant and not enter a credit card number. Never, under any circumstances, enter your payment details. You can't buy anything without a method of payment.
Your Advocate Advice says it all!
 
Likes: jsn55