Sent to the wrong gate in Istanbul. Now she has to pay for a new flight

A small electronic glitch in Istanbul created a big headache for Hedwig Gadelrab on a recent trip from Miami to Cairo. That glitch caused her to end up at the wrong gate, and she missed her connection. So why won’t Turkish Airlines help her fix it?

“The overhead display at the Istanbul airport listed the wrong connecting gate,” she explains. “I got to the wrong gate and was told to go to the correct gate. I sprinted across the airport — only to arrive at the correct gate to see the gate close. More than a dozen fellow passengers were caught up in the same dilemma.”

To reach Cairo, Gadelrab had had to buy a new ticket from Turkish Airlines. “Then, although I flew to Cairo on another Turkish Airlines flight, it marked me as a no-show for the original itinerary and canceled my return ticket,” she adds. “I had to buy a new return ticket on another airline for $1,800.”

Sent to the wrong gate?

Needless to say, Gadelrab’s experience was a terribly frustrating situation. If Turkish Airlines made a mistake and posted the wrong gate information, it should have acknowledged the mistake and worked with its customers to correct it. The fact that more than a dozen of Gadelrab’s fellow passengers went to the wrong gate is a clear indication that the dissemination of misinformation was widespread.

The Turkish Airlines customer satisfaction policy states that the company takes “a customer-oriented approach to dealing with customer complaints.” It’s not very “customer-oriented” to make a large mistake and then to profit from it. Not only did Turkish Airlines keep the money Gadelrab paid for the original ticket to Cairo, but it also charged her for a second one. It also kept the money she paid for the return flight and most likely resold the seat at a higher price.

Related story:   Help! Could one little mistake on my tax return really cost me $7,800?

Normally, when a passenger can’t make a connection, an airline will rebook the customer on the next available flight at no extra charge. So why didn’t this happen?

“A Turkish Airlines manager in Cairo claimed that we paid for the ticket with frequent flier miles and 200 Turkish lira on a Visa credit card,” she says. “We do not have a frequent flier account, and we paid in cash.”

That’s odd. The airline seems to be suggesting that it won’t take care of you if you paid for a ticket with frequent flier miles, even though that’s entirely irrelevant to this case.

No response from Turkish Airlines

Before contacting us, Gadelrab could have posted her issue on our help forums. We staff our help forums with travel industry experts, and they may have had helpful suggestions for her about how to address this issue with the airline. And, she could have tried escalating her complaint by contacting company executives who may have intervened on her behalf. We list executive contact information for Turkish Airlines on our website.

Our advocates contacted Turkish Airlines on Gadelrab’s behalf, but it didn’t respond to them. Turkish Airlines doesn’t seem interested in trying to resolve its customer complaints. That’s something to remember when booking flights in the future. We’re sorry that we were unable to get Turkish Airlines to work with Gadelrab in resolving this, so we have to file this as Case Dismissed.

Diane Perera

Diane and her family love to travel, and they do so as much as they can. Having experienced the downside of travel, and having learned so much from Elliott.org, led Diane to become an advocate and to help fight the good fight. Read more of Diane's articles here.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.