‘IF YOU CAN’T FLY ‘TURKISH AIRLINES’ YOU’LL GO OFF YOUR ROCKER’
22 March, 2012
‘IF YOU CAN’T FLY ‘TURKISH AIRLINES’ YOU’LL GO OFF YOUR ROCKER’

What’s going on in Turkish Air Company?

On March 11, the delegation of Georgian athletes found themselves in a strange situation at Istanbul Airport – several members of our team were not allowed to board the plane. Despite having the return tickets, the ‘Turkish Airlines’ Company declared that there were no seats for them. ‘How’s that?’ asked the amazed passengers. ‘Just like that, the plane is full and cut the gab; either we’ll call a hotel, they’ll temporarily accommodate you somewhere

and then we’ll send you on some flight or do as you please’ the Turks answered. They also added that if we today changed the tickets for another flight, they wouldn’t give us EUR 100 compensation but if we agreed on tomorrow’s flight, they would give EUR 200 compensation. Indignant Georgians forcibly spent a night at the hotel in Istanbul’s outskirts where there were citizens of other countries, including Russians who swore never again to even walk by ‘Turkish Airlines’ boarding ramp.

 

At the office of ‘Turkish Airlines’ they slammed the door in the face of ‘Palitra TV’ Internet television journalists and banged down the telephone.

Representative of Turkish Air Company: ‘Not only Turkish Airlines’ but any Company does this. This means reselling of tickets, i.e. an Air Company sells more tickets than there are seats on the board. It’s an international practice; such things happen not only at ‘Turkish Air Lines’ but at any Air Companies of civilized countries.

Q. – I take ‘Lufthansa’ flights and have heard nothing of the kind.

A. - Such things happen with ‘Lufthansa’ too; if a passenger is left in the airport he is paid compensation. This is in case he voluntarily stays, for instance in Istanbul. If he doesn’t then he is given another flight.

Q. – Here, I’m reading a text in Internet about ‘Palitra TV, that Georgians, taking flight from Turkey, namely from Istanbul purchased tickets in advance and they were left at the airport.

A. – Let me tell you one thing – let ‘Palitra TV’ first read International laws and then write about it. It’s an internationally accepted and attested law and such things may happen in any country and to any air company.

We aren’t protected from absolutely everything. When you buy a ticket, rules and obligations of a company apply. Everything is written on the ticket.

Q. – Is it written there that they can sell my ticket?

A. – No, your ticket belongs to you. The air company can’t sell the ticket with this number to anybody else. It is resold.

Q. – Yes, but mustn’t somebody inform me in advance?

A. – Of course they will contact you but if you refuse to have your ticket resold, they will contact another passenger.

Q. – Who am I talking with?

A. – I’m talking on behalf of Turkish Airlines.

After this I, of course, called ‘Lufthansa’ Air Company and as a citizen tried to find out if they would sell my ticket without my permission. They almost made fun of me: how dare I say that? Then they explained that there is a rule of so-called overbooking i.e. if you only reserved (not bought) a ticket, two different agencies may sell one and same ticket that, in its turn is followed by not fulfillment of obligations with regard to one person who had reserved it but it’s categorically excluded that already purchased ticket is sold by somebody. Not only international but there is even no internal order like that.

Eka Gagnidze is one of those who suffered from ‘Turkish Airlines’ in Istanbul on 11, March. ‘When check-in started they said we couldn’t board as the plane was full. Half of the delegation went through the passage and the remaining part was asked to a small room for negotiations where we were told that the tickets were sold and we could take the next day’s flight. First we were dumb struck; they were telling us that the tickets that we were holding were sold.’

Vika Zamtaradze, Foreign affairs manager of Georgian Federation of Athletes: ‘4 persons out of 8 were allowed to board, the remaining 4 were left. The fact that there were no seats turned out to be unexpected even for their employees at the check-in counter. They shrugged their shoulders saying that they had no idea what was going on. I learnt in Tbilisi that such incidents were frequent with ‘Turkish Airlines’ and we weren’t the first with whom they lost face. I will never forget what happened on board. It turned out that two men had one and the same seat. This fact indicates that either the Air Company can’t fulfill taken responsibilities or they’ve mixed up the whole process so much that they can’t make head or tail of these tricks.’

Levan Khidasheli together with the head of the Company was returning from China via Bangkok and Istanbul to Tbilisi. Due to delay of Chinese Air Company and because the passengers were late to board Turkish plane, unprecedented measures were taken at the airport and the Georgians were brought to the plain several minutes before departure in cars with alarm signal.

Levan Khidasheli: ‘A lady was explaining that they had no time to take luggage on board. We said we didn’t mind if the luggage was delivered by the following flight provided we weren’t left. They didn’t let us board the plane and left us at Bangkok airport. The employees of Thailand airport who very quickly took us to ‘Turkish Airlines’ gate and witnessed everything were no less amazed than we. The Chinese air company took expenses and next day sent us to Tbilisi via Munich by ‘Lufthansa’ Air Company; but our luggage was lost. We asked for it here and there but could find no trace – neither Chinese Airlines, nor Thailand Airlines, nor ’Lufthansa’. ‘Somebody advised to call on the luggage department in Tbilisi airport. First they didn’t let us board the plane saying there was delay with luggage; but as it turned out ‘Turkish Airlines delivered the luggage but they didn’t even send a notice to us. We rushed into their office but it’s like ploughing the sands. But the fact is– if you can’t fly ‘Turkish Airlines’, you’ll go off your rocker.’

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