Turkish Airlines: ambitious but not yet efficient

Turkish Airlines have been trying to get intercontinental passengers to fly via Istanbul. However, their support service needs improving.

By much advertising, including painting a Geneva tram, and very competitive pricing,Turkish airlines have been trying to rivalise hubs such as Dubai for long-distance flights. However, their support service failures might suggest that they have some organisational work do do.

The newspaper Le Matin of today, Saturday 13 July, carried a report of a 6-year old valaisanne child, booked with Turkish Airlines to fly as an unaccompanied minor to Istanbul about three weeks ago, who was refused at the boarding stage by an air hostess and the pilot. These two refuseniks were quoted as stating that the company rules only allowed children from 7 years to fly unaccompanied. However, it seems that the company's web site says that children will be accepted from 3 years old.

Whatever the actual rules are, it should have been made clear at the stage of booking the flight, rather than when the flight was boarding. Bad organisation and bad publicity!

Another incident affected a member of my family coming from South Africa to Geneva for a few days before continuing on elsewhere. This person last came here many years ago, when South Africans did not need a visa. However, unbeknown to this person, this appears now to have changed. As a result, when arriving in Zurich, the person, accompanied by two small children, was initially refused entry and faced with the choice of returning to South Africa or continuing directly to the final destination. Fortunately, a kind Swiss official (possibly taking pity on crying children) managed to issue a temporary single entry visa.

As far as I know, airlines are required to ensure that embarking passengers, in this case from South Africa, have the relevant authorisation to enter the country to which they are flying. These rules are normally being strictly enforced to curb illegal immigration.

Flying is not simply about offering cheap fares to fly people from A to B: it requires proper procedures and well-trained personnel!

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