Short stories from Istanbul

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was a married couple living in Nepal. She was from Croatia and he was from Nepal. One sunny summer day they were leisurely surfing the Internet when they came across cheap plane tickets to Croatia. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of going to Croatia for Christmas and he nodded his head in approval. Tickets were purchased.

Come December, the suitcases were packed and a happy couple made their way to the airport. Everything seemed merry. After all, ’twas the season. One thing they neglected to consider was the fact they were flying …[ insert horror movie music]… Turkish Airlines. Oh, what a nightmare it was! Their flight out of Kathmandu to Istanbul was delayed for more than 5 hours, but they were still waiting patiently, excited they are on the way to Croatia, hoping they would not miss their connecting flight. When finally boarded, both were surprised to find out there are no announcements being made, and no apology given for delay. Entertainment system was not working and there was no food for vegetarians and others who do not eat meat.  When they reached Istanbul, their flight to Croatia has already departed. And that is when their ordeal truly began. For some immigration reasons they were not allowed to leave the airport and sleep in the hotel provided by the airline. Instead, they had to spend 15:30 hours in Istanbul airport. They wasted hours and hours walking from one desk to the other trying to find some accommodation or at least some sympathy from the airline and airport staff. To no vain. All they got was angry and disgusted glances. They’ve been ignored, yelled at, lied to, made fools out of. They got a food voucher for a hamburger. And finally, exhausted, frustrated and angry, they found a quiet room and two chairs to spend the night. Even for that, they got mistreated and yelled at.

Finally, the next morning arrived and they boarded their flight to Croatia. Luckily, this time everything was in order. They reached Croatia tired but happy to see the beaming faces of the family members in the airport. Next three weeks were spent in a haze of food and sleep. When the day of departure for Nepal came, the couple again feared the worse – delays and mistreatment in Istanbul airport. Their trip began on a positive note, by being upgraded to business class for their first flight. But that was all they got. Just an upgrade, but not the service. Seat was in a business class area, though the food was economy class. Couple dismissed it with a laugh, happy that someone was appreciative enough of the trouble they went through earlier. However, upon reaching Istanbul, finding out they are no longer in business class and realizing their flight is seven hours delayed, despair, once again, set in. This time around, they decided they will not allow airline and airport staff to abuse and mistreat them, so they found a quiet seat in the waiting area where they would spend the next 12 hours. Faith had something else in plan.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue

The husband suddenly developed a strong headache. It must’ve been stress-induced. His eyes turned red and his mood went sour. The wife went in search of a medication. She located the information desk where she found out that she needs to call the pharmacy which will then deliver the medicine. She did as told. The pharmacy said to call back in an hour. She obliged. After second call she was told to hold on for 10 minutes and medicine will be brought to her. She waited for more than an hour. No one showed up. Upon her third call to the pharmacy, she was told to call back in ten minutes. The wife then gave up and cried in frustration. The husband was getting worse and worse. They walked around the airport looking for someone to help them. None of the airport staff was responsive. As if though they were not human. Finally, they managed to get medicine from a nice fellow traveller.

Flight was boarded with seven-hour delay. Once again, no entertainment system on a seven-hour flight. Mid-way to Kathmandu eggs and sausages were slapped in front of them to eat. No vegetarian option. Again, no apology.

No Turkish Airlines for this couple again. They only have one thing to say to you, readers:  for heaven’s sake, avoid Turkish Airlines and Istanbul airport like plague.

27 thoughts on “Short stories from Istanbul

    • Such poor customer service, it’s even difficult to describe in words the ways we were mistreated. I think I have never before felt that humiliated. And i even paid for it!

  1. OMG! What a horror\! Weren’t you flying through Istanbul when you were returning from Lina’s wedding? That’s another story to write….Never again Turkish Airlines…

    • Most of our delays were caused by the bad weather in Kathmandu, so your brother should be ok in terms of arriving on time. While staying in Istanbul I didn’t notice any delays of flights to Delhi. Whether he would get an appropriate level of customer service, that’s another story.
      Congrats on your wedding and good luck! 🙂

  2. This is one horrible travel story. Poor you and your hubby. Some airlines are so ruthless and no customer service at all. Glad you had a good 3 weeks with your family despite the ordeal. Take care and definitely not flying Turkish airlines ever .

    • No TA ever again. This story is only half of what actually happened. I have never seen people so inhumane and discriminating as the employees of TA and Istanbul Airport. It’s like they have a heart of stone. I definitely felt like passengers traveling to countries like Nepal and Bangladesh were discriminated, mistreated and not cared for. You could see that from the level of service and even the state of the aircraft. Absolutely appaling.

    • Thanks. My story is definitely a mild version of what actually happened. It was the most frustrating and horrible air travel experience of my life. And I traveled a lot. Wouldn’t recommend TA to anyone.

  3. I can so relate to this.. I just posted a similar article just yesterday about my terrible experience back and forth from USA to Nepal via Turkish Airlines.. Their service is just too horrible.. No more Turkish Airlines for me as well.. I’m glad you made it back safe! (:

    • Such a frustrating experience, isn’t it? Did you feel the discrimination of the people on the flight to Kathmandu, as opposed to other destinations? I found it appalling and disgusting.

      • Ms.Z.,

        Here’s the link to my article if you have some time to spare:

        I’ve pretty much explained everything we had to go through because of Turkish Airlines. And I agree with you about discrimination. They made us feel so little and worthless. I mean nobody was travelling for free but it just looked like they had something against Nepalese people. I’m sure its just not me who felt that way!

      • Oh yes, I actually read your post earlier and was trying to leave a comment, but I was doing it from my phone and once I finished I press a wrong button and the whole thing got deleted.

        In your post you pretty much explained exactly what happened to us too. While reading it, I was wondering whether we were on the same flight. I was a bit hesitant to write about the discrimination issue, as I am not Nepali, but I do have to admit I felt it. And I was appalled and disgusted. And that is what I’ve been telling to everyone after this experience – there is a tremendous “destination discrimination”. Not only Nepali people were treated in most horrible ways, but the plane going to and from Kathmandu was awful. Dirty, no entertainment system, no special meals. And even no apology. As if though passengers from Kathmandu are not even worthy of Turkish apology. Delays I can deal with – weather is not something that can be influenced. But such discriminatory and horrible treatment of people who pay for tickets (some probably even saved a long long time to buy a ticket) is absolutely unacceptable.

  4. wow! so its not just me then, such a terrrible terrible experience.the flight always seems to get delayed whether its the connecting flight fr istanbul to ktm or ktm to istanbul (4 hrs delay each way). horrible customer service (if there ever was one).airport so crammed,ppl were laying all over the floors, such rude people at the airport,yes, if you dare ask them any informations,all you get is either a snub or some rude comments back. oh and they always seem to run out of chicken meals for some reason or was it just me. and as expected no apologies. never never using them ever! HORRIBLE experience ever! its a shame how they still manage to be in business

    • Oh it definitely is not just you KT! Their service to Kathmandu is truly horrific. Complete discrimination. I have decided never to travel with Turkish Airlines again and to tell everyone I know about my horrible experience.

  5. I feel sorry to hear that suffering and troubles you both went through..I think You guys sent your story to to aware all the Nepalese who are living in abroad. I wonder how can some people be so inhuman and emotionless..

    • No worries. Each and every comment is welcome. I really appreciate it that you thought of me when you saw her post. Our stories are not only similar, but the same. All that she described in her post is exactly what happened to me as well. Terrible service by TA!

  6. Oh dear! I’m so sorry that you had such an awful time. Thanks for letting us know not to fly on TA! We’ve had good flights in and out of Nepal (and at least semi-decent food and the option to order vegetarian) on Qatar (which flies into Zagreb I believe) and Etihad (except for minor luggage delays). (I’m actually getting ready to do a small series of airline reviews myself.) I’m glad you’re now home safely and soundly and that you had a nice visit and lovely with your family. When do you think they’ll be making a visit to Nepal? Have a nice day!

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  9. I feel that there is no Nepali airlines available to cover (m)any international sectors so obviously some airlines like TA are flying Kathmandu with an arrogance of doing a favor to the country, it’s people and tourism industry. If our own flag carrier would have been a reputed one no outside carrier would have the audacity to be so arrogant towards us. Shame on our own carrier, an NO, NEVER EVER to Turkish(it) airline. Sorry tall who suffered in the hands of TA and thanks a lot for sharing your story/experiences.

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