Turkish Airlines

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Jun 8, 2018
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#1
Hi! I recently (May 24th) flew Turkish Air with my husband and our 3 year old son. Our flight left Thursday night at 7 pm and we had a planned 1.5 hour layover in Istanbul before our final leg back home from Istanbul to Tel Aviv, on Friday the 25th, at 1:30 PM.
When we arrived at JFK and waited on line for our scheduled boarding, we realized that boarding was frozen- nothing was happening. After a few minutes we asked what was going on, and we’re told we would be boarding soon. We informed the Turkish Air employees that we are Sabbath observant, and we cannot under any circumstances miss our connecting flight, because the 1:30 PM flight is the last flight on Friday which arrives in Tel Aviv before the Sabbath, and we can’t travel on the Sabbath. The employees swore up and down that we would make our flight. Half an hour later, still no boarding, no announcements, we asked again, we’re told we would “make it up in the air” and we had nothing to worry about. Long story short we left over an hour after our scheduled takeoff. We spoke with the stewardesses and told them our predicament, and they assured us we would make our flight.
We ultimately landed at 1:15 PM, and obviously didn’t make a 1:30 PM flight, which we were told was canceled anyway because so many people missed the connection.
The next flight offered to us was at 5 PM, which we couldn’t take, because it landed after the Sabbath began. We requested instead to take a Sunday flight, so that we could spend the Sabbath in Istanbul. We were not given or offered any food or water, despite traveling with a 3 year old.
We waited for our luggage for 5 hours, only to be told that the stroller and another suitcase were “too far away” and would be sent directly to Tel Aviv. The suitcase eventually made it, the stroller still hasn’t arrived.
Our 3 year old got sick on Friday night, and after consulting with the doctor who advised us to fly out before the infection spread to his ears which would prohibit us from flying, we took the Saturday flight at 1:30 PM, 24 hours after our original scheduled Friday flight.
At the airport, they tried to charge us $3,000 to take the earlier flight, despite one way tickets available at approximately $200 per person, and also tried to charge us for “extra” suitcases because they showed us as eligible for 1 suitcase per person even though we had 6 suitcases on our original JFK flight to Istanbul. The entire situation was a nightmare.

Fast forward to today- I’ve been without a stroller for my 3 year old since May 25th. I can’t get a clear answer for Turkish what they’re doing to locate it, if I can buy a new one and get reimbursed, etc. We paid over $200 out of pocket just for the hotel in Istanbul, plus over $100 in food/toiletries/transportation, none of which I even know how to get reimbursed for. I can’t get an answer from Turkish, and because the story is so complicated I’m not even sure what we’re eligible for in terms of compensation and how to ask for it.

What's your desired resolution?
I would like to buy a new stroller with full confidence that I will be 100% reimbursed. I would also like to be reimbursed for the out of pocket expenses in Istanbul, as well as compensation for the delays. I also stupidly submitted the American value of the stroller, but since I’m based in Israel and will have to purchase a new stroller here, The Israel cost is the relevant cost and not the American.

What's the value of your claim (in US $)? 750

Date of transaction/travel date: 2018-05-24
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/

We have company contacts for Turkish Airlines here. Read the information on how to write to escalate this to the Executives.

You are going to need a buy a stroller whether or not they agree to reimburse you aren’t you? Why don’t you just buy it and hope they will reimburse you?

As far as the other things you want to be reimbursed for- I am not sure you are entitled to be reimbursed. You bought tickets to get you from point A to point B. Whether you can fly due to religious practices doesn’t matter to the airline. If you buy a ticket with connection on one PNR and your initial flight gets out late causing you to miss your connecting flight, the airline has an obligation to put you on the next available flight or give you a refund.

Did you find out what caused the flight delay? Was the incoming plane you were to board late in arriving at JFK? Were there weather issues preventing the flight from taking off, either in JFK or enroute or in Tel Aviv? I am trying to figure out if EU261 would apply but it’s very tricky because your first stop was in Turkey which I don’t believe is a an EU country yet. .

A 90 minute connection for an international flight is just not long enough if a delay happens. You shouldn’t book a connection less than 2 hours regardless of where you are flying. That extra half hour would have given you enough time to make that connection.

If you can find out why the flight was delayed out of JFK we might have more suggestions.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#3
http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/

We have company contacts for Turkish Airlines here. Read the information on how to write to escalate this to the Executives.

You are going to need a buy a stroller whether or not they agree to reimburse you aren’t you? Why don’t you just buy it and hope they will reimburse you?

As far as the other things you want to be reimbursed for- I am not sure you are entitled to be reimbursed. You bought tickets to get you from point A to point B. Whether you can fly due to religious practices doesn’t matter to the airline. If you buy a ticket with connection on one PNR and your initial flight gets out late causing you to miss your connecting flight, the airline has an obligation to put you on the next available flight or give you a refund.

Did you find out what caused the flight delay? Was the incoming plane you were to board late in arriving at JFK? Were there weather issues preventing the flight from taking off, either in JFK or enroute or in Tel Aviv? I am trying to figure out if EU261 would apply but it’s very tricky because your first stop was in Turkey which I don’t believe is a an EU country yet. .

A 90 minute connection for an international flight is just not long enough if a delay happens. You shouldn’t book a connection less than 2 hours regardless of where you are flying. That extra half hour would have given you enough time to make that connection.

If you can find out why the flight was delayed out of JFK we might have more suggestions.

Hi Neil- thank you so much for the quick response!

1. the stroller- We can't afford to purchase the same stroller (approx $400) in Israel, where we live- we got it in America for much less, but since we're in Israel now we don't have access to that same price. The reimbursement will impact what kind of stroller we can afford to buy, so we don't want to purchase if there's a chance we won't be reimbursed for it, and we don't want to buy a really low quality stroller if we can get reimbursed for the original model we had.

2. the flight- I totally understand what you wrote, but we specifically requested not to board the flight- I should have mentioned that- because we were worried about the missed connection, which Turkish booked for us by the way- we booked it as once ticket, JFK --> TLV.

We asked immediately once we saw we weren't boarding to get off the flight and switch tickets, and were told we didn't need to because we would of course make our connection. We kept repeating this to the Turkish Air staff at JFK, telling them that if we miss our connection we will be stuck in a really tricky situation in Istanbul- but they insisted we would make the flight. We preferred to stay in New York and take a Saturday night or Sunday flight and not risk missing our connection and getting stranded (which we ultimately were).

3. the delay- we weren't told why there was a delay before takeoff. It seemed really unclear, lots of people were very frustrated, we stood on line for over an hour and no one really spoke to us. I saw a staff member (maybe pilot? not sure?) show up after the scheduled boarding time, and Turkish Air employees were saying oh we're so happy to see you, etc etc, and then they left to get on the plane, but we still had a long wait from that point before we boarded.
Once we were in air, there was "traffic" at IST airport and we had to circle for another 20 minutes, which was the final nail in the coffin to speak.
 
Nov 29, 2017
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#4
Sorry to hear about your troubles Nyerfamily, I hope you can find a satisfactory resolution with Turkish Airways in the end.

http://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/



Did you find out what caused the flight delay? Was the incoming plane you were to board late in arriving at JFK? Were there weather issues preventing the flight from taking off, either in JFK or enroute or in Tel Aviv? I am trying to figure out if EU261 would apply but it’s very tricky because your first stop was in Turkey which I don’t believe is a an EU country yet. .

Turkey is not in EU, talks regarding that have basically halted altogether. EU261 doesn't apply I am afraid.
I did however find a document outlining passenger rights for Turkish Airlines (I can't seem to be able to attach it, but you can find it here) - it does state that you may apply for some compensation depending on the time of the delay; the only problem is that part of your delay is due to not being able to travel during the Sabbath - which caused you to incur the hotel costs. It never hurts to try though, but you may have to compromise and write part of the costs off as a loss.

I assume you already made a lost baggage claim on the stroller (https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/any-questions/lost-and-delayed-baggage/index.html) - I don't see anything indicating that they will reimburse lost luggage, but there is also no outright statement that they will not.
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#6
I agree that they should reimburse you for the stroller- they lost it for sure and Lee you but even if they reimburse you, it will be at a prorated price very depending on the age of the stroller and they aren’t going to repay you for $600 stroller if you could replace it with a $200 stroller so whether they reimburse you or not, you can’t buy an expensive one and expect to be fully reimbursed just cause they lost it. The best idea is to replace the model you had since you bought it based on what you could afford. Frankly I give you kudos for even being able to manage this long without a stroller.

Rocpool have info to start - did you file a lost luggage report at the airport? And have you completed the online form requesting a refund?
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#7
There is a Turkish equivalent of EU 261. The fact that you chose not to take the next available flight does make things more complicated, but I think you'd have a very fair claim to whatever compensation you would have been entitled based on how late you would have been had you taken that 5PM flight.

I assume that you chose to go NYC-IST-TLV rather than one of the nonstops for cost reasons. I totally understand that, but, in the future, I'd advise either not booking for a situation where a significant, but not crazy, delay (75 minutes) puts you in a situation where you can't complete your travel plans.

Even if it had been clear at JFK that you wouldn't make your connection in IST, Turkish would not have been obliged to rebook you to a flight two days later, since you could have still taken the later IST-TLV flight.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#8
What an awful experience. I suggest you purchase a stroller immediately, these situations take time ... a great deal of time. It's unfortunate that you booked such a short connection. I advise that next time you use an experienced travel agent to book your trips. As you have observed, airline agents will tell you anything to get you to move along and stop asking them questions. It's a real shame.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jun 8, 2018
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#9
Thanks to everyone for your helpful replies!
We thought about going the credit card route, but we booked on miles, via United, so we only paid $10 per ticket or so directly on the credit card.
Would that introduce any sort of liability from United's end? My husband is Premier 1K with them, hence using miles for our tickets. My ticket and my son's ticket were booked on miles, my husband's ticket was actually a direct United flight which they then switched him over at our request to our Turkish flight (irony of ironies) so that we could travel together.

I filed a claim with Turkish online almost immediately, but haven't really heard from them since we uploaded all the required information.

The earliest possible flight out would have been 3.5 hours later than our scheduled flight- does that impact anything?

We certainly learned our lesson for layovers.... and might need to look into those strollers that fit in the overhead compartment!
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#10
Using miles doesn’t lessen the airlines responsibility to replace a stroller they broke.

At this point, you should use this as a learning experience- if you cannot travel in a certain date for religious reasons you should plan to travel earlier than you did to make sure you are already at your destination in case something like this happens.

And if you can book direct flights- book them. If you had direct flight you would have been ok if you left on Wednesday night to arrive Thursday morning instead so you had an extra day built in in case flights are delayed or canceled or start your journeys on a Sunday. The airlines don’t work according to the days you can fly- they have their schedules and processes in place of a flight is delayed or canceled and the rules for rebooking don’t take into account the fact you can’t travel in the Sabath. They put you on the next available flight and if you can’t accept it- you are on your own, they only owe you a refund. Which, if you cancel to book somewhere else, affects your return flight.

Another thing to keep in mind- never book a connection less than 2 hours and preferably at least 3. While what they offer should be enough time, all it takes is one thing to go wrong departing and you have a great chance of missing the connection. If you aren’t at the gate by the time printed on your boarding pass for your connecting flight, they will give your seat away to a standby passenger.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 8, 2018
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#11
ok so my only hope here is reimbursment for the stroller- is there a clear guideline on Turkish liability for lost baggage/ baggage delays?
beyond filing a lost baggage claim on their website (which I did upon my return) is there something else I should be doing?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
The NYC airspace is so congested. I saw that once the late boarding was completed their was time waiting on the runway. So the people may not have been intentionally fibbing. I have been on many NYC flights where we board on time and then wait and wait and wait.

I do not book a connecting flight with less than 2 hours connection out of NYC because well, I learned the hard way just like the OPs.

The lost stroller should be reimbursed. Miles or not, it was under their care.
 
#13
Thanks to everyone for your helpful replies!
We thought about going the credit card route, but we booked on miles, via United, so we only paid $10 per ticket or so directly on the credit card.
I know I’m joining in late...Don’t give up on the possibility of the credit card route. Depending on the card, as long as you purchase *some* part of the ticket on the card you’re eligible for their coverage. Generally, the taxes paid on a milage ticket should count. If you paid with the Chase United card, I think you’re covered. If it was an Amex, probably not.

Call the # on the back of the Card and ask. They may at least pay the hotel and food expenses.
 
Sep 19, 2016
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#14
I know I’m joining in late...Don’t give up on the possibility of the credit card route. Depending on the card, as long as you purchase *some* part of the ticket on the card you’re eligible for their coverage. Generally, the taxes paid on a milage ticket should count. If you paid with the Chase United card, I think you’re covered. If it was an Amex, probably not.

Call the # on the back of the Card and ask. They may at least pay the hotel and food expenses.
If it was a United credit card it should not matter if you only paid with miles as long as you paid the tax with it. We were able to claim once under trip interruption insurance in a similar circumstance on a United ticket that included a code share flight and the process was relatively easy. But you have to follow their rules and required documentation. I suggest you read a copy of the benefits brochure that has all the details before you call them. I actually carry a copy of that brochure when I travel so I will know what kind of documentation to request when trouble happens.

Good luck.
 
Likes: jsn55 and AMA
Jun 8, 2018
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#15
Excellent ideas about the credit cards- I'll check which one we bought it on.
Nearly 1 month after our flight, we got an email from the lost baggage services in Tel Aviv that our stroller has been located.
Here is the kicker- they want me to come pick it up!
So to summarize: Turkish airlines lost our stroller. We have spent over 1 month without the stroller for our 3 year old.
I have received no compensation or apology or any sort of acknowledgment of what happened (delay, left in limbo with a sick toddler, no stroller, etc etc).
I am a full time working mom. My husband is frequently abroad (and just our luck, all of his flights return to the airport when lost and found is closed, so he can't retrieve it on his way out). It is VERY hard to make it to the airport (45 minutes away from my house) during the hours of 10 AM - 7 PM, when they're open, as I'm either at work during those hours, or home with my toddler (did I mention without a stroller).
So after losing my stroller, I'm now expected to throw my 3 year old in the car, sit in traffic for most likely over an hour, pay for parking at the airport (very expensive, obviously), drag my 3 year old around on foot to whatever mysterious part of the airport houses lost and found, and retrieve said stroller, only to sit in the car again for nearly an hour on the way home. All for the pleasure of retrieving my stroller which Turkish Airlines lost ON MAY 24TH.

For some reason they delivered my missing suitcase to my house, but the stroller they refuse, claiming that I never opened a lost baggage ticket.
A) I went straight to lost baggage in Istanbul, which apparently doesn't count?
B) I opened an inquiry online almost immediately, which also doesn't count?
C) I know they have the ability to deliver lost suitcases to my house, because they did so in the past, even though I followed the exact some procedure for the stroller and the suitcase.

I've emailed Turkish Airlines customer service, their general manager, their head of customer service, their office in Israel, whatever email I could find on elliot.org basically, at appropriately spaced intervals, and following the language guidelines in the forum. Not even a canned response- just total radio silence from everyone. I'm pretty miserable with all this fighting to get back my lost stroller, without the added stress of losing pay at work, paying to park and retrieve it, and dragging along a 3 year old for the entire ordeal at a minimum of 2 hours of hassle, most likely 3+.

Any advice? Do I have any recourse here?

Thanks everyone!
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#16
@Nyerfamily Do you have a copy of the inquiry you opened online? If so, send them a copy and then file for the replacement cost of the stroller (if, after double checking, you find that it was on the inquiry).

Otherwise, at some point you have to consider if its worth picking up vs walking away and not flying them again.
 

AMA

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Dec 11, 2014
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#17
Can't you get a babysitter for a couple of hours so you don't need to bring your toddler? Or maybe there is some sort of service that will go pick it up for you? I don't know what's available in Israel but if you're in one of the bigger cities, maybe there is a cargo service or even something like a taxi where the driver would go out and pick it up. Naturally you would have to make sure anyone else has all the documentation to prove they're picking it up for you.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#18
ahahaha my husband left work to go pick it up and they sent it back to Turkey. Obviously without notifying us either by email or by phone. So short of flying back to Turkey to retrieve it, I'm stuck. Any ideas for how to move forward? At day 47 without a stroller I think its time to buy a new one.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
ahahaha my husband left work to go pick it up and they sent it back to Turkey. Obviously without notifying us either by email or by phone. So short of flying back to Turkey to retrieve it, I'm stuck. Any ideas for how to move forward? At day 47 without a stroller I think its time to buy a new one.
What an absolute mess.