Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Never Fly With Turkish Airlines

This matter has brought me out of my slumber.

A few months ago, we decided to take a chance on Turkish Airlines. In The Netherlands, Turkish Airlines is probably most famous for crashing next to a highway near Schiphol Airport but heck, it was the 2nd cheapest (cheapest was Egypt Air which sounded a bit dodgy to us) and we really only had to fly for 3 hours on an actual Turkish Airlines plane (codeshare).

That totally did NOT pay off. Our nightmare had just started. Checked in at Dusseldorf Airport and thought it was strange that we did not get our boarding passes for the Istanbul-KL leg (normally, they give all of it to you) but when we asked, the ground staff said that it is policy that we would get it there (LIAR! If you ever face this, don't even believe them!).

Well well..guess what happened! We arrived at Istanbul 3.5 hours before our flight to KL was scheduled to depart and immediately headed towards the counter within the transit hall. Turns out, there was a 'computer problem' so we weren't on the flight. I am not stupid - some of my family members work in the airline industry. This means they are overbooked (which they later admitted).

Was very nice the entire time (me, not them). Told them nicely tat we had booked and paid for these tickets months in advance and that it wasn't our problem if there was a problem with their system or not. Ground staff barely understood English. They told us to come back 1 hour before the flight to check. Fine, came back, was told that we were officially bumped off. Madly pissed as had a wedding to attend and shitloads to do upon arrival (tailor, hen's night etc.).

Assholes at counter then made us wait on the floor whilst they find a connecting flight. Well, assholes couldn't have been the most efficient people as it took them 4 freaking hours (literally) with us sitting on the floor and hanging at the counter (they kept saying "10 minutes, 10 minutes"). Finally, Dutchman and a Swede (who was also bumped off the same flight) barged into the private office, sat next to one of them and got a flight- apparently the only one left which was scheduled to leave at about midnight (to Shanghai and then to KL) so yes, that was a good 12+ hours doing nothing but WAITING for a flight. They did put us in the lounge but no real food (just some lousy dry bread). I freaking hate eating bread for dinner. It makes me feel like Oliver Twist.

Finally, got on the flight. An hour later, captain says someone on board has had a heart attack and we'll be returning to Istanbul. Fine, I guess that's not something they can help and probably cost them heaps of money as well. Plane grounded for 3-4 hours. Arrived in Shanghai, scheduled flight already departed but ground staff at Shanghai were EXCELLENT. They got someone to meet us in the arrivals hall, arranged priority check-in (for the next flight and passport controls) and everything. Got us on the next flight (Air Mauritius) to KL. Finally, we arrived in KL at like 4a.m. a day later (22 hours delay).

Now, this is the part which annoys the shit out of me. Yes, we were shit ass tired. Yes, we were crazily stressed (because missing and then not knowing when your next flight will be when you have shitloads to do when you arrive). Yes, we spent some extra money (calling people from the plane, midnight fares etc.). Yes, our holiday was ruined. Yes, the staff at Istanbul were useless, rude and dumb.

But MOST OF ALL, Turkish Airlines didn't want to compensate us and they were so SNEAKY about it. See, if they had told us about the delay at Dusseldorf (EU), we would have been entitled to 600 euro per person compensation (delay of more than 4 hours, EU Regulation) but they purposely dragged us to Istanbul because Istanbul's not part of the EU and they wouldn't have to compensate anything!  And they call themselves "Europe's Best Airline" HAHAHAHA.

I am going to make it my mission to ensure that everyone knows what a shit airline Turkish Airlines is. I'm going to make sure no one I know ever flies on it again. Certainly, no one will want to -unless they don't care if they arrive as scheduled or not.