Turkish Airlines Ticket Refund Request

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Nov 9, 2016
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Turkish Airlines employs incompetent and uncaring check-in workers in Ben Gurion Airport, Israel, who caused me to miss my flight to Istanbul and Chicago. As a result, I was forced to buy a new ticket as well as losing 2 days. The company should at least refund the cost of the ticket (USD939) since it was their fault that I missed the flight.

I sent a letter to Turkish Airlines CEO, Dr. Temel Kotil -- see following letter . I didn't receive a reply. I also contacted Turkish Airlines customer service through their website with the same text that was in the letter to Dr. Kotil. I received an email reply, also following.

I would like to emphasize that I stood in line at the check in counter for over 1 hour, and reached the check in counter about 20 minutes prior to the flight departure time. Therefore I started waiting to check in about 1.5 hours prior to the flight departure time. If the check in personnel had gone to each passenger waiting in line to ask if they were on flight 865 (as has been my experience with other airlines), I most certainly would have gone to the front of the line to check in. Basically, they don't care about the passengers.

Thank you,

Laurian Edan

Letter to Dr. Kotil:

Dr. Temel Kotil, CEO
Turkish Airlines, Inc.
General Management Building
Ataturk Airport
Yesilkoy 34149
Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Dr. Kotil,
I have flown on Turkish Airlines many times, and I generally liked the service. However, on September
30th, I was scheduled to fly from Tel Aviv to Istanbul and then on to Chicago, and I missed my flight due to
the incompetence and uncaring attitude of your Turkish Airlines workers at the check-in in Tel Aviv. I was
forced to buy another ticket, and I would like to have that money refunded.

Here’s what happened: I arrived at the airport 2+ hours prior to the departure of flight TK865. The place
was chaotic and I stood in line for 30 minutes for the Israel security check and an hour plus to check my
luggage at Turkish Airlines. While I waited in line, the noise level was very high and the people in line
hardly moved forward. By the time I got to the counter it was about 20 minutes prior to the flight. The
Turkish Airlines employee checking the luggage said I was too late because the flight was closed. She said
she and the supervisor had gone around and asked if anyone was on flight TK865. She then said I would
have to buy a new ticket, and it was my fault for missing the flight.

I can assure you that no-one of the Turkish Airlines employees came near me asking if I was on flight TK
865. If they announced that on the loudspeakers, we couldn’t have heard that anyway because of the noise
level. The two women in front of me missed the same flight as well, proving that your staff did not reach
everyone. Your airport workers didn’t take the trouble to go to each person standing in line to ask if they
were on flight 865. Instead, they blamed me for missing their announcement. Do you think I would have
deliberately missed my flight if your employees had come and told me to go to the front to check my
luggage? I think not! I stood in line for over an hour and I wasn’t distracted by talking to anyone.

This cost me a lot of time and money, and your employees insulted my intelligence by blaming me for
missing the flight. I had to pay another USD939 in addition to my original cost to get on another flight, and
I lost 2 days because of the uncaring attitude of your staff. Perhaps you and your staff think $939 is not
much, but for me it is a lot of money. I actually paid a higher original ticket price for my trip on Turkish
Airlines compared to other major carriers because I liked your airline.

Your slogan is ‘Europe’s Best Airline’. I think you should prove that by at least refunding me the $939
extra that I had to pay. Otherwise, I will say Turkish Airlines is very definitely a badly managed airline. In
the last few years I have been flying several times a year on your airline, but there are many other airlines
to choose from. To be considered an excellent airline, you should employ workers in Tel Aviv who are
properly trained to make sure passengers get on their flights, and don’t blame them for missing flights
when they’ve been standing in line for over an hour.

Sincerely,
Laurian Edan

Response from Turkish Airlines customer service:

Sent

Dear Laurian EDAN,

We have received your message dated 6th October,

Firstly, we would like to express our regret at that although you were booked for the TK-865, you were unable to carry out your journey using that flight as you were not present in time for check-in.

For flights to take place on time, our passengers must complete their ticketing and baggage operations 45 minutes before takeoff time on our domestic flights and one hour before on our international flights. The boarding process ends 15 minutes before the time of departure in order for the aircraft's preflight preparations to be completed.

As is the case for all airlines, on-time takeoffs and landings are a priority target for Turkish Airlines, which is competing in an international arena. The delayed takeoff or landing of a flight is a factor that negatively affects the entire flight network and the human resources planning in all divisions connected to that flight. Such setbacks, which can have a chain reaction on all other airlines and other institutions at the airport in question, are a massive responsibility.
Having made these explanations, we would once again like to express our regret at operational conditions causing you difficult moments.

We hope you do not experience such inconveniences on your future travels and, with hopes of being able to welcome you as our guest again, we are respectfully yours.

Sincerely yours,

Cihan B.

Customer Contact Center
Turkish Airlines Inc.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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8,439
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It seems that the OP did not arrive at the airport in time. El Al advises economy passengers to be at Ben Gurion 4 hours before departure. The flight closed 60 minutes before departure time. Israeli security is very thorough and time consuming. One has to be screened by Israeli security before checking in. This is what El Al has on their site for Ben Gurion airport

  • Late arrival at the check-in counter may deprive you of your rights to benefits, including those provided by virtue of the Aviation Services Law (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions), 5772–2012
  • In light of the above, and since the security check must be completed before you reach the check-in counter, it is recommended to arrive at the airport about four hours before the scheduled flight departure time
  • Check-in for Israel travel flights closes about one hour before departure. Late passengers will not be able to check in once their flight has closed

I realize that the OP was on Turkish Airlines, but the time for security check before check in and the closing of international flight manifests is uniform for all the airlines.
 

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
26,133
29,491
New York
www.promalvacations.com
It seems that the OP did not arrive at the airport in time. El Al advises economy passengers to be at Ben Gurion 4 hours before departure. The flight closed 60 minutes before departure time. Israeli security is very thorough and time consuming. One has to be screened by Israeli security before checking in. This is what El Al has on their site for Ben Gurion airport

  • Late arrival at the check-in counter may deprive you of your rights to benefits, including those provided by virtue of the Aviation Services Law (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions), 5772–2012
  • In light of the above, and since the security check must be completed before you reach the check-in counter, it is recommended to arrive at the airport about four hours before the scheduled flight departure time
  • Check-in for Israel travel flights closes about one hour before departure. Late passengers will not be able to check in once their flight has closed

I realize that the OP was on Turkish Airlines, but the time for security check before check in and the closing of international flight manifests is uniform for all the airlines.

That's exactly what I was getting at, and since this is not the airlines problem, the way they dealt with it was the way every airline would have dealt with it- our letter writer has to write and ask for an exception to be made, which most likely will not be made but is worth trying anyway.

The letter also absolutely needs the be rewritten because thebsidkers were not incompetent. They did their jobs, the letter writer was at fault because she arrived too late.

Laurian, I still stand by the info in my original post it you totally need to redo your letter. Apologize for not reading recommendations for the correct time to arrive at this airport and artfully beg for an exception to be made. You need to remove all the negative statement about the workers. You also have conflicting statements, saying you stood inine for an hour, getting to the desk 20 minutes before the flight left- then later say you stood for 1.5 hours.

Again, minimum recommended arrival times for international flights are 3 hours and the computers automatically shut down one hour before a flight is scheduled to depart. The agents could do nothing at that point, they are unable to override.

And the airport itself advises arriving 4 hours before as Christina pointed out so this appears from be normal for this airport. Probably one of the reasons that Israel airports are among the safest to fly through because they take security seriously.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
11,163
13,516
San Francisco
Alas, the letter that you wrote was guaranteed to not generate willingness to assist you. It is not a good idea to be accusatory, particularly in light of the fact that you made the errors. You're fortunate to get an answer at all.

For the record, if you're in an airport line and concerned about your flight, approach the desk politely and ask for help; don't expect someone to offer it.

All is not lost, however, you have come to the right place for advice. I would 'start over' with a polite, concise listing of what happened, an ownership of the errors, and a request for an exemption to their rules. State that you have been a very satisfied customer in the past and would like to continue flying on Turkish Airlines.

The best thing to request for compensation is a voucher toward a future flight on Turkish. Airlines loathe refunding cash, but miles or vouchers are a little easier. Good luck.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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I am actually a little amazed that the OP was not panicking while standing in line. I have let people in front of me who have to make the check in deadline. To get to the check in desk 20 minutes before departure and be surprised that the flight is closed is a little naive.

The way the letter was written is not the best approach. To write "Your slogan is ‘Europe’s Best Airline’. I think you should prove that by at least refunding me the $939
extra that I had to pay. Otherwise, I will say Turkish Airlines is very definitely a badly managed airline." is counterproductive when one arrives at the airport late and did nothing to alert the staff.

It has been a long time since I flew out of Tel Aviv, but I went 4 to 5 hours before departure because of the security.