Wow: Turkish Airlines Will Fly To Only Five International Cities

Filed Under: Turkish

Update: Turkey has now banned all international flights, and Turkish Airlines has suspended all international flights through May 20. That ended up being extended even further.

Turkish Airlines’ claim to fame has long been that they fly to more countries than any other airline in the world — the airline flies to up to 315 destinations in 126 countries.

While not quite as drastic as Emirates (which initially announced plans to shut down completely, and then backtracked), Turkish Airlines has announced some massive route cuts.

Turkish Airlines will fly to only five international destinations

As of March 27, 2020, Turkish Airlines will only fly to five international cities from Istanbul:

  • Addis Ababa
  • Hong Kong
  • Moscow
  • New York
  • Washington Dulles

From 126 countries to just four… ouch.

The airline will be maintaining some domestic flights, and in total capacity is expected to be reduced by 85%.

Based on the schedule, it would appear that as of now flights are canceled through April 16, 2020 — as of April 17 I see some inventory loaded for other city pairs as well, though not nearly as much as we’ve seen in the past.

Turkish Airlines will fly to just five international destinations

Turkish Airlines offering miles for rebooking?!

Airlines have really been screwing consumers when it comes to allowing refunds on canceled flights. In many regions you’re technically entitled to a refund when an airline cancels your flight, though airlines have been going great lengths to avoid refunds as much as possible.

According to Daily Sabah, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman has indicated a very generous policy for those who choose to keep a ticket credit with the airline, rather than get a refund:

  • The company will give a 15% bonus credit to those who postpone tickets rather than refund them
  • The company will offer 1,000 bonus miles for every 10EUR of the ticket price that they choose to postpone rather than refund

I’m skeptical of this and am waiting for official confirmation, because that truly sounds too good to be true. I imagine that something must have been misinterpreted here.

The airline would essentially be offering a mile for every cent of ticket price, plus a 15% bonus on the ticket value, when you rebook. In other words, a 1,000EUR ticket would get you an 1,150EUR voucher plus 100,000 miles?!

That truly sounds way too good to be true. This updated policy isn’t yet on Turkish Airlines’ website, though it may take them a while to update the website given the scale of the changes that are taking place.

Turkish Airlines has a generous rebooking offer

This is a great idea for other airlines

While Turkish Airlines’ solution sounds too good to be true, I think other airlines could learn something from Turkish here. Airlines are in a cash crunch, and in many cases passengers have the option of a cash refund or maintaining a ticket credit.

Rather than deceiving customers to try to avoid getting a refund, how about actually incentivizing them to keep a ticket credit in a mutually beneficial way? Offer some number of bonus miles for those passengers who choose to keep a ticket credit rather than get a refund.

That seems like it could be a win-win.

I love Turkish offering bonus miles for keeping ticket credits

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines will be suspending international flights to all but five destinations, which is drastic. The situation just keeps getting more and more extreme from the perspective of airlines, especially today, as Emirates and Turkish have announced such drastic cuts.

I love Turkish Airlines, and while I won’t be flying them anytime soon, it can’t hurt to listen to their mind-numbingly addictive “Globally Yours” hold music for at least a little while…

We are Turkish Airlines, we are globally yours… we are Turkish Airlines, we are globally yours…

What do you make of Turkish Airlines’ schedule reductions?

(Tip of the hat to Paul)

  1. In other words, a 1,000EUR ticket would get you an 1,150EUR voucher plus 100,000 miles?!

    Yes, and a huge mileage devaluation coming.

  2. These cancellations are getting ridiculous. Burn down the global economy for a disease that is only a bad cold for healthy people and is no more deadly than the SEASONAL INFLUENZA.

    Great job governments. Millions from minimum wage employees to professionals are now under or unemployed. We should have been business as usual and let the virus burn through the population.

  3. @John
    If 80% of the world gets infected and the death rate is 2% then that is around 125 million dead. Hardly a seasonal flu.

  4. Agree with Chris. Why does each one of these headlines get some kind of superlative like “WOW” or “OMG”? Mass flight cancellations are not at all shocking given what’s going on right now. 2 months ago, or even 2 weeks ago, this might have made sense but now it just looks a little ridiculous.

    And yea, John, idk where you get your news but last time I checked the seasonal flu does not overwhelm hospitals like what is happening now heavy-hit locations.

  5. @John must be a Trump sycophant and a member of his low-information political “base”, who still believes that covid-19 is “no more deadly than the SEASONAL INFLUENZA”, because their lying president and Faux News said so.

  6. Dumb- NY, DC still on list. So basically they’ll continue importing HUGE numbers into Turkey. US has proven to be 3rd world basket case in dealing with COVID.

  7. And 2% is contingent on a functioning health care system. In places where the hospitals are overwhelmed, mortality rates climbed way higher (for exmaple, early day Hubei reached 20%+ and Italy is experiencing the same spike in mortality).

    A “seasonal flu” this is not.

  8. @John! For years idiots like Trump & you were laughable. Now your moronic ideas are criminal! Seasonal flu kills 1 of every 1000. COVID is 3x as infectious as flu & kills 30-40 of every 1000 infected. People like you & Trump will be judged by history as the morons that you are!

  9. @Chris, @Bob —

    It’s how he (and many of his generation) write. If you look a lot of Ben’s posts, he uses “awesome” and “incredible” so often that they no longer have any differentiating meaning.

    “WOW” and “OMG” just mean, “you should probably read this if the topic involves your travel plans.”

  10. @Brian C

    While I think John is a complete and utter moron, what on earth makes you think he is Trump supporter or even American?

    Sadly the views he sprout is held by people across the world, including some whole countries.

    Sweden being probably the worst example of all, two weeks after the whole Kitzloch blunder in Austria the afterski bars in Sweden was still open this weekend.

    And trust me when I say that the government of Sweden are not right wing Trump supporters, quite a lot of them makes Bernie Sanders seem like a hard core right wing conservative.

    Of course the Austrians deserve an special mention in all of this when it comes to stupidity, even if they are on full lock down now.

  11. @No Name

    ‘While I think John is a complete and utter moron, what on earth makes you think he is Trump supporter or even American?’

    Because it’s the easiest thing to do, and it shows how ‘sick’ the public debate in the US is.

  12. I had booked a trip to do IST-KHI-IST on TK, which I cancelled LAST WEEK, although I would have preferred just getting a credit for the full value of the ticket for future travel. However, the only options I was offered at the time were either to rebook the sane trip WITHOUT a change fee, or to cancel and PAY a $130 cancellation fee. I chose the latter. What’s more, I had paid extra to upgrade my seat both ways, a fee which I have not been reimbursed! (If they do not, I will dispute that charge through the AMEX Plat, which I’d used to pay for both the ticket and the seat upgrades).

    Now, just a day before I was to take the flight, they have cancelled all intl flights and are offering the option to retain the value of the ticket with a credit, which I would have preferred!
    Since TK has just cancelled all but 5 intl flights just BEFORE I take my IST-KHI flight, but AFTER I’d already cancelled it, would it be worth trying to get them to reimburse me the $130 cancellation fee for a trip that THEY have ended up cancelling? I may also dispute this charge through AMEX Plat…

  13. @DCS

    It’s your own mistake for cancelling before the absolute last minute. Pretty rookie mistake. You also accepted the charges at that time, so I don’t see why they have to reimburse you anything.

  14. @David — It depends on what “last minute” is, especially with all the circuits jammed. I cancelled the night between Thursday and Friday and today is just Sunday. They need to reimburse because (a) they are the ones who told people with upcoming flights when they should start contacting the airline to change travel plans or cancel, and (b) I’d made the case in writing that I was to get to IST on a JFK-FRA-IST LH flight that had been cancelled due to the nCOV. With no way to get to IST, I could not catch the IST-KHI light and deserved a full refund. That’s when they responded with the offer to change with no fee or cancel with a fee. I had to get ot done at some point and a couple of days out seemed good enough.

    Not much money for me to really care, but the near arbitrary reimbursement policies are infuriating, so I will try to get both my seat upgrade and cancellation fees refunded through AMEX Plat.

  15. @DCS

    Why are you arguing with David? He doesn’t work for TK and doesn’t have the authority to authorize a refund. Is your decision to fight this with AMEX or TK contingent upon getting David to agree with you?

  16. It is time @John was booted off this blog. Let him practice his anti-Covid-19 rhetoric in real life; don’t want to know how that works out for him.
    He’s a public health menace.

  17. @Dan — Read the exchange. No one is “arguing” about anything. @David commented on my comment and I responded to clarify what had motivated my so-called “rookie mistake”, which was a “mistake” only because at some point I had to act and I acted when I thought it was time…

    Having said that, please go look for an ‘argument’ or a ‘fight where one actually exists because it ain’t one here.


  18. BTW, @Dan, as to whether my “decision to fight this with AMEX or TK [is] contingent upon getting David to agree with” me. had you read my comment before rushing to be critical of it you would have seen that my decision did not depend on anything that David said:

    “Not much money for me to really care, but **the near arbitrary reimbursement policies are infuriating**, so I ***will*** try to get both my seat upgrade and cancellation fees refunded through AMEX Plat.” Both my rationale for and next move to challenge TK through AMEX Plat were provided, and they say noting about seeking anyone’s approval.


  19. @DCS

    For something you don’t really care about, you’re sure spilling a lot of ink.

    G’day to you too!

  20. @Dan — You are looking for a fight and I won’t give it to you because what you have written so far does not indicate any kind of depth or heft “upstairs.”

    FYI, while I do not need your approval to spill a lot of ink on anything, your comment yet again failed to see what was right in front of your face:

    “Not much money for me to really care, but **the near arbitrary reimbursement policies are infuriating**…” See it right there? I will translate the simple English for you: I am “spilling a lot ink” not because I care about the money, but because I find the the near arbitrary reimbursement policies are **infuriating**.

    You’re not worth addressing further. The soapbox is yours; knock yourself out.


  21. Would everyone please stop trolling DCS now. He is a wee bit sensitive and feels honor bound to respond to every remark as if his life depended on it! Unless of course, you wish to be smothered to death with that annoyingly vapid signature “G’day”? The man himself is not conversant in its proper usage, or he would have realized it belongs at the start of a conversation rather than the end!

  22. @Dan I am of that generation. Granted it’s anecdotal, but nobody I know really writes like that. And it’s kind of embarrassing (cringe-worthy?), especially when people like you then lump everyone from “our generation” together and assume none of us know how to express ourselves.

  23. The hold music mentioned was sung by Sertab Erener, who won the Eurovision song contest 2003 with catchy “Everyway that I can”

  24. I have flights on TK departing April 20 FRA-IST and return April 28. I’ve been checking their website for weeks and the best offer is no change fee but I just complete travel by May 31. My other option is a refund of 10% on my business class fare. I have until April 15 to decide but really hope they would offer a 12 month credit. Or at least they Dec 31.

  25. Hey Ben,

    I can confirm this. I was supposed to fly from Germany to Turkey and back with TK in April and didn’t cancel my flight up until now. 2 days ago I received that E-Mail. If you want to see it (unfortunately only in German and Turkish, but shouldn’t matter), I could send it to you via social media dm or E-Mail. Just hit me up.

    I’m really looking forward for my 62000 Miles 😀

  26. Hay Everyone, it’s not true! I just talked to 2 different Turkish Airlines Customer Service Rep.s on 27 March about our “Suspended” flights because of the Coronavirus and here is what they said:
    – they can rebook your for another flight leaving within the next 15 days ( still in the restricted time ????).
    -OR If you are not rebooking for this timeframe, you can EITHER get your money back (without seating or other fees we paid) And the price for the same flight 3 months later will cost about €100 more (and prices are rising) and you still have to pay the seating and extra fees again.
    -OR you can get NON-Status miles for your flight at 1,000 per every €10. NO, They are not being nice and offering Bonus Miles on top of your rebooking. So a €400 ticket will get you 40,000 miles and the rep. said the same flight will require 150,000+ miles to rebook??
    -So either way they make more money from a “Forced rebooking”

    Their site says”We are also offering our passengers an alternative to returning their tickets: passengers can have added-value Miles added to their Miles&Smiles account. ” and “Instead of the refund option, you can use the option to have Miles that are more valuable in exchange, and extend the horizon of your flight.” These are direct quotes from their website.

    So either way they are making more money by cancelling your flight & making you rebook at a more expensive rate for the same flight.

    If what I was told was incorrect, I would be extremely happy for Management from Turkish Airlines to contact me and correct it, where we are not loosing money having to rebook.
    I will gladly repost their reply, if they will ever reply.

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