Turkish Airlines - Complaint for THY Staff behavior at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul

I have sent the following mail to a couple of probable interested parties.

piyush matlani 31 May 2014 15:18To: hamdi.topcu@thy.com, mes@thy.com, tkotil@thy.com, igercek@thy.com, muzafferakpinar@thy.com, mbuyukeksi@thy.com, naciagbal@thy.com, iayci@thy.com, arzu.akalin@thy.com, ir@thy.com, MCTMD@thy.com, customer@thy.comCc: support@airlinequality.com, miller@airlinequality.com, Webmaster@staralliance.com, info@tav.aero, cr@tav.aero, hrinfo@tav.jobs, times@omantel.net.om, exclusive@the-sun.co.uk, editor.indiatimes@indiatimes.co.in, feedback08@turkishpress.com, embassy.muscat@mfa.gov.tr, foreignrelations@tursab.org.tr, kultur@kultur.gov.tr


Since the Customer Feedback System of Turkish Airlines has completely failed, I had no other option in get to catch the attention of the so-called "Best airlines in Europe", that too 3rd time in a row!

Firstly, to all the other recipients of this mail who are not directly related to Turkish Airlines, the reason I am marking all of you in this mail, is because I believe, all the probable stakeholders of this Company have a right to know, what sort of Organizational culture you are being associated with.

4 days and counting since a complaint was filed by me against the behavior of your staff, and yet, no response yet. For an airline that takes great pride in calling itself the "Best Airline in Europe," thrice in a row, anyone would expect, at the very least, a courtesy message, albeit automated, to notify the sender an acknowledgement of the same.

How does a national carrier and such an integral part of a service based industry, not even care enough go through the comments and complaints on your website? Or does the feedback section on the website exist solely to follow the trend of the Industry? Since I'm absolutely certain that the complaint I've written has fallen on deaf ears, I will now share the saga that I had to go through at the Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, thanks to the highly proclaimed Turkish Hospitality I received from the employees of the "Best airlines in Europe".

Me and my family had decided to go to Turkey for our vacation, and had enjoyed every moment of it, until we had to ask your staff for any kind of assistance in the unfortunate course of events, that were too created by them.

Here is what happened. We were scheduled to depart from Istanbul to our residential country Oman, on 25th May, 2014, by flight TK0776. Everything was going fine. We were just having a regular good family time. We arrived at the airport around 4.30pm local time. That is, around 2 Hours 15 Minutes prior to our scheduled departure time of 6.45 pm. This much time is usually sufficient. When we arrived at the airport we realized that there is a long *** everywhere. Now I don’t blame anyone for this, but it was still fine. We somehow cleared checking in our baggage and the passport control (where only half the counters were open), and still had around an hour at our disposal.

Since we had time at our disposal, we decided to go through the duty free shopping. Here after a while we noticed that there were no announcement speakers (I don’t know about the norm worldwide, but this is first time we noticed this), but we still had 20 minutes to departure. Kindly note, that no where until now we were informed that boarding gate closes 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time, nor was it mentioned on our boarding passes. Now we just rushed towards our boarding gate no. 211. My parents were already at the gate. What your staff there did, is just saw them, and without making a final shout at the gate, just went in and locked the gate.

In the photo attached herewith you can see my dad, and in the background the THY staff at gate 211, collecting boarding passes from a couple of passengers, still 15 minutes to go. By the time me and my brother reached at the gate, we could see that our baggage was being removed from the flight. This is the first time that anyone in our family had to face such a situation, and we didn't know what to do. Exactly 12 minutes prior to departure time, we were in front of the gate waiting for like 2 minutes, and a last call announcement was made for us, but there was not even 1 of your staff member at the gate. You can confirm this from the announcement logs.

We were much tensed at this moment, and I and my brother were just running around in order to find someone who could help. My dad, found an intercom phone at the boarding gate and tried a couple of numbers, and was able to connect at one of them, where he learned that there was some no. 4602, and they could help us. When he called that no. the lady on the line rudely said that the phone was only to be used by THY Staff members, and threatened to call the cops if we used the phone. After 5 minutes, 1 of your staff members came through the boarding gate, and informed us that we were off boarded. We asked him for any sort of way, he could have helped us, but shouted and said no. He also said that we were automatically rescheduled to some other flight, departing around 5 hours later, and we were supposed to go to the counter near gate no. 215, and collect our new boarding passes. We later learned that this was just a false statement to get rid of us. From Gate 215 we were sent to gate 219. There your staff clearly blamed everything on us. We realized there is no sense in arguing, and we just had to follow as they instructed. Here, there was a lady at the counter who was kind enough to arrange a wheelchair for my dad, as by now he couldn't walk any further due to some pre-existing medical issue. They told us that we had to go though the international transit terminal on to the arrival side where, our exit stamps on our visas were cancelled at passport control, and then towards the departure side to issue a new tickets on paying a penalty of 70 Euros per passenger.

At the ticket counter we had a couple of questions, regarding our baggage, validity of visa, and a several more. The person there said that the supervisor on duty could help us out. Here this supervisor is the main reason, that I have forced myself to relive through this saga again and again in order to file this complaint. The supervisor from the very beginning was rude, and blunt in talking. Anything we would ask, she said it is not her job, and she refused. We even asked her if she had a senior, or someone else who could address to our issue, she said that she is the senior most person at the airport. This entire conversation became very heated. She even abused us in the local language (which we understood by her tone). Finally, I asked her name in order to make a complaint, but she removed her badge and declined to tell her name. When I took out my cell phone to take a picture instead, she again threatened to call the cops. This is no way, your staff is supposed to treat paying customers.

In this entire ordeal that we went through, we were given a feeling of that your staff is against your customers, and not for. At every counter your staff questioned us how did we get late, when the other 200 passengers were able to reach on time. This is not how the attitude of the staff of "Best airlines in Europe" supposed to be. Almost everyone was very rude, and made us feel like we had committed a huge criminal offence by missing our flight (which was partly due to mistake on your side, but we still had claimed full responsibility for it). C’mon we are already paying for it in terms of money, efforts, and most importantly ‘time’. The least we expect is basic civilized human to human respect. Seriously, you people ruined our holiday.

Suggestion: I noticed that neither were we the only ones to miss our flight, nor would be the last ones. Instead of making such passengers feel like criminals (when they are already feeling bad to miss the flight), at least start assisting them in the right direction. Also, I don't think any agency in the world should make last call shout at the gate, compulsory, but any person in their right mind, knowing that a couple of passengers are missing, would do it as a courtesy.

Hope at least now I would get an acceptable answer to my complaint.

Thanks and regards

Mr. Piyush Matlani

+968 96044579

P.S. Kindly, don’t disappoint me with an answer like; you won’t have names of such employees (which was at one point bluntly refused to us). This entire situation happened in your home airport, which is definitely secured by cctv cameras, to which you would also have access. Also 4 days and counting, is nowhere even near to what you mentioned on your website, as "prompt" reply.

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Jul 08 #1182698 Cape Town, Western Cape

I was travelling to england with turkish airlines I asked about a bottle of wine The hostes aparantly her name was merve sahin was very rude at me She replied that I already had one glass and refused to give me another one I asked again and she didnt even bother to answer me She was very very rude and agressive

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Nov 20, 2014 #903741

Why would you assume that you can board up until departure time? Departure means when the airplane gets off from the terminal with everyone on board already, not still strapped to their seat waiting for people that are late. It's a fact that everyone knows your supposed to be at your gate about 15 to 30 minutes before ***. Sorry you missed your flight, but that was due to your own incompetence and poor time management, not the airlines fault.

2 5 Reply

Oct 30, 2014 #893135 Istanbul, Istanbul

So you disregarded the gates close 15min prior to departure statements everywhere and think it's THY's fault? Good thing I wasn't on that flight or I would be filing a complaint about late departures....

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