Turkish Airlines has had a difficult last year. Between the events going on in Turkey and, recently, the weather that caused massive schedule changes/cancellations, there have been some shifts with schedules.
Schedule Changes with Turkish Airlines & Two Positive Options from Them
One of the things that Turkish Airlines has done is to cut their schedule for flights around Europe. Where they used to fly some flights to the same city in a day, they may now only fly one flight or just a few times in a week. While this can cause havoc if your plans are disrupted, there can be a couple of positive options that come from this.
This happened most recently to an upcoming trip of my wife’s. After having to find new options for her since she is taking our youngest son with her (which puts huge fees on the award ticket with many airlines as a lap infant), I finally was able to get the rest of our Membership Reward points to transfer to Aeroplan for a business class ticket with them (they only charge $100 for a lap infant in business). I decided to book with Turkish because they have very low fees through Aeroplan (booking with something like Lufthansa would be expensive with the fuel surcharges).
Before long, both of my wife’s legs with Turkish (coming and going) were changed as a result of Turkish cutting the flights in Europe. While an annoyance, it did offer up a couple of positive options.
Option 1 – Book with Other Carriers with No Fuel Surcharges
I called Aeroplan and worked with them to get a different flight than the one they had booked her on. This was great because it let me book on Austrian with even better options without having to pay any of the fuel surcharges since this was an involuntary change. Nice!
For the return, they let me switch her to depart from a different airport since she would have missed her connecting flight (separate ticket) on a Lufthansa flight – again, a better option and no fuel surcharges. In the end, the changes by Turkish Airlines let me pick flights that worked even better while avoiding to pay hundreds in fuel surcharges!
Option 2 – Free Hotel in Istanbul
Turkish Airlines offers several neat options for transiting passengers on their airline. Not only can you get a free tour, but they will also book you into a hotel if your trip meets a couple of requirements. Those requirements are a minimum of 10 hours between flights as an economy passenger or 7 hours between flights as a business passenger and the flight you are taking must be the earliest option available. See this page for more information.
So, if you did want to visit Istanbul, such a schedule change could give you that option and let you stay for up to 2 nights (schedule depending) at the expense of Turkish Airlines. You are responsible for the visa but that is it! I realize that not everyone may want to tour there right now but it is great to have that option!
There you go – you can take an inconvenient schedule change and turn it into something good for your trip! Having the option of picking preferred flights with no surcharges or a free stay in Istanbul are two nice options that can stem from Turkish Airlines’ schedule changes. Just make sure you check your reservations if you are flying them in the next few months to see if any changes have occurred! The booking airline may have just rebooked you with something different but a quick call could get you one of the options above.