Air travel to Turkey: What travellers need to know

Die logo van Turkish Airlines.
Die logo van Turkish Airlines.

Cape Town - A number of airlines have offered travellers the option to re-book their flights following a terror attack at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport on Tuesday evening, which claimed the lives of 42 people and injured hundreds more. 

All but essential travel has been advised to certain parts of Turkey, however booking agent Flight Centre confirmed to Traveller24 it doesn't anticipate many customers wanting to change their travel plans after contacting all its customers.

Sharmila Ragunanan, Flight Centre spokesperson says, “We have rescheduled some flights and we urge anyone planning to travel to Turkey who are anxious and who want to change their travel arrangements to contact their Flight Centre travel expert.

“However, we don’t anticipate many customers wanting to change or cancel their bookings as South Africans have proved themselves to be very resilient travellers who are unlikely to change their travel plans as a result of a terror attack. But travellers in Turkey should remain extremely vigilant and follow any instructions given by police, tour operators and hotel staff,” she said.

Turkish Airlines asks passengers to check in 3-hours prior to flight

Turkish Airlines is the largest carrier serving the airport and has released details saying, "We kindly ask our passengers departing from Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gokcen Airport to arrive at the airport 3 hours before departure time as heavy traffic is anticipated due to the Eid al-Fitr holiday."

Added to this the airline is allowing passengers who have bookings on all flights departing from, arriving at, or connecting in Istanbul Ataturk/Sabiha Gökçen Airport between 28 June 2016 - 5 July 2016 to change their travel options. All requests must be submit by 31 July 2016 and are subject to the following conditions:

- All re-booking and rerouting will be made without any charge.

- Refund requests: Unused tickets: refund will be made without any charge; or for partially used tickets, when planned trip is not complete; the remaining flights will be refunded without any charge.

- Extension of ticket validity:

Validity of ticket can be extended until 31 July 2016 (included) without any fare difference or charge.

Airlines offering change options

All passengers are being advised to remain in contact with their respective airlines.  Other major airlines that fly to Ataturk include Air France, British Airways, Etihad, Singapore and Lufthansa.

British Airways says if passengers are due to fly on a British Airways operated flight to or from Istanbul up to and including Sunday 3 July, you can re-book to a later date or use the money you have spent towards an alternative destination.

"All re-bookings are subject to availability. Please contact British Airways or your travel agent if you wish to rebook your travel arrangements."

Air France advises that as from Thursday June 30, it plans to operate all our flights from and to Istanbul and is allowing passengers to postpone your trip until July 12, 2016 included, at no extra cost in the same ticketed cabin.

"In case of developments of the situation, we will keep you informed as soon as possible. Before going to the airport, we advise you to check flight and train information updated in real-time on our website, in the "Flight and airport info” section." 

Etihad is allowing customers with travel booked today to change their travel to another day on or before July 10.  

Singapore airlines is waiving all fees for re-booking or rerouting for passengers holding tickets to select flights.  

Turkey is a growing tourism market for South Africans, with approximately 40 000 outbound trips undertaken to the country in 2015, according to Flight Centre’s statistics.  Ragunanan cautioned that travellers to Turkey should anticipate delays in the next few days. 
 

What to read next on Traveller24:

- Turkey's struggling tourism industry hard hit by latest airport attack

WATCH: Turkey's Ataturk Airport shut, flights diverted after terror attack

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Pros and cons of wildlife apps - join Traveller24's twitter chat on 1 July

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