What happens when your Turkish Airlines flight is delayed due to weather and you find yourself stranded in Istanbul…for three days? A friend recently found out and the answer may surprise you.
Officially, No Compensation for Weather Delay on Turkish Airlines
Turkey is, of course, not part of the European Union and not party to any binding government protocol concerning flight delays from its Istanbul hub. Nevertheless, even for flights departing from EU ports, compensation is not required under several circumstances (see Turkish .pdf delay compensation guide here), including weather conditions like fog or snow that prevent a flight from taking off or landing.
My friend was flying from Germany to Kathmandu, Nepal via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines and found upon arrival in Istanbul that her flight to Nepal had been cancelled due to heavy fog. The next available Turkish Airlines flight was not for three days.
Turkish offered her the option of exercising a “trip in vain” benefit; essentially flying back to Germany and receiving a full refund, but she did not want to give up her trip to Nepal.
Request Hotel and Meal Vouchers from Turkish Airlines
She asked me for advice and I suggested several routings via India or the Middle East Turkish might accommodate her on (with the longer flights on Turkish metal then a shorter flight on another airline). Alternatively, I proposed that she check with Turkish Airlines about hotel vouchers since it could not accommodate her for a few days. She had never been to Istanbul and would be in Nepal for several weeks, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to check out Istanbul.
Her request was first answered with an offer to pay for one night in a hotel and she would be on her own the other two nights. Secretly, I thought that was more than fair, but told her to push back for more. She did, and it worked.
She ended up with three days of hotel and meal vouchers — a free mini-vacation in Istanbul! Not only that, Turkish booked her at the Ramada Plaza Istanbul City Center hotel, a very nice hotel in the heart of Istanbul near the Military Museum.
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Weather delays can be horrible — especially if you are trying to reach a remote location that does not offer frequent flights. But sometimes delays can lead to great outcomes, like a free three-day vacation in one of the most fascinating cities on Earth. Turkish Airlines really took care of my friend and you should also be ready to capitalize on delays and cancellations when flying on Turkish Airlines.