Turkish Airlines made him miss his flight. Then it lost his bag

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By Christopher Elliott

After a series of mishaps, including a missed flight, Anupam Shovakar wants the airline to step up and make things right. So will Turkish Airlines pay his claim?

Question

I recently flew from Mumbai to New York via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. The first leg of my flight from Mumbai to Istanbul was delayed, which meant that I had to stay in Istanbul overnight. And that meant I had to pay for a Turkish visa.

Turkish Air staff in Mumbai promised the airline would reimburse me for the cost of my visa. Turkish Air also lost one of my bags and hasn’t been able to find it.

I want the airline to make this right, but now it is refusing to pay for the visa, and my lost bag is nowhere to be found. Can you help? — Anupam Shovakar, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Answer

That was some trip. You happened to land in Istanbul for an unwanted delay during that recent diplomatic spat, forcing you to pay for a visa. Then the airline lost your bag. All told, you’re looking at $3,300 in damages.

Flight delays happen, but when they do, it’s important to get an airline’s promise in writing. It turns out the agents in Mumbai didn’t inform their colleagues in Istanbul about the visa assurances, which means — you guessed it! — you were responsible for paying.

And the lost luggage hasn’t really been lost that long, which means your claim will probably be in limbo for a while. It takes several weeks for a lost bag to be declared permanently missing. The bag had only been missing eight days when you contacted me. (Related: My mom died before I could visit, and JustFly won’t help me get a refund.)

Will Turkish Airlines pay this claim?

Still, I recommended that you file a claim for both the luggage and the visa. Incidentally, I list the names, numbers and email of all the Turkish Airlines executives on this site, so if the answer remained “no,” you would know where to appeal. (Here’s how to get a refund on a nonrefundable airline ticket.)

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

That was unnecessary. The airline responded to your claim unusually quickly. Within days, Turkish Airlines offered you an electronic transfer of the cost of the visa and $800 for your lost luggage. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s in line with Turkish Airlines’ limits of liability under the Montreal Convention.

But wait! There’s more. Turkish Airlines also refunded your delayed flight. I have no idea why, but that’s an extra nice thing to do, and you gratefully accepted.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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