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Turkey-Istanbul-2009-1Following multiple terrorist attacks, Turkey’s tourism business has been hit hard…understandably. The cruise ships have pulled out and so did Delta, the last US airline to fly there non-stop. Now, all airlines flying to and from Turkey to the US or via a third country have been banned. See the FAA’s notice to airmen below:

“Per the Federal Aviation Administration’s notice to airmen (NOTAM) dated July 15, 2016, following the launch of an unsuccessful military coup in Turkey, US airline carriers are currently prohibited from flying to or from Istanbul and Ankara airports. All airline carriers, regardless of country of registry, are currently prohibited from flying into the United States from Turkey either directly or via a third country.”

This really only affects a small number of private planes and Turkish Airlines since they are the only ones presently flying between the two countries.

FYI: Turkish Airlines flies non-stop to/from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC (Dulles).

The ban came into effect after Turkey’s failed coup on Friday night and airport security had significantly diminished.

Istanbul’s primary international airport is now open but since no airline is flying to the US, that leaves passengers holding Turkish tickets in a predicament. The ban is in effect until August 15. It could be lifted much sooner (I think it will be) but there’s also the possibility that it could be extended.

From the US State Department:

If you’re in Europe and traveling on a Turkish Airlines ticket via Istanbul to get back to the US, what are your options? I would call Turkish and ask them to rebook you on a partner airline (one of my friends just did this after numerous tries). My recommended plan B would be to get a refund from Turkish. According to the Turkish Airlines website:

1. All rebooking/rerouting will be made without any charge provided that new destination is same IATA region & same cabin class
2. Refund requests:
a) Unused tickets: refund will be made without any charge; or
b) For partially used tickets, when planned trip is not complete; the remaining flights will be refunded without any charge.
3. Extension of ticket validity:
Validity of ticket can be extended until 15 August 2016 (inclusive) without any fare difference or penalty.

Then, I’d price out tickets from the closest major city to your location. If they’re too expensive, try pricing out roundtrip tickets even though you won’t be using the return, since sometimes it’s cheaper that way (don’t ask me why).

Or: Fly Norwegian
Another trick is to try cities that Norwegian flies out of (i.e. Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, and London). They should offer good last-minute fares and you can usually get to them reasonably by train, ferry or low fare carriers like RyanAir, EasyJet and others (just pack light). See below.

Or: Price out Meridiana

Other low fare options many Americans don’t know about is Meridiana. They fly from a number of cities including to and from Naples (Italy) and New York. For instance, you can fly one-way for 467 Euro ($515) on Tuesday. Keep checking for updated fares.

Or: Fly business class

I would also look into flying the all-business class airline La Compagnie since they offer lie-flat seats for cheap from Paris and London.

La Compagnie_edited
More helpful websites:

12 Comments On "What to Do If You Have a Turkish Airlines Ticket"
  1. Sean|

    FYI…Turkish also flies to Boston.

  2. eva|

    is there a document that says that the ban will be (well longest) till august 15? we want to rebook but turkish airlines only makes troubles, big ones

  3. Dan G.|

    When I have to fly one way to the USA from Europe for whatever reason….My go to carrier is usually
    Icelandair. Their last minute fares are usually not as evil as many, and are usually 1/2 the cost of the equivalent round trip.

  4. Stephanie Craig|

    What a shame! I flew Turkish airlines in 2011 and it was a great experience.

    This is a perfect reason to get Travel Insurance, especially if the ticket is for mid August they still have time.

  5. H|

    Now that the air ban is lifted, do you know if refunds from Turkish air are still in effect? We fly Aug 10 through Istanbul to Sri Lanka, and were planning on spending a few days in Istanbul on the way back, but no longer want to do so bc of the coup. Any advice on how to get our money back?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Did you buy travel insurance? Cancel for any reason policy?

      1. H|

        No, we did not buy travel insurance. Could we still get it, and are there any out there that would cover this?!

        1. Johnny Jet|

          I’m pretty sure you can’t get it now but you can try calling an insurance company. I use Allianz (they are also a sponsor)

          1. Robert Vega|

            Hi Johnny Jet,

            I made the mistake of purchasing 3 tickets to Rome, Italy with Turkish airlines with a hour and half layover in Istanbul the way over and a three hour lay over the way back. I purchased them August 2 not really realizing all that was going on in Turkey. The more I read the coup, the attack at the airport were my layover will be the more spooked I’ve become! I didn’t buy the travel insurance. Are the tickets a complete loss?

          2. Johnny Jet|

            You can see if they will put you on one of their partners like United but I doubt they will. Or you should be able to can cancel and get a credit for future. Let me know what happens

  6. Aj Ar|

    Hey Johnny,
    I am into the same situation, I have booked returned flight in the lack of ignorance.
    I bought promotional 700$ returned ticket and when I called customer care they are saying its non-refundable ticket.

    My travel is in August end and Can you suggest whats the better option:
    1) whether the situation will be better during that time and travel with turkish airlines?
    2) book another flight and forget about 700$

    1. Johnny Jet|

      You don’t have a lot of options except buying another ticket. But don’t cancel your original ticket just in case something does go down there you can then get a refund but I hope that doesn’t happen and don’t think it will.

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