I’m Not Sure What To Make Of This Travel Horror Story

Filed Under: Advice, Travel

A Twitter user reached out repeatedly today to share a travel horror story.

Since she also tagged travel advocates Usher, Katy Perry, and Taio Cruz, I couldn’t help but read. šŸ˜‰

She describes this as a horrific and gut wrenching customer experience with Turkish Airlines. First I’ll share her Facebook post in its entirety, though I’ll provide a summary below in case you want to skip:

My husband and I were suppose to be on a sailboat in Croatia right now catching rays. But we are not, thanks toĀ #Turkishairlines.

Josh (my husband) was suppose to be meeting my family for the first time and I was coming home after long 4 years. And this is our traumatic story with Turkish airlines representatives.

Our flight was on July 2nd at 11pm (Washington Dulles-Istanbul-Venice).We came to the airport at 7pm to check in. I’ve flown internationally before plenty of times. This time it felt different. I felt eyes on us (eyes on him). I didn’t think much of it because eyes and stares are a part of our daily lives.

It was our turn to check in. My last name on the travel certificate didn’t match my ticket (I had called Turkish airlines about this matter weeks before the trip and sent over my travel certificate, marriage certificate, green card and birth certificate). They sent me an email back a few days later after reviewing my case stating I’ll be able to board my flight as long as I present my marriage certificate.

Also when we were checking in I told them we want to take our bags out in Istanbul (my parents got us tickets to fly from Istanbul to Split-Croatia instead of Venice because it was more convenient since the sailboat was in Split). They checked me and my husband in. We were issued the tickets, our bags have been tagged and sent off. We went through the security and document check. We both came out clean as a whistle.Ā We decided to go have dinner and relax before we head to the gate.

After our delicious meal we spoke with our parents briefly to inform them that we are good to go and flying out in two hours.

My husband has never flown out of the country and he has high anxiety when it comes to flying all together. When we got to the gate I was trying to lighten him up by watching funny animal videos and taking silly pictures with our new selfie stick we purchased for this trip. We tried guessing what new movies they have as choices for us to watch during the flight and what will we be eating for dinner AGAIN.

As we were patently waiting for hours to board our flight BOTH of our names have been called on the intercom. Mind you this is all happening 30 minutes before our flight is scheduled to board. We walk up to one of the Turkish airlines representatives and her face is giving up signs of panic. She is trying to explain to us that we have to run all the way back to where we initially checked in. My heart dropped. My husband and I started to run as fast as we could. When we got to our initial point of check in we just stood there for 5 minutes.

All of the Turkish airline representatives are giving us looks but not one of them is trying to assist us. After a game of looks and whispersĀ one of them asks us to step forward. Lady at the counter told me I will not be able to board my flight because they found something wrong with my travel certificate. Final destination of my ticket is Venice but my travel document sates its for return to Croatia only (which is my final destination). At that point I started to cry at the counter, my husband raised his voice slightly stating that this is unacceptable (he is 6’6″, 240 pounds and African American). The police showed up out of nowhere in a matter of seconds. My husband realized what is going on and he proceeded to remove himself from the situation and sat down on the floor with his head down.

At this point I am crying hysterically.

Im trying to explain that I am flying to Croatia from Istanbul. That’s why we are picking up our luggage in Istanbul. At this point a representative comes over (I don’t know his name), starts raising his voice at me, reading out loud what says on the document.

I told him to stop yelling at me and then he proceeds to throw my travel document on the counter. At this point I’m on the phone with a travel agent trying to make changes to the ticket but he is not able to. It’s too late.

If they told us all of that in a timely manner at 7pm when we got to the airport to check in, we would have time to make changes. We would be in Croatia right now. They waited 30 minutes before our flight is boarding to do this to us. And I still don’t have a clue why my husband wasn’t able to board that flight and why his name got called on the intercom as well.

This has been the most traumatic customer service experience ever.

Joshes and my vacation time went into the wind. Our dog sitter money went into the wind. My parents sailboat money went into the wind.

And all the memories that we never made went into the wind.

To summarize best I can:

  • A lady who is a Croatian passport holder and her husband (a US passport holder who had never left the country) were booked on Turkish to fly from Washington to Venice via Istanbul
  • They checked in just fine, and had their bags short checked to Istanbul, since they ended up buying a separate ticket from Istanbul to Split since it was more convenient, and were going to drop their segment from Istanbul to Venice
  • They cleared security, had dinner, sat in the gate area, etc., and everything seemed fine
  • 30 minutesĀ before boarding was scheduled to start they were told they needed to go back to check-in due to a problem, and the lady was informed she wouldn’t be able to travel because there was something “wrong with [her] travel certificate”
  • Her husband “raised his voice slightly,” the police showed up, though nothing further happened regarding that
  • The Turkish Airlines employees allegedly also raised their voices
  • The couple missed their dream trip due to this ordeal, and this would have been the first time the husband met her family

Turkish 777

I really sympathize with the couple. Clearly they were trying to follow the rules best they could, left plenty of time before their flight, etc. But unfortunately there are a couple of issues here. First of all, you’re not allowed to throw away a segment of a ticket. In other words, if you’re booked to Venice you have to fly Venice, and can’t just get off in Istanbul and book a separate ticket to Split.

This is in the contract of carriage forĀ airlines, but the issue is that no one reads the contract of carriage, since it’s dozens of pages long and highly technical. So I can’t blame them for not knowing, but at the same time the airlineĀ was only enforcing their policy. Had they been allowed to fly to Europe, their return flight would have been canceled as soon as they skipped a segment, so they would have otherwise had a horrible experience on the return.

Furthermore, most airlines have a policy against the practice of “short checking” bags, which is when you don’t check bags through to your final destination. This is precisely to make sure people don’t engage in throwaway ticketing. That being said, I’m not positive this applies to Turkish.

Lastly, as pointed out by Sean in the comments, the biggest issue perhaps was that she was traveling on a single use travel certificate, which likely wouldn’t have allowed her to enter Turkey. If she wanted to short check her bags to Istanbul then she’d need to clear immigrationĀ to do so, and she wouldn’t necessarilyĀ have been allowed to do that.

What’s unfortunate here, however, is that Turkish didn’t let them know sooner. They said they arrived at the airport hours early, and the airline should have caught thisĀ during the initial check-in process. Of course airline employees also sometimes don’t know all the rules, so it seems like they only caughtĀ on later in the process.

Washington Dulles Airport

This is an all around crappy situation, though I’m not sure just one party is to blame here. This is the tough part about travel. Airline rules are ridiculously complicated, and I’m not surprised the couple didn’t know that throwaway ticketing isn’t allowed. At the same time, it’s something they agreed to when they booked their ticket, as it’s in the contract of carriage.

However, that doesn’t mean the airline is fully in the clear here. They should have let the passengers know earlier, in my opinion. It’s possible that there may have been more to this, though, as she doesn’t fully explain what issues there were with the “travel documentation.”

While I realize hindsight is 20/20, the other lesson to learn here is to always leave an extra buffer if you’re planning a special trip. I know this is easier said than done since people have limited vacation days (especially in the US), but you should never make it so that a single missed flight will cause you to miss a special trip entirely. This is especially true for folks taking cruises, etc., where there’s zero leeway. Always arrive a day early. Again, I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s the only way to avoid stuff like this.

Again, I really sympathize with the couple, but I’m afraid the airline wasn’t completely in the wrong here, even if they didn’t handle it ideally. And all of this is just based off the couple’s story.

What do you make of this unfortunate situation?

  1. If they hadn’t flown the Istanbul- Venice sector outbound, then their return ticket would have automatically been cancelled ( exactly as you say, Lucky). That would have left them stranded in Europe with no ticket home, which presumably would have been worse for them than what did happen. I’ve seen lots of genuine tales of woe from travellers; this really isn’t one of them.

  2. @Lucky – You have missed a very key point here. She was not traveling on a passport but rather on a single use travel certificate. These are issued in lieu of passports for very specific purposes (eg. for travel on a specific route to return to the home country when passports are lost/expired). There is no way that she would have been allowed to exit at either Istanbul or Venice on the basis of a travel certificate issued with restricted validity of travel only to Croatia. If she had supporting documentation to prove her EU citizenship (having a Croatian travel certificate is not definitively indicative of Croatian citizenship – these are also issued to refugees, stateless persons under protection, etc..) she may have been permitted into Italy but not necessarily into Turkey.

  3. It applies here, dont check bags if you plan on dropping a leg, also another thing here: the couple would need a tourist or transit visa into turkey as they need to clear customs in order to recheck their bags šŸ™

  4. Throwing away the Istanbul to Venice leg would render the return invalid…
    Instead of being stranded in Istanbul trying to get home to the US they are staying home now… probably better this way… normally you only throw away the last of the 4 segments…

    Plus she got travel document issues….. unfortunate but no reason to raise voices at all…

  5. It sounds like the short-ticketing might not have been intentional when they initially booked the trip. At least as I read it, it sounded like they had expected to fly to Venice and then travel overland to Split, but then her parents booked them airfare directly to Split as a way of being helpful.

    It obviously doesn’t change the problem with the contract of carriage, but it does seem that there might be a layer of miscommunication between the parents trying to be helpful and the new couple who had already booked the trip but didn’t want to seem rude by turning down the “help” on top of whatever “travel document” issues were involved.

  6. Something seems weird here. They seemed to know they were going to have issues before they event got to the airport, to a point where a significant part of the story is calling ahead after clearing security to say, “phew, we made it, we’ll see you soon.”

    I agree that once they were sent on their way from the main ticket counter it’s pretty lame how it worked out, but at the same time, there’s something seems a bit fishy, beyond just the short checking, name issue, and throwaway ticket.

    Also, if the flight from IST-SPU was on TK in whole or part this is not something that any traveler should be surprised about. If TK kicked back the same pax on two booked itineraries that conflicted, there’s no surprise that an issue got flagged, especially given a weird name issue.

    There’s no excuse for being treated rudely. And I agree with you Lucky that the dangers of throwaway ticketing are probably not as well understood as they should be, but the bottom line is that if you’re checking bags, or booking separate tickets on the same airline, or have segments after your throwaway, suck it up and pay the change fee to delete the segment you have decided not to take.

  7. Never heard of Travel certificates — thanks to other readers for clarification…

    I guess it becomes a non-story now.. the first mistake was passenger booking said ticket w no pp. the second mistake was airline agent letting them check in first time around… the last is us paying attention (haha)

  8. This situation sounds a little dodgy to me. Questionable documentation, throwaway ticketing on a budget airline (dead giveaway – they’re CHEAP), raising voices, crying in public etc. It would be interesting to hear the airline’s side of the story.

  9. As you mentioned ond can’t short check bags at the transfer point i.e. Istanbul. If they bought a ticket to Venice and Istanbul was a transfer point they are breaching the ticket conditions

    Why not buy a ticket to Croatia ?

    Sounds fishy to me and we have no idea what documents they presented

    Also the names should always match the passport

    Sounds like Turkish realised an issue and prevented a further problem

    Of course they were upset and there was a ” scene ” and the police were called

  10. Sean has a very good point. The travel certificate situation makes a big difference and should be explained. Even without the travel certificate issue, this is throwaway ticketing by 1) people not experienced with how to do throwaway ticketing properly and 2) a first-time international traveler. The combination of boyfriend being a first-time international traveler + attempting the throwaway ticketing in an unsophisticated manner is what sealed their fate. The “eyes” she experienced may have caused this (I’m assuming white) woman discomfort, but she would’ve had more experience and time to develop strategies to deal with that phenomenon if she had tried smaller/simpler trips with her black boyfriend first. Overall, they tried to do too much for a first trip. At first I questioned Lucky giving this woman a platform, but now I do applaud Lucky moving in this direction because even though he doesn’t have to, he can compassionately use his wide reach and influence to help educate people about what is and isn’t possible in various travel situations and we can all learn from each other which is truly valuable. I wish this couple the best of luck and hope they can enjoy a holiday with her parents in the future! Perhaps her parents can try the new Lot service from Budapest! =)

  11. How come the airline didn’t offer the option to cancel the Venice ticket and re-issue to a new destination? It would have been a middle of the road solution acknowledging check-in failed to explain rules in a timely manner and let the destination airport worry about the validity of her travel certificate.

  12. This is really one sided, I’m not sure what’s the point of posting these drama stories here – I checked her twitter account and my first impressions were that she’s seeking for attention. We can’t know for sure what happened – maybe her husband was too aggressive – who knows – but you don’t get the police called on you for nothing.

  13. If this was so special, you should have invested a few minutes in google searches.

    There are people dealing with real problems in airports and this ain’t one. But credit where it’s due, she can write at least as well as Daniel.

  14. Indeed as Sean M mentioned, she was not travelling on a passport Sounds like an emergency travel document.
    These documents are not valid for normal travel
    In the end this is a non story
    Another passenger ignorant of ticket conditions and document requirements and blaming everyone else but themselves

  15. I can’t understand the weight given to contract of carriage in the U.S. As no passenger is required to sign them or even been proactively encouraged to read them, why should it be binding. And to the point here, as the couple didn’t take off yet, they have yet to have dropped the second segment, so how are they at fault for not even making it to Istanbul.

    P.S – I wish United didn’t allow short checks. Every time I have a 12+ long connection, I’m forced to get my checked luggage and re-check it before my connecting flight. Makes a day trip to NY much more challenging.

  16. In May 2016 I had a weekend roundtrip Helsinki-Istanbul-Nakhichevan-Istanbul-Helsinki booked on TK. I started my Azerbaijan visa process too late and was not able to have visa on time unless I would have paid extra. So, I called TK Helsinki Airport office and asked if they would let me fly HEL-IST only (no visa for my final destination) and stay in Istanbul. I would buy a new return on a different airline. So, I was honest about this.

    The guy on the phone said of course and promised to write down that he had promised this. When I boarded, they at first did not want to let me board until I told them to read what their system says. And at that point suddenly everything was ok and I flew to IST without any problems šŸ™‚ So, TK can also be flexible.

  17. They may have bought a separate return ticket, so it wouldn’t really matter if they didn’t use the second leg of the trip if they hadn’t checked bags. However, wouldn’t they have to clear customs to check in with the other airline anyways, so she’d be unable to board the second flight regardless? And instead of ditching the whole trip, why not just take the flight to Venice and find a new way to get to Croatia from there? Has to be cheaper than cancelling everything. Frankly, if you’re doing anything remotely out of the ordinary, you need to do your research. A simple google search and they would have found out that, best case scenario, what they were doing was risky.

  18. While I do feel sorry for the couple, I don’t see how TK is at fault at all here. For a trip like this the couple should have appropriately done their research about whether the woman’s travel documents permitted their plans. The first thing one should research when planning an international trip is what sort of visa/travel document is necessary, if any. It sounds like a complex situation and the check-in staff didn’t discover the issue until later. If the couple began to get heated when the airline explained to them they could not travel, it makes sense that TK would rather call security then put their staff in jeopardy. I have sympathy for the couple but ultimately it was their fault.

  19. @ Anna — She posted a picture on Facebook of the ticket, which shows a roundtrip ticket from Washington to Venice, so it looks like the whole thing was on one ticket.

  20. There’s no direct flight from Istanbul to Split. However there’s Volotea’s 1-hour flight from Venice to Split. One could also drive from Venice to Split in a day if one really wants to.

    How exactly is DCA-IST-VCE-SPU worse than DCA-IST-xxx-SPU?

    Sounds like there’s more to this story than she writes. Sean makes a good point about the travel certificate. If she was travelling with passport, there wouldn’t have been any problems (Croatia is part of EU, Croatians can get e-visa to Turkey at the airport on arrival)

  21. I was on top of everything regarding my documents weeks before the flight.
    Even presented the airline with my travel document, green card, marriage certificate…
    Airline responded;
    “We have received your message dated 21st of June, 2017.

    Based on your message, we have contacted with the related deparment. We would like to inform you that you can attend your flights with the official marriage document.

    However, if you get problem about this matter before your flight, in case of you purchase a new ticket, we can evaluate for refund of your unused ticket on behalf of customer satisfaction.

    We submit the above to your information and thank you for choosing Turkish Airlines on your travels.

    Sincerely yours,

    Bugra E. ”

    Turkish Airlines Inc.
    Customer Contact Center

  22. @Lucky ..I’m back again.
    She stupidly posted all her private documents on Facebook !
    Booked via cheapoair
    It looks like she didn’t have a passport but
    Travelling on a Croatian ” laissez-passer” issued in D.C. on 16 June

  23. These problems should’ve been caught at check-in–it’s their responsibility to look at the nitty gritty of visas, document checks, etc–so I think the agents are to blame. But either way, they wouldn’t have embarked on that dream trip with those tickets and arrangements–their travel agent should’ve explained that to them.

  24. “They checked in just fine, and had their bags short checked to Istanbul, since they ended up buying a separate ticket from Istanbul to Split since it was more convenient, and were going to drop their segment from Istanbul to Venice”

    I stopped reading after this and everyone else should too.

  25. Looks like a bad plan that could’ve ended way worse – with a last-minute one-way ticket home or stuck in Istanbul or Venice.

  26. Agree with others. Turkish could have handled it better but they are not at fault. There’s multiple issues with not just ticketing but also with travel documents, and that is just based on her version of the story. There’s no way Turkish or any airline can allow them to fly. I guess she can play the victim all she wants but I cannot really be sympathetic here.

  27. This lady’s story doesn’t offend me as much as Daniel’s post did. She was an unsophisticated traveler, unlike Daniel. She made a mistake, but looking at the quality of the writing in her post, she is definitely smart enough to study and learn from resources like Lucky’s blog to reach a more sophisticated level, and it seems like she might be capable of realizing her part of the mistake and introspecting to move on in a positive way. She’s learning about how frontline employees often don’t know about “non-standard” cases like hers and what employees can and can’t do in a time-constrained situation like that. She’s learning about traveling with a black boyfriend outside of their area and developing responses to how they will be perceived and treated. She’s definitely learning about throwaway ticketing, insurance, planning and communication with travel providers and her parents, etc. Although unpleasant for them at those stressful moments + a missed vacation, I think this is a valuable situation to learn from for them and for all of us with lessons applicable to many and any areas. We are all learning and learning how to learn.

  28. There’s nothing in the original Facebook post that indicates that Turkish knew about or had a problem with the change of flight (of course, they would have had an issue when the travelers did not show up the the IST->VCE segment, but that would have happened later). Instead, it sounds like a paperwork issue.

    In fact, the problem Turkish had was that they still believed that the woman was flying to Italy using her original ticket on a travel certificate (something I never heard of until Sean M explained it, above) that was endorsed for Croatia (note, by the way, that she was flying under a different last name than the one on the travel certificate).

    This sounds to me much more akin to someone trying to board a plane without a required visa, and that Turkish would likely have been responsible for repatriating the woman if she was denied entry to Italy (and how they’d even get her back into the US without a passport is beyond me).

    Sounds like this is a real edge case. In any event, I’m not sure what Turkish could possibly have done to accommodate this crazy situation.

  29. The perils of social media – posting without researching what the actual issues were at first. Sounds like the lady had no idea what she’s doing; an unfortunate side effect of how easy it is to travel internationally these days.

    I feel bad for the couple, but they brought it on themselves.

  30. I got there at 7pm when my flight was at 11pm. So they had plenty of time to let me know what’s going on but they didn’t. They waited 30minutes before boarding.
    They were trying to find tickets from istanbul to Zagreb for us. Therefore I could have landed in Istanbul and fly to Zagreb-Split. I’m not crossing any borders. I’m going to Croatia.
    Even if I lost my ticket to go back to United States I could have purchased a new one.
    “If you are issued an paring pass, an airline is obligated to carry you”
    You can’t issue someone tickets and tell them they can’t board a plane 30minutes before scheduled boarding.

  31. Why is OMAT even giving a platform to this lunatic?

    Danaja, this was nothing more than horrible planning and basic lack of airline rules on your part. Better luck to you the next time you plan a once in a lifetime trip.

  32. Danaja,

    yes TK’s agent reacted to late. That’s their only fault. The rest is on you. Next time please book a return ticket to your destination, fly it and you’ll be fine.

  33. Danaja – Airlines CAN issue tickets to somebody, but THE PASSENGER is obligated to have required documents for their journey. It says this clearly on multiple pages. You did not have the correct document for your ticketed journey to Venice based on your purchase. You had a putni list for return ONLY to Croatia. Turkish knew you as flying to Venice, full stop. Yes, they should have stopped you at the counter the first time, their mistake. But to call it horrible injustice by Turkish is wrong and trying to shift your mistake onto somebody else and now getting publicity for it. You now say they even tried to help you get to Zagreb, which is way more generous than they could have been.

    PS – Bringing your husband ethnicity here is completely wrong and off base. I am part of an interracial couple and know the looks, but that has NOTHING to do with your issues.

  34. Danaja:

    What does They were trying to find tickets from Istanbul to Zagreb for us mean? Was Turkish Airlines trying to send you from Istanbul to Zagreb?

    It sounds like:

    1. You had a ticket to Italy, but a travel document to Croatia only. Turkish could not allow you to board the flight in that case.

    2. They were trying to help you by sending you to Zagreb instead. If they could do that, then they could allow you to board.

    3. They were unable to get you sent to Zagreb and therefore, prior to boarding, they notified you of this fact.

    Also, you state You canā€™t issue someone tickets and tell them they canā€™t board a plane 30minutes before scheduled boarding but, of course, this is common. Often it’s at the fault of the airline (overbooking, different model plane) but even then they can deny you boarding or even take you off the plane. But if it’s a paperwork issue where you’re actually not allowed to fly, the fact that they checked you in does not absolve them of their responsibility to enforce the immigration laws of the country you’d be flying to.

  35. Danaja,

    It’s like withdrawing some of the million dollars you found in your bank account one day. Yes, you had the boarding pass, but it was an accident. You weren’t entitled to one.

    There is no injustice here. Nothing for others to get riled up about. This is Just two people who didn’t plan a vacation properly.

  36. I never considered it before but surely ticket agents can’t know every small detail for any international routing passengers might have. Do airlines have a specialist either at the local station or perhaps centrally that audits this kind of thing before international flights board?

    I’m not at all surprised that the check in counter agent didn’t catch the combination of short checking a bag with a travel document not valid for that destination. Not that they couldn’t have but it’s got to be very uncommon. I hadn’t even heard of a one way travel certificate. I wonder if there was a second review of the manifest that caught this.

  37. This doesn’t deserve such a long write up. A lady sadly didn’t follow the rules of her ticket, and lost her vacation. Happens all the time. The airline should have stopped her at check in but the contract agent at Dulles made a mistake. Sadly it happens. Why are we talking about this on a miles and points forum? I very case of he said/ she said/ big bad airline ruined my life doesn’t need to be sensationalized.

  38. @Danaja, it’s good to see you here. You will learn a lot here, more than if you just stayed on Facebook. Are you saying TK was looking to change your flight from Istanbul-Venice to Istanbul-Zagreb at the check-in counter? I am very interested in this. What ended up happening with that and why did the ticket end up not being changed?

    If you had lost the return ticket without advance knowledge, are you sure you wouldn’t be upset at the Turkish check-in counter at Venice?

    From my understanding, if you checked into a flight on another ticket from Istanbul, you WOULD be crossing the Turkish border and you would need to collect and re-check your bag there. When traveling on throwaway tickets, it’s essential to not check any baggage.

    Hope to hear more of your story and answers to the questions people here ask. The collective knowledge here is tremendous and can really be helpful.

  39. Danaja:

    Sorry this happened to you – but hopefully you learn from it. The core of this is two issues – both of which are mistakes you made, not the airline:

    1) You had a ticket to Italy, but were travelling on a travel document document that was only valid for Croatia. The airline cannot let you travel in this case. You then complicated this by saying you wanted to claim your bags in Turkey. You didn’t have valid documentation to enter Turkey either.

    2) You told the airline that you were planning on violating the conditions of carriage by throwing away the Istanbul-Venice leg of your ticket.

    The airline should maybe have caught this earlier – when you checked in. But they absolutely should not have let you fly on the ticket you had, and with the conditions you presented them.

  40. the selfie stick detail alone should disqualify them from traveling

    I am also surprised the first agent who checked them in didn’t have a lot of questions with respect to the only checking their bags to IST.

  41. I think the biggest issue was traveling on the Laissez passer. They tried, and really didn’t have to, accommodate your request to pick up your bags in Istanbul. They were willing to ignore the fact you were booked to Venice and wanted to get off in Istanbul. You probably were not notified until 30 min before departure since this didnā€™t come up until they were finalizing the manifest and noticed some irregularities with your baggage and travel documents. Since you had separate tickets to Croatia, this would have required you to clear immigration and customs in Istanbul which would not have been possible with your travel certificate. If you would have arrived in Istanbul without the proper entry documents, this would have been an ugly situation and most likely deported back to the US (?) on the first flight back, not to mention major repercussions for the staff in Dulles for letting you do this. What you should have done was change your ticket to fly into Croatia, instead of Venice, before you arrived for check-in. If you would have changed your ticket it would never have been a problem since you be considered in transit while in Istanbul. But It seems you tried to do what was cheaper and convenient for you and it backfired. Frankly I don’t feel Turkish Airlines did anything wrong in this situation. Take it as a life lesson.

  42. So, it’s clear that this is a pretty complex issue.

    The more I hear about it, the more it sounds like Turkish was actually working quite hard to come up with a solution to Danaja’s paperwork problems.

    It’s possible that the they would have let her fly to Italy (on the grounds that she had a travel certificate good for another EU country), but the short-check made it clear that she was trying to terminate her voyage in non-EU Turkey. It sounds like Turkish was actually trying to find someway to get her into Croatia but wasn’t able to do so.

    I do think there’s a good deal of internet nastiness in this thread — this sounds like a complex situation and it’s not unreasonable that someone traveling to Croatia with a document valid for travel to Croatia would have believed that, once that document was accepted at check-in (or even, before check-in since she’ obviously been in touch with Turkish) that they would be able to make the trip.

  43. @Lucky Oh well, then that’s just dumb (I didn’t read too closely after I saw the dissertation she posted on Facebook….already lost sympathy points there). Did they never once think, “hmmm, I wonder if it’s cool if we do this, maybe we should google it?”

  44. I’m reading people’s comments and seeing so much negativity. There are ways to get your point across without calling people out of their names.
    Lucky, we did let them know that ill be flying to Croatia from Istanbul at the counter (we told them all of that when we checking in initially). That’s why we were picking up our bags in Istanbul. The lady said there is a possibility of loosing our tickets for return to Washington DC which was a loss we were willing to take and buy new tickets back when we got to Croatia.

  45. The title of the article is misleading imo…..I was expecting another Dr. Dao beat down but turned out to be someone trying to pull a skiplagged. Yes it’s unfortunate that this couple doesn’t know how to pull one off successfully but I would hardly call this a travel horror story. I think she have learned her lesson that one, she needs a proper passport before she travels to avoid complications and two, not to check in her bags when she’s trying to skip final destination. I’m assuming that she doesn’t have the proper passport because this is a last minute trip? But I know US passport agency has a quick turn around passport operation so perhaps she just doesn’t want to pay for the express service. She sounds young and is probably just trying to meet up with her family at budget prices which is understandable. But the bottom line is she just doesn’t know what she’s doing to pull this off. Oh and damsel in distress act is so 1940s, there is no need to cry to try to win some sympathy with airline agents because they have seen it all….

  46. Danaja, I think Turkish Airlines didn’t want to send someone without the proper documents. Traveling on a Laisser Pazzer doesn’t allow you to simply pick up your bags in Istanbul. Picking up your bags in Istanbul requires you to clear Turkish Immigration and customs. It’s the passengers responsibility to have the proper travel documents to your ticketed destination. Why didn’t you try changing your ticket from Venice to Zagreb before buying the new ticket from Istanbul to Split?

  47. @Danaja, it seems like there may be TWO issues with your travel documents, and just because one issue is solved, doesn’t mean the other issue is. I believe this may contribute to what happened:

    1) Travel certificate instead of Croatian or US passport must be good for entering Italy and/or Turkey if you wanted to do the throwaway ticketing.

    2) Name change.

    It’s possible TK was aware of the name change issue, approved it, and everything was ok for the name change. But they may not have exactly known about the other issue and your intentions for what countries you wanted to enter with the documents you had (which in any case, is always the passenger’s responsibility). You have to understand that these front line customer service type employees really do not (possibly cannot?) know the ins and outs of every unusual situation. Perhaps they SHOULD be trained better by TK, but they are paid $20 an hour, perhaps even less, and it’s not realistic to expect so much from such staff in non-standard and time-constrained situations. I’m sure you’ve probably picked up on these and other related travel realities since you’ve traveled so much more than your boyfriend. Although if you haven’t gone back to Croatia for 4 years, perhaps you were just a little “out of the (travel-related) loop” a bit, which is totally understandable. You will still need to get Turkish e-Visas when you get your Croatian and US passports, but of course it will always be easier with a passport. In any case, be compassionate with yourself, LEARN from this situation. You really have the potential to use this situation to expand your awareness on many different levels!!! Good luck!

  48. Danaja, the problem is you bought a roundtrip ticket and were going to miss one of the portions. The airline would have terminated the balance of your trip at that point. With the visa/passport/certificate issue, they could not have accommodated your request. You needed to book the flight you wanted to begin with so your paperwork was in order.

  49. What’s not addressed: Did Danaja and her husband have e-visas for Turkey?

    Because both Croatian and US citizens must have one to exit immigration. If they weren’t in possession of one, then the agent would absolutely have not allowed them to short-check their bags–and it’s so unlikely for the agent to have overlooked this and acceded to them taking their bags in Istanbul without a visa.

  50. Umm, why did she book a ticket to Venice if she was going to Split, a destination that TK doesn’t fly to? KL, BA, LH, SK, OS all have onestop service from IAD to SPU.

    Let’s give her the benefit of doubt and say she had a good reason for it, so why didn’t she continue to Venice and THEN fly to SPU? There is no direct service from IST to SPU, but there is from VCE. I’m quite sure there’s a whole other side to this story that we’re not hearing.

    And why did Lucky even write this story? There are too many pieces from the puzzle missing for this story to make it remotely trustworthy. The bar for OMAAT’s journalistic standards have never been lower.

  51. @Danaja, yes there will always be some inexcusable and awful ones such as Nadine and Andrew, it is a relic from our country’s often ugly past, and that is something you and our society will have to keep dealing with for the foreseeable future. But it is not all negative as you might perceive. You put your issue out into the world, and there will be a diversity of responses, and some people will try to help. Please look at the posts from Larry and LarryinNYC and respond to his questions. We are not all bad here.

    I believe this is a very important case because we can see happening in real-time that a person who is upset from a recent semi-traumatic situation might have a harder time “seeing” certain things (such as the helpful posts from Larry and what parts of the situation were contributed to by one’s personal actions). They are still in a sort of frightened state of fight or flight and may be more attuned to picking up on the negative/”dangerous” things they see in their environment. This may be related to things such as how our brain evolved to respond to these situations. This type of thing can happen anywhere, but especially so in travel, so it is good for all of us to learn from these situations.

  52. I have to disagree with @Jason and @Seamus. It can be much more valuable to have something like Danaja’s situation processed and dealt with HERE with Lucky’s influence and the collective knowledge/response than from an article written in some mainstream publication by a travel-clueless “reporter.”

    Lucky himself included “I’m Not Sure What to Make of . . . ” in his post title, indicating he himself may have been unsure. Who cares if the title may have been written with a bias toward generating clicks? Dealing with these types of cases may be a new direction for him, maybe he won’t repeat it, but there is potential for huge collective value for society. Yes, his general focus so far has been on miles, points, cards, and reviews. And I’m not asking him for how to luxuriously travel between Libya and Italy on a boat with no documents, or how to deal with running out of water on a Krug-lessly arduous over-desert journey.

    Danaja is obviously not in as bad a situation as that (she can afford a holiday with her husband and parents on a boat), but there ARE lots of travelers who are not yet as sophisticated as Lucky and Ford. Isn’t it cool to think of how Lucky’s power and influence could be used to help more types of people travel better, and not just those in the know about premium cabins? Lucky has probably never needed to travel with “lesser”-type documents, but the reality is that many people worldwide do, so he is expanding his reach by experimenting using his platform to branch out into additional possibilities. Isn’t that great?

  53. To summarise, there are three issues:
    1) Maiden name on travel document, married name on ticket
    2) Last minute decision to give up the onward segment from Istanbul
    3) One-way travel emergency travel document, these are usually issued for lost or damaged passport, exceptionaly to return to home country on expiration of passport.

    I presume the plan was to apply for a new passport during the holiday in Croatia, therefore the return flight would be on a different travel document. Since the tickets were booked in March, it is strange that she could not get a passport in time. It would be more understandable, if it was stolen, or went through the washing machine.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the email conversation only related to the name error (1), “They sent me an email back a few days later after reviewing my case stating Iā€™ll be able to board my flight as long as I present my marriage certificate.”. It seems that Turkish were not asked about the validity of travel document, it is unreasonable to blame them for not advising on that.

    Item 2) seems a none issue, if the lady was happy to rebook her entire return, as stated. Maybe the priority was to get home anyway and decide later how to get back.

    The responsibility for having the correct travel documents, including any visas rests with the traveller. It seems that in this case there was reason to believe that Istanbul would not allow the passenger to enter the country with an emergency travel document(3). The airline is responsible to ensure that passengers have the correct documents when they arrive at their destination, therefore this is checked when they present themselves for check-in. It is almost certain that the document would not be accepted for Italy, so the lady would be denied entry at that point. The airline would be then responsible to return the passengers to US and to pay a fine for carriage of travellers who do not hold the correct documents. Had they had a ticket to Istanbul only, there might have been a way to through check the bags, or to make an arrangement for the bags to be collected and checked-in. Experienced travellers may have even found a way that only one needs to clear immigration, collect the bags, check-in and then meet in departures. Presumable the husband also did not have a visa for Turkey? The post does not state how long they had for connection in Istanbul with the tickets bought by the parents. Perhaps the connection was too short (100minutes) to be achievable and this was a further risk to TK?

    All in all, it seems that following check-in, the airline needed to get advice to confirm this couple would be allowed to enter Turkey / Italy with their documents. It is clear that some government authority or immigration consultant further along made the decision to block their travel. The best that TK can do at the point of departure, is to find a different routing to get them to their destination. It seems that the simple solution should have been to change the existing tickets to terminate at Istanbul. I guess that this was not possible on their tickets, or the cost was unaceptable. TK would then have a clear statement on the couple’s intentions. Croatia Airlines are members are Star Alliance, so through check should not have been a problem. It must be awful for the airport staff who have to deliver such a heartbreaking message, worse when it becomes a confrontation in a situation which is not of their making. Seems a sorry case of not accepting that errors were made and paying whatever charges and fares were applicable when there was still time.

    I believe that as a travel site, Lucky is right to highlight the importance of having the correct travel documents. I hear too many stories of people who realise at the last minute (even at the airport) that their passport is expired. The reality is that most counties require a minimum of 6 months left at the time of entry. I’ve seen a lot of messages recently with people asking how to get around this inconvenience, sorry it does not happen!

  54. I’m sorry I don’t understand why this person was travelling without a passport of some description in the first place. Having lost my passport within the EU as an EU citizen trying to get home to another EU state I was granted an emergency travel document and was extremely careful as to how this meant I should travel. I was young and a novice flyer at the time – hence I took EXTRA CARE to make sure I could get home. Surely if you are travelling on a non-standard travel document you simply pay the price to go from A to B without trying to be clever or save money by travelling in a complicated or unorthodox way. I’m not going to say this couple were “cheap” as others have done here – that’s possibly unkind. I will say however that to publicise what is essentially their own mistake in this particular fashion smacks of trying to shame TK into some kind of compensation which is simply not due. When one freely admits, a) “At that point I started to cry at the counter, my husband raised his voice slightly stating that this is unacceptable” and b) “At this point I am crying hysterically.” You’ve really sealed your own fate.

  55. Well said, @Rob. Although, I believe it’s possible that Turkish did actually determine that the travel certificate would be acceptable for entry to Italy and that the problem only developed when Danaja informed Turkish at time of check in that they were planning to terminate in Istanbul and pass through immigration to retrieve their bags.

    If that was the problem then it seems to have been fairly generous of Turkish to issue them boarding passes while they tried to work out a connecting flight from IST to somewhere in Croatia that would have allowed the bags to (possibly) be interlined without having to cross immigration in Turkey.

  56. @Rob Actually the only solution to her situation was to route her ticket to Zagreb (Croatia). Given her travel documents, any other destination would not have been possible. That’s what really needs to be understood here.

  57. Another consideration, I presume someone travelling on an US passport to Europe requires a return air ticket as a condition for entry into the destination country. Most countries require evidence of a confirmed return date, although in practice I have been rarely asked for proof.

    If the passengers have voluntarily agreed to forego their return flight by not using the onward segment, that would mean they do not have the required documents for immigration at the destination. This could further stack the odds against a successful outcome.

    I’d have asked IAD to through check the bags to Split. If they questioned the tickets, I’d have then asked the agents advice on how to resolve the situation, maybe even played on the parents trying to help, they didn’t know aspect. Giving the agents an opportunity to help can break the ice and at least bring some humour into the unfortunate situation.

    @Danaja, I am not judging, mistakes happen. I am just trying to explain what does on in the background. I do feel for you, I had a girlfriend denied boarding leaving her own country to visit me for a holiday together, as she had the wrong class of visa. It cost me a fortune for her non-refundable ticket and paying for a her to fly a different route. We were meeting at the destination, so I also had a boring two nights at the hotel on my own, before she caught up.

  58. I think this probably all worked out for the best, this woman’s husband is just too tall (6ft, 6inches) to possibly enjoy spending time on a sailboat, the ceilings are to low and the berths are too short.

  59. So these people were the ones who stole all that money from the couple in Emirates First?

  60. Sounds like two people who didn’t understand the ramifications of their travel plans.

  61. @Danaja – I’m sorry you and your husband have gone through this. However, you indicated that having your VCE-IST return flight cancelled as a result of a missed connection, forcing you to buy a new return flight home while in Croatia was not that big of an issue. If cost is a secondary concern to making the trip, then why not buy $882 one-way tickets from IAD to SPU on Aeroflot, leaving tomorrow at 2:45pm PT and arriving at 7:05pm Sunday (admittedly with a crappy 9h30m layover in Moscow)? So instead of arriving Croatia today as planned you’re two days behind schedule, and also in compliance with terms of your travel certificate.

    It sounds like you have been in contact with TK, and at least on Facebook they seem somewhat sympathetic. Hopefully you can reach a resolution with the airline that allows you to keep your return VCE-IAD flight, or re-route you to ZAG-IST-IAD to keep everything travel cert kosher.

  62. So let’s see what could remedy this “horror”:
    1. Get a passport.
    2. Don’t make travel plans under a different name than you’ll have while flying weddings and name changes don’t just happen out of the blue).
    3. If you’re going to try and run-around an itinerary know the whole details. Just book direct kids and deal with change fees.
    4. Don’t be dramatic. Obviously given how I knowledgeable the poster was she was obviously dramatic. The moment I read about her “delicious” dinner in an airport restaurant I knew we were in for fun.
    5. Just the facts mam. I’m not sure why she mentioned dinner, taking selfies, watching videos, her husband’s height and so forth but she handled this situation poorly and then added ridiculous details to detail from her culpability. You know, you just know she did the same thing in-person and the Turkish Air people were having none of it.

    Flying isn’t hard. Why we keep treating those who make it more complicated than nuclear physics I’ll never know.

  63. It’s so easy to judge from the comfort of your home and hide behind the screens of your phones.
    Let’s say I was naive and let’s say I should have planned better, that doesn’t justify the way things were handled.
    And whoever said that the representative might have not know the ins and outs of all the regulation, how could have I known it all? Especially when the airline already knew weeks before my flight what kind of document I’ll be using.
    Obviously it’s been four years since I’ve flown internationally and things have changed.
    Like Lucky said this is an learning experience and we will take this up the rest of this with Turkish Airlines.
    I appreciate all the positive feedback.
    The “damsel in distress” and “attention seeker” comments are so jaded.
    This was a traumatic experience for me and my husband. I haven’t been back home in four years due to terrible life circumstances. And whoever wants to try to knock the fact that I was deeply disturbed at that moment is a bully.

  64. “My last name on the travel certificate didnā€™t match my ticket” She is WRONG. A phone call? Get it in writing!!! Get the ticket reissued to match your passport. PERIOD.

  65. Danaja, please. Leave the drama and thinly veiled victim act out of it. You didn’t get “dirty looks” any more than you would have upon landing in IST. It’s simple. You didn’t have your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted and you paid the price.

    Look on the bright side, There’s always skype.

  66. TK owes you nothing, not even an apology as they obviously tried to work with you.

    Don’t play the game if you don’t know the rules, honey!

  67. @Danaja while what happened to you was unfortunate and I sympathize with you, Turkish didn’t do anything wrong. You were booked to Venice, and their job is to get you to Venice. If you wanted to get off at Istanbul and go to Split than you should have carried on your bags. The contract of carriage explicitly says that your bags must be checked to your final destination.

    30 seconds of googling could have prevented this whole catastrophe. Could Turkish have warned you that you can’t do that? Probably. But was it their responsibility to? Heck no.

  68. There are 2 types of people in the world. Those that learn from listening, educating themselves and being fully prepared and there are those that must learn from experience. In this case, hopefully they will not make the same mistake again.

  69. “Furthermore, most airlines have a policy against the practice of ā€œshort checkingā€ bags, which is when you donā€™t check bags through to your final destination. This is precisely to make sure people donā€™t engage in throwaway ticketing. That being said, Iā€™m not positive this applies to Turkish.”

    Lucky, it would be great if you could elaborate a bit on this topic on which airlines enforces this rule on which types of itineraries to the best of your knowledge/experiences, so it’ll help in planning.

    I was traveling YVR-SFO-NRT-PVG last December on a 014 ticket (Aeroplan awards). The first leg is UA/X, and rest is on NH (class O/I respectively). At YVR I asked if I can short check my bag to SFO as I wanted to gift something to a friend in SFO which and the item contained liquid that exceeded the limit. For another, I was thinking to buy some Canadian wines in the duty [email protected] and I wasn’t sure if doing so it would be a problem in NRT as I need to go through security again there. But I was told by the UA agent (or AC?) at YVR that they stopped allowing short checking and my bag needed to go to PVG all the way through. I politely asked to speak to a supervisor and was told the same answer, and at which point I gave up. I understand why they’re enforcing this in general, but it seems bizarre to me that they are doing so on my itinerary as clearly I did not pay that many of point just to terminate at SFO given the SFO-NRT leg was in O, and that this wasn’t even an 016 ticket.

  70. @Danaja, I won’t bother repeating what others have posted, as I think @Rob, @LarryInNYC, @Lucky’s Reader, and others have provided more than enough good information.

    I’ll just add that, at some point, you have to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. I do feel sorry for you, but don’t blame Turkish for your mistakes. You admit that you were naive and should have planned better. That’s really all that matters.

    If you get anything from Turkish, IMHO, consider yourself very lucky. I’m glad that you’re taking this as a learning experience, and now you know what to expect for future travel. It’s an expensive lesson for sure, but be a responsible adult and move on.

  71. “Itā€™s so easy to judge from the comfort of your home and hide behind the screens of your phones.”

    No. It’s quite common knowledge that short checking and being refused for not having the right documents gets you into trouble. If an airline transports a passenger to a nation, the passenger cannot enter, the airline usually gets fined (quite heavily in some cases).

    “And whoever said that the representative might have not know the ins and outs of all the regulation, how could have I known it all?

    Nobody is to ignore the law. This would not have been an issue with a Croatian passport. Check-in personnel get to see laisser passers much less frequently. And there’s the difference. You knew for months with what documents your were going to travel and could’ve looked up what you can and what you cannot do with said travel documents.

    “Obviously itā€™s been four years since Iā€™ve flown internationally and things have changed.”

    Not really … Still old same, same.

    “This was a traumatic experience for me and my husband…. And whoever wants to try to knock the fact that I was deeply disturbed at that moment is a bully.”

    Sorry to tell you this but being denied boarding is, in the grand scheme, not traumatising. Going into/getting out of a war zone, surviving natural disasters, a fire, becoming the victim of a crime, etc. is traumatising. Being denied flying because one failed to look up visa requirements (it can happen. we all make mistakes) is not traumatic…

  72. I hope she gets nothing from TK……..the fact that she threw in that little tidbit about “her husband and her getting stares” when it clearly had nothing to do with the matter tells me she is nothing but an attention-wh*re who is trying to weasel out some freebies from TK. That plus her Tweets to celebrities has only confirmed this observation.

    Anyone rooting for this woman to get ANYTHING from TK also supports every other disruptive passages with insane demands, often at the expense of the safety and punctuality of other passengers.

  73. I hope she gets nothing from TK……..the fact that she threw in that little tidbit about “her husband and her getting stares” when it clearly had nothing to do with the matter tells me she is nothing but an attention-grabber who is trying to weasel out some freebies from TK. That plus her Tweets to celebrities has only confirmed this observation.

    Anyone rooting for this woman to get ANYTHING from TK also supports every other disruptive passages with insane demands, often at the expense of the safety and punctuality of other passengers.

  74. Is it just me? You buy a ticket, you get to the airport, you sit your ass down in the seat. You land. This woman sounds annoying. We clapped our gands four times, we bought tickets to other destinations, my husband had to stand on his head because he was nervous, i called the airline several times, i did the twist, we both sang Adelle songs – I mean just trying to follow her story made me crazy.

  75. Omg! They looked at me.. they thought it was strange I dont want to go to the place that I bought ticket for, they stared while my hisband and I paced the airport relentlessly… I cant.

  76. I am confused about the naievity of the lady in the twitter and subsequent entries on this website. Above a lot has been said about how this lady did not know the rules and yet knew to include this blog in the tweets and then come on here and post replies.

    I am not a frequent flyer and not experienced in all the laws of travel but I am aware of short checking and the risk of losing your next flights. From the posts later on it sounds like so did the poster. Unfortunately she got caught out and is now trying to blame TK and call anyone who doesn’t agree with her bullies.

  77. Surprised that nobody has yet brought up the safety concerns, which may have prompted extra scrutiny and denied boarding…

    If you’ll recall, @Dajana, just over a year ago 42 people were killed in a terrorist attack at IST, the very airport you were supposed to transit through. Refresher here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Atat%C3%BCrk_Airport_attack

    So imagine the alarm it might cause with the national carrier of Turkey for a passenger to check in for a flight with this story: “Hey, we have tickets to Venice but actually want to collect our bags in Istanbul so we can board a different flight than what we booked through you. Oh yeah, and I only have a travel certificate, not a passport, and it’s under a different name than my ticket.”

    This in addition to the much-repeated facts above that 1) You would have been denied entry to both Turkey and Italy with only this document 2) You admitted to TK that you were trying to circumvent the conditions of carriage that you agreed to, trying to skip a leg of your itinerary and 3) Your return flights home would have auto-cancelled as a result of this skipped leg, leaving you scrambling for an expensive alternative.

    So instead of spending all day tweeting at celebrities in an absurd hope that they’ll champion your “cause”, perhaps you should have sent a thank-you letter to Turkish Airways for saving you from the inevitable travel headaches had you actually made it to Europe. David Dao, you are not…

  78. I’m going to caveat this with the fact that it’s my first post and I normally like to just see the insights from other frequent travelers. This post ticks me off.

    There’s plenty of traveling while “brown” but this is not the case as the lady who posted the multiple posts is trying to imply. This is an example of not understanding the rules of the “contract” that a ticket represents. When we, choose not to complete intermediary segments of the booked itinerary , then it’s the airlines’ option to void the rest of the ticket. The ticket is an agreement.

    I can some assume that the traveler and her husband wanted to make some changes and did not call the airline ahead of time. That sucks, I get it, but this is not a race issue as she implies and I’m really offended of the use of an issue we have in our society and worldwide to cover a lack of planning problem. This is why true bias targeting is not always addressed. Never thought I would say this, but ” Shame on you, racial injustice is not to be used as a prop for your unpreparedness”.

    That’s my rant..I’m done.. excuse any iOS autocorrects.

  79. The contract agent checking them in should have stopped when she wanted to short check her bags..big no-no..also she stated she contacted her travel agent..mmmmm…I would like the phone number for Cheap-O -Air cause it doesn’t exsist..bottom line she used a third party booking site which don’t help you if things go wrong.

  80. I’m confused about the short-checking too. The post states she requested but do we know if Turkish Air actually did it. Or maybe you have to claim and re-check your bags at IST anyways so it didn’t matter?

    According to Turkish Air website if you connect to a separately booked flight you have to claim your bags anyways. So essentially I don’t think they short-checked but maybe just said that you have to claim bags there anyways so whatever and did nothing.


  81. I know this is only one part of this story but is throwaway ticketing really not allowed…isn’t that the whole basis of skiplagged? This has not been overturned in court here in the US, is my understanding. reading the Rolling Stone article that profiled you and the skiplagged guy.

  82. @Danaja, you really lost a lot of your credibility when you deleted a string of posts/replies on your Facebook from someone that explained why you were in the wrong. It was a well-reasoned and respectful post, far from being bullying. Yes, I understand that you felt like you were treated horribly by Turkish. Yes, it was probably a very emotional experience. But don’t post publicly on social media if you can’t accept criticism, especially when a) it’s deserved and b) it’s phrased in a constructive manner…

    Oh, and the next time you post publicly, you may want to redact some of your personal details. Personally, I think it’s common sense to NOT post my DOB, ticket numbers, PNRs, and other sensitive information, but what do I know? I’m just an idiot sitting behind my screen… -_-

  83. Tennan I’ve never deleted any of the posts to my Facebook(nor comments). My profile was private prior to this and so was my twitter( both of the profiles are not private anymore). And when I was referring to people behind the screens, that message was intended for people that called me an “attention wh**re” and so on…

  84. I’m a reader of your blog, so I guess I count as an “experienced traveller” even though I only make about 2-3 trips a year.

    But, as I read through this woman’s ordeal, I found myself picking these SAME holders in the story that you raised.

    – not flying the full route that was booked would automatically cancel the rest of the ticket
    – name on ticket not matching the passport (I find it incredible that this can still happen – most agents and booking sites state clearly that the ticket and passport must match)
    – single use travel document permitting travel to Croatia only, yet, expecting to disembark at Istanbul and travelling to Italy?
    – other bits like “people were looking at is strangely” : huh? I don’t think interracial couples raise any eyebrows today

    Could Turkish have handled it better? Yes.
    Are they at fault for ruining this vacation? NO.

  85. Sahir, you’re answering my question. Could they have caught it weeks upon check-in? Yes. Could they have caught it upon check-in at 7pm? Yes. Could they have handled it better? Yes.
    How could I have known more than an Turkish airlines representative, that has been trained and educated on the matter(after I contacted the Airline weeks before the trip)?

  86. Another sketchy aspect to this story, is that there don’t seem to be non-stop flights between Istanbul and Split, on low-cost carriers or otherwise. There is, however, a non-stop flight from Venice to Split on Volotea, a low-cost carrier (a last-minute fare on them is still around $150). Given that they would have had to connect somewhere anyways it really makes no sense to me, beyond pure incompetence, why they would have risked messing with their original Turkish flight instead of just booking the flight from Venice to Split.

    As others have mentioned, they were either trying to game the system and they got caught or they had no clue what they were doing and made the mess for themselves due to incompetence. Either way, while I at least feel bad for them if its the latter, blaming Turkish for their own mistakes is not a good look.

  87. The layover after Istanbul is Zagreb- capital of Croatia. After that we would be flying to Split (as stated in a ticket we purchased).

  88. Oh God,

    Please stop playing the victim card. You are responsible for understanding the terms of your ticket and the various simple rules and regulations that would apply to your specific situation. Turkish didn’t have to catch anything weeks ago and inform. You are 26 (we were born in the same year!), start taking some responsibility for your actions.

    Everyone is trying to tell you only one thing: it’s all your fault. I’m sorry, that’s all there is to it.

  89. The airline check in should’ve caught this. But personally having experienced the turkish air staff at dulles (who informed me that my flight from Istanbul to Hanoi would be 3 hours. Wtf) I’m not surprised.

    She shouldn’t have been given this platform. She was definitely not “doing all she could” to comply. And I’m sure we would’ve heard her sob story on the return when it was canceled should she have successfully short checked her bags to IST.

  90. Okay, ok, oh-kay, this is complicated and has a lot of should’ves and why didn’ts in it.

    Once again my takeaway is that I am shocked at how often on this site the flier is blamed, condemned, dismissed and Monday-morning quarterbacked right-left-and-center.

    This world, certainly this country, has become a meaner and nastier place to live, though I am pretty sure other places have also. Still, it is unsettling how sanctimonious, smug and sure many comments here are.

    And yes, I am fully aware that when you are standing behind me in a line all you want is for me to get out of your way. Very often it is made quite obvious with comments, snorts and sneers, not necessarily for me. Returning to Denver from Cairo, I was forced to reclaim my bags and go through TSA for a connecting flight. At one of the TSA aisles, a woman had a small half-sized yogurt container packed in a check-in bag. One of the agents walked the length of the line holding the container in the air: “this is the reason you are having to wait so long in line. This! This kind of carelessness.”

    I thought the people in line were going to lynch the poor befuddled woman.

    I’m also surprised how easily the airlines are excused their often unfriendly policies, attitudes and front-line conduct. Yes, I am aware that the days are long over when the customer was always right, but aren’t staff and local (Dulles, in this case, for petessake) management trained how to review and address these thorny issues upfront and directly? Whatever is going to happen can surely be settled long before fifteen minutes to take-off?

    Finally, the amount of regulations and complication is ridiculous. The airlines whine and moan, then cram far too many people into a small tube. I’m an experienced traveler, although every trip there is some new variation of an obstacle course to go through. I completely sympathize with fliers who have not brought along their legal staff.

    I do try to be empathic toward other fliers, flight crews, TSA, and even the overburdened trying to carry on a refrigerator. But, try as I will, I find the American airline industry, — and their imitators around the world — very much like profit-driven healthcare, hard to endure and hard to sympathize with.

  91. @anony (July 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm)
    QUOTE: @Rob Actually the only solution to her situation was to route her ticket to Zagreb (Croatia). Given her travel documents, any other destination would not have been possible. Thatā€™s what really needs to be understood here.

    Good point, I checked again and see that the flight the parents booked was actually IST-ZAG-SPU, I previously assumed it was direct. Although booked as Croatia Airlines, it is actually a codeshare on Turkish. This could have made it possible to through check, but most likely only if the original booking was changed to be IAD-IST. However, there is a further complication in that this ticket was booked in her maiden name. Entering a country on one name and leaving on another is inevitably going to cause a problem, even if on transit. With all the terror concerns and the political unrest, this is going to cause questions in the eyes of the authorities. I don’t understand why it wasn’t possible to change the name on the booking, ideally as soon as the Travelling Certificate was issued. It is clear that TK did not change the booking, as the name is on the boarding pass. This is perhaps the downside of using third party booking websites. Airline rules are often that ticket changes should be made by the reservation agent, but contacting the booking site can be a challenge, even if changes are allowed.

    I am sorry, I do not agree with “Could they have caught it weeks upon check-in? Yes.”. Your post indicates that you asked the question by email on 21st June for a flight departing 2nd July, certainly less than two weeks. Also it seems that you did not tell them that you wanted to change your itinerary until the time of check-in. It seems the check-in agent tried to accommodate your request, but it was blocked by someone else, possibly not even Turkish Airlines. Please consider also that the check-in staff are likely to have a KPI of around 90 seconds to 2 minutes (dependant on airline / class of travel) per passenger to perform the check-in process. They are not the experts in immigration policy for each country. Perhaps you should speak to your embassy, if they did not give you clear advice on the restrictions you would experience with using this document. I guess that once you expressed your intent to voluntary offload at IST, then the airline could not even risk letting you fly your original booked itinary.

    PS, just realised that I am not the only @Rob in this thread. I admit to the long posts only.

  92. Whatever… too many loose ends, too many short cuts and work arounds…

    Its a wonder they were actually able to check in , in the first place.

    They were pulling so many fast ones, it was bound to all fall apart, and it did.


    2. Buy a ticket to your final destination, and don’t pull any fast ones.

    3. Have the ticket name match what the name on your passport.

    Then you will board and get to where you want to go.

    HELLO – You are flying Turkish Airlines, through the middle east to eastern Europe, of course they are watching people on these flights ! DUH

  93. I have to say @Lord Potato is possibly the best name I’ve ever seen used on the internet.

  94. Danaja says:

    “How could I have known more than an Turkish airlines representative, that has been trained and educated on the matter(after I contacted the Airline weeks before the trip)?”

    Easy. By doing about 20-30 minutes of research on Google and by having about a five-minute conversation with a consular official at the Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC before your departure date or better yet, before buying your tickets altogether.

  95. Facebook posts should never be taken at “face” value! We have no idea who is making these accusations etc (unless of course they are real friends, i.e. not just F.B. friends) This is the real problem with modern social media, there is a tendency to believe everything you read whereas it’s probably better to be highly suspicious of most posts. As others have said, in view of this, a non-story really.

  96. Turkish Airlines doesn’t just believe that it’s customers are sub-human grotesques unworthy of anything but contempt, it does everything that it can to make sure that everything they do reminds them of the fact that they know each and everyone of their customers is a sub-human grotesque they’d rather defecate on than look at.

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