Why Turkish Airlines is NOT the best Airline

Turkish Airlines claims to be the best airline. But they are not. For my trip to Istanbul I booked the Turk Airline for the very first time, after flying dozens to a hundred times with Lufthansa and other airlines such as SWISS, Germanwings, KLM or British Airways. All my recent airlines were more or less ‘german’ or from countries that share a similar behaviour and mindset regarding punctuality, service and ‘everything’s on point’. Well, my bad experience with Turkish Airlines already started before I even booked.

Flying with Turkish Airlines from Friedrichshafen (FDH) to Istanbul (IST)

Checking out direct flights from FDH to IST I noticed that there were no flights available in fall (Sept/Oct) 2015 – the time I actually planned to travel. As I was used to the good social media service by other airlines, I tweeted to the German Turkish Airlines Account why there are no flights after a certain date. No answer. I tweeted again and never received an answer to my actual question. They just sent the hotline number for urgent questions. Mine wasn’t urgent so I didn’t call and in the meantime, I’ve decided to travel earlier, in July, right before the big summer holidays start. As it was cheaper, way cheaper, to buy the flights and a hotel via Expedia I booked it there and already received a ticket number with my confirmation.

As I’m a vegetarian I wanted to pre-order a vegetarian meal on board, as this is possible in Economy as well. As I was used to from Lufthansa I have to log-in online, select a meal and when entering the plane the food is already waiting for me. But really, how bad is the Turkish Airlines website? It’s either working in Turkish or English – for sure I’ve selected English – and somehow It was displayed in a mix of German, my native language, and English. Well. When checking my booked flight it only displayed that there is a flight, but nothing more. No meals to choose or even already a seat number. As I thought that it’s maybe a must to have a miles&smiles account, the Turkish Airlines loyalty program, I created an account. Believe me when I say write that I’m normally good and fast with similarities: it took me more than 30 minutes to create this Account. And now understand my frustration when I found out that I wasn’t even able to add this booked flight to my account. Really, I lost my belief in this company!

Then, 24 hours before departure, check-in to select seats, was open. 24h is also the time mark that meal changes can’t be done afterwards. Choosing the seat was quite easy, just like I was used to it from all the other Airlines on this planet, and I got the 6F. But, I was checked in but creating a boarding pass was not possible yet. I felt like I’m part of a freak show. How can this company, Turkish Airlines, the best Airline, operate a business at such a low level?
Then, online it stated that I should be at the airport 60 minutes before departure. As I’m used to my little FDH Airport (with hand-luggage only I sometimes rush in 5min before boarding, and still get on the plane) I arrived about 62 minutes before departure. There was no queue and surprise, surprise, the unfriendly staff yelled super super unfriendly at me because I was the last one. (Who cares?! AND: Why so unfriendly and rude?)

After almost one hour waiting in front of the gate, we were finally able to board the plane. My 6F was the first row after the Business Class Area and I had a huge wall in front of me the whole flight. For Lufthansa, Germanwings and SWISS Flights this means: no hand luggage or similar stuff in front of you, as you can’t place it under the seat in front of you, but again Turkish Airlines was different, and the two young people next to me occupied the whole leg room with their bags.

Right after take-off and almost reaching our cruising level, we were offered some little Turkish sweets. Time went by and approximately after 60 minutes of our ~ 150 minutes flight the meal arrived. Already earlier we were handed the menu cards to choose between beef and chicken. As the sides of the chicken – Ratatouille, Rice and Beans – sounded promising I’ve chosen this one with an orange juice. The food was warm, not hot but good to eat, and after I finished the main course and the almond cake, that tasted like a cheesecake, we were offered some bread.
Almost 30 minutes later they collected it back and offered either tea or coffee.

The service on board, regarding the food, was quite good – but comparable to other airlines.
And just for the records, I still have no answer from Turkish Airlines and this completes the puzzle of reasons why Turkish Airlines is NOT the best airline, to me. Let’s hope my flight back on Tuesday will be better and I’ll find a way to pre-order my vegan meal. Otherwise, this will be my last flight with this airline (there are direct flights from STR with Germanwings). But now, exploring Istanbul!
My point is: Service is gold, and even more important nowadays with Social Media and if a Company is not interested in answering questions (in like.. under a month) I’m no further interested in them. Turkey is such a pretty country, but good that other airlines (that actually respond within minutes) fly to Turkey as well!

Turkish Airlines Istanbul Friedrichshafen JoyDellaVita Travelblog

Turkish Airlines Istanbul Friedrichshafen JoyDellaVita Travelblog

Turkish Airlines Menu Chicken with Ratatouille and Rice
Turkish Airlines Menu Chicken with Ratatouille and Rice

20 thoughts on “Why Turkish Airlines is NOT the best Airline

  1. Hi there every one, here every person is sharing these knowledge, so it’s pleasant
    to read this website, and I used to go to see this weblog every day.

  2. For anyone who stumbled on this comment: if you are flying international with Turkish Airline, never arrive at ticketing counter less than one hour before scheduled departure time. I was flying from Washington DC to Istanbul Jan 2016, the flight time is 11:10 pm and I got to their check in desk at 10:20 pm, 50 minutes before departure time. It’s late at night and the airport is completely empty with no line at security checkpoint, I could have easily made it to the gate if the guy at ticketing counter would simply check me in. But the moment the Turkish guy saw me at the counter he just flat out said you are late, the latest check in time is 1 hour before flight, and I’m not printing boarding pass for you. No matter how I begged him he was just being a complete assh**e and wouldn’t do anything. In the end I had to spend $600 extra to rebook for flight 24 hours later and was stranded at airport at midnight. So lesson to be learned…. always get to airport early… and maybe don’t fly with Turkish Airline and fly with some other airline who’s employee would actually at least try be nice and helpful…

  3. I recently had a bad experience with Turkish, but in general they have treated me very well. The Turkish ground team at IST is pretty bad, but once you know your way around you’ll be fine except in case of delays, which has only happened to me once.

    Compare Turkish to the cheap European airlines, Sri Lankan Air, Kuwait Air, or even Lufthansa on a bad day and it’s pretty good.

  4. I travel more than 50 times every year and whenever possible I choose Turkish Airlines. However, due to flight times and dates or prices I fly with other airlines. You get the best service and food with Turkish Airlines. Plus you get real metal knife and fork. I hate plastic utensils. Lufthansa and Singapore are next best. Don’t even dare fly wirh Alitalia at any price. When you loose a luggage, it is not the airline but handling services at the local airport. Gate closing times is not controlled by airlines but again by the airports due to logistics reasons and on time departures. I almost missed an Air Canada flight when I came 55 minutes before flight. Online boarding pass is available from Turkish Airlines as a paper form or mobile QR code if the local airport supports it.

    Best Airline thing is a PR and marketing gimmick. There are professional tricksters usually originating from UK or Spain which sets up so called sectoral magazines and exhibitions and seek out suckers to advertise in these publications or participate in their shows. If you pay enough money and the only thing you fly is paper airplanes they can give you a 10 Euro plexiglass or even real glass Best Airline Award like they give to kids in primary school and can be made at any shopping mall. Skytrax is one of this money siphoning schemes. There are banking versions of this etc. Don’t take it so seriously,

    Come to Istanbul Ataturk Airport and go to Turkish Airlines CIP lounge and compare this withany other airline lounge. If you don’t have a Star Alliance Card or Business Class ticket, ask a single person like myself to bring you in as a guest and he/she will do it gladly and enjoy it.

    Like with every airline time to time delays or problems may happen but as I fly so often I rarely have any such problems with Turkish.

  5. Firstly, Turkish Airlines does not claim to be the best airline! Because it is!!! As you can see from 2012-2013-2014-2015 Skytrax World Airline Awards, air travellers recognized Turkish Airlines as the Best Airline in Europe. Moreover, It has been awarded “Best Economy Catering” “Best Business Class Catering”.. and the world’s top 10 airlines of 2015 has been presented but I couldnt see any German airlines which you refer but Turkish Airlines is- “4th”..
    I’ve been working as a flight attendant for Turkish Airlines since 2013 and I’ve been a part of 423 flights and served to our guests their special meals about a thousand times. I’m sorry about your flight but you must order your special meal before your check-in. If not, there are two main course selections from menu. Sometimes like you, our guests cant order but we try to do something for you especially for vegetarian passengers. Many times cabin crew serve their meal if somebody can not order and if their meal is different than our guests meal. So we just try to show Turkish hospitality to our guests 🙂 However, you said that your meal arrived to you after 1 hour but I’m sorry it is not possible..I know how to serve and how long later you have. Also, Turkish Airlines replies to our guests’ email immediately if you send from Turkish Airlines website not from twitter. 🙂
    I think it was a bad day for you so you try to find something bad about this flight and brand. You flew with Turkish Airlines just one time and in my view, you should not generalize like this !

    1. Thank you for your insight! I know that “I’m sorry about your flight but you must order your special meal before your check-in” because I’ve done this a hundred times with Lufthansa before, but I haven’t found any possibility on the weird german-english website to do so.. :/ Maybe the problem was that I booked via Expedia.

    2. I do not make a comment as a company, I just try to do something for you as a member of this family. Hope they gonna help you and see you next time as a Turkish Airlines guest.

  6. Hello, I’m sorry but I couldn’t disagree with you more. I have flown with Turkish Airlines maybe hundreds of times but never had issues like yours. To be fair they have lost my luggage a couple of times but even then they brought it back to me within the next day by calling and bringing it whereever I please. Still a bit of an inconvenience yes, but they at least try to make up for it. Plus it seems to me as though you could not figure out to use the website when it comes to the food issue. I am a vegan also and I always get what I order from the website without even asking every time. So please before trying to badmouth a company, try to see what you did wrong in the first place so you don’t look like a fool. And I’m betting that you’re not going to publish this response.

    1. Hi Andrew
      That’s nice to hear that you had, most of the time, a good experience with Turkish Airlines! Might I ask where you are from and/or in what language you use their Homepage? Because in my Country it’s not possible to do anything on their Homepage (not even a proper online check-in!) as there are just no possibility to add/do/.. anything at all.
      Cheers!

      1. Das Problem hatte ich mit der Homepage bei meinen letzten Flügen ebenso. Haben dann vor Ort eingecheckt.
        Mit den Wartezeiten haben die es aber nicht so, über 1.5 Stunden müssten wir vorher am Gate sein. Die Zeit hätte ich auch in einem Cafe verbringen können!

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